The Long and the Short of It would like to welcome Kally Jo Surbeck. Kally Jo is a talented writer who is published in multiple genres. She writes action/adventure, fantasy, romantic comedy, and historical. Kally Jo was recently chosen Author of the Year at this year’s Colorado Romance Writers Conference. She was also a 2006 Eppie finalist for All I Want for Christmas anthology.
Kally Jo’s reason for writing romance is something I’ve shared with many other romance writers. She told me, “It boils down to an insatiable degree of hope, the belief that dreams do come true, there is happiness to be found despite the amount of horror or atrocity one might suffer.”
I asked her what she considered the most important elements of good writing. “I would have to say perseverance,” she told me. “Markets change. Booksellers change. Writing is about passion and perseverance and knowing that maybe if the book isn’t snapped up just this minute, it will be in the future. So, perseverance on the side of writing, passion in the writing itself.”
Kally Jo’s characters have always come first with her—before plot or situations. “Usually, in a little flash, I will have an idea of a character,” she said, “and then it expands. My stories tend to be very character driven. Though my stories have a lot of action/adventure in them, without the characters themselves, the action would not be as interesting.”
Most of Kally Jo’s writing is done in the evenings. She is very much a night person. In fact, the night before her interview, she was writing at midnight. Her views on the morning? “I like knowing there is a sunrise,” she told me. “ I'm sure they are beautiful. I just don't like being a part of it.”
During the day, her time is taken up with her family (they own a ranch, so there’s always something to do, she informed me) and volunteer work (she was recently named advocacy chair for the 2008 Relay For Life).
She also loves to travel. As a matter of fact, one thing she wishes scientists would invent is a teleportation device. “Though I have to admit,” she confessed to me, “I'm not sure I'm brave enough to use it. Even if I knew it was safe, I still might hesitate.”
Her office space is, in her word, “crowded.” She explained, “I tend to be a ‘less is more’ kinda gal, but not in my office. I have one bookshelf that is a keeper shelf—handy books that I reread on a regular basis. One is a resource bookshelf. The books on this tend to rotate depending on what kind of story I’m working on. The books that don’t come off it, except for use, include Stephen King’s Memoirs on the Craft, Websters, and several texts on abnormal psychology, anatomy and herbology. Then, I have another bookshelf of TBRs. I also have a filing cabinet, a writing desk, and a desk I use as my mailing center. And, of course, I have posters on the walls.”
The hardest part of writing the book for Kally Jo was, curiously enough, not the writing at all. It was her release date. “Not so much about sales,” she told me, “but turning that little brief look at something I did out to the public. I know not everyone will like me or my writing, but there is still a certain vulnerability in that initial release.”
And, a little piece of trivia about Kally Jo you might be interested in… she’s a Coke gal. “When I ask for a Coke, I want a Coke,” she said. “If there is Pespi, I go Mountain Dew or Dr Pepper.”
Kally Jo loves hearing from her readers, so be sure to visit her at her website, or myspace or you can chat with her on her message board.