Author Interview: Kellyn Roth
Guys, y'all know I LOVE author interviews. You also know I LOVE historical fiction. You should also know that I LOVE young Christian indie authors.
Therefore, I LOVED interviewing Kellyn Roth! She is just the coolest--a homeschool grad, indie author, and historical romance writer. What's not to love? You can learn all about Kell and her latest release, Becoming Miss Knight, here!
In addition to this super fun interview, I've also got a guest post by Kell and several reviews of her books coming soon! You can keep up-to-date on my reading progress by following me on Goodreads!
Kellyn Roth is a Christian historical women’s fiction & romance author from North-Eastern Oregon who has independently published multiple novels, the most notable being The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy series. You should definitely call her Kell.
Kell lives on family-owned property outside an unmemorable but historical town with her parents, two little brothers, arbitrary cat, precious border collies, a dozen cows, and lots of chickens. She also possesses a classic, vintage aesthetic which does not at all speak to her country girl side, but such is life.
When not writing, Kell likes to blog, teach writing to her various students, have day jobs which allow her to keep her car properly insured, and spend lavish amounts of money on Dairy Queen french fries. She also likes to talk about Keira Knightley and her own books just … way too much.
Check out Kell's awesome website and blog here!
GJ: What first inspired you to write? KR: I don't really know! I just always have wanted to. It came quite easily to me when I was small - I liked jotting down poems and little stories - and I'd just write down stories every so often as they came to me.
GJ: What are some of the driving forces behind you and your writing now? KR: Knowing that if I don't write, I've sure wasted a lot of time. ;-)
More seriously, though, I express myself best via writing - and not so well with my mouth or even non-verbally. So it's a way of getting my thoughts out, a kind of therapy, and an awesome work of craftsmanship that I can offer to God.
GJ: Can you name any authors who have inspired your voices in different ways? How can you see their influence in your writing? KR: For sure! I can think of any number. Gene Stratton Porter, Jane Austen, Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Sundin, and Julie Klassen are ones that come to mind.
I can see little things from each other - for instance, I got my sense for the absurd from Kristi Ann Hunter and my tendency to run-on sentences from Gene Stratton Porter. GJ: What are some of your most favorite books/genres—to read and to write? KR: I'm absolutely a historical fiction kind of girl! More specifically, I enjoy and write Christian historical women's fiction & romance. My favorite books tend to be either that genre - or classics.
GJ: What do you do when you aren’t writing? KR: I think about writing!
Other than that, I have a couple day jobs, watch a bit too much TV, play clarinet and saxophone, hang out with my friends, and obsess over border collies. I also like to read, but that feels like a different form of writing at this point! GJ: Looking back, what has changed for you as a writer—be it how you write or what you write about? KR: Well, everyone grows and matures over the year, but I think everything has been pretty subtle. My writing style has sort of shifted over the years as I've shifted, and growth is nothing if not slow.
I think I'm a lot less hesitant to take on tough topics than I used to be, and I've also really defined what I write and why! GJ: Out of all of your books, which one is your favorite? Why?
KR: I'm not really sure. I like them all! Right now, I'd say The Dressmaker's Secret, which is book 1, but I think At Her Fingertips (book 3) is sneaking up on me - once I finish the final draft, I'll probably like it as much.
TDS is sort of my baby, and it's the one I've put the most work into. I'm very proud of my work there! I'm also proud of At Her Fingertips because it's a bit of a different genre (historical romance instead of historical fiction), and I love writing romances. GJ: Your third installment in The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Becoming Miss Knight, is coming out on January 23rd! Could you tell us a little bit about the story behind the story? KR: Well, it's #2.5 in the series (being a novella) - and I realized I needed a 2.5!
Book 2 and book 3 are separated by several years, and I've had a number of people say they wanted to hear about Alice and Ivy's teen years or at least catch up with them before book 3 comes out.
So I decided to write the novella! It took me just a couple weeks, and then a month or so to get edits in. I'm quite pleased with the results - it's a perfect little in-between story for fans of the series. GJ: What was your writing process for your Alice and Ivy novels? Did you pants them? plot them? How long did each book take you to write?
KR: I plotted them all, after the very first draft of The Dressmaker's Secret.
Most of them took me a month to write. Rewrites then take me a couple months. However, it's a little difficult to gauge since most of them were written multiple times. (I'm so thankful I'm done with all those rewrites and back to just writing books again!)
GJ: You relaunched the first books in your series back in 2016 and 2017. How did you feel going back to your writing? Did much change in the updated versions? KR: It was really great, actually! I enjoyed the chance to strengthen my books and make them into something a bit more readable. The changes have been quite major - in both cases, I did huge rewrites, changing almost everything but the character names and the basic ideas - but it was well worth it!
GJ: What is your most favorite character in the series, and what endears them to you?
KR: He hasn't actually shown up in a published book yet, but Peter Strauss.
He's just about the sweetest guy in the world, and he's a main character in book 3 (At Her Fingertips), so I'm excited about that! He's so relatable, too - a bit fearful but determined, loves books, and obsesses over what people are thinking way too much. :-P GJ: Which part of Becoming Miss Knight was the easiest to write, and what was the hardest? Where did you stumble and second-guess yourself?
KR: It was overall pretty effortless. I found that in this book, unusually enough, the parts with Alice were a lot easier than the parts with Ivy. Ivy just wasn't talking to me for most of the book!
GJ: You have another series, Kees & Colliers, and a Regency romance in the works. Can you tell us a little bit of how they came about?
KR: Well, with the Kees & Colliers, I just wanted to write a book set in that era (it stretches from WWI to the end of WWII), and I had an idea for a rather prickly family situation. It all went from there! So lots of drama, lots of tough decisions, and lots of mistakes being made by the characters. I published it rather quickly, but I'm still glad I was able to share it with people!
The Regency romance, The Duke's Twin, is just a fun romance idea I had - what if twins switched places and then one of them happened to fall in love with a woman who now thinks he's his older brother? But it'll be a long time before that one is out.
GJ: What do you want, most of all, for readers to take away from your books?
KR: Well, I'm not really in control of that, so I try not to worry about it. But overall I want to share little truths with my readers here and there.
GJ: Have you ever endured any discouragement as an author? If so, what inspired you to persevere? KR: I definitely have! But knowing that writing is all about hard work made me more willing to persevere.
GJ: What are your greatest aspirations for your future, be it as a person or as a writer?
KR: I'm not really sure! I want to make the equivalent of a full-time, very well-paying job as an author, but that's more of a long haul goal. I try not to plan too far out as that makes me inflexible when God brings new things into my life.
GJ: What has being a writer taught you?
KR: A lot of different lessons! It's taught me to persevere when things are tough, to use my brain to solve tough problems, and to work hard and steady at one goal for a long period.
GJ: What are your thoughts for other aspiring writers on writing and publishing?
KR: My biggest tip would be to write and edit at least three full-length books in your genre before you even consider publishing. More than that would be ideal! Writers seldom write enough before they try to publish.