Today I am excited to spotlight author Kay Lynn Mangum.
Kay writes for a YA audience, but her books are more than the usual teen romance. They are also insightful looks into the workings of the human heart at all ages. She has always enjoyed reading and writing stories. Her three published novels are: The Secret Journal of Brett Colton, A Love Like Lilly, and When the Bough Breaks. She also has a number of upcoming projects. Kay has a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She currently works as a legal assistant, but hopes to be able to write full time in the near future. I really enjoyed interviewing Kay:
1. I loved all three of your books, and I’m looking forward to reading The Nick In Time. YA Paranormal is one of my favorites. Can you tell me a little about your next book? The Nick in Time – Wow, I really really need to update my website something fierce – lol. This manuscript (which has a completely different title now) has been read by a lot of people (family, friends, writers and even a few agents), and everyone’s given me a lot of great suggestions on how to improve it. As a result, I’ve rewritten it so many times over the past few years that I’ve had to set it aside, out of frustration more than anything else — lol. I do intend to finish it and send it out again to see if I can get an agent to represent it, but for now, I’m working on other projects while this one “cools.”
2. Can you tell me about your two upcoming novels? They sound very interesting. My two upcoming novels! Well, the two manuscripts I’ve been working on are the ones I’m enjoying writing the most (I’ve got a half dozen I’ve started, and likely these aren’t the ones currently noted on my website! Another reason to update my website asap!). One is set in the 1950’s and is based on a bullying incident that took place in my father’s high school when my father was a teenager. I’ve had a lot of fun researching the 1950’s in Utah and interviewing my parents about their high school days. The second manuscript is a Middle Grade novel I started in high school, believe it or not, based on a recurring nightmare I used to have as a child. I’ve really been enjoying working on this one lately.
3. Who is your favorite author? That’s a tough one, because I have so many favorites. Mark Twain, E. M. Forester, Norma Johnston, Lois Duncan, Lloyd Alexander and Robin McKinley are wonderful. I’m also a big fan of Jane Austen and all three of the Bronte sisters. I love Kate Chopin’s short stories, too. And I absolutely love Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances. Her dialogue makes me laugh out loud!
4. Top five favorite books? If I have to list only five (and I’m only noting stand-alone books here), they’d include Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, Wuthering Heights, and Persuasion by Jane Austen.
5. What are you currently reading? I’m just finishing up a non-fiction piece by Carolly Erickson – Our Tempestuous Day, a History of Regency England — as research for another piece I’m working on. And then I’m going to re-read Wuthering Heights. I recently returned from a trip to Northern England and spent an amazing day in Bronte country wandering the moors. Have to read Emily Bronte’s novel again after that experience!
6. What fictional character would you want to be, and why? I guess a lot of Jane Austen’s main characters, mostly because I can relate to them and have had experiences similar to them. In particular, Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, Anne from Persuasion, and Elinor from Sense and Sensibility.
7. If you were in high school, which fictional character would you want to date, and why? I thought and thought about this one, and honestly, I couldn’t come up with anyone from a book I’ve read that I’d want to date in high school – sorry!!
8. What do you do for fun? I love to watch old black and white classic movies. “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” is one of my favorites, along with “The Major and the Minor.” I also love to do anything with my nieces and nephews. Most of them are teenaged and older, so it’s been fun to do “grown up” things with them, even though it freaks me out a little when they choose to be the driver. These are, after all, people I used to baby sit!
9. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer? For me, the hardest thing about being a writer is not being able to write as much as I’d like to. I’m single, so in order to pay my mortgage and have food, clothes, a car to drive, and a vacation now and then, I work a regular 40 hour work week as a legal assistant. That doesn’t leave a ton of time for writing. I envy authors who are able to write many hours a day, every single day. I’m not able to pump out books as quickly due to having to work full time. But as a result, I thoroughly enjoy each and every minute I do have to write. It is my great escape and keeps me sane!
10. What music do you listen to while you write? I can’t listen to music at all when I write. I have to have utter and complete silence!
11. Where do you get your inspiration from? I get my inspiration from a lot of different places. Like Robert Louis Stevenson and other more modern authors, some of my stories come from dreams I’ve had. Some come from my own experiences, and those of family and friends. Others come from paintings. I love to go to art galleries, or even just look up paintings on the internet. One painting can jump start a story idea for me faster than almost anything else.
12. What time of day do you write, and where? I spend my lunch hour at work writing, and I try to get an hour or more of writing in on week nights. Weekends I try to get more hours in, depending on what I’ve got going on with family and friends.
13. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? The advice I’d give to aspiring authors is to write, write, write. And when you’re not writing, read. Read a lot. Especially read everything out there in the genre you want to write in, even the not-so-well written stuff. You’ll learn a ton regarding what to do and what not to do. Make sure to develop your own voice. Don’t simply copycat a favorite published author’s voice. It’s a common thing for a new writer to do at first, but just like you wouldn’t want to walk and talk and act exactly like someone you know, you shouldn’t want to write exactly like another author. Develop your own unique way of telling a story.
14. What superpower would you give yourself? The ability to stop time for as long as I want in order to get everything done I’d like to get done each day!
15. What are the three most important events in your life? In regards to writing, the first would be having my sixth grade teacher tell me she expected to see my work in print someday (that made me take my ability to write seriously instead of viewing it as just something fun to do); selling my first short story; and then having my first book accepted for publication.
16. What is your favorite food? Salmon – and chocolate! Total tie there.
17. If you could have any pet, real or imaginary, what would it be? Why? I would love to have a Rat Terrier. I love dogs. My parents had a Rat Terrier when they first married named “Spotty.” He was quite old when I came along, being the youngest in my family, but I loved that dog so much. I really really would like to find another Rat Terrier like him someday!
Thanks, Kay, for a great interview. It was nice to get to know you. Good luck on your writing. I’m looking forward to reading your next book.
Kay’s website: Kay Lynn Mangum
Kay Lynn Mangum on Goodreads
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