Episode 08 – Kerelyn Smith – Mulrox and the Malcognitos

Kerelyn Smith is a software developer by day and has written a middle grade fantasy – Mulrox and the Malcognitos. This story is about an ogre that wants to be a poet.

Kerelyn explores her writing career and the struggles to get a book published. Her book is a reflection of some of those struggles and things kids deal with that they can relate to.

You can find Kerelyn at https://www.kerelynsmith.com

Grab Mulrox and the Malcognitos – https://books2read.com/u/3k1LMR

You can sign up for her mailing list – https://www.subscribepage.com/ReadingGroupSignUp

Transcript

Stephen 0:49
Today, I talked to Carolyn Smith, who has written middle grade fantasy, football rocks and the Malka nidos. I hope you enjoy it. And if you’ve been listening to these interviews, and enjoying them, and getting some inspiration, and maybe learning some things and finding that you’re an author, but not on a path that is different than anyone elses, that we’re all the same. If you’ve enjoyed that and found some inspiration, please leave me a review, give me some stars or a thumbs up, it would really help a lot. And that way more authors can eat more easily discover this podcast and find other authors. So here’s Carolyn Smith. All right. Well, Carolyn, thank you. Good to hear you. Let’s just get started with tell us a little bit about you who you are a bit about your background.

Kerelyn 1:40
Okay, um, Hey, everybody. I’m Carolyn Smith. And I am a writer of like to say like speculative fiction, primarily, but also some literary fiction. And I just had my first book come out, and it’s called more rocks in the mail cognito ‘s, and it’s a fantasy adventure novel for middle grade. And I live in Seattle, Washington. And during the day, I work as a software engineer. And

Stephen 2:11
a little bit about me or the second software engineer. And I also I’m a developer. Oh, yeah. Doing development. So nice.

Kerelyn 2:21
I feel like it is a very common. Yeah, I mean, I do think that there’s a lot of parallels between them. At least for some types of writers. Like, obviously, there’s lots of different types of people approach it totally differently. But like, I am the type of developer and also the type of writer that really likes to outline things and do design and like it really enjoy solving puzzles and putting things together. And so I think that like stories, and you know, software have a lot of those things in common, like, I think part of what makes a good software engineer is just patience and willing to keep trying stuff.

Stephen 2:58
Yes, it’s kind of, it’s kind of weird to me, though, to think about, because I do a lot with databases, and I write code. And that’s very straightforward problem solve it. And there’s a very analytical side to it. But then I’m running into all these people that their, their main job is very analytical, but they’re very creative on the other side, and you don’t think of that a lot. You think of people as one or the other, but right. Seems like it wants to come out of us or something.

Kerelyn 3:29
Yeah, yeah. And I feel like people try to pigeonhole other humans too often. Yeah. Right. Like, I think we all have both of those sides to us. And like, I think it’s good to encourage your fellow people and children that like they don’t have to pick one or the other. Yeah, I don’t know what like your background is, but like, I was an English Lit major, who, like, you know, graduated, couldn’t find a job. And then like, slowly worked my way into tech. So I didn’t go directly into tech. But, and like, I feel like that direction is a little bit less common than just like programming into writing. But I’ve run into a couple other people who have kind of the same journey. And like, I think it really is limiting to try to define yourself only as a creative person or only as an analytical person. Like we all have the capability for both.

Stephen 4:20
Yeah, I definitely would agree with that. So let me ask you to play any music also. I do. There we go. What do you play?

Kerelyn 4:31
My primary instrument is saxophone. But I also play guitar and bass and piano, but I’m not particularly great at any of those. But saxophone I’ve played for most of my life.

Stephen 4:42
Well, that’s, that’s great. And another creative. I see this trend. I think I’m going to have to explore this a little more. So besides playing some saxophone and a little bit of other instruments, what do you like to do outside of your writing?

Kerelyn 4:57
Yeah, or read obvious I think that reading is super important for writing. But I like to go hiking, I like to spend time outside. I recently have gotten into gardening, it wasn’t something I ever thought I’d be into. But we have a yard for the first time in like a decade. And it’s been really nice to play with some dirt. Yeah. And then like, at other times of my life, I’ve spent more time you know, like playing in bands or doing music. And it’s hard. I think as you well know, like, having a full time job, writing a book, and then trying to take on any of the marketing and stuff around writing a book it that eats up so much of your time, and you have kids, I can’t even imagine that’s a whole other layer on top of that.

