Friday, January 31, 2014

Kay LaLone, Ghostly Clues

AUTHOR: Kay LaLone
BOOK TITLE: Ghostly Clues
GENRE: MG Mystery
PUBLISHER: Muse It Up Publishing

Please tell us about yourself.
I’m Kay LaLone. Ghostly Clues is my first middle grade novel published by MuseItUp. I live in Michigan with my husband and teenage son (two older sons and a daughter-in-law live near by) and two dogs and a cat. I love to get up every morning and write about ghosts, the paranormal, and anything that goes bump in the night. Or anything that interest my characters. Making my characters come to life for readers is important to a good story. I’m an avid reader of just about any type of book. I do reviews on the books I read and post them on my website and blog.

Please tell us your latest news. 
I’m finishing revising, Family Secret, a YA mystery novel.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? 
I’m a full-time writer because I am always thinking about new stories, but I also sell items on ebay and flea markets. Also I blog and do book reviews. I find it very hard to organize my writing time, but I am learning I need to plan out my day and make sure I schedule in writing time.

When and why did you begin writing? 
I started writing in grade school. I remember sitting down at the kitchen table writing a short story and asking my mother how to spell words. I didn’t get serious about my writing until my youngest son was born. I took a writing course and started getting short stories published in magazines.Writing is just something I love to do.

What inspired you to write your first book? 
Ghostly Clues is based on a ghostly experience I had when I was a kid. Just like Sarah Kay, main character in Ghostly Clues, my grandma passed away when I was young. One night I saw a ghost hand crawl up on my bed. That memory has haunted me until I came up with the story, Ghostly Clues.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing? '
I love to read, blog, and watch movies. My husband and I spend a lot of time at auctions, and then there is family time, playing games or going out to eat.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it? 
Yes. I do get writer’s block. I think that is something every writer faces. There are just some days no matter how hard you try, the words just don’t flow out. Usually I’ll take a walk, read, watch a movie, anything so that I’m not thinking about writing.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it? 
Yes I learned that it is hard to market your book. It takes a lot of time away from my next project. So I have learned to organize my time.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? 
My publisher is Muse It Up Publishing. I connected with them through a critique partner who had just gotten published by them.

What are your current projects? 
Currently I am revising, Family Secret and plan to send to MuseItUp soon. I have a couple other projects in the revising stage and a few that are in the beginning stages.

What do you plan for the future? I plan to have more books published and I am thinking about self publishing.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
My website

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting. Blurb

The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom. 
Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.
Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.
Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul. 
Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.
Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead.  The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.

What genre do you write in and why? 
I have always loved mystery books. Growing up I read Agatha Christie books and Nancy Drew. Later I became interested in ghosts and the paranormal.

What influences your writing? 
My kids, nieces and nephews, and books that I read.

Is this your first published children’s work? What other types of writing have you done? 
This is my first book. I have had short stories published in magazines before getting my book published.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process? 
No, I don’t outline first. I come up with an idea and free write. Later I’ll plot and outline and figure out where the story is going.

What comes first: the plot or characters? 
Usually the character comes first.

Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind? 
Just a little bit of research about ghosts.

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children’s literature? 
Read a lot of children books in the genre you want to write in.


What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
Interesting characters. I like to be able to connect with a character. I want to immerse myself in their world.

Describe your writing space. 
Sitting in front of my laptop, on the couch in the living room with the TV on. If I want to be alone, I’ll take my laptop to my bedroom. One of these days I would like a space I can call my writing space.

What has been your favorite part of being an author? What has been your least favorite? 
Seeing my name on a book cover. Least favorite is figuring out ways to get my book noticed by readers.

The house was blanketed in a quiet slumber. I snuggled under the sleeping bag with Allison, trying not to think about ghosts, as I drifted to sleep.
Random pictures floated in my mind like ghostly images.
I tiptoed among tombstones and my heart ached as if I had lost something or someone. He had to be here, somewhere. The gravestones rose like stone walls. No names engraved on them. No dates. No R.I.P. Nothing. Just smooth, flat stones. Ghosts—grayish, smoky forms with black eyes—floated over the tombstones.  I shivered, suddenly cold, freezing. My breath visible like a little ghost. I didn’t want to look at the ghost anymore so I looked down at my feet. A tombstone with Grandma’s name appeared out of nowhere. The earth moved. The dirt around the headstone broke away and gnarled fingers clawed their way into the air, searching, grasping. Shriveled fingers clutched my leg.  
Something grabbed at my leg—the hand, I screamed and frantically wiggled out of my sleeping bag, bumping MJ as I tried to get away from the hand I thought I felt grab at my leg.