One Of Us: ‘Pre-published’ Author Kiersten Hallie Krum Dishes with Lady Smut ‘Bout Sexy, Sweaty Suspense
Hey fellow vaginas! We’re hanging today with Kiersten Hallie Krum, a would-be aspiring romance author building that professional romance platform brick by brick with her funny blog posts.
MADELINE IVA: Hello Kiersten, my fellow pre-published author. 🙂
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: Hello Lady Smut! Thank you so much for inviting me to take over your blog today.
MADELINE IVA: I love reading your blog posts–so fun. What part of you that comes out in romance-land that normally doesn’t come out to play in your so-called ‘real’ life?
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: I’m pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get person. While Romancelandia is always a professional environment, it is also a helluva lot of fun. I think I am more relaxed there around people who “get it” and thus even more myself (God help you all).
Certain environments bring out “Professor K” as my conference
wife roommate calls it (I like big words and I cannot lie) but in general how I sound on “The Twitter” or in my blog posts is essentially what you’ll get in my books and in person.
MADELINE IVA:OMG, I adore your blog posts describing an episode of Orphan Black at Heroes and Heartbreakers. What celebs/movie stars/tv shows etc, are you crushing on at this moment and what’s the appeal?
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: You mean there’s actually someone who doesn’t know? Quelle surpise! At the moment, my biggest TV jones is for the Urban Fantasy show Lost Girl (SyFy Channel) including a particular obsession penchant for its male lead, whose alpha, wolf shifter character hits all my hero hot spots.
I’m also entranced by Orphan Black (BBCAmerica Channel), a show of mad brilliance with innovative plot, crisp writing, and the absolute best performance by any actress on television today. (Full disclosure: I recap both of these shows for HeroesandHeartbreakers.com).
I’m a huge TV and movie fan and I especially enjoy tweeting while I watch, or “twatching” (TM not mine). One of my favorite things is when the cast of a TV show live tweets and interacts with their fans while watching an episode.
Can’t miss programs include Justified, Sherlock, Banshee, Nashville (the music in this show is not to be missed), Strikeback, Person of Interest, The Big Bang Theory, and The Walking Dead, to name a few. I’m an Anglophile too, so I also hang out on BBCAmerica and around PBS’ imported programming a lot.
I adore genre TV, even when it’s just campy, good fun.
MADELINE IVA: Tell us about your background in book publishing.
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: I worked in book publishing from 1999-2002 starting out as a publishing assistant at Avon Books and eventually becoming promotion manager at what was then Bantam Dell at Random House. I also got my Master of Science in Publishing from NYU during this period. While an assistant at Avon Books, I wrote back cover copy for our authors, a job I continued to do freelance for more than ten years for various imprints like Grand Central/Forever, St. Martin’s Press, and Pocket Books.
MADELINE IVA: Has a background in publishing helped you understand the biz?
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: A publishing background absolutely helps me now as a writer (though it is by no means a requirement) mostly in how it’s made me familiar with industry lingo. I still remember swallowing the embarrassment of ignorance to ask my boss the meaning of the terms “sell in” and “sell through”. Even all these years later, I feel better informed about how other departments outside of editorial contribute to a book’s successful publication than I might be had I not worked in the industry.
MADELINE IVA: Given your publishing past, what’s your take on the indie market?
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: The independent (or online or self-publishing) market is an ever-more crucial and progressive option both for writers who have not had success with traditional publishing and for those authors unwilling to dance to that tune for a share of their gross profit.
I think what it does best is level the playing field (to mix my metaphors for a moment) by providing an alternative path to publication.
Though anyone who expects it to be an easy or a quick process is bound to be disappointed. It’s not as simple as throwing an MS Word document up on Amazon and behold the readers (and money) shall come. Independent/self-published authors work very hard for their successes (or at least the ones I know do) and have a keen and savvy understanding of how best to work the system so their titles reach the most readers.
The old adage still rings true: There are no overnight success stories.
MADELINE IVA: You went to RWA nationals this year, and you tell us about #Bittercon here. What have you learned about people who go to major conferences, vs. the people who don’t?
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: Oh #Bittercon. When you care enough to share your best snark.
I’m a big proponent for pre-published writers to attend writing conferences. Writing is a solitary endeavor and conferences educate, support, and inspire us in a setting designed to encourage networking and socialization with other writers.
That said, the costs for conferences/conventions are high, especially on the national level. There are a number of more intimate regional/chapter conferences within the RWA network (and outside of it) that offer many of the advantages of a national conference without the higher costs and larger crowds.
Two of the more popular ones are the earlier mentioned New Jersey Romance Writers Put Your Heart in a Book conference every October and the Greater Seattle Romance Writers Emerald City Writers’ Conference, also in October. One for each coast! I don’t know if there’s any difference between people who do or don’t attend a major conference, but I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m so sorry I went to that conference. What a colossal waste of time and money.”
One of the best perks for pre-published writers at these conferences is the opportunity to pitch their books to invited agents and editors. A one-on-one pitch is stressful, no question. But if you’ve done your homework and you’re pitching to the right editor/agent for your material, you will almost always get a submission request. Seventy percent of authors who get a request do not fulfill it. I swear my next conference button is going to read “Are You in the 30%?”
MADELINE IVA: Most writers kinda dread social media, but you seem to have no fear. What’s your take on it?
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: I love networking; it’s why I take to Twitter so well since it’s basically the world’s cocktail hour.
MADELINE IVA: That’s what I call it too!
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: Overall, I’m a social creature (though I have more than my fair share of hermit moments too). I interact a lot on social media with romance-industry people from all fields.
MADELINE IVA: What are you reading now?
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: Right now, I’m reading through the troves of titles I picked up at RWA National Convention. Recently, as a birthday treat, I was able to read an advanced copy of Victoria Dahl’s upcoming release So Tough to Tame.
MADELINE IVA: Her work is fabulous! Very funny. Love her.
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: Very sexy and fun.
MADELINE IVA: What kind of romance do you write, why do you write it, and when can we see it in print or on Kindle?
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: I write romantic suspense novels, which basically means I write two books in one, as the romantic relationship and the suspense plot have near equal weight and must intertwine within the story.
I love the romantic suspense genre because I love action/adventure mixed in with my romance (as perhaps my TV choices already revealed). I also have a difficult time finding it plausible that a couple can fall in love for life within the course of a few days, but I have much less difficulty believing a couple can fall in love for life within the course of a few days when those days are made up of highly-charge, life-on-the-line moments.
How people behave in stressful situations when they can’t plan how best to present themselves but can only instinctively react reveals a lot about their true characters. Romantic suspense raises that intensity to a crisis life-and-death level and I love to read, watch, and write that.
Currently, I have a manuscript out on submission. It is the first in a three-book modern day, romantic suspense series about a trio of related woman whose family heritage of espionage has been kept secret from them all their lives…until now.
MADELINE IVA: Thanks so much for chatting with us today–hope you come back and hang out with us again.
KIERSTEN HALLIE KRUM: Bye guys! Thanks again for having me here today!