Stephen 5:50
Well, luckily, between me and my wife, we’ve got six kids. And luckily, one of them just turned eight, the fifth one turned 18 graduated. So we’ve only got one left under 18. And he’s in middle school. So it is it can be difficult. Yes, you’re very correct. Do you have any dogs, cats, anything like that?

Kerelyn 6:13
I have a small dog who’s in the office with me? hopefully we won’t hear him. But yeah,

Stephen 6:18
there you go. Taking care of the animals can be Yes, it’s hard sometimes.

Kerelyn 6:24
Yes, he’s definitely a commitment. But I would venture to say far easier

Unknown Speaker 6:30
than a child.

Stephen 6:31
Okay, so would you you said, you had a little bit of background that kind of led you to writing? What, why did you finally say, I want to write or I feel this writing thing pulling, calling to me, what got you to sit down and start the writing.

Kerelyn 6:49
Um, I’ve pretty much been writing my whole life. And like, just recently, my dad pulled out papers that he had saved. And they were like stories that I had written in second grade that I had completely forgotten about. But like, I basically have just like, been doing this for as long as I can remember. I feel like at some point, I kind of made the decision whether I was going to go like all in on music or more in on writing. Now, I was probably around when I graduated college. And about, like, the year that I graduated was the first time I did NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month. I’m sure lots of people are familiar with that. And so that was the first time I actually wrote a novel and finished one. Which was, you know, like a really good experience. Because up to that point, I had done a lot of short stories, and I had started a million longer stories, but never actually seen it through. And then after that experience, I was like, okay, like, I really want to dig in on this. But you know, I have graduated and I need to have a job. So how am I going to do this. And worked out basically to like, get up early every morning. So like I get up at six every morning and then spend the time before work, writing. So it’s not a ton of time every day. But it’s a little bit of time every day. And it’s amazing the amount of progress you can make just doing that. So I’ve been doing that for like over 10 years now. And the book that I put out is my is the third full book that I’ve written. The others just I couldn’t figure out. Like I wasn’t good enough yet. You know, they were practice books. And I couldn’t figure out how to edit them. And you know, it, it’s been a journey for sure.

Stephen 8:47
That, that I love that. What you said about a little bit of each time and it adds up. You can get there. And you’re not. I mean, you’re not the only one I’ve heard say that. I think though, sometimes people hear it from others like oh, yeah, right. You’ve got 20 books out? Well, right. You know, you did the same thing. And just like you I had a couple books, you know, done that I looked at had someone else forget and I’m like, Oh my gosh, this is like such garbage and they’re still sitting somewhere else. Right. So I think that’s very common. I stressing that because I think a lot of people that may listen to this that are still struggling. Think that oh my gosh, I’ve already written three books and thrown them away. You know, I must suck. It’s not

Kerelyn 9:34
unusual. No, no, I think it’s incredibly common. And I think it’s one of those lies. That is really really harmful to writers. Like, you know, there’s this whole like my debut novel, right? Like it’s not my debut novel like it’s not the first nobody can expect to be perfect at something the first time they try it right and why would Novel Writing be any different than that like, just expect That, like, you have to practice things, you know, you have to practice writing novels, which is like, sort of unfortunate because they take a long time to write. But you do get faster.

Stephen 10:12
Right? I agreed the first book I wrote, I just finally decided to do it one day and sat down. And in a weekend I had 15,000 words done, which was pretty phenomenal. Yeah, that’s incredible. Yeah. But then I think there’s a stress factor involved, too. You start, oh, it’s got to be perfect. I got to get done. Because when I look back at that book, now, those first five chapters are the best five chapters in the book, because I didn’t know anything. I didn’t have any preconceived notions. I just sat and went for it. And I think that comes out in the writings. You know, when you’re uptight and stressed and worried about it, you have comes out and it actually makes it harder.

