Author Spotlight: K.A. Finn | CJC Photography

Author Spotlight: K.A. Finn

CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?

KA: I began writing my first book Ares about twenty years ago, but the idea for it came to me when I was about sixteen. When I watch a TV show or a film, my mind has a habit of going off on a tangent, thinking up alternative endings or storylines to the ones shown. If a film or show I watch annoys me, I’ll rewrite it in my head to make it better (in my opinion)

My very first character, Gryffin, began life as a Star Trek: TNG type of character. I’d think up all sorts of scenarios with him and the crew of the Enterprise. It was more interesting than listening in school!

Over the years, he outgrew that ‘world’ in my head, so I created one just for him. Soon there were other characters and ships of his own. The rest is history. To date, he’s still one of my most popular characters. I think there’s a bit of Gryffin in all my other characters.

After Ares was finally published, I was hooked on the whole process. It was a steep learning curve self-publishing the book and I made expensive mistakes. After a lot of trial and error I’ve got the process figured out. I’m also incredible lucky to have a group of people I work with time and time again on various aspects of the publishing process which makes my life easier. .

It took me four years to write that first book. I’m now managing about four books a year depending on the length and I have no intention of stopping. I have too many imaginary friends who need their story told.

CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of being an author and what hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?

KA: The most rewarding part for me is when I hold the physical book in my hand (ideally the hardcover). Having a shelf full of my books is the best feeling in the world. Hearing from fans is another amazing part for me. Knowing that strangers all over the world are crying with your characters, or sympathizing with them, or worrying about them, is the biggest compliment I can get. I know then that I wrote a ‘real’ character and a story that evokes an emotional response in the reader. Job done!

As for the hurdles, imposter syndrome and self-doubt are always there. I’m not sure it’s a hurdle that’s so easy to overcome. I think I’ll always be asking, are my books good enough? Is my writing good enough? Are readers going to ‘get’ the characters? Will they like him/her? Do the stories make sense? Will they want to read the sequel? Is it 400 odd pages of total gibberish?

Writing is such a personal thing. It’s only when my friends and family read my books that I realized how much of myself is buried in the pages. Apparently, there’s quite a lot! I get very attached to my characters and their books. When I finish one it’s like I have to say goodbye to a friend. Releasing that ‘friend’ into the world and letting other people read his story (and that part of me) is terrifying! It’s still something that gets to me every single time I release a book.

CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?

KA: North Bound all the way! I loved everything about that book – still do. It was something completely different for me and was the most fun I had writing a book so far. I’d watched Rise of the Guardians a few times with my girls and thought it would be fun to give it my own twist – with some additional characters. A few weeks later I had a team of seven men, led by Santa, who hunt demons and other nasty creatures while they’re not busy doing their other jobs. Twisting the stories, the individual characters (Santa, the Boogeyman, Cupid, Triton etc), their appearances, and their roles in legends that everyone knows was so much fun.

I’ve only released Santa’s book so far but each of the Legends will have their own book. I honestly can’t wait to see where this series goes.

I know I got a few strange looks when I mentioned I was writing a book with Santa as the hero, but I think I proved the doubters wrong. Readers seem to love it – thankfully! It seems the world was ready for my kick-ass Santa and his team of morally grey heroes after all!

CJC: For first time readers of your work, which book would you recommend?

KA: That’s a difficult one to answer because it all depends on the genre. I’ve got a cyborg, some vampires, Santa, and a bunch of rowdy Irish rockstars to pick from.

I’d probably suggest Broken Rock, the first book in the rockstar series. There are five books released in that series now with another four planned, so there’s plenty to get stuck into.

CJC: If one of your books were made into a movie, which would you select and who would you like to star in it?

KA: I’d love all of them to be on the screen, but if I had to pick one it would be North Bound. As for who would play Nick, I’ve promised that role to the book cover model, Eric. Kind of fitting he gets first refusal! If he’s not available, Alan Ritchson would make a good Nick.

CJC: For those that haven’t read the Broken Chords series, how would you describe it?

KA: I think the tagline I use on my website describes it best. If you like passionate affairs, healing from trauma, and stories of redemption, you need to meet these Irish rockstars.

CJC: Shattered Rock has a lot of dark and heavy scenes, what was the process like to convey those messages that Dillon and his band mates are dealing with?

KA: Each of the band members have to deal with different difficult situations from abuse and addiction to crazy stalkers and coercive control. And then there’s Dillon. I’m not even sure which category to put him in.

From the start it was so important to me that I dealt with each of these situations correctly and realistically. I had a lot of help from a nurse who made sure all the medical information was correct. In terms of the trauma each band member was dealing with, I had help from both the nurse and also a psychologist who took on the guys as clients.

I gave them all the information I had on the band members and what each of them would be experiencing over the course of the series and we had a very detailed back and forth until I was sure I had a fair idea how each of the guys would potentially react to certain situations and why. They all have very different personalities too so I had to factor that in as well.

