CI have decided to have a monthly author spotlight. During the spotlight post I will highlight an author and their work. The monthly spotlight will only feature authors that I have read. Ideally it will feature an interview or a guest post from the author.
To kick off my first Spotlight I have gotten an interview with Author Kimberly Loth, I reviewed her book Bittersweet earlier in late March, and that book is the reason I chose to feature my interview with her as the first Author Spotlight.
Bittersweet is a book that hit very close to home because of the fact that it deals with suicide, which I have personal experience with. The book is right by its name: it is very bittersweet. It makes you want to cry, but then you smile through the tears.
Half the proceeds of Bittersweet goes to charities that work help find answers and support those who are left behind. You can pick up your copy from Amazon.co.uk(Disclaimer: I do not get paid for link clicks)
First Kimberly, I would like to thank you very much for doing this interview. And before I start asking questions, would you please tell us about your books?
– I write all kinds of YA, but all my books have a romantic bent. The first series I released (The Thorn Chronicles) is a YA Paranormal series about a girl who is trapped in a supernatural cult and escapes only to find that the world outside is just as scary. I have the first two books released in that series and the other two will come out later this year.
Bittersweet is a contemporary novel about a girl whose father dies and her adventures in grieving.
I know that “Bittersweet” was a particularly hard book for you to write. When and how did you decide that you had to tell this story?
– After my dad died I knew I wanted to tell the story from the point of view of teenage girl because my relationship with my father was largely developed in my teenage years and he never quite stopped treating me like one. We also spent a great deal of our summers together riding roller coasters so I liked the setting of an amusement park.
You also portray grief very realistically, would you say that you drew upon your own experience?
– Very much so. Savannah and I completely different people but I wanted to make her grief real. The relationship she had with her father mirrors my own and so I was able to give her those feelings. I do want to point out though, that everything else in the book is fiction. My mother is an amazing woman and Savannah’s mother is not (that might be the understatement of the year). I also never had a friend like Candi or a boyfriend like Dallas.
Bittersweet also has a lot of light-hearted scenes. When writing, what part did you enjoy the most?
– Anything with Paris. I think Paris may be my favourite character. He was always so bluntly clueless and was so fun to write.
The editing process can sometimes be sort of devastating, was there anything which had to be cut but you wished would make it through the final cut?
– You know, strangely I did not. There were scenes that got cut, but they were scenes that I realized absolutely had to go and I don’t miss any of them. When I wrote the second draft of the book I was studying some plotting techniques and my motto for the entire book was “make it worse.” Occasionally I went a little too far over the edge and had scale back, but again, those were good moves.
What future project do you have planned? Will there be more books like “Bittersweet”?
– I really enjoy writing fantasy. Bittersweet was incredibly difficult for me to write and so I don’t know if I will venture down the contemporary path again. I have two more books coming out in my Thorn Chronicles series this year and then next year I have another paranormal series planned (with dragons!) and a fantasy.
Many writers do have a special writing ritual to get in the “zone,” do you have one?
– No, not really. But I can only write when there are no distractions. I write on the bus most days which is nice because it gives me almost an hour and a half of uninterrupted writing time every day. I put in my headphones turn on Taylor Swift and write.
How do you go from an idea to a book?
– Usually it’s the basic plot and then the characters. I’m a daydreamer so my ideas often come run away daydreams.
And finally I would like to ask: What is your top tip for aspiring writers?
– Find a critique group and take their advice. Write, write, write. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite (with the advice of your critique partners.) I owe everything I learned about writing from the three girls in my group. We’ve evolved as a group and we don’t do as much critiquing anymore but we grew and learned together. We still do writing retreats a couple of times a year and beta read for each other.
A note from Kimberly on suicide prevention:
“Spoiler alert—Savannah’s dad takes his own life. Mine did as well and I can’t express how much I miss him every day. Suicide is such a hard death to talk about because there are always more questions than there are answers. It’s also usually the end of a battle with depression, but people often don’t talk about the disease that lead up to the death because its psychological and those diseases are infinitely harder for us to understand than the physical diseases. But there people actively working to prevent suicide so I’m donating half the proceeds of my book to charities that work help find answers and support those who are left behind.”
If you suffer from suicidal thoughts or worry about someone who might suffer from it, I have added suicidal prevention numbers for several countries below. Everything might seem hopeless, but talking to someone often help. I’m not saying that phoning a stranger will make everything perfect, but it might be a step towards turning things around. For more information about suicide and suicide prevention you can visit: http://www.befrienders.org/
Papyrus: 0800 068 4141
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90
US & Canada:
Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860 (US), (877) 330-6366 (Canada)
Australia: 08 9381 5555 /13 11 14 (within Australia)
Bangladesh: Grameen: 01779554391, Airtel: 01688709965, 01688709966
Banglalink: 01985275286, Robi: 01852035634 (All between 3-9pm)
Brazil: 141 / http://www.cvv.org.br/
Cyprus: 8000 7773
Czech Republic: 116 111
Denmark: 70 201 201
Finland: 01019 5202
France: 01 42 96 26 26
Germany: 0800 111 0 111 / 0800 111 0 222
Hong Kong: 2389 2222
Hungary: 116 123 / 116-111
India: 91-22-27546669 / 91-22-27546667
Ireland: 116 12
Italy: 06.33777740 (Mon-Fri: 9.30-16.30) / 19696
Japan: 03-5774-0992 (English)
Latvia: 371 67222922 / 371 27722292
Lithuania: 116 123 / 8 800 77277 (Russian)
Netherlands: 0900 – 0113 / 0900-113 0 113
New Zealand: 09 5222 999 (Auckland) 0800 543 354 (Outside Auckland) / 0800 111 757
Norway: 116 123 / 815 33 300 (Kirkens SOS)
Poland: 116 111
Romania: 0747.119.112 (Orange) 0727.119.112 (Vodafon)
Serbia: 0800 300 303
Singapore: 1800 221 4444
South Africa: 0800 567 567 SMS: 31393
South Korea: http://www.hopeclick.or.kr
Sweden: 020 22 00 60 (13-22.00) /http://sjalvmordsupplysningen.se
Taiwan: 0800 788 995