Kerelyn 10:51
Yeah, yes, I totally agree. It’s funny. So like the, the premise of my book. It’s like a cutesy fantasy book, about a ogre, who wants to be the greatest poet in the whole world. But unfortunately, like, everything that he writes, is terrible. And he erases it and throws it away. But then, like, the worst thing he can imagine happens is like, his terrible ideas come to life as these things called mal cognito. ‘s. And they start to pester him. And they eventually convinced him to go on a quest to save them. Which, like, just the reason I’m bringing this up is like, I think you can see the parallels to what you just said, right? Like, it is very much, you know, like, my own journey, trying to deal with perfectionism. And like, I was so so afraid to put this book out into the world, you know, to get the courage to say like, this is enough, this is good enough, like, I want this out in the world. And like, that’s kind of the journey that, you know, my character is going through, and just realizing the importance of all of your, your bad ideas, right? Like they’re not, I’m sure your book is not bad, right? It just wasn’t where you wanted it to be. And all of the stuff that you wrote before is how you got to your later works that I’m sure are better.

Stephen 12:14
Yes, and I totally agree. And I’ve discovered that myself. I try and keep that positive light on it. So I’m glad glad you said that. That’s so important to discover, and, and think and keep in mind. So you were talking about your first book, which I’ve read some of Sorry, I didn’t get through all of it yet. Oh, no, no, but why? Why did you choose the setting? You did? Why did you choose an ogre? And that because the same story could have been done, you know, with some kid, you know, in South America, or in New York, or whatever, why the choice of the fantasy setting with the ogre.

Kerelyn 12:55
So one, I love fantasy books. And I tried to, you know, I’m writing this book for kids. And I tried to pull in a lot of the elements that I loved when I was a kid, which were like those big epic fantasy stories. And I love the elements of magic and like strange new creatures that you can learn about, like, those kind of big worlds, like the Golden Compass. Like, it just expanded my mind so much. So to me, I’m naturally pulled to stuff like that. Specifically, like to have magical elements allows you to do stuff, like I literally have his bad ideas come to life and play him, I could not do that in a realistic fiction. And as you get further into the book, you’ll see more things like that, that come up. So like, I think, fantasy allows you to kind of confront some of these ideas in more like metaphorical ways that, like, hopefully, allow for like more ideas and things to come through. why I chose an ogre partly was just like, character experiments I was trying to do. So I had read something about the importance of having dichotomies and characters in order to just kind of instantly make them interesting, right? So like, a lot of, you know, like child geniuses, right? You don’t think that those two things go together? So people like just automatically are interested in that or like, little girl warriors or it just like, take two things that don’t seem like they fit together? And like put that into a character and you automatically have some sort of conflict and interest and people are kind of curious about it. So like, that is literally the reason why I chose an ogre because I had ogre poet. And I was like, well, that that’s interesting. Like, what would that be like, which is not a particularly deep idea, but I think it helped me to spur a bunch of other ideas that rolled off of that.

Stephen 14:59
I think that’s Great that you did that, because I remember and I talked to somebody else about this a while back. A lot of people think, oh, I’ve got to come up with something outrageous, something crazy, something new, something that blows people away. And that will work occasionally. But more often than not, it seems like it doesn’t when you come up with something that’s familiar, because it kids can relate to this ogre, you know, I feel like that I feel like the ogre, you know, he’s unhappy. I like poetry. I don’t like to kick a soccer ball or whatever it happens to be. And I think that’s that spark of genius that you grabbed on and ran with and noticed it was what you needed at that moment. Do you think you’re going to write any more of these? Is there a series planned?

Kerelyn 15:48
So there’s not going to be a direct sequel. When you get to the end of the book, I think you’ll see why. But I do think that I might write some other books in that world with some of the side characters. There’s a six fingered slug that works in the in the slammer and snore, I think it’d be interesting to go into the background of that slug. So I have some ideas around that. And then one of the side characters, your gherkin, I would love to give her her own story, because I think she’s a really interesting character.

Stephen 16:20
I think, using the different characters and having a series connected, it doesn’t have to be the same character. I think that’s a great idea. And well, again, it’s not original, I mean, look at RL Stein, goosebumps. That was a whole series that didn’t have the same characters at all. Yours would be in the set in the same world, you could do tons of stories in world.

Kerelyn 16:44
Yeah. And I like I love the woods material, too. So that would be an easy thing to reuse and have different characters wandering into it. That’s another thing about Go ahead.

Stephen 16:55
No, no finish what your thought.

Kerelyn 16:57
So that’s another thing about the setting is, I wanted to say, in some ways, I did a very like kind of cliche thing, right? Like, it’s the fantasy woods. That’s like the most standard way of doing things. But it did want to highlight redwood forests, because that’s I grew up on the west coast. And like all of our family vacations and stuff was basically camping, and camping in the redwoods. And kind of showing those really dark overgrown forests and highlighting a lot of the plants and things that that were like real and they’re so like, I have recently started doing some virtual school visits. And the activity I do with them is doing like the real life plants of my book. So showing them all these weird plants that actually exist that are kind of the inspiration around that.

