Saturday, February 9, 2013

Author: Kersten Kelly Interview and Giveaway!

We've got the fabulous Kersten Kelly with her new memoir, Paper Airplane, to Books à la Mode today!

Welcome to the site, Kersten! Would you share a brief introduction with us?

Kersten L. Kelly is a self-published author of narrative non-fiction and semi-fiction books. She grew up in Munster, Indiana, and currently works in a sales role based out of Chicago, Illinois. She started writing at an early age and graduated from Indiana University with a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Communication & Culture. She then went on to earn a Master’s in Business Administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She has a passion for learning, teaching, and writing as well as international travel in her spare time.

Tell us a little bit about your newest book.

In this tumultuous, distinctive memoir, Kersten L. Kelly looks back on the most influential individuals that she encountered while flying through the clouds. Confined in a small vestibule for hours, Kelly identified an opportunity for learning and growth by chatting with the fellow passengers around her. After a few life changing conversations and unforgettable emergencies, she put the in-flight magazines to rest and never looked back. She recalls life lessons from perfect strangers about love, family, perseverance of dreams, and humility through a series of brief anecdotes all taking place on airplanes. Selfless philanthropy was discovered, long-term friendships bonded, and talents unveiled. The book proves the phrase “you never know what you will learn on an airplane” over and over again. Every chapter will capture the mind and sometimes the heart of anyone who jumps into this collection of humanity at its best. The personalities present in this book assimilate with the intrinsic characteristics all readers can relate to. With a raw authenticity stemming from old notes in a ragged journal, Kelly delivers a personal reflection of unique tales from a mile high.
How did you choose the title?

The title is based off of a funny anecdote that happened when I was a kid. In the first chapter of the book, I explain it as an introduction to the rest of the story. With the premise being "things you learn on an airplane," it is very fitting. I don't want to give too much away because I think it will take away from the first chapter in the book, but it ties directly into the theme of the book.

That intrigues me! Can't wait to try the book, myself. How did you first get published? Share your journey into self-publishing with our readers.

After writing my first book, I interviewed a few authors that I knew personally. I wanted to get a feel for how the process worked as far as publishing. After doing a little research, I knew that self-publishing was the way for me to go. I wanted to make a footprint in the publishing industry, and I believe that the way to do that is to pave my own path so I started my own publishing company. I didn’t want to just accept something “normal”. I read a lot of literature on how some of the rights to a book are forfeited if you use ISBN numbers or other identifiers linking you to other companies. By starting my own, everything is linked back to me.

What do you consider your biggest strengths and weaknesses as an author?

My biggest strength as an author is definitely my perseverance to stick with a project. A lot of authors that I know tend to deviate from their original goals if time persists for longer than they originally anticipated. My strength is to bounce back from a delay and keep at it. The only way to get the word out about my book is to spread it myself.

My biggest weakness is not having the amount of time that I prefer to write. I would love to spend countless hours writing books, but my full time job, commitment to my family, and wedding planning have made it more difficult to put as much time into it.
That is an impressive strength! I found sticking to one project and finishing strong is the hardest thing for me, as a writer. How would you describe your writing style and tone?

My writing style and tone is very conversational. I’ve heard feedback from a lot of people that they feel like they are having a simple conversation with me. I try to keep it easy to read for most people.
I'm sure many readers appreciate that... after all, it's not easy to write a book that's easy to read. How do you react to harsh or negative reviews to your books?

Similar to any other author, I am not happy when I receive a harsh review, but I like to use the review to improve my writing. Many times I will take the feedback and apply it to myself to make it better. Negative reviews are always going to exist. I think they make the great ones that much more worth it. It’s all a learning process for me.

What's the most difficult aspect of being an author?

The most difficult aspect of being an author is marketing. I think writing the book, coming up with ideas, and putting it all together is relatively straightforward. Marketing is difficult. You have to seek out your audience and relentlessly sell your book. It’s hard to get the word out and make an impact on readers—definitely a challenge.

Having worked with book publicity through this blog, I definitely agree with you—marketing can be tough! Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you'd known before getting published.

Every up and coming author should interview authors about their “best practices” before attempting to try it on their own. I did this, and I think it was the single most valuable piece of time/effort that I put into the process. Authors will be able to share the less known secrets and tricks of the publishing world. Once you get connected to a mentor author as well, it is much easier to have a resource for questions that come up along the way.
Now give us your best personal advice—something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your kids.

Pursue what you are happy doing. Don’t let others influence the path you take in life. Find what you love and stick with it. No one can fault you for that!
What's next for you?

I am planning to work on a book about how relationships work/don’t work. I don’t have all that much information to provide, but it should be pretty interesting. Also, I am going to finalize and reformat my first book, Economics to make a second enhanced edition.
I'm so happy for you!!!! Congrats on the upcoming releases, and the very best of luck to you. I'll keep my eye out for them! Where can you be found on the web?


Kersten is generously giving away a print copy of Paper Airplane to one lucky Books à la Mode reader. To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
Rules and Disclosure:
Giveaway ends 24 February 2013 at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US residents only. Sorry, international! Check out my international giveaways on the sidebar.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prizes will be forfeited.
Although I will be selecting winners, I am in no way responsible for the prize, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤ Plus you get extra entries ;)
Good luck!