Welcome back to my new Author Spotlight series! As a reminder, for this series, I’ve asked all these authors the same questions, to get to know a little more about their projects, their lives, their publishing experiences, and the things their readers might never have known to ask. Oh, and a photo they would never, ever use as an author photo. Now, let’s get started!
(Many thanks again to my fabulous CP, Maggie Hall, for the Author Spotlight banners!)
Today’s author is so gosh darn photogenic that she went ahead and provided us with not one but two fabulous photos!
Kelly Fiore has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA. Forthcoming books include Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, in 2014 and The People Vs. Cecelia Price from HarperTeen in 2015.
Kelly teaches college composition in Maryland, where she lives with her husband and son. You can connect with Kelly at her website (www.kellyfiorewrites.com), on Twitter (@kellyannfiore), on Tumblr (kellyfiore.tumblr.com), or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KellyFioreYAAuthor).
Which, you know, is pretty good. I guess. But, more importantly, here’s her Dahliafied bio:
Kelly Fiore writes adorable light contemp (thank the freaking Lord) with seriously awesome premises (and recipes!), but wait, because I got to read the considerably darker book she has coming out in 2015, The People Vs. Cecilia Price, and holy crap, I cannot wait for it to blow everyone away with both its awesomeness and her range like it did me. Also, she’s pretty freaking funny, and I’m sorry for anyone who hasn’t experienced her gif mastery, because it’s pretty epic.
And now that you know Kelly a little better, come get to know her books!
A Little-Known Fact About Taste Test: Taste Test was originally called “Food Fight,” but some people thought that title sounded more middle grade than YA. Knowing what I know now, I couldn’t agree with them more!
A Sensory Image: There are certain songs that I picture during certain scenes from the book – like, for example, when the contestants are entering the arena for the first time, I can hear the beginning of Spacehog’s In The Meantime playing. It’s a totally random choice, but that’s what I hear. (Blogger’s Note: I recently rediscovered that song and listen to it SO OFTEN. This makes me immensely happy, and also makes me want to re-read Taste Test immediately!
Some Awesome Blog Posts by Kelly:
Just Like the Movies releases July 22, 2014
3 Little-Known Facts About Just Like the Movies:
1. When I was in high school, I was all about the “big gesture” – I had a flair for the dramatic, I guess you could say. Okay, you could definitely say. Anyway, my sophomore year, I totally had this huge crush on a senior, so I left him notes on his car anonymously for, I don’t even know – a couple of months, maybe? Looking back on it now, I realize it was like TOTALLY creeptastic, but when I was coming up with Just Like the Movies’ plot line, I thought a lot about that girl I was and how I would have found that type of dramatic action reasonable. How I would believe so wholeheartedly in a “movie-like” gesture that I would do something that crazy.
(And, if you’re wondering – yes, he found out it was me. And, no, he was not interested. Somewhere in my parents’ house, there are journals talking all about this. I really hope someone burns them…) :)
2. One of JLTM’s main characters, Marijke, was named in honor of a girl I knew in high school with the same first name. (It’s pronounced Mah-ray-kah.) Unfortunately, the Marijke I knew passed away in her mid-20s. When I started writing JLTM, I contacted her mother and asked for her blessing to use Marijke’s first name in my book. Her mother was incredibly supportive and was one of the first people to see JLTM in print. I’m incredibly grateful to have such a lovely muse to work with and, in some small way, I hope the book honors Marijke’s life.
3. I stole/borrowed the prom proposal idea from one of my FAVORITE reality shows of ALL TIME: Laguna Beach. I think Stephen Coletti was my first reality show crush and I see a little of him in Tommy’s character.
Check out Kelly’s Tumblr for Just Like the Movies!
And now, for the book pimping portion of the program, since this is the home of the Rec-ing Ball:
Tell us about your critique partner(s)/co-author(s) and why their books are awesome!
I have a couple critique partners who I’ve swapped work with and who are just…I can’t even. They are SUCH GOOD WRITERS. *fangirl flail*
Chelsea Pitcher is the first one – she can world-build like you can not even imagine, but, more than that, she can do something I would love to be able to do myself – she can switch between genres. She writes Paranormal like a rock star, then slides into Contemporary like a boss. I don’t know how she does it, man. It’s just ridiculous.
Rachele Alpine is my other work-swapper. She is an equally amazing writer – while she’s a contemporary girl, like me, she is just as adept at creating meaningful relationships and twists in plots as anyone I’ve ever known. I compare her work that I’ve read to Jandy Nelson’s, which is probably the highest compliment I can pay just about anyone :)
(Rachele’s first book is CANARY, available now from Medallion Books. Her next book, OPERATION PUCKER UP, is forthcoming from Aladdin Mix.)
*NOTE – I also have an amazing beta reader named Dahlia Adler who is the bomb.com – but she has not swapped me any work yet. So I’ll just say that she’s an amazing reader with spot-on critiques and I can’t wait to read her debut (BEHIND THE SCENES, Spencer Hill Press) in June!*
Oh, Kelly, stop that. *blushes* *secretly begs Kelly to never stop, ever*
Give us 1-3 Books You Love in Your Genre (in Kelly’s case, contemp YA):
Give us 1-3 Books You Love not in Your Genre:
- LIAR by Justine Larbalestier
- PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by AS King (This is slightly magical realism/paranormal-ish, so I’m counting it) (This is one of my favorites, too, so I’m allowing it)
- PRODIGAL SUMMER by Barbara Kingsolver (This is an adult book, but it changed everything the way I write and how I view metaphor. It is phenomenally written)
And now let’s talk a little about publishing, because, again, my blog, and what else do we do here?
Who are you repped by? (And/or who reps the books you’ve sold?)
Hannah Brown Gordon was my agent for Taste Test and Just Like the Movies. I’m currently represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary and she sold my book, The People Vs. Cecelia Price, last summer to Harper Teen.
As a published author, what was something you learned through the process that was so not worth the stress?
Two things – competing with other authors and taking negative reviews to heart. I still have to remind myself about this stuff – especially the competition part. I am just innately competitive and I think, well, if so-and-so has another book deal now, shouldn’t I have another book deal? How do I make that happen? It’s totally ridiculous.
The review thing has gotten a lot easier now. I just don’t look anymore. :)
What was something that actually was?
When I chose to switch agents in 2013, I literally almost got an ulcer trying to figure out whether or not I should do it. I don’t know if the stress was worth it, but I do know that the whole “trusting my gut” thing is sort of key for me. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. My former agent is an amazing person and a great agent, but I was looking for something different out of an agent relationship. I honestly think that there is *almost* no such thing as a bad agent – I just think all agents are different and that you have to decide what qualities you value in yours.
What sorts of things do you shamelessly pass off as “research”?
Looking at pictures of Ryan Guzman.
What do you always wish people would ask you in interviews?
Um…I don’t know. I like interviews. I like talking about myself. I think I particularly like talking about writing and craft, so sometimes I wish there were more questions geared toward writing itself and less about books…if that makes any sense at all :)
Leave some love for Kelly in the comments, and check back here on/around the 1st and 15th of every month to meet some more awesome authors!