Stephen 17:54
Oh, that’s a great idea. Okay, so now I got two things to ask about. When I was reading the book, I had the woods material I loved but why did you choose the word Mercurial that’s not a common word you would see thrown into a middle grade book. And it’s probably one that would have some kids going, what is that? So why choose that? I’m curious.

Kerelyn 18:17
Yeah, well, I think of Mercurial as something, you know, it’s like always changing and growth and things like that, and unpredictable. So I feel like it’s a good name for the basically, more rocks, enters into there, and then undergoes a lot of character growth, right? All these things happen to him, that forced him to kind of confront his preconceived notions. So for me as a kid reading stuff, I really loved books that didn’t talk down to me that had really rich vocabularies. And it didn’t really matter to me, if I didn’t know all the words, it just, I felt like I was in this like, really rich atmosphere. And like, sometimes I’d go look them up, and I learned them, sometimes I’d be able to pick it up from context. Sometimes I’ve just, you know, would be like, okay, that’s a word and just go keep reading, you know what I mean? But they they filtered into my consciousness. So I tried to take that approach. I mean, I think the book is difficult. It’s not easy. Like, it’s a easy plot read. But there’s lots of words in it that are challenging vocabulary. But I wanted to do that because I don’t, I don’t believe in like talking down to children. And I also think it’s like a good way to encourage them to find a love for language as well.

Stephen 19:45
I love that thought. Because I feel the same way. I think sometimes people have an attitude that kids aren’t as smart as they are, that they can’t think on their own and figure things out. And I think a lot of times The just, you know, oh, here, here’s a tablet sit down and watch something, right? That that that’s not pushing them as I sparking their brain that’s not getting creative. And like you, I think putting some words in that are outside of their normal vocabulary, can get some of them curious and interested, I do the same type of thing. And in the back of my book, I put words to know, and then I find them. Nice. I use my own definitions. So it’s not the dry dictionary definition. I think. I hope I hope I hope some kids actually read it and go, Yeah, that’s great. And then I encourage them to write a story or something with those words. So I agree the same feeling that kids like to relate to be pushed, and sometimes there’s not enough out there for him that when I was younger, I think I went straight from picture books to Hardy Boys. So I kind of skipped middle grade. But, you know, back in the 80s, it there weren’t a lot of books as much really emerging. Yeah, yes. Okay, so, yeah, go ahead.

Kerelyn 21:15
I just even like the divisions between the children’s books, like the middle grade, and the ya, like, I don’t think that stuff existed too much when I was a kid, either. You know, a lot of the things I loved around that age, I’m like, I don’t know how people would categorize this now, cuz it’s like, doesn’t follow the rules. Right? genres, right?

Stephen 21:36
Yeah, I always get people pointing out A Wrinkle in Time. And CS Lewis, Narnia books. I’m like, Okay, what else? Like, um, well, there’s Laura angles, but I’m like, okay, so you got books that have been around for 100 years, what, you know, is coming out frequently a new every year in that, at that time back in the 80s. And they get stumped. I’m like, because there really wasn’t as much as there is now. And I think that’s great. I think that kids are getting things that talk to them more everything from the Dork Diaries, and up. So I think it’s a great time to be a kid and a great time to be a good writer. So is there some things where we talked a little bit about things you’ve learned with the old books that you’re writing and your growth to write the book you have out now? Is there anything since it came out that you wish you would have done different or things you’ve learned that you’re doing that you didn’t think you do or where you’re going to go in the future? As far as the writing itself goes? The writing the book, the publishing any of that, anything that strikes you as some things, you’ve learned some things you do different some things that worked great even? Yeah.

Kerelyn 22:55
Okay, yeah, there’s definitely like, a lot of stuff. I think probably the biggest piece that I think has been useful to me, and I like would have as advice to other people, just not quite what you asked, but I’m just gonna go there.

Stephen 23:12
Fine. Yeah.

