We all love a good novel, especially around this time of year, as those winter nights draw in earlier theres nothing better than snuggling up for the evening with a fire on and with a good book. This December at HINTON Magazine is all about author Glenis Kellet. We sat down with the novel writer to discuss all things from her latest book 'The Village Narcissist'. We also talk about what inspires Glenis in her writting and different techniques she uses.
Let’s talk about how your journey to become an author began. What was your inspiration to become an author?
It all started when I was at school, I would be about 8 to 9 years old. My teacher introduced us to writing books; we had to choose a book on any topic from the school library and write a booklet about it. I loved it! I found I could express myself better when I write than when I speak! I progressed to writing my college thesis, it was made into a hard-bound book which I still treasure. Later, I wrote freelance articles for horse and pony type magazines for a while. Then, in my late 20’s I started a writing course, unfortunately I was unable to finish it, as my husband and I had to move to the family farm and manage it. It wasn’t until I retired, after a hectic life, that I had the time to write! I think you are born to be an author; like you are born to be an artist, musician or dancer. We all enjoy our careers and are passionate about what we do.
For those who haven’t read your latest book ‘The Village Narcissist’, what is the synopsis? The Village Narcissist is about a brazen, obnoxious person who purchases The Old Vicarage in a remote place called Deadend Village, the road actually stops at the base of the fell. A body is found hanging from a noose made from a bell rope! Strange disappearances occur! It wasn’t until the gruesome village history was revealed; that the baffled police could solve the chilling mysteries connected to the bell tower. The fictitious villager's characters play a colourful and humorous part in this book - bringing the small village to life - it's a gripping murder mystery, injecting the gruesome, spine-chilling history of this remote village into its final sinister twists and turns!
Where did the inspiration come from for this novel? I’ve lived in a couple of lovely villages - there is always a few who wish to take over the activities and the management of the village. I thought I would take it to the extreme with my characters and create something truly gripping, with mystery, intrigue and murder - turning the whole village upside down!
How would you say this book differs from previous that you have written? The Village Narcissist is based on a lot of different and amusing characters in the village community; characters are brought in through the many vibrant village social events and clubs and during the house to house police investigation. Whereas my other two books are based on a few individuals grappling with life’s unpleasant surprises in their fast-paced riveting stories. This book has a darker theme connected to the village’s gruesome past; I had a disturbed night after writing about its history! It has many sub plots showing human failings, their humour and how the villager’s coped within this small community after the brazen, obnoxious new comer arrives!
When beginning to plan to write a book, where do you start? It is on a completely blank page, or do you have ideas going around in your head right from the start? An idea will pop into my head; it may have been triggered by something I’ve read or seen, or someone has mentioned. Over about a year the story continues to develop in my head becoming more complicated. So, I have to start writing notes to remember everything. The characters start to form in my head too, I take a few different characteristics from people I have met or seen in films to form my characters. I’ve spent a long time on this planet and have been in a lot of situations and met many different types of people in the businesses I’ve owned. I use these valuable experiences to help write my books and create my characters.
Have you found that your creative processes when writing have remained the same from book to book, or have they changed? I think my creative processes have stayed the same regarding ideas developing in my head; however, they have become more complex. My first book - Faith in Love had a plot with a huge surprising unexpected twist, which completely altered the course of the book. Now my books contain many sub plots, twists and turns. I’ve found that in each book as I’ve progressed forward; the time span in the books has become shorter. My first book spans a life time whereas The Village Narcissist is only months.
