This month, February, I was given a chance to review The Reluctant Sacrfice by Ms. Kerr – Ann Dempster so I jumped the opportunity to make her my February Author of the Month!
Name : Kerr-Ann Dempster
Age : 31
From where : Kingston, Jamaica
Birthday : July 3rd
Favorite Quote : “Decide what to be and go be it.” (Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promises by The Avett Brothers)
1. Describe yourself as a writer and as a reader:
As a writer I strive for authenticity. I am always dreaming up new creatures or looking for ways to put a unique spin on something familiar. I do this because as a reader, I crave authentic stories. Each time I read a story that is a regurgitation of something popular I want to pull my hair out. So as a writer, I try to give my readers stories that are unique, both in their plot and characters. I’ve done the whole stick with what’s popular routine, and I hated it. I’m determined to push the boundaries.
2. Why do you write the kind of books that you write?
Paranormal Fantasy is an amazing genre. I try to stay away from books, movies, or shows that depict real life in graphic details because they tend to haunt me for years afterwards. One of my favorite novels is The Perks of Being a Wallflower, yet I’ve never been able to re-read it, because I bawled my eyes out the entire way through. It’s not like that for everyone, of course, but my books are for those of us who prefer to explore life’s big issues with a sprinkle of magic and wonder.
3. If you can have coffee or tea with an author who is it and why?
Ted Dekker. He crafts the most thought-provoking stories, weaving one into the other, and taking readers on a journey that keeps them guessing and eager for every page. I love his work.
4. How do you feel when you get a rating lower or equal than 3/5?
In the beginning, I bawled my eyes, but now I just move on. I’ve received many good reviews and emails asking for more books. Worrying myself sick won’t change anything. I’d rather spend my time writing.
5. If you would review your own books what would you say to yourself?
This is an impossible question to answer. Any writer will tell you that reading their own work leaves them both paralyzed with fear and anger. Fear that it’s complete rubbish. Anger that you chose this word over that one. It’s torture. You have to understand, by the time a novel reaches a reader the author can almost recite it word for word. Reviewing a novel requires fresh eyes and a degree of separation that an author will never have.
6. Top 3 favorite books of all time?
◆When Heaven Weeps by Ted Dekker
◆Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
◆Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
7. Craziest Writing ritual.
Wearing earbuds. They’re rarely connected to anything, but I like the way they feel in my ear.
8. How did you get your books published?
I self-published my novels through my own company, Ink City Books. I wanted to explore the writing world at my own pace. At the moment, I work with professional designers and editors, critique groups and beta readers. Self-publishing a novel doesn’t mean throwing it together and hitting upload. I think readers can spot those novels pretty quickly. My novels aren’t vetted by traditional gatekeepers, but I’m confident in the teams I work with. They are freelance members of the publishing industry with years of experience. That being said, I respect those who are traditionally published. I have every intention of pursuing that path one day. Making all the decisions is tiresome at times. For now, however, I’m enjoying the path of self-publishing.
9. Among your works. What is your favorite?
The Reluctant Sacrifice. I followed my gut with every aspect of publishing this novel. With Beneath Scarlett Valley, I fell into the trap of listening to every Tom, Dick, and Harry who told me what to do. I got pushed around because back then I lacked confidence and was too busy trying to please everyone. I’m all for learning from others, but each author has to find their voice. I found mine, and it has paid off.
10. What was the hardest part of writing a book?
Saying what I mean with as few words as possible. Sharp, crisp, and to the point works best for my stories. Sometimes I’m tempted to beat a point to death to ensure the reader gets it, but I’m learning to choose strong words and move on. This style won’t work for every reader, of course, but I have readers who enjoy my writing style.
Short message to readers and aspiring authors.
I spoke to Torrie over at Books and Mugs about this recently. I will tell your aspiring writers the same thing I told her: “Study. A writer has to study life, even the ugly parts. Study the works of other writers, and pay attention to sentence construction and rhythm. Study dialogue. My favorite thing to do when out and about is to listen to the way people talk. Doing this made me seem nosey, but cured my fears about writing dialogue. Study music and movies, especially the ones outside your comfort zone. It will all help you to craft meaty stories and diverse characters. Your characters will all be the same if they come from the same well of creativity, so dig deeper by studying the world around you.”
To your readers, I’d like to say : Give new writers a chance. Every author with a best selling title was once brand new and overlooked until a reader gave them the time of day. Be that reader. Discover the next best selling authors for yourself. Don’t just play it safe and buy the novel that’s at eye level in the bookstore. The world of publishing is changing, and that’s an awesome thing for readers. You now have way more power than you realize.
And that’s it! Thank you Ms. Dempster for answering with outmost honesty. Thank you guys for reading! 😉
KERR-ANN DEMPSTER lives in Michigan where she is often found with her nose in a book or online fan-girling over fictional characters and fellow authors. She is a graduate of Loyola University, Chicago where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. After working in Visual Communications and as a Flight Attendant, Kerr-Ann decided that life was best spent being happy. With that in mind, she published her first novel, Beneath Scarlett Valley, in August 2014. She then published her second novel, The Reluctant Sacrifice, in August 2015.
5 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT KERR-ANN: She cannot ride a bike. She once fell out of a moving bus. She spends an obscene amount of time in her own head. She was born in Jamaica. She is a horrible dancer.