Kerelyn 23:14
Yeah, it’s to like, make connections with people, and to be really nice. And that that pays off a lot. So like, I had, I had all sorts of plans about what I was going to launch my book, and then all the marketing stuff I was going to do around that. And then, so I reached, I released my book on March 28, March 29. And, like a month before that COVID hit, and our landlord told us they were going to sell the place that we were living in, so we had to move. And that basically scrapped all of my plans for what I was planning on doing to kind of hype everything up. Which was unfortunate. I don’t think I could have really done anything. Except maybe been like another month ahead of schedule. But

Stephen 24:15
the thing that I see plans for the world pandemic,

Kerelyn 24:18
yeah. It’s slightly unfortunate, on many for many reasons, obviously. But as a result of that, like I think the kidlit community online has come together and has been really supportive. So like, I started interacting with a group called middle grade book village. I think I just like totally blunder that but it’s something like that. And they have these weekly mg book chats on Twitter. And it’s a community of like librarians and teachers, and also authors that get together and talk about books and they usually have a different topic every week that they talk about. It’s kind Like a q&a type thing. So those have been really great just to kind of introduce myself to that community, and then become friends with them and support other authors. And, you know, that’s been where most of my opportunities have come from is just from making friends and reaching out to people. And just, you know, being a supportive, supportive human, I think. So, I’m sure probably a lot of your listeners are familiar with Joanna pen, from the creative pen podcast, and she talks a lot about, yeah, she talks a lot about Co Op petition, which is like, you know, basically, like, authors are in this together, we’re not direct competitors with each other, like, people who love to read, are always looking for new books, you don’t have to be competing with other authors, like you can recommend their books, you can give them opportunities, that just expands the world for all of us. So I really try to take that to heart and try to share, you know, don’t be stingy with sharing knowledge or things that you’ve learned or opportunities in it, that’s sharing the little knowledge that I have has an you know, paid back 10 times over and then I’m able to share that back again, and like, you know, reach hands out to people that are just starting. And your fellow writers like, I’ve just I’ve been given a lot of opportunities to do events and things that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I hadn’t done that.

Stephen 26:36
I think that’s great. I, I didn’t even know about the middle grade book village, I might have to go check. Yeah,

Kerelyn 26:41
definitely check them out. There’s a bunch of like, kind of groups like that. That one is really active, and great.

Stephen 26:50
So getting a little more tech, which probably isn’t a push for you. What what type of software do you use? What type of services like that? When you’re doing your writing or your marketing?

Kerelyn 27:04
Yeah, for the writing, I use Scrivener. And I really love that tool. had used I think novelist A while ago. But I do like Scrivener better. And then I’m sure anybody who’s tried to go into the indie space knows that it’s just like, there’s so many tools, there’s so many pieces, it’s incredibly overwhelming. But just to rattle off some I do use vellum for formatting. I use mailer light for my email integration stuff. I use WordPress for website. And I’ve used just one of the free, simpler themes. for that. I use Bluehost as my hosting, use, I want my name for my domain name registration stuff. I use book funnel to distribute books out like our Creator and free copies of the book. trying to think what else I have. Yeah, go ahead.

Stephen 28:13
I was gonna say so pretty much the standard things that you hear a lot of people using tried and trued and working for you. Have you noticed anything particular that works better? I am assuming like most people, you’ve had ups and downs with book sales days or weeks where it’s higher than other days or weeks, is there anything you’ve noticed, particularly that works to boost the book.

Kerelyn 28:39
So I have not been following it super super closely. Because I so I set off with very low expectations for the book. My you know, goal was to sell 50 copies. Because I was like I probably don’t have that many friends I could convince to buy the book. So that will be like you know, some strangers and that would be a good thing. So I’m happy to say that I’ve sold more than that, which is great. Good. But I’m not like going I’m not exploding or anything and like I’m fine with that. I believe that it’s going to be like a slow burn. So I’m doing the best I can to just kind of I’m more interested in having people read the book and kind of spreading the word. So I’ve been giving away a lot of free copies. Not really anticipating a ton of sales. Like I kind of want to get my reviews number of reviews up. And I haven’t done a ton of advertising like I haven’t a ton. I haven’t done any paid advertising. Primarily because I’ve read some stuff that has said like it’s not really worth it until you have more books out. So read through. Yeah. So I don’t know I go back and forth. I haven’t entirely decided Like I was going to be way more systematic about it. But then as I said, all that stuff happened. So that kind of scrapped all of that. So, as far as seeing bumps and stuff, I don’t really know, I think, you know, talking, sharing in your community is helpful. I’m somebody who’s, like really scared to talk about it. So it was a big step for me to like, admit to people that I knew that I wrote a book. So that was, that’s helpful, but should be obvious to anyone.

Stephen 30:32
Well, you know, actually, I think that’s great that you’re saying that because, again, I hear a lot of people listening to mark Dawson, or Brian Cohen, or anybody and they’re hearing, you know, 200 ads, and, you know, I’m spending 1500 a month or I’m, you know, this person has 137 reviews, and they’re selling 10 books, 20 books a day. And I think sometimes, again, that gets discouraging for people. Yeah, there are more people out there that are still building still trying, still discovering. So it’s not unusual. And it doesn’t mean you’re a failure, your books, no good. Some there are examples, and I should probably look this up. But there are books out there that went on the market for years before they were quote, unquote, discovered and became huge and popular. You know, I mean, everyone knows the story, JK Rowling couldn’t sell her book to publishers, until the last publishers, granddaughters something said, Hey, I like this, you should publish it, you know, right. So, you know, I think people sometimes lose track of that. listening to all the podcasts reading all the blogs.

Kerelyn 31:43
Yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s, it can be so overwhelming. And I think like, for your mental health, it is important to set goals that are like, small and attainable, so that you can feel good about the massive amount of progress that you’re surely making. Because there’s just so much to do, and it’s really overwhelming. And then I think the other goals that you need to set are just like internal ones, right? Like, I am proud of the book that I put out. That’s what I wanted to accomplish, you know, and that’s, I did that. So like, the other stuff that happens is, you know, icing on the cake. But that’s the important thing. And I’ve managed to connect with one or two readers who really liked the book. And again, you know, that is the goal, right? Oh, something small outside of yourself, you know, that can be a little bit of difference.

Stephen 32:38
I love that. The attitude and the goals, because you can only build on that if you set the goal to sell a million and you get disappointed. You don’t write it. And in my viewpoint, that’s a disservice to the people that did read your book, or that might like your next book even better that it might be the book that they’ve been looking for for years. Right. So I think it’s important to keep that for your own men mental health to keep that type of attitude sometimes, especially with what’s going on in the world today. Right? Yeah. So I mean, go ahead. I was just I was go ask you what plans you have for your next book, what what you’re working on, what do you think you might release next.

Kerelyn 33:22
So I have two other manuscripts that I wrote, first drafts of in between. So it’s like I wrote, I was drafting on more rocks. And then I wrote two other books. And so those have been sitting in a drawer there only first drafts. One of those is a kind of spooky, middle grade fairy story. And the other one is a first book in a why a to adult climate science fiction CLI fi series. So I will get back to those soon right now. Because it It took me about three years from when I first started working on more rocks to when I released it. So it’s been a long time since I’ve gone back to that kind of like pure creative, outlining new stuff. state. So right now I’m trying to go back to that I’m trying to give myself some freedom to kind of like recharge and believe that I’m a writer and not a marketer or an editor. It’s it can be so you play such games with yourself. You know what I mean? Like, it’s it’s so rough. I, I definitely struggle with the idea that like if I’m not writing something new, I’m not a writer, which is ridiculous.

Stephen 34:50
Yeah, and I, again, I think too many people get stuck with Oh, I’m a failure. And the fact that you’ve had a couple people say, Hey, I liked this book. You know, that’s, you know, more than some people get you finished it your plans for the next one, you know, we should sometimes look at the little things that build to the bigger things. Yeah, focus on those

Kerelyn 35:12
completely and like enjoy the journey along the way too, right? Like, yeah, what can you can control, you can control the fact that you enjoy writing. And yes, focus on that.

Stephen 35:25
For me, I’ve discovered the first draft for me, it’s better to get it out quickly, and really focus on editing because I start losing the feel of the book if I don’t get something down. But my really major writing is the revising and editing and rewriting. That’s where I have written and went, Oh, this needs to be like this and add this and take this out, move this here. And then oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I thought the story was done after I wrote that first draft because it’s so much better now. Right? So yeah,

Kerelyn 35:58
I totally agree. And like, that’s become fun. Yeah, exactly. And like, you know, kind of throwing yourself into writing that first draft, like, as fast as you can, is kind of fun and exhilarating. And then all the work of making that actually readable to someone else. It’s also fun. Yeah, I don’t know. Have you? Like, I am a huge fan of the story grid. I don’t know if you’ve dug into that at all. Yeah. Okay. So like, I had no idea how to edit anything. until I started listening to that podcast and reading that book. All I could do was like micro edit, which I would say is like, you know, if you make take a single scene or something, and be able to make that work well within itself and be like, nice language and pretty, but I had no idea how to like, edit and compose a very strong, cohesive narrative. So that book, like opened up my eyes completely. I think it’s given me a lot of tools.

