Call it plotting, daydreaming or whatever you want - Kelli McCracken often just sits back and listens to her characters holding crazy conversations in her head. As their personalities take shape in her mind, some characters like to take off on their own, creating interesting situations and stories. Today McCracken chats with us about her book "What the Heart Wants," her rock star hero who doesn't like the lifestyle and her thoughts about soulmates.
Give us a short summary of What the Heart Wants:
What the Heart Wants is the first installment in my Soulmate Series, which follows the journey of Dylan McBride, Heaven Lewis, and Layne Perry, a trio of Psi with a fate like no other. It's a captivating romance full of suspense, soulmates, and supernatural twists.
Being a rock star seems to be the ultimate dream of many, but your hero is disgusted with the lifestyle. Why?
Dylan is an old soul who enjoys privacy more than being in the pubic eye. The life of a rock star is anything but private. Unlike many of his peers, Dylan also wants to settle down, start a family, and live a halfway normal life, but little does he know, his life isn't normal, and it's not just because he's a rock star.
Do you sometimes have characters who just start going their own way, refusing to do what you originally had planned for them?
Absolutely! His name is Layne Perry. Readers will learn more about him in What the Heart Wants, but you won't get to see the real side of him until Book 2, What the Heart Needs. When I first began Book 1, I was an innocent bystander, unaware of the mischief Mr. Perry would bring my way, and oh has he brought mischief into my life on and off the page. When I began Book 2, Layne became the loudest voice in my head. I attempted to write him one way, to which he flat out refused, and…well, let's just say, he's extremely persuasive.
What do you think is the most important part of creating a sexy hero that readers can't get enough of?
I can't speak for every reader, but as a reader myself, I like heroes who are conflicted. Overcoming an internal battle is one of the most difficult things in life, and when we hear stories of triumph over struggles, it inspires us. I find it rather sexy when a fictional man overcomes his demons.
You use dreams in your book. Why? How do you think dreams serve us in life?
There so much we don't understand about the human mind, dreams included. In this book, dreams not only serve as premonitions, but also as a different plane of existence that our souls can project to. It's sort of my version of astral projection.
How do you feel about the concept of soulmates? Do you think soulmates exist?
I do believe in the concept, but I feel there are different levels of soulmates. To me, there are Lifemates whom we live with in a lifetime (spouses/life partners), Soulmates, whom we have a physical and sometimes a sexual connection, and Twin Flames, people who mirror our soul. One person can be all three or they can be different people. Also, having a soulmate isn't always a physical or sexual relationship. A soulmate can be a friend, though I tend to refer to them as Soulfriends.
Do reader feedback and reviews shape your work? Or do you prefer to avoid reading reviews - both positive and negative - to keep it from interfering with your vision?
Positive and constructive criticism can be valuable to an author. I have a group of readers who check for issues with storylines and offer feedback. My critique partner provides amazing feedback, as do my two editors. I have also read reviews in the past that offered similar feedback and have taken it to heart. Unfortunately, there are many people who can be downright cruel in reviews. These I always ignore. I know not everyone will enjoy what I write, and I'm fine with that. If someone feels the need to rip me or my work to shreds in a review, there isn't anything I can do about it. But those people aren't the ones I want to connect with. They aren't my audience. So in other words, if it's helpful feedback, I take heed. If it's negative, I ignore it.
Tell us a bit about your writing routine - how does a typical writing day go?
Any day starts with coffee. lol. I don't necessarily have a strict routine I stick with. I try my best to write every day, even if it's just a hundred words. I have a life and family outside of writing, and some days it's a challenge to create anything. On a good day, I normally start off writing on my iPhone then transfer those notes to my computer. It's extra work, yes, but it works for me.
Do you aim for a set amount of words per day?
I always aim to hit 1k words, but like I said before, this doesn't always work out. I've learned not to beat myself up over it. We authors are harder on ourselves than anyone, but at some point, you have to learn to roll with life. There is much more to writing a book than sitting in front of a computer, plucking at keys. You have to allow your mind to think of possibilities. Some might call it daydreaming. I call it plotting.
How will the next book in the series tie in with this one? What are you working on right now?
The second book picks up where the first leaves off. This is also the book where more of the paranormal element comes into play. These books are not about vampires, shifters, or your other typical paranormal romance beings (and I do love those types of characters). My characters are…gifted.
I'm currently working on the fifth book in this series. There will a total of six when I finish. It is my goal to have the series finished by next year. Where can readers interact with you or find more of your books?
I'm so glad you asked this. I adore readers and love chatting with them. They can find me on the following sites: