Thursday, July 21, 2011

❤author: Emily Kimelman Interview and Giveaway!

❤ Today, as part of a NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™ blog tour, I will be hosting mystery author, Emily Kimelman with an interview and giveaway. Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, Emily! Will you please share a short bio with us?

Hi Stephanie. Thanks for having me at ¡Miraculous! It’s very exciting to be here.

I’ve always loved mystery novels so when I went to college I studied them. I graduated from NYU with a degree in the history of homicide, forensic science, and detective novels. I worked as a dog walker while obtaining that degree which gave me the idea for Unleashed. When not writing I work with my husband, Sean Gilvey, in our glassblowing studio and gallery, Hudson Beach Glass.

❤ Tell us about debut release, Unleashed.

Unleashed is the first in my Sydney Rye series. It’s a fast-paced read with lots of action, some naughty sex, and a surprise ending. It stars a tough, young woman working as a dog walker and her adopted mutt, Blue. While the story starts out with just a hint of darkness by the end Joy Humbolt, our main character, SPOILER ALERT has transformed into a dangerous woman named Sydney Rye.

I like to picture people reading Unleashed in one or two sittings. I like to think of it as a well-written story that rocks, but I’ll admit that I’m biased.

❤ You certainly have reason to be proud of it! I haven't gotten the chance to pick up my own copy yet, but it sounds like the perfect mystery novel. When and why did you begin writing?

My earliest writing dates back to when I was about 11. My family took a trip to the Alps and we were in this picturesque village, when I saw a portable accordion file in a store window. It was a dark brown leather and tied at the top with a red ribbon. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and I begged my Mother to buy it for me.

My mom was happy to buy me school supplies but could not understand what a kid my age was going to do with an expensive leather-bound accordion file, no matter how beautifully crafted. But after I explained it would hold my first novel, she quickly relented. I don’t know if I even had plans to write a novel before seeing that file system, but I immediately got to work. It was a mystery that took place in the large, rambling hotel we were staying in. I believe there was drug smuggling going on and, of course, murder. I put each chapter into the file and they are still there today.

I wrote for years after that, but in high school, I became more interested in the visual arts. I took a couple of years off before going to college and worked as a photographer, but there was just something missing from the work. My brother and a number of friends pushed me to return to writing. I think my brother even referenced the story in the accordion file as proof of my talent :)

❤ What inspired you to write your first book and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

I was working as a dog walker and felt that the profession was perfect for an amateur sleuth. I had access to all my clients' homes and yet they’d never even seen me. Also, as a dog walker, I got to know all the people who worked in the buildings and heard all the best gossip.

I had tons of support from family and friends, so it was easy to tell everyone I was going to be a mystery writer. My best friend, Mette, just couldn’t wait for me to finish so she could read it.

It took about three years to get a manuscript I was happy with. Then, I sent Unleashed to Mark Bowden who wrote Black Hawk Down. Mark is a good friend of my family and he had offered to read anything I wrote. He loved it and recommended me to his agent, Jennie Dunham. Jennie read it over a weekend and offered me a contract that Monday. It was very exciting. My future husband and I polished off a bottle of champagne and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment.

However, Jennie warned me that though she loved my book, it did not fit into any category that publishers were looking for and therefore it would take time to find an editor who wanted it. Three years later we still had no offers and only a stack of very complementary rejection letters.

My brother was the first person to suggest I needed to self-publish. At this point, I owned my own business selling my husband’s high-end glassware so knew about finances, marketing, and PR. What, my brother asked, did I need a publisher for? So I wouldn’t feel like a loser was the best answer I could come up with.

It took another six months for me to realize that it was a stupid reason both personally and financially. When I started writing, I was a kid but now I’m a businesswoman and can see that self-publishing gives me much more freedom than any publishing house could offer.

I paid for a professional editor before I even submitted it to publishers and before publishing it myself, I had a proofreader go over it with a fine tooth comb. I didn’t have to change anything to make it fit better into a box and I got to pick my own cover. The illustration is by one of my best friends, the incredibly talented Autumn Whitehurst.

I feel very lucky to be starting my career when e-pubbing exists. It is so rare to have so much control over your own destiny.

Definitely something to be thankful for in competitive publishing times like these! How did you arrive at writing mystery? Is there any other genre you'd like to tackle in the future?

