Welcome to Writing Innovations Kiki. We are so excited to chat about your new Children's Picture Book, What Are You Afraid Of? I think it's wonderful that you have taken that dive into a new genre, and to actually make a difference with what you chose to write about.
Kiki is on virtual book tour with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe', and you can view her entire schedule HERE. For every comment you leave for Kiki during her tour, you will be entered to win her Grand Prize Giveaway for a tote bag donned with her main characters, Drake & Zoe, filled with goodies.
Ever since she was young, Kiki Howell has loved to listen to a well-woven tale with real characters, inspired plots, and delightful resolutions. Kiki could spend hours lost in a book, and soon she knew that creating lives, loves, and losses with just words had to be the greatest thing that she could do. To that end, she pursued her study of literature and writing, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. She then followed in a Master’s program in Creative Writing.
WI: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Not sure really, but when I was very young I would find myself re-writing stories that I didn’t like the way they went. I started almost immediately dreaming of seeing my name on a cover of a book someday.
WI: What inspired you to pen this particular novel/book?
A lot of things actually. One, I was a child with a lot of fears, and I wanted a fun way to help children that are like I was. This became a more important goal once I read some research my husband was doing for his dissertation about how compassion lies largely on creativity, being able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes. My mind started going because I also knew that many easy fixes parents use for helping children overcome fears stifles that much needed creativity. So, I went to work researching better ways to deal with fears.
WI: How different is it writing a children’s book vs. your regular genre norm?
Incredibly different, watching every word, more like writing a poem than a story.
WI: What road blocks did you come across while writing this story?
Many!!! First I wanted a cute little monster, something pink and fuzzy, to make kids laugh to be the main character, but I ended up with a few illustrator issues. Then, being reminded of my one hundred pound dogs fear of children in costumes, I re-wrote the story to have my dogs as the main characters, but the photo shoot to illustrate the book photo realism was no easy task. I had fun, but the dogs may never forgive me *giggles*
WI: What do you do if a story just doesn't seem to flow the way you were hoping it would?
I have to step away from it for a while. How long really depends upon the story, how insistent it is in my head that I get back to it, and how soon a solution comes to me. I actually re-wrote “What Are You Afraid Of?” several times over the course of a couple of years.
WI: What has been the hardest thing about marketing this story?
I think it is the fact that the setting is Halloween. It makes it seem like a seasonal story. Yes, it does take place during Halloween since that was the time of the fear, but what is taught in it is really timeless and applies to any fears.
WI: What is one thing you wished you knew before, that you now know about marketing?
Actually, how great these virtual book tour companies are to work with. I hosted them for a long time before winning a tour for a novel I wrote. I was simply blown away by the response I got to that novel.
WI: What is one piece of advice that you received to help your writing that you still carry with you today?
To stop the critical voices in my head that worry if the story is marketable, what an editor will think, etc. The story needs to be mine to be good, as I want, or need I should say, it to be written.
WI: Tell us what a day in your writing life is like, do you have any writing quirks?
I need to know I have a big chunk of time to write before I can get started. Gratefully I do have that time when my kids are at school. Also, I can’t start another story until one is done.
WI: Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
Hmmm, not sure. I have tried a lot of different genres, and many call me back to them for different reasons. So for the near future, I will remain a pretty diverse writer judging from the stories I have ideas for now.
WI: Are you currently working on any new projects?
I am currently in the editing stage of my first mainstream novel called “Hidden Salem” coming out in April this year from Mitchell-Morrison Publishing.
WI: Do you have any upcoming events or special news you would like to share with our readers?
There are still a lot of stops left on this tour, and a tour-wide giveaway. You can always check my events page, which is updated regularly with where I will be. http://www.kikihowell.com/2011/08/events.html
WI: Where can readers find you?
You can visit my website at http://www.kikihowell.com to see all my available titles! I am on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kikihowell and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/KikiHowell
WI: Where can your book be purchased?
“Why does the night have to be so dark?” the big dog named Drake gave a low bark. Not everyone likes Halloween. In fact, the big dog named Drake is afraid of the costumes, the decorations, and the dark. He really only likes the candy his boy drops. Lucky for Drake, the old dog named Zoe is there to help him forget his fears with a fun game. Drake and Zoe can’t wait for you to play along.
We want to thank you for taking time to chat with us today and offering your writing & marketing experiences. We wish you much success in the future.