Today we sit down for a chat with author Kayelle Allen who writes in multiple genres, including science fiction, romance, fantasy, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. Her science fiction is filled with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role-playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She's a US Navy veteran who claims she’s been married so long she's tenured. Learn more about Kayelle and her books at her website and her blog.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
When I was three. Seriously. I can't really remember a time when I didn't want to tell stories. I was born with a hyperactive inner child who loves tall tales.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
Once I decided to go for it, not long. I'd always figured I'd write once my kids got older. But then one day I turned 50 and I hadn't done it. World-built and created backgrounds, but never finished a story. I decided to buckle down, study how to get published and go for it. My first book came out when I was 53.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
I have been a hybrid but currently, I'm 100% indie.
Where do you write?
I have an office at home. I shut the door and work undisturbed. It's awesome.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
The playlist depends on the book. Currently, I'm listening to music by Audiomachine, Epic North, Thomas Bergersen, Really Slow Music (actual name of group!), and an orchestral group that calls themselves Two Steps from Hell (they are heavenly). You could call it "movie trailer" music. Epic, sweeping, magnificent. I've also written books to the tune of Audioslave, Marilyn Manson, and Nirvana. Like I said. Depends on the book.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
None. Also, the world is flat. *wink*
Describe your process for naming your character.
Generally, the main characters come to me out of the ether. Once I know the name, I know the character. Recently, I needed a minor walk-on part. I looked at my current character list so I wouldn't pick a name that began with the same letters as the ones already in use. Then I went to a name generator online and tried a few before I found one that gave me the basic type I wanted. It can be organic or manufactured. Mainly, it depends on what I need. But I can't just pull up a list and go, okay, it'll be Jane this time. It has to mean something to me. I write sci-fi, so generally, the names are a little different. In the book I'm talking about today, the main characters are Senthys (who goes by Senth), Khyffen (nicknamed Khyff and pronounced like kif), and Luc. There's usually one common name in there somewhere.
Real settings or fictional towns?
Sci-fi lends itself to fictional, but the sites are based in reality. I write in a manner that evokes the senses. Like this line from A Stolen Heart, the book I'm writing now, which is in the Antonello Brothers series:
Outside, the day had dawned gray and crisp with no hint of a breeze. The snow threatening for days hadn't materialized, but frost crunched underfoot. The morning smelled wintry and clean, freshly washed, with an undercurrent of decaying leaves. Not unpleasant.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
I'm going with my immortal king, Pietas, on this one. He lied to his father once as a child. His father terrified Pietas, and the thought of what his father would do to him if he found out filled Pietas with dread, which was far worse than his punishment would have been. After that, he refused to lie about anything. Once he was an adult and not ruled by his father, he continued that tradition. "You lie if you fear the consequences. I fear nothing." It's a line he's spoken in several books.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
I can't let a typo stay there and keep writing. I have to fix it. I've tried, but all I can think about is that typo. If I don't notice it, that's one thing, but once I see it, I must fix it. I'm OCD about that.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. It's my all time favorite book. Okay, or Teot's War by Heather Gladney. Those two are neck and neck in my estimation. One is historical fiction about the life of Alexander the Great, and the other is Sci-fi Fantasy. The beauty of the language in each and the compelling stories make them perfect.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
Saying something unkind to one of my children. The moment it was out of my mouth, I regretted it, but it was too late. There is no undo on life.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
When people don't do what they say they will do and leave you hanging. I hate when I do that and try hard never to let it happen. It's really just so uncool.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
Food, shelter, and a way off the island.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
I worked retail one Christmas, stocking shelves in a variety store. I never want to hear “Holly Jolly Christmas” ever again. I heard it 40 times a day for weeks.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
I think I answered that above, but I'll say it again. Toss up between The Persian Boy by Mary Renault or Teot's War by Heather Gladney.
Ocean or mountains?
Mountains. I'm water-phobic. You will never catch me on a cruise. Ever.
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
I live in the country but like small towns. I'm 40 miles from Atlanta GA. I like being in a smaller town near one big enough to have everything. Atlanta has the world's busiest airport and some of the finest hospitals and entertainment venues. It also has the worst traffic anywhere. In the country, it's quiet, and there's no traffic. It also smells better!
What’s on the horizon for you?
I'm concentrating on producing books. I don't write as fast as other authors, but my work is quality. This year, I'm focusing on releasing books and getting them out faster. I have plenty of stories to write, so it's a matter of focus and attention.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
Anyone who visits my website will see images of Pietas everywhere. He's either central to or influential in nearly every story I write. I was fortunate enough to discover Nik Nitsvetov, a Russian cosplayer who's a dead ringer for Pietas. I was able to coordinate a cosplay event with him where he portrayed my hero.
This summer, Nik is doing it again and I am hoping that like before, he'll do it live on Instagram. Readers can make a reservation for the Pietas cosplay by entering their emails on this site -- it will only be used to let them know when Nik posts sneak peeks of the uniform and sci-fi weapons he's hand-making for the event, and then the final date for the live event. I have a special board on Pinterest where I share all sorts of research and goodies about Pietas also.
I hope readers who are interested in more will follow me on any of the social media where I'm active. You can find the links on my website.
An Antonello Brothers Prequel
The tech Senth is about to claim will make him invisible. Finally, the young halfbreed thief will be out of sight, shielded from the taunts humans fire at him. But when that tech reveals he has a human half-brother who's bound by a cruel slaver, Senth must find a way to save his brother from abuse and win his freedom -- even though Senth is a slave himself.
There's just one problem. The new Thieves' Guild tech might make him invisible, but it can't shield him from the truth...