It took me a very long time to learn to read, but when I was about 11, it suddenly made sense to me. I went from reading See Spot Run, to Agatha Christie, overnight. My father had read me The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Encyclopedia Brown, so I was familiar with the genre, but Agatha Christie was the first author that I’d read on my own. I can still remember racing through Christie’s books; I was filled with excitement about the mystery and about how many pages I could get through in a sitting! I guess I fell in love with mysteries as soon as I could read them.

I also love science fiction and admire authors who can create such complete worlds on paper. And paranormal romance is so fun to read.

One day, I’d love to write science-fiction and paranormal romance but right now I’m still totally obsessed with mystery novels.

❤ Wow! And to think I considered myself a pro for jumping from See Spot Run to Junie B. Jones overnight :) I agree with you about your genre; a lot of my favorite books are mysteries! How much of your actual life would you say gets written into your fictional stories?

Tons. All of my ideas start in the real world and then transform themselves into fiction once I start writing. A lot of people have told me that one of the things they love about Unleashed are the descriptions of New York City. I spent years walking that city and a lot of that made it onto the page.

My mom thinks that Sydney Rye is me and while she was reading Unleashed she kept leaving me these hysterical message like “Don’t go down there. It’s too dangerous!” Mind you, I’m not nearly as brave as Sydney and could never do the things she does.

One of the great things about being a writer is, no matter what I’m going through, I can always think: “At least I can use this in a story one day”. It also gives me a great excuse to get to know strangers. I love an over-sharer. They fuel my fiction.

❤ It's amazing how you can use personal experience and knowledge to craft such wonderful fiction. I imagine it'd be a bit of a pain in the ass to have to research things like descriptions of New York City if one's never been there before! What is your biggest motivation for writing?

To get all this stuff that is swimming around in my head out. If I didn’t write, I’d probably explode. I’ve always had a really dark mind and I think that writing about scary things helps me stay sane.

❤ Who are some authors you idolize?

I am greatly influenced by Raymond Chandler and P.D. James. Whenever I get stuck, I read their work to remind me why I’m doing this in the first place. I like to think I’ve done a good job of incorporating both the literally style of James with the rough style of Chandler and created something all my own. I also think my character, Sydney Rye, does a lot of the work for me. She is the narrator and doesn’t let me get away with anything.

❤ That's a surprisingly encouraging way to keep yourself on track. Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

This might sound nuts, but it’s easier than you think. I put my book on Kindle with a cover I made myself and a crap description just to see where it would show up on searches, and to get a feel for the thing. I was shocked when I went back into work on the description and change the tags around, to see I’d sold copies. There are lots of readers out there (I’m one of them) who are desperate for something new and different. I think it is very exciting to find all these authors out there who are writing really original stuff, so original, no publishing house would take a chance on them.

❤ What and who are some books or authors you idolize?

I’ve already mentioned my love for P.D. James and Raymond Chandler. I also love Hemingway, Jane Austen (I’ve read Pride and Prejudice more times than I can count), Don Winslow (Cool Breeze on the Underground is one of my favorite books of all time), Sue Grafton (I named my dog Kinsey after her main character), Charlaine Harris, and so many more.

I think my favorite Indie author right now is Susan Bischoff. Her book, Hush Money, has me salivating for the next installment.

I idolize all these authors and any other who writes a book that takes me away from my own world and into theirs.

❤ What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?

Tyson Adams was the first person to review my book and he said that the ending surprised him. That made my heart sing.

❤ I'm sure authors enjoy all sorts of praise from readers. What's next for you?

I’m working on the sequel to Unleashed and hope to have it out by Christmas.

I look forward to reading it! Where can you be found on the web?

I have a website: I am on Facebook and Tumblr as well. You can also check out our family glassblowing business at

❤ Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

I’d love to know what your readers are looking for in a series. Do they like the character to be a rock that does not evolve like James Bond? Or do they prefer a character who is effected by what they experience like Sookie Stackhouse?

❤ Thank you for being here today, Emily! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your books better :)

 Thanks to Emily's tour publicist, NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™, one lucky reader will win their very own print copy of Unleashed. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this interview with an answer to Emily's question.

Giveaway runs through August 4th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time) and is open to US, Canada, and UK residents only.
If your email is not publicly visible in your Blogger profile or if you don't have Blogger profile, please leave it in your comment! If I don't know who to contact once you are chosen as the winner, your prize will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Can't wait to hear what you all look for in a series. Good luck!