As an author, do you write what you think your audience will enjoy or do you write books that you know you’d read yourself? I did a small survey amongst my friends, before I started writing; I asked them - what type of books did they prefer. They all told me, they liked fast-paced, easy to read books, with plenty of intrigue, murder and suspense. They say they hated being bogged down with heavy description and complex wording. One lady remarked, “I don’t want to be running to the dictionary every five minutes to see what a word means!” I thought maybe there was a niche here to be filled. It was also my kind of book that I would like to have published. I write about what I know from experience or from what I’ve heard from others or read in the newspaper or seen on the TV; I then mix it all up and form something unique! It’s difficult to please every reader all the time; I therefore tend to write what feels right for me. I enjoy writing action filled, exciting, fast-paced books to engross the reader, I like to keep them engaged and entertained. I have found that readers who enjoy reading classic books have also enjoyed my books. I must add that when I’m writing, I’m totally absorbed in what I’m doing, when an animal dies, or a character is badly hurt, it feels so real and I have cried on more than a few occasions!
When you’re in the process of writing your next novel, do you ever come up against any mental blocks? How do you overcome these? I’ve had only two mental blocks, mainly about how to write the story into words from the ideas in my head. I find going for a walk or gardening - being close to nature clears my mind and ideas begin popping into my head again. Sometimes I will relax and watch a film and that also helps. Some comments from readers of The Village Narcissist say, “I was instantly hooked!”- “Keep writing, this is your best book yet”. Is this what it’s all about? Does this keep driving you to write more? I’m thrilled, when I receive comments like that, it gives me a tremendous amount of encouragement; it helps my motivation to write another book! I already have a lot of people waiting to buy my next book. Recently, Grady Harp, a top 50 reviewer on Amazon USA has reviewed, 2 of my books. The Village Narcissist - he reviewed it as - “A terrific mystery!” He has written excellent reviews on Goodreads and Amazon including - Falsely Accused of the Unthinkable, both rated 5 stars! He finishes his reviews with - “Written in a most engaging style, this new novel by Glenis Kellet places her solidly in the arena of important contemporary authors. Very highly recommended.” This has given me even more motivation to write another book, I was ecstatic! Dare Rogers is another who has given me a lot of encouragement. He starts with his review for The Village Narcissist - “The best book I’ve read this year!” - ending this favourable review with - “Be prepared for a reading experience like no other, as the author creates an elaborate rollercoaster of twists and turns; leaving you wanting more after each chapter. In the end, the villagers realized just how vulnerable they are to evil finding their quiet village, and their lives were forever changed by the events of a single day.” He also kindly awarded me 5 stars for both books! When reviewers are so enthusiastic about my books, it is a truly wonderful feeling!
Can you give me any exclusives on any plans to write more books? I have already three chapters completed on my next book, called - ‘Lethal Revenge’. Again, it’s set in a rural situation, it is a fast-paced, thrilling intriguing, murder mystery to baffle the police and the reader. I can’t tell you anymore but I know this one will shock you to the core when all is unveiled!
Finally, what advice would you give to any budding writer out there? I would advise you to be yourselves when writing. Everyone is absolutely unique and has many thrilling individual experiences to offer to their readers. Write what you have experienced or know about and most of all what you enjoy writing about! If you are self-publishing, I advise you to have your manuscript proofread and typeset professionally. The book cover is your ‘window’ to potential readers, I advise you to have a ‘professional look’ it will immediately catch the eye of a reader. You must also realize that writing your book is the easy part, it’s the networking and marketing that is the hardest task! Your book is a tiny drop in an ocean of books out there - you have to regularly market your book on numerous platforms to be noticed; like Twitter, Facebook (with its many sites for readers and writers), Instagram, WordPress, Pintrest and many more. Make sure you are advertised on Amazon UK & USA, Goodreads, Barnes&Noble, Googlebooks, Worldcat, BookBub and others. Have as many reviewers, review your books as you can possibly afford, many will do it for free for a free book. Send your book information and a little about yourselves to newspapers and magazines. Sell your book to family, friends and neighbours. Arrange to have book signings at libraries, Hotels and other places, when it is safe to do so during this Covid 19 pandemic. When you finally start selling your distinctive masterpieces, it’s a euphoric experience like no other! I advise you to never give up!
Glenis, Thank you for your time. You are very welcome; it has been a great pleasure.
More information on Glenis can be found at the following links;