Name My pen name is Merritt Kelly ( in honor of my mother) my real name is Carol Traulsen
Where are you from:
I’ve lived in Washington since I was 11 so, I claim Washington state as my home. We live in Tacoma.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I have a degree in advertising and minor in English. I Thought I wanted to be a copy writer when I was in college.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My first novel has been out since February and my second will be out in the next couple of months. I’ll be self-publishing it.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I tried to write my first play when I was ten. I felt like I had something to say (I always have something to say lol) I knew nothing about structure or character development, but felt I should be writing. I stopped for a long time. Then I began again when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Life is too short not to pursue your dreams.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when someone actually wanted to publish my work and pay me for it. Others considered me a writer before I was paid I didn’t.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I became obsessed with e food network and cooking s a form of entertainment, I didn’t take notes I was just fascinated and entertained. And an idea came to me for a show I wanted to see on the food channels so I turned the idea into a book
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I plot out the major plot points and kind of free style the rest. My favorite thing to write is conversations between my characters. Right now I write foodie/chick-lit romance so all of that creates a certain style I suppose. The title of the book that’s out now is Culinary Seduction.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I think we are all seduced by food. I wanted the book title to be the name of the show that the hero and heroine( both chefs) are competing for hosting duties. The winner of the reality- based competition wins the hosting role for Culinary Seduction.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Love will find you when you least expect it. Life is too short not to enjoy it. Eat, drink, fall in love
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
There is no such show but reality-based cooking competitions are the hot the thing on TV. Sadly there is no show called Culinary Seduction.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No research and imagination.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
There are so many everyone from authors like Tolkien to Amy Tan. I loved feeling like I was in a another world. I don’t really have mentor. I wish I did. There have been lots of fellow Indie writers who’ve been very generous in helping me. Lots of people have held out their hands to guide me and I’m so appreciative of how welcoming the writing community is.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Ohh I’ve got about four on my coffee table. Eeeny Meeny by M.J. Alridge.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
That’s an even harder question than the last! I have met so many fabulous new authors in the last month I’m afraid I’ll miss someone of I don’t mention them: Jen Winters, Violetta Rand, Tom Hodden Tim Hemlin, Julie,Nicholls just to name a few.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on my second novel about a psychologist who returns to her hometown and helps a cafe owner/widower and his daughter deal with their grief over the death of his wife(her mother) She dies in car accident and the daughter is in the car when it happens. She’s very traumatized and has nightmares. I have a cozy murder mystery that I’m working on with a heroine who’s a single, 52 year-old breast cancer survivor who lives and works with her grown son.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Soul Mate Publishing, Indie Author groups I belong to on Facebook both have been a HUGE help!
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I’d spend twice as much time editing it.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve been in love with the written word as long as I can remember.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I haven’t even finished editing or writing the second book so her’s the blurb for the one that’s currently out:
Food is the new sex and cheftestants Andrea Claire and Danny Miller are battling it out to see who becomes the new high priest or priestess. The two face off in a contest for hosting duties of new show called Culinary Seduction.
Chef Andrea Claire is a woman who knows what she wants, and what she wants is to build her own culinary empire. Hosting the show would give her the injection of cash she needs to finally get a store front for her catering business and give her the credibility she seeks. Her food is infused with her warmth and passion.
Bad boy chef Danny Miller’s bold flavors and state-of-the-art techniques in molecular gastronomy set him apart from the pack. Hosting the show would raise the profile of his restaurant and he could pay what he owes the bank and his grandmother.
Will his talent be enough to garner him the win? Or will Andre’s seductive on camera personality and obvious passion for cooking win out? Their on air chemistry is undeniable. The test kitchens at Cuisine Channel have never been so hot!
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It’s always challenging to finish book and to “get it right.” The one I’m currently working has been a real challenge. I’ve re-written it several times. I was convinced I should give up on it. A writer friend of mine said it would be a good exercise to really work through it and finish it. Sometimes that’s struggle.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I love Amy Tan for her understanding of relationships. Jennifer Weiner for her humor Tolkien for his story telling.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, but where I’ve been or lived ends up in there anyway. I don’t do it specifically for the book though.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My first book cover was done by my publisher the second is by Julie Nicholls (Yes, she writes and does cover design) she’s very talented.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Editing. Every writer will tell you it’s the most necessary and the most difficult.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Spend more time editing, and some days the words won’t come. But don’t’ worry it won’t last long.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Believe in yourself and find others that believe in you too. The world is a tough place. Don’t let the negative people stop you from doing what you love. I wish I hadn’t been so timid and taken that advice. Don’t wait for others to call you a writer call yourself one.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Find my books, stick with me, we’ll go on this ride together and have some fun!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
A book of short stories. The story was called Luke And The Little Red Wagon. The other was Make Way for The Ducklings.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Lots of things make me laugh. Monty Python movies, I love Lucy, cracks me up Every day day he, my son or cat make me laugh. Mean, angry, deliberately hurtful people make me cry. Life can be challenging why would you knowingly cause pain to another person? That makes me cry. Sad romance movies or books make me cry. The movie Beaches still makes me cry (I really think it’s about me and my best friend I’m the Bette Midler character lol).
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Maybe Mary Roberts Rinehart. She was a mystery. She trained as a nurse but when her husband’s stocks did badly she turned to writing to aid the family finances. She was so successful that they were to live in luxury until her death in 1958. I’m sure she could give me some advice on how to write an entertaining successful novel!
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I would want to know that I had touched lives, that my family loved me. Nothing grand.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love to cook. Yeah no surprise there. I like to eat too.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m a sucker for a good mystery. I’m completely hooked on ID Investigation Channel which is real-life crime,My husband thinks I’m warped. And then I also love romantic comedies old comedies like Lucy and any English detective series I find on BBC America really, I’ll watch any of them.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Chocolate, blue, old school R&B, like Smokey Robinson
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I was pretty good at sales.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? www.merrittkelly.com