MEET KC SPRAYBERRY
Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to K.C. (Kathi) Sprayberry, the Editor in Chief of Solstice Publishing.
Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new emptynester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.
Kathi is a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Those who know her best will tell you that nothing is safe or sacred when she is observing real life. In fact, she considers any situation she witnesses as fair game when plotting a new story.
Kathi is also the wonderful woman who invited me to join the Solstice family, and she has given generously of her time and expertise to help this newly-minted author navigate the murky waters on the way to publication.
I was extremely lucky to land an interview with Kathi, and am pleased to share it here with you. You're going to love her insights about writing.
IN ADDITION TO BEING THE EDITOR IN CHIEF OF SOLSTICE PUBLISHING, YOU ARE ALSO QUITE A PROLIFIC AUTHOR IN YOUR OWN RIGHT. HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED?
Currently, I have 81 books available through Solstice Publishing. This includes anthologies. Counting books available from other publishers, I have 87 books on Amazon and other sales venues. During June and July, Solstice Publishing will release 4 more novellas: Adrift Souls Barren Holiday 3, Curufinwë, The Storm, and The Car.
WHAT GENRES DO YOU WRITE IN?
Most of my books are young adult but I also write romance, westerns, historical, psychological thrillers, paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, military, military romance, and mysteries.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE GENRE?
I love young adult books. Many of mine are based on teens and the trials and tribulations they face, not just in the present but also in the past.
OF THE BOOKS YOU’VE PUBLISHED, DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE?
The Canoples Investigations series. These books are the product of a question my youngest asked on September 11, 2001 – “Mommy, why are there so many bad people in the world?” He was in kindergarten at the time and was confused why someone would attack our country. I couldn’t answer him that day—it took me several long days of thinking to respond—and that response came in the form of BD Bradford, Carl and Cassie Wills, and Terry Ashley. These four teens live on a space station near Jupiter and are determined to rid the galaxy of bad people. My son was the model for BD Bradford and his love of diving into action without thinking.
YOU ARE VERY ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA YET ARE ABLE TO RESPOND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY TO QUESTIONS FROM SOLSTICE AUTHORS. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO STAY SO ORGANIZED?
A lot of hard work and sweat. LOL! Actually, I’m a very organized person. I use spreadsheets and a great deal of planning to get my social media work done. Additionally, I’ve connected with a lot of people. Many people I went to high school with in addition to new friends I’ve made throughout my life give me a reason to active. But I don’t just tell them to buy my books; in fact, I wait for them to make the first move. It’s a slow process but one that works for me.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT BEING THE EDITOR IN CHIEF FOR SOLSTICE?
Working with the authors. They’re bright and motivated individuals for the most part. Although, they do have days when I want to pull out my hair, but we’re artists and tend to focus solely on what motivates us. Remembering that keeps me sane.
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I’m actually working on two books—Crèche Terrenium, a science fiction novel about children being raised by a computer under government control. This is actually a book I wrote back in the early 2000s that began life as a short story, but the submissions editor looking at it requested that I do it as a novel. I did but the magazine where she worked went out business and I shelved it. Now that I’m working it again, I can see where it needs improvements but that it’s still an intense book.
The other book is Canoples Investigations Destroys Dusters. BD, Cassie, Carl, and Terry, along with their new sidekicks Corina, LaTisha, and Kathe, and Mick and Jack the SpaceBall buddies, are after Dusters. These are people who make illegal drugs that are very volatile. The team is amping up for a very intense adventure where a lot of things will be changing in their lives.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR THIS BOOK?
Crèche Terrenium was a twofold naming issue. It took me a long time to come up with the second part, but the first, crèche, indicates a nursery where babies and young children are cared for during the working day. The second name had to be something that gave readers the impression of the children being on display all the time, under the “watchful eye” of their computer nanny. I happened to notice a terrarium at the store one day and fiddled with the name until I came up with one that worked.
The Canoples Investigations books are always titled with names that give the reader an idea of what the team is up to in their current adventure. They’ve tackled space pirates, competed with splifters (versus spacers rule), defended themselves (on trial), exposed space dodger, and pursued believers. Along the way, they also met Corina, LaTisha, and Kathe who created their own group, Secret Society, as a way to find out what happened to Mother Ship.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK? IS IT PART OF A SERIES?
Crèche Terrenium is a standalone book, but the Canoples Investigations tales are definitely a series.
HOW MUCH OF YOUR WRITING IS BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES OR THOSE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW?