Stephen 37:03
I know. And one of the story grid editors, Jay Thorne, he lives Oh, like, no way. And him and his partner writing partner, came out with a book called The three story method, which is more for the planning beginning of the book. And it has a lot of the same information, obviously, because he is a story grid editor. But it’s almost, I don’t want to say simplified because that has bad connotations to it. It’s easier to wrap your brain around and rein something in that. So I’ve, for my next couple stories, I’ve started using that. And still keeping what I know of the story grid on the back end. Yeah, so that’s a good idea. To check that out. Yeah. Jay Thorne. It’s called the three story method. And Zack bohannan. I like it’s, it’s been, it’s an easy read. And it helps with the planning quite a bit. A little bit to get it down sometimes. Yeah.

Kerelyn 38:05
Yeah. Cuz like the story grid is not really intended as an outlining tool per se. Right. Yeah, the other one that I go ahead.

Stephen 38:13
No, no, you tell me.

Kerelyn 38:15
The other one that I like a lot is john Truby. Trying to look at the name of it. Okay, well, I’m not gonna find it right away. But like, I’ve pulled a lot of my outlining stuff out of that. Kind of setting up like theme and character growth and other things like that.

Stephen 38:38
His anatomy is scary. Okay. He’s a screenwriter or something. Right? He is. Yeah. Okay. So, alright, so tell us Carolyn, again, the name of your book, where to get it, where all you have it published? And then where we can find you, online? Sure.

Kerelyn 39:02
So my book is called more rocks and the mount cog nietos. Which I know all those words don’t make any sense. But they will if you read the book. And I’m Carolyn Smith, which is also spelled really weird. So good luck.

Stephen 39:18
It’ll be in the show notes and the title of the podcast.

Kerelyn 39:21
Yeah. So I’m at Carolyn smith.com. That’s my website. And I might like social. I’m on most social media platforms, so I’m not very good at it. At Carolyn Smith or Carolyn Smith author, and then my book, you can get pretty much wherever books are sold. Because it’s available through Ingram you can get it at most indie bookstores. It’s also Barnes and Noble and Amazon and Kobo. I, you know, I went wide so you can get it anywhere.

Stephen 39:53
Great. All right. Well, Carolyn, it was great talking to you. I’m glad we had this chance. Let me just ask real quick Before we close up, Ben Gardner from I have Rob book. Yeah to me, do you? How do you know Ben?

Kerelyn 40:08
I saw what he was doing online and was really impressed. And I reached out and I was like, Hey, can I ask you some questions? And that is how I’ve made a lot of my writer friends. And everybody’s been, I was really, really scared. Every time I’m sure is that they were gonna be like, why are you contacting me? No one like, you’re nobody go away. And that has never been what happened. So again, do that. And if somebody does that to you be nice.

Stephen 40:36
Right? That’s great, because that’s how I’ve met several people, including Jay. And that’s kind of how we met I, I reached out to Ben, but he was just too busy passed over to you and said, Hey, you guys might want to do this and get along. I think that’s great. And that’s one of the things I’ve said about authors is they’re not like movie stars. They can be just as big, famous and popular. But they don’t have that ego. Right, for the most part. That has been writing sci fi fantasy for like 34 years. And he shows up in the top lists all the time, a fantasy sci fi authors, his books always shoot up and all that. So I like didn’t even know that when I first met him, and he didn’t like just stand there bragging about it or call attention. Yeah. If it was Brad Pitt, or somebody it might be different, or Yeah, definitely. You know, so great. Well, Carolyn, it was wonderful to talk to you. I hope we can stay in touch and I might reach out to you, you know, six months or a year from now and see how things are going. Maybe we’ll do another chat. And yeah, that’d be one change and updated. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you. It was fun talk. I appreciate it. And I’ll talk to you later.

2 comments

  1. Awesome interview. Great information in a friendly chat. Felt like you guys knew each other from way back. Excellent questions, no dead time, you brought the best out in your guest. Thank you.

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