The professionals also helped me figure out how best to help the four guys overcome their trauma so they could realistically move on and, eventually, find their happily ever after..

It was a long process that involved a lot of research, a lot of tweaking and editing, and a lot of hair pulling, stress, and some crying. I think that’s why I’m most proud of the Broken Chords series and why I’m so emotional while I’m writing the books, and again when I finish them and set them free. They’re not easy books to write, but that’s what makes them so special to me.

CJC: Did you have a favorite scene to write in Shattered Rock and why?

KA: That’s a really tricky one as most of my favourite scenes contain major spoilers! I don’t want to ruin the book for any potential readers.

Without giving away too much, I think the scene towards the end when he sings to one of the loves of his life, is probably my favourite. And yes, he has more than one. That’s Dillon.

I put him through so much in this book so any of the scenes towards the end when some of the pieces of his life fall back into place would be on my favourites list. The poor guy needed a break by that stage. I wasn’t particularly kind to him.

I also love any interaction between Dillon and his friend Luke. Their dynamic is special and I love it.

CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?

KA: One of my friends is venturing into the world of writing and I’ve given her the same advice I was given: You can’t edit a blank page.

The best thing you can do is just write. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense. It doesn’t matter if you have a full story. It doesn’t matter if the scene you have in your head takes place at the beginning, middle, or end of the book. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have character names, or any idea where the book takes place, or if you have the most gripping opening in the history of fiction. The first step is to get it out of your head. You can fix it afterwards, polish it, edit it dozens of times to perfect it.

I write scenes in whatever order they come to me, then sort out the rest later. It’s no good to anyone if it’s still in your head.

CJC: If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be and why?

KA: It would absolutely have to be Stephen Leather. I’ve read every single one of his books but I have a serious thing for his Dan ‘Spider’ Shepherd series. I’m completely addicted! I think Spider and Nick from North Bound would make a great team. Or Spider and Gryffin. Actually, thinking about it, Spider and Dillon from Shattered Rock would work well too!

CJC: Favorite motto?

KA: If in doubt – cut it out. It mainly applies to my writing but it can also be used across other aspects of life.

CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?

KA: I can honestly say I’ve never had writers block. I have twelve books on the go at the moment – three higher up the list than the others due to my release schedule. If I get stuck on one I move to the next one and continue with that until I figure out what else to do on the first one.

As I write scene by scene instead of from the beginning in order, I can always move on to writing a new scene if I can’t figure out the one I’m on. I have a limited time each day to write while my girls are at school, so I have to utilise every single second. I don’t have time for writer’s block!

CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?

KA: Emotional

CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?

KA: Definitely the blurb. The cover is easy. I tend to know how I want the cover to look before I begin the book or, at the latest, when I begin writing. I do things a little backwards when it comes to the cover. I could easily have the cover designed a good year or more before the book is published. I see an image or photograph I like (or it’s sent to me by photographers trying to tempt me!) and I will know instantly if it matches the character I have in my head. I’m super fussy when it comes to my book covers. Thankfully, I have a great cover designer who knows my style so that’s relatively easy.

The blurb, however, is the worst part of the process for me. I hate it with a passion! I can write 150k words without much of an issue, but a few hundred words of a blurb is so difficult. I have a bad habit of putting it off until last minute. I have a book due out in mid May and I’ve yet to start the blurb. I’ll do it tomorrow… maybe…

CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?

KA: Lots of projects! My next release is Defying Shep, the third book from my vampire series. That’s due out mid May (if I get the blurb written!). As for the rest of 2024, I have the Kickstarter for the special edition of North Bound with colour illustrations and other bling set for July. I’m also planning the sequel to North Bound which will be about the Boogeyman. I’m hoping Shadow Bound will be ready by the end of the year. If I get that out, I’d like to release the first in my wolf shifter series as well as the seventh book in my sci-fi series.

Ambitious target, but I’ll give it a shot!

I have another new series planned on top of all that about a family of undercover agents/law enforcement/ bodyguards etc. I haven’t worked out all the details but there will be five books in that series. The first book is nearly finished, but I need to finish my vampire book first.

Too many ideas and not enough writing time!

CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?

KA: This isn’t in relation to my books as such, but I just wanted to remind readers about the power of leaving a review or even getting in touch with your favourite author to tell them that you read their book and that you (hopefully) enjoyed it.

Every time I get a review, an email, or a message from a reader saying that they have read one of my books and enjoyed it, that they cried, or that they can’t wait for the next one, it more than makes my day. It validates all the hard work.

All it takes is a few words to make the sleepless nights, the hair pulling, the self doubt, so worthwhile. Plus it might put the author in such a good mood that they only have to have one cup of coffee instead of two and that’s never a bad thing!

CJC: Shattered Rock and North Bound featuring Eric Lamb are now available!

Stay up to date with K.A. Finn’s latest releases here.

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