ARLENE KAY interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Apr 19, 2017 12:11:20 AM

ARLENE KAY interview with David Alan Binder

Bio from her website: Arlene Kay spent twenty years as a Senior Executive with the Federal Government where she was known as a most unconventional public servant. Experience in offices around the nation allowed her to observe both human and corporate foibles and rejoice in unintentional humor.

Those locations and the characters she encountered are celebrated in a series of mysteries including: INTRUSION (2011) and DIE LAUGHING (2012) both from Mainly Murder Press; THE ABACUS PRIZE (available now on Amazon); and the SWANN SERIES (SWANN DIVE; MANTRAP; and GILT TRIP); which will be available from Belle Bridge Books (SWANN DIVE in April, MANTRAP in July, GILT TRIP in October). She is currently writing the fourth installment of the Swann Series—LOOKBACK.

Ms. Kay holds graduate degrees in Political Science and Constitutional Law.



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2. I currently live in the VERY blue state of Massachusetts although I have previously lived in 11 different states and 17 cities. Guess you would call me rather a nomad, but for an author variety provides valuable insights into different cultures.

3. Writing merely reinforced the lessons I learned during my career in government: Tenacity, talent, discipline and a very thick skin are essential ingredients for survival. There are so many gifted writers out there who fade away. Some get deterred by the “…slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Rejection can become a disheartening way of life in such an essentially solitary occupation. STAY STRONG!

4. Quirks? I LOVE designing and producing book trailers for my novels. It is so much fun and adds to the potential reader’s understanding of my work. Naturally, time spent paging through photos of gorgeous guys and steely gals has its rewards as well.

5. It was important to me to have my first novels traditionally published. Why? I needed the validation of disinterested professionals who were willing to spend time and money showcasing my work. The imprimatur of a traditional publisher still sends an important message and frankly some dreadful novels are self-published by authors who have the funds but not necessarily the talent to produce a good book.

Once traditionally published, many authors elect to use other routes for their backlists and I have also considered this. My current publisher is Bellebridge Books, a mid-sized traditional located in Tennessee.

6. At one time, I was a traditionalist who purchased only hard cover books. They provided (and still do) such tactile pleasure for a reader. Now I tend to load up my iPad with e-Books just like so many others. My publisher produces beautiful Trade Paperbacks, which I use in public appearances; however, I must admit that my sales are 70% eBooks. New authors have a difficult time enticing readers to spend $16 or $17.00 to sample their books. Most readers will take a chance on a $3.99 eBook though.

7. Getting your book published requires tenacity. Also, research the traditional mid-size and small publishers who allow direct submissions without an agent. Another avenue is to seek out traditional publishers who ONLY do e-Books. Every author dreams of holding his/her book in hand but pragmatism must rule. Many e-publishers provide the gateway to ultimately earning print versions of a novel.

8. Although you can find a traditional publisher without an agent (see #7), to reach the “big guys” an agent is required. Most writers acquire agents through contacts at conventions or direct referrals from clients of an agent. A few fortunate souls actually find success by blind query letters. (N.B.-that didn’t work for me).

9. New writers who are serious should regard writing as a PROFESSION not a hobby. Seek out a writers’ critique group, allocate time each day for writing, and take continuing professional education courses and READ as much as possible in your genre. Personally, I found the many “how to” books on writing to be relatively valueless. As Stephen King advises, the way to become a writer is to WRITE.

10. I was astonished to learn how attached I became to my characters. They were very real to me and at the end of a series or stand-alone, I felt nostalgic and even a bit sad at losing them.

11. I have written 7 published novels, 5 unpublished in a series I love but haven’t been able to sell, and 3 in two forth coming series.

12. Additional words of wisdom: involvement in social media is an IMPERATIVE not an OPTION. A professional website, twitter presence, blogs etc. add to your credibility as an author and are demanded by most publishers.

13. As a mystery writer, I insist upon providing plenty of clues and red herrings that allow the astute reader to solve the crime. I enjoy salting the prose with hints that may or may not amount to anything. Mystery readers are smart and demanding. Any author who cheats them out of solving the crime risks losing her audience.

14. My mysteries have been described as “snarky, sultry, and sophisticated.” They are notable for the humor that permeates the pages and for the sharp dialogue.

15. If I got a “do-over”, I would have started writing 10 years before I did. There was so much to learn and so little time.

16. My mantra: Believe in yourself and help other writers whenever you can.

Thank you, David, for including me.