Keta embraces her laid-back country roots, speaks with a southern drawl, but writes with a raw and gritty mindset. She proudly served on active duty in the military with multiple deployments to Iraq. After completing her military service, she worked for the Department of Defense, supporting the military in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. She has been lucky enough to travel the world, visiting and touring over thirty countries.
She enjoys flirting with the darker side of romance, alpha men and the women that are powerful enough to tame them. Her books are edgy, sometimes dark, and not for the faint at heart.
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
You’re welcome, but I have to thank you for the opportunity to sit and talk about a subject that is near and dear to my heart—writing.
The writing bug, or maybe I should call it a writing spark caught me by surprise. The spark hit me when I was deployed in Iraq, in 2003 to 2004. The war zone at that time was what we called “hot,” which meant that there was a lot of activity occurring that could put serious stress on a soldiers’ mental health.
Imagine my surprise when I started hearing voices. How would I explain to someone that there were people in my head holding conversations and telling me stories without sounding crazy? I never spoke of what was going on in my head, and thankfully, I noticed that the voices didn’t have anything to do with me or the environment I was in.
At the time, I didn’t know what a muse was, so I hadn’t connected the dots that these were my characters talking to me. All I had at that time was a pen and a journal that I had been using to chronicle my deployment. By chance and the need to busy my mind, I started writing what was playing out in my head and by the time my deployment ended, I had three full journals of stories and ideas. After that deployment, my career pulled me away from writing and it would be over a decade before I picked up a pen again.
I love writing the kinds of stories that I like reading. Writing the first draft and putting the pieces together is the most rewarding part because I’ve taken the time and built an entire world from thoughts and ideas.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
I always say that my books are not for the faint at heart because I enjoy taking apart the biggest and baddest alpha male, the most deviant killer, hitman, or murderer and telling their stories. I love peeling back the layers to give the reader an inside perspective of the foundation that built a person that traditional society would throw away or run and hide from. I enjoy exposing what led a person of that nature to their current state of mind, and most importantly, how they are affected when they are touched by love.
My books are sold on Amazon, but can also be found on other digital and print book retailers like Books-A-million and Barnes & Noble.
I can be found on social media:
Facebook Readers’ Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/380642765697205/
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
People watching, certain movies, social interaction with my friends and co-workers, and even navigating the busy hustle and bustle of fighting traffic to and from work gives me sparks for stories. Reading also inspires me, so I love flipping off my author’s mentality to embrace my thirst for reading.
Readers probably think that authors are exaggerating when they speak about their muses talking, but my muses are the main people that I rely on when I start a story. (Yes, I consider my characters people.) There are times when a character will lay out a scene so vividly in my mind, that I can’t type fast enough to capture it all.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I typically work 50 to 60 hour weeks depending on my workload and work-travel schedule. Therefore, I write some nights, but mainly on weekends.
I don’t outline. I’ve tried it, several times, but it has never stuck. I write wherever the story takes me, sometimes starting in the middle or end and even at a love scene, and finally end by piecing the story together like a puzzle.
It generally takes me 4 to 6 months to finish a novel to include the editing process.
I’m working on two erotic novellas that came about when I was invited to write with a group of awesome authors on the writing platform called the Lunchtime Chronicles. I’m also working on Book #3 of my Chaos series.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
The first book that back-handed my emotions, made my eyes get leaky, and had my throat jumping was a classic, A Farewell to Arms by Earnest Hemingway.
I have been asked this question many times, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to give an answer. I simply can’t choose. Even as I’m going through my favorites in my head, my mind won’t let me single one out.
I’m currently reading The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J. R. Ward. It’s been a series I’ve been aiming to read for a long time, and finally after she’s dropped like 18 books in the series, I’ve started to read them and I’m a goner. Addicted. Hooked so good, I hide from co-workers so I could get in some reading time and dodge my gossiping sessions with friends so I could feed my guilty pleasure.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
My most significant achievement so far has been to write a second series that has found success in the interracial romance market. I was worried about only being known for my Twisted Series and wanted to show readers that I am capable of writing something different.
Within the next five years, I’ll invest some serious time into writing non-fiction works. I’m interested in writing the kind of works that involved subjects like Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD and how to deal with anxiety. As someone diagnosed with PTSD, I would like to help others by sharing my personal accounts and experiences.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing in terms of traditional and self-publishing?
In my personal opinion, if an author is afraid of rejection, they may want to rethink a career as a writer. An author will see rejection from readers, agents, other authors, or anyone with a mind and opinion that feels the necessity to criticize, reject, belittle, and in some cases metaphorically spit on your hard work. You have to have a strong constitution to accept rejection with grace while maintaining an unshakable belief in yourself and your work. For me, the best way to overcome rejection is to keep pushing and finding ways to impress myself first, then create works that turns the heads of your most fierce critics.
Traditional publishing can garner an author a mainstream audience, gaining them more exposure to bigger audiences, where self-published authors are not as easily exposed to that same audience, if ever. However, it appears the gap between the two publishing arenas maybe closing as I’ve noticed just as many self-published authors are finding success as those that are traditionally published.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself?
I write what I like to read and therefore don’t mind reading my own work. It is also a way for me to check myself as sitting your work aside for a while and going back and reading it to yourself can open your mind to improvements and better ideas you may not have seen or considered before.
9) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
It is never too late. If there are ideas in your mind, they may be the next best seller or next book turned movie. You maybe robbing yourself of becoming someone’s favorite author or stopping your story from being the key to helping someone else unlock their own potential by thinking it’s too late.
A late start doesn’t hinder you unless you allow it to. In my case, I believed starting late helped me as I don’t believe the younger me would have had the focus and drive to complete a manuscript, go through the process of getting it published, then having it picked apart by some critics once it hits market. I just said all that to say that I was a late starter as a reader and a writer. I was twenty-five when I started getting into reading and didn’t start writing seriously until I was closer to forty.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I believe the raw edge I give to my work represents my authenticity. I don’t sugarcoat anything. I work to present my characters in a way that you would see them if you were spying on them which is not always socially acceptable, but real.
Sharing with the world a piece of my mind connects me to this universe in a way I never even imagined. Writing gives me the sense that I’m getting closer and closer to my purpose or more so building into my purpose with each story I create, with each reader I connect with, and with each person that connects to my writing. The knowledge that my stories have helped people find strength within themselves, that they are touched by what I’ve written, and find joy and laughter in my work feeds strength into my purpose.