This week, we got to know K.E. Garvey, author of Cry Like A Girl, Lily White Lies, and The Red Strokes, to name a few. You might know her by her old name, Kathy Reinhart, the award-winning novelist. Suffice it to say, we were very excited to have a chance to talk to her about writing, and how she came to put out such fantastic work.
Here’s what she had to tell us.
You’re an award-winning author. How does that happen, how do authors win awards for their effort?
There are many outlets where a writer can find contests to enter their writing. Some publishing houses, magazines, and even private entities off contests for all sorts of writing: flash fiction, short stories, novellas, poetry, and full length manuscripts. They are very specific in what they will accept. There is usually an entry fee and some accept multiple submissions. The one I entered was a national manuscript fiction contest. I believe they called for a 50-page entry. From that, they chose ten semi-finalists who were asked to submit the entire novel. A winner is picked from those ten. In my particular case, all I won was the right to add “award-winning author” to my list of accomplishments. As for everything else, the publisher (Dawn Rivers) reneged. I never received a dime of my advance, royalties, even the author copies never made it to me. A lesson learned. Fortunately, her dishonest ways were the exception, not the rule when it comes to contests.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What drew you to it?
I never “knew”. I was laid up following an accident and reading a lot. After one particularly bad book from a well-known author I thought, “Wow, I could write better than this.” A friend said “then do it.” I enjoyed the process so much, I haven’t stopped!
On your site, you tend to write a lot of reviews! What draws you to write reviews of other books, and make it the focus of your website?
I’ve often said I don’t put a lot of stock in Amazon reviews. I’ve even written blog posts about it. For instance, Ivanka Trump designed a pair of boots available on Amazon. Her father wins the presidency and now, the reviews for that product are all about him. Barbs and jokes from people who have not purchased, seen or worn the boots. Amazon has become an outlet for haters to hate. When I read a book, I am going to give it a 100% honest review. I have nothing to gain or lose in doing so. My reviews began on inkdropinterviews.com and have amassed a rather large following. When I created my author website, I decided to slowly move all previous reviews over to the new site. I’m doing this in part to condense both sites, and in part because I am by nature modest. I am not of the same caliber as Stephen King or Nicholas Sparks, so I don’t feel I (at this time) could create a website interesting enough to draw people in simply on my own work. The reviews draw readers in. Most often, when they visit for a review, they check out my pages on the right before they leave, so it’s been working.
What are your thoughts on review swapping, when one author agrees to give your book an honest review, in exchange for one from you?
I used to be all for it, but no longer take part in it. I once agreed to a review swap. They finished reading my book before I finished theirs and posted a glowing review of it on their webpage. The reason I was not able to finish their book any sooner was that it was terrible. Aside from the fact that they felt they didn’t need an editor and it was riddled with mistakes, the story itself was all over the place. Although I am known for honest and direct reviews, I am not able to say the words “it sucks” to another writer. No matter how badly written it was. I know the work they put into it. I know what it takes to write a 100,000-word book. It’s no small feat, even if it’s bad. So, I stopped swapping to avoid putting myself in that position again.
Cry Like A Girl is your latest novel. Can you tell us what it’s about, and how you came up with the idea?
In Cry Like A Girl, I strayed from women’s fiction a bit and entered into the suspense genre. The idea was originally about three friends and the direction their lives had taken them. I soon realized it was too much story for the expected word count so I divided it into three stand alone books (the Like A Girl series). I suppose the synopsis says it best:
The descent into madness isn’t always accompanied by flashing lights and sirens. Sometimes, it sneaks up as quietly as fog… To the unknowing, Susan and Henry McFarland appear to be just another small-town couple working toward the American dream. Susan, an introverted housewife and part-time librarian is the yin to Henry’s extroverted, rising-star yang. Susan has always dreamed of the perfect life: a loving husband and a home filled with children, all wrapped up in a white picket fence. But the perfect life she dreams of is rooted in the soil of a dark secret. Henry is a man’s man: confident, likable, and no more than a handshake away from taking hold of the brass ring. Unknown to him, his brass ring is hanging on the proverbial gates of hell and his perfect life lives on the opposite side of the picket fence. It’s their seven-year anniversary. While Susan spends the day preparing the meal for their traditional anniversary dinner, Henry accepts the terms of a new job assignment and seals the deal with a night out with the boys. Susan’s worry turns to anger when Henry stumbles in after midnight and falls into bed without acknowledging the importance of the day or her efforts. That single marital infraction turns out to be the first of many; each silently picking at the seams of Susan’s damaged past. In a twist of irony, just as Henry realizes the consequences of his wrongdoings, the universe begins to punish him for them. As he scrambles to right his wrongs and change the course of their lives, someone else is determined to see him fail. It is a tale of lessons learned too late. Beautifully wrought and as moving as it is tragic, the life and love of Susan and Henry will pull on the heartstrings of even the most phlegmatic.
Are you working on anything now?
I am currently cleaning up the second book in the series, Run Like A Girl, which will be released on May 5th, 2017, I believe. The third book, Fight Like A Girl will come out a bit later, probably spring 2018 as in between I have a Christmas book, Christmas Carol, I am hoping to have out by next holiday season.
When you’re not writing, it seems like you do quite a few appearances. Any advice for authors trying to get more exposure?
When I first began my online branding, I was the one to make contact with others who ran blogs featuring writers. Anything to get your name out there. I began to see that reversing about the time The Red Strokes came out. I don’t seek opportunities to showcase or promote my work the way I once did because it has been coming to me. If I want to accomplish anything as a writer, I can only allocate so much time to marketing and promoting. I have been receiving enough invitations to fulfill the time I have without having to solicit them on my own anymore. I am grateful for that. My advice, scan your Twitter and Facebook feeds. When you see some post interviews on their blog, don’t be afraid to write them and ask if they are taking submissions. Start your own blog featuring indie authors. I began Ink Drop Interviews in 2012 and have interviewed more than 120 authors, many of who have invited me to appear on their blog in return. I always thought of it as paying it forward, and it worked.
We have a large aspiring writer following. Would you like to give them all some advice, or encouragement?
I personally don’t care for the phrase ‘aspiring writer’. I find it restricting. I believe you are either a writer, or you are not. There is a lot of advice out there, but one of the best pieces: Commit to the journey. It’s like anything else in life: a diet, bucking for a promotion, etc., if you don’t commit, you won’t succeed. Writing of any type, but especially novels due to their word count is, not easy. Ideas are extremely easy, our lives are a living testament to ideas. But putting those ideas down in a way others will find interesting enough to spend money on and enjoy reading is something entirely different. Commit to the journey and do whatever it takes to get there. Join a critique group. Find good beta readers. Research writing styles, your subject matter, or anything else you struggle with. Grow thick skin. And accept what you have and what you have to do to take it to what you want it to be.
Where can readers find your books?
My older titles are out of print, although the ebooks are still available. The only one still available in paperback is Cry Like A Girl. I have written under the pseudonym “Nova Scott” and more recently, “Kathy Reinhart”. I am in the process of reworking past titles and will eventually be re-issuing them under K.E. Garvey. I thought my recent name change would cause confusion when looking for my work, but people seem to have caught on to it rather quickly.
Any links you’d like them to follow, like social media?
Sure! I’d love to connect…
We’d like to take a moment to thank K.E. Garvey for taking the time to answer these questions, and being a part of out Author Interview series. It’s always nice to find authors who have promising careers, and a large following, and yet are still modest enough to think they need to provide reviews on their author site to make it interesting. If that’s not giving back to the literary community, we don’t know what is!
If you’d like to read her books, or connect with Garvey, don’t hesitate to check out the links above.