Most of my writing is based in part about my experiences or the experiences of people I’ve met in my life.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH GOES INTO WRITING YOUR BOOKS?
A lot. I’ll talk to people with knowledge about my current WIP’s background. I’ve been known to spend hours on the internet, gleaning what I need to know. Even while I’m in the middle of a tense plot, I’ll go check out facts to make sure they’re right.
WHAT CRITERIA DO YOU USE WHEN SELECTING THE COVER FOR YOUR BOOKS?
The cover has to resonate with me and be an image that lets the reader know part of the story. Oftentimes, I’ll seek out an object important to the book. Occasionally, I’ll use images with people in them, but mostly I use objects. There are far too many covers with people; some of the images are so repeated I believe my cover will get lost in those.
IS THERE A GENERAL THEME THAT RUNS THROUGH YOUR BOOKS?
That you can be strong despite your circumstances.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT YOUR BOOKS?
No, I’m satisfied with my books once they’re ready for publication.
WHICH OF YOUR BOOKS WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE MADE INTO A FILM?
To be honest, I don’t really want my books made into movies. Too many times, the movie is nothing at all like the book. It loses the depth you find in a novel.
IF THIS BOOK WOULD BE MADE INTO A FILM, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY THE LEADS?
I’ve done this in the past with some of my books, most recently with Thunder & Lightning. The four lead characters would be Munro Chambers as Brad Weaver, Bonnie Wright as Juliana Mullins, Nick Robinson as Tarit Berenson, and Vanayssa Hudgens as Taren Berenson.
WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?
When I was in elementary school, but those ramblings have long since been lost over many moves.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER?
After the birth of my youngest, my husband suggested that I finally make the leap from someone who’d jot down stories to a writer.
DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING STYLE.
I’m a panster. I might do a rough outline but that always flies out the window after chapter three.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU HAD TO LEARN AS A WRITER?
To trust myself. Far too many times before I received my first contract with Solstice Publishing, I listened to other people because they were already published. But I learned that I am the best person to decide how my story is told.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A WRITER?
Getting people to take a chance on an indie author and buy my books. There are a lot of us out there. I work hard to be at the lead of that crowd without being pushy.
NOT INCLUDING FAMILY, WHO SUPPORTED YOUR EFFORTS TO BECOME A PUBLISHED AUTHOR?
I have several very good friends who have supported me through this journey. They, too, are authors and we help each other all the time.
WHO WAS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHER AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
Vanilla Hearts Publishing, in their anthology Passionate Hearts. They provided me entry into the world of being published but at the same time, they also taught me to be very careful and do research about a publisher before signing a contract. I won’t get into the details, but would never recommend this publisher to any author looking for a place for their book.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW WRITERS?
Never give up. No matter how bleak it seems, don’t give up your dreams but also make sure your work is good enough to be published. Don’t be the author who writes a book and self-publishes it or sends it to a publisher before you’ve had beta readers or a critique group look it over and point out problems.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE WRITERS?
Andre Norton, Robert Jordan, Robert Heinlein—and that’s just the top three.
WHAT ARE YOU READING NOW?
Point of Contact (a Tom Clancy novel) written by Mike Maden. Mr. Maden has done Clancy fans a huge favor by continuing the Jack Ryan series very well.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
I only cry when I’m faced with the loss of someone I care for dearly or out of extreme frustration.
IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED, PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD THAT BE?
As anyone who knows me well will tell you, there are three men I admire a lot and would love to meet—Tom Selleck, Sam Eliot, and Mark Harmon. I’ve watched their work for years and admire how their personal lives reflect what I see on the screen.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOWS AND MOVIES?
I prefer shows like Blue Bloods, Hawaii 5-O, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Magnum PI… just about anything that’s well made and moves along well in this genre.
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC TOUCHES YOUR SOUL?
No particular type of music touches my soul. It’s the song and singer. I love classical music and how it resonates. Songs from when I was growing up will always get my attention.
WHAT DO YOU WANT WRITTEN ON YOUR HEADSTONE?
She followed her dreams…
DO YOU HAVE A BLOG OR WEBSITE READERS CAN VISIT FOR UPDATES, EVENTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS?
My blog, Out of Control Characters, is at http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/. My website is www.kcsprayberry.com and is where everyone can see all of my books by genre. You can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/kcsowriter.
HERE ARE JUST A FEW OF KATHI'S BOOKS FROM: