My guest today is Kirsten Weiss, author of the Metaphysical Detective Series. She currently has four books out in the series, and is working on the release of the fifth. Read on to learn about her fun experience with “in person” research, and her challenges in finding the right genre (I have those problem too, Kirsten!).
Please join me in welcoming Kirsten to the Guest Author Program!
If you are interested in participating in the program, you can submit here.
- How many books have you written? This can include both published and unpublished works. Describe each of them in 1-2 sentences apiece (if published, feel free to include the links as well).
So far, I’ve published four books in the Metaphysical Detective series. In book one, The Metaphysical Detective, when Riga Hayworth finds her new client dead, she smells a set up of metaphysical proportions. To find a killer, Riga must travel from San Francisco to the underworld – and make it back alive…
Book two, The Alchemical Detective, takes Riga to Lake Tahoe. A psychic has been murdered in an occult ceremony and the police pay a visit to Riga Hayworth, metaphysical detective. But this time, she’s not a consultant on the case, she’s a suspect.
In book three, The Shamanic Detective, when Riga Hayworth’s lover is arrested, she’s determined to unearth the truth, no matter the cost. But a death faerie has other plans for her, and Riga is forced to protect a shaman with a house full of murderous relatives.
And in book four, The Infernal Detective, Riga Hayworth finds a dead body in her bedroom a week before her wedding – par for the course in the life of a metaphysical detective. But when the corpse drives off with her fiancée… That’s a problem.
- Tell me a little bit about your current WIP.
Right now I’ve got two WIPs – book five in the metaphysical detective series, where Riga is on a Hawaiian honeymoon and disaster strikes. But I’m also working on The Mannequin Offensive, the first book in a new series featuring global security consultant, Rocky Bridges. She’s part owner in a security firm, and after a disastrous assignment where she lost hearing in one ear, she wants out. But before she can exit gracefully, her business partner is murdered. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s begun to hear a voice in her deaf ear. Is she losing her mind? Or is something else going on?
- What does writing preparation look like for you? Do you do full outlines and character profiles, or do you just start with a general idea and write?
Now I do full outlines and character profiles. I still give myself some room for creativity as I’m writing – ideas always arise once I’m in the story. But I’ve found that an outline just gives me a more solid story structure.
- Editing is a challenge for many writers. Give us some of your tips for editing efficiently and well.
After I finish the first draft, I set it aside for at least a month to get some distance from it. Then on my first editorial cut, I use Margie Lawson’s color-coded method. Then I just keep going through it until I’m satisfied. And then it goes to my editor, and then to my publisher and their editors. It’s amazing how the final editor always catches stuff the others missed.
- Research is another challenge writers face, but is an important part of the writing process. What are some of your research tips?
I do a combination of secondary and in-person research. The Internet has made research a breeze, but I do prefer to talk to people when I can, because the Internet frequently gets it wrong. And in-person research is fun! Yesterday I interviewed a woman with ESP. Not only did I get some great ideas for my writing, I also got a blog out of it and an invitation to a ghost hunt! I love research!
- if you have been published (self or traditionally), what type of marketing did you find worked the best for you? What was the least helpful?
I’m still trying to crack the marketing code, but right now I’m focused on getting reviews. So I send out at least two review requests a day. It’s a nice way to pace the marketing while still having time for writing. And I do a lot of social media and blogging, largely because I enjoy it.
- What genre do you write in? What are some of the challenges to writing this particular genre well?
For a long time I thought of myself as a paranormal mystery writer, but I’m starting to realize that others see my books in the fantasy or urban fantasy genres. So for me, one of the biggest challenges has been categorizing my writing. I’m not exactly a trailblazer in this genre mash-up! Charlaine Harris, for example, has had huge success with her Sookie Stackhouse vampire series, which is a mix of mystery, romance, and paranormal. So it’s a little frustrating that my books, which are a similar mix, are so challenging to categorize. And in the world of Amazon, categories are important.
- What advice would you give to a writer who is starting out?
Hire a professional editor, and strive for excellence. Your writing can always improve, and in the end, it’s good writing and good storytelling that sells books.
- What are your writing, editing, marketing, and research goals for 2013?
2013 is going to be a big year for me. I plan to publish The Elemental Detective, book five in the Metaphysical Detective series. And I plan to complete a Steampunk YA novel, as well as The Mannequin Offensive and a paranormal romance novella. As for marketing, I’ve just got my head down submitting my daily review requests, building the ParaYourNormal blog for lovers of paranormal and paranormal fiction, and doing my daily social media. Research? It looks like I’m headed to Ethiopia for a work project and Iceland for fun, and I plan to do some research on the local magical practices in both countries. Who knows? Maybe Riga or Rocky have international travel in their future?
- Pretend I am from a publishing house and you are looking for me to take on one of your books. Pitch it to me in 1-2 paragraphs.
After a disastrous assignment that leaves her with a dead client and no hearing in one ear, all Rocky Bridges wants is out of the global security firm she helped found. But then her business partner is killed, she becomes the prime suspect, and she begins hearing voices in her deaf ear. Questioning her sanity and the motives of those around her, Rocky must catch a killer before she becomes the next victim.
Finally, is there anything else you would like your readers to know?
Buy my books!