Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers, please help me welcome the lovely and charming Kelley St John. Kelly graciously agreed to visit with us.

Kelley, what was your first published book and with whom?

My first book was GOOD GIRLS DON’T, published by Warner (now Grand Central Publishing)

How many books did you write before selling one?

Twenty-one, so never give up!

How many books have you published?

Flirting with Temptation is my current release, and it is my tenth novel.

What themes go through your books?

I tend to lean toward the themes of old flames rekindled and friends who become lovers. Flirting with Temptation deals with old flames, not only with the primary characters, but also with secondary characters as well. As a matter of fact, I enjoyed writing the secondary romance just as much as the primary, perhaps because it dealt with one of my favorite all-time characters, Granny Gert, who first appeared in Real Women Don’t Wear Size 2.

How would you best describe your books?

Well, the primary adjectives used by reviewers have been sexy and sassy, so I’ll go with that ☺

How did you write with kids and deadlines?


My kids are grown, so that helps. When they were in school, I wrote for the six hours that they were at school and took the rest of the day off to spend with them (playing mom, the taxi).

Which other jobs have you had?

I was a Senior Technical Writer for a NASA sub-contractor. And if you want to go waaaaay back, I’ve been a waitress and worked in a deli at a grocery store – but we’re talking over 20 years ago there.)

What do you love most about writing and do you not like?


I love the entire creative process, feeling my characters come to life and then developing them throughout the pace of the book (or books, for my series). But nothing beats getting an email or letter from a fan that really connected with the story and felt everything that I did when I put the words to the page. That’s the best!

What are you writing now?


A quirky Southern women’s fiction novel that I absolutely love!

What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?


I tend to write whatever my heart leads me to write, so I’d write the book I’m working on now ☺

How do you write?

I typically let an idea churn, then I go for a nice, long drive. Seriously. My best plotting occurs in the car. Then I return home to the computer, put the ideas in a file and let the plot progress. Finally, I begin with chapter one. I know some writers who write their chapters sporadically (some write the ending first). I can’t do that. I’m a chronological thinker and writer. I start at the beginning and work my way to the end. My goal is a chapter per day. Sometimes I meet the goal; sometimes I don’t. Either way, at the beginning of the day, I go back and read the previous chapter to make certain that the story flows. I’ll let myself edit that chapter, but no more (else, I’d spend all of my time editing and none actually writing). Then I dive into the next chapter and let the characters take over

Do you write what you know?


Naturally, my past experiences play into some of my stories, but I also enjoy researching and learning something new. That research can also play a big factor in my books. For example, I didn’t know a thing about alibi agencies until I read about them in an issue of TIME magazine. (Alibi agencies are agencies that will essentially create an alibi for a person to cheat.) I was fascinated by the concept and wondered, “What would happen if someone who was trying to be ‘good’ ended up working for one of those places? What if she had a good reason for taking the job? And what if she then ended up lying to a friend?” That was pretty much the basis for the beginning of GOOD GIRLS DON’T, and my editor said she loved the high concept of the alibi agency.

What’s next for you, Kelley?

The women’s fiction novel I’m currently at work on – very excited about it! And don’t think there isn’t some romance in there; I couldn’t write a book without romance!

Thanks for spending time with us, Kelley!

Ask Kelley questions and make comments. She's even giving an autographed copy of Flirting with Temptation to a lucky commenter.

18 comments

  1. Joanne // March 10, 2009 at 8:17 AM  

    Kelley,
    Writing 21 manuscripts before selling gives me hope. You are beautiful and so talented. Thanks for visiting the Fuzzies and best wishes on your continued success.

  2. Judy // March 10, 2009 at 8:31 AM  

    Wow! Kelley, I loved reading about you and your stories. I confess I haven't read your books but am now going out to my favorite book store and picking up a couple. Wonderful to hear about your success and wish you much more! Thanks for being part of the Fuzzie's for a day!

  3. Peggy Webb // March 10, 2009 at 10:09 AM  

    Hey, Kelley! It's great to read about your continued success. It couldn't happen to a nicer gal! I'd love to hear more about your Southern women's fiction novel. The next time I see you - either at Heart of Dixie or Southern Magic - you must TELL ALL! Big hugs!

  4. Kelley St. John // March 10, 2009 at 10:42 AM  

    Thanks for the welcome, Joanne, Judy and Peggy :) And Peggy -- can't wait to see you!

    Kelley

  5. Jianne Carlo // March 10, 2009 at 10:50 AM  

    It's true, hearing an author say she wrote 21 manuscripts before selling one really does give us all hope! Thanks for sharing, Kelly.


    Jianne

  6. Arkansas Cyndi // March 10, 2009 at 12:26 PM  

    Very interesting interview. Thanks Kelly. I became familiar with your work when we were both distant members of RWI.

    Like the other, 21 manuscripts before Good Girls Don't made my jaw drop. Will any of those 21 stories make it into print?

  7. Tamara Hughes // March 10, 2009 at 12:31 PM  

    Kelley,
    You are certainly an inspiration. Wow, what perseverance. I love the concept of alibi agencies too. How interesting.

    Good luck with your new book! I'm sure it will do well.

  8. Edie // March 10, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

    Kelley, so good to know you wrote so many books before selling. It gives me hope. I enjoy reading Southern women's fiction. And the idea of a good girl working at an alibi agency is brilliant!

  9. Nightingale // March 10, 2009 at 12:59 PM  

    I learned something. I didn't know about the alibi agencies either. I must read Good Girls Don't (and I love the title). 21 manuscripts--I feel like a bab in the woods with only 4 but I've got tons of rejections!

    Thanks for joining us, Kelley.

  10. Mary Marvella // March 10, 2009 at 1:05 PM  

    Kelley, I knew the other ladies would get hope from seeing we aren't the only writers who didn't sell our first books or our second or...

    Kelley's books have a wonderful humor ladies!

  11. Mary Ricksen // March 10, 2009 at 3:01 PM  

    I think it's all about your reader getting your story.
    Did you go back and rewrite those 21 stories to publish?
    I hope you publish 20 more and all best sellers!
    Thanks for giving us a great blog and taking the time to visit.

  12. Kelley St. John // March 10, 2009 at 4:55 PM  

    Hey Arkansas Cyndi -- I've actually sold 8 of those 21 manuscripts :) Yea!!!

    Kelley

  13. Jane // March 10, 2009 at 5:29 PM  

    Hi Kelley,
    Congrats on the new release. I really enjoyed "Good Girls Don't." Are there any genres you would like to try writing?

  14. Mona Risk // March 10, 2009 at 6:01 PM  

    Hi Kelley, welcome to the PFS. Good Girls Don't was one of my all time favorites. I knew you for over five years and naively thought you published the first book you wrote. I hope you can publish the 21 books now.

  15. Liz Jasper // March 10, 2009 at 8:15 PM  

    Kelley, I love that title, Good Girls Don't.

    It makes for a great story from where we sit to hear about writing 21 manuscripts before selling one, but it must have taken serious gumption on your part to keep at it. Seems your particular secret is love of the genre, which shows in your stories. It's nice to read about an author having FUN while writing.
    Cheers,
    Liz

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 10, 2009 at 8:31 PM  

    Kelley,
    Great to have you visit the Pink Fuzzies! Loved the interview and as usual your advise and insight is right on! Thanks for sharing your process with us.

    Scarlet

  17. Mary Marvella // March 11, 2009 at 1:42 AM  

    We thank Kelley for her time and her wonderful advice. Hugs, girl!

    It isn't too late to add a comment.

  18. Cyrano // March 11, 2009 at 2:58 PM  

    Hey Kelley,
    It's so nice to have you visit the PFSW. I really enjoyed your interview and think your stories sound great. I'm also happy to hear you wrote 21 books before being published. As others have said, that gives me hope.
    Best wishes to you and your bright career.
    have a lovely afternoon,
    Tamara