Awesome Writer Interviews: An Interview with Kelsey Macke

As part of a new series here on the blog, I'm thrilled to bring you the first ever Awesome Writer Interview, featuring the inimitable, the original, and the surprisingly turtle-esque Kelsey Macke. Kelsey's a gal with her finger on the pulse of what it is to be an up-and-coming writer, and was brilliant enough to answer a few of my questions. Check out her blog (which also has her interviewing me on it. Crazy!), dig her funky Twitter, and see what she has to say about life as a writer ... well, right here:

Awesome Writer Interviews: An Interview with Kelsey Macke

SPC: So, what kind of stuff do you write? And what led you to that genre?

KM: Currently, I write stories for "young people." I refuse to say that I only write YA (even though the only completed manuscript I have is YA) because I also plan on writing MG [middle grade] stories, and trying my hand at the new and oft debated NA [new adult] category.

SPC: Inspiration-wise, which books, and which authors, have had the biggest impact on you?

KM: I began writing my manuscript, DAMSEL DISTRESSED only a few months after reading John Green's THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. That book wrecked me. After reading it, I found myself hungry for the chance to tell a story that is even stocked in the same bookstore as that one.

I also love JK Rowling, of course. I'm a lover of much kids lit, including books by Matthew Kirby, Darren Shan, Stephanie Perkins, and Suzanne Collins.

One of these people is not John Green

SPC: Let's talk social media. You blog! You Tweet (you Twit?)! Have you found it helpful? Would you advise writers just starting out to get involved online?

KM: I have been an Internet addict for at least 8 years. (I've been blogging for over TEN!) You can look up your twitter user number which lists members according to when they joined. My number is 5,418,192. The site passed 500 million this summer.

I LOVE social networking, and I have accounts all over the wide spanning web. I think that social networking is KEY for authors who have been published. I think it is important to a lesser extent to aspiring authors because it's so easy to waste time "networking" instead of, oh, let's say... ACTUALLY WRITING.

So, yes, if you can manage your time well, and want to begin the incredible process of networking, I'd recommend twitter to all of those aspiring artists.

SPC: Three writing tips. Go!

KM: Hmmm. So silly because I'm certainly not an expert. :)

First, don't force it. Words that come naturally are often the most important ones.

Second, follow your instincts. I don't do everything the way I'm SUPPOSED to, but I'm true to myself and that has resulted in plenty of awesome coming my way.

Lastly, don't write on an island. UNLESS YOU CAN ACTUALLY GO TO A TROPICAL ISLAND IN WHICH CASE WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS--GO TO THE ISLAND! But seriously, connect with other writers and share your experiences. Going it alone is awfully hard, and wouldn't ever work for me personally. Find CPs [crit partners] and betas [people to read your book] and friends and share the journey together.

SPC: You had a great post on your blog a while ago about making your own writers retreat. Got any other habits to share? How do you tend to write? [The post, by the way, can be found here]

KM: I write in bursts. Sometimes I can only squeak out a few hundred words and other times I lock myself up for 3 days straight and write ten thousand. I try to always be patient and flexible with myself.

SPC: I know you're knee-deep in revisions and edits right now. How's that going?

KM: They're OFF! I finished requested revisions and sent them to their respective destinations. I blogged just a couple of days ago about how HORRIBLE it is to wait for responses. But I hope that the feedback is positive and helps me get to the next step.

SPC: What's the last book you loved?

KM: The last book I LOVED (other than the manuscripts of some of my stupidly talented pre-pub friends) was DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor. I can't wait to dig into the sequel, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT.

SPC: I have to ask - there are some wonderful pictures going round right now of you dressed as a TMNT. Just for kicks?

KM: I teach middle school! 6th - 8th grade! This means we have lots of school activities that are silly and exciting for the kids! It was "twin day" and since my pals and I can't follow directions, we decided to go as a foursome instead, hence the ninja turtle costume. I was Raphael. Obviously. Cause he's awesome.

Awesome is certainly the word ...

SPC: Submitting your stuff to agents, what have you learned that you'd love to share with others?

KM: I've learned that you'll always have to wait... at least a little bit. I've also learned that agents really are just people. You click with some... you don't with others. You need them as much as they need you, and you shouldn't settle for just anyone. Ideally you'll be working together for much of your career. Choose wisely.

SPC: Open question! Anything you wanna say - cute kitten pictures to share, political platforms to expound?

KM: I'll just leave you with a thank you for the interview and the friendship, Simon! You've been such an inspiration and I'm so happy the interwebs landed us in the same boat!

Also, CHIN UP, writers! Keep fighting the good fight! :)

Thanks, Kelsey, for being such a good sport. What did you think, guys? Here's hoping it's not too long before her book is adorning shelves worldwide. Kelsey's interview of me can be found over on her blog, and if you want to get involved being / getting interviews, just get in touch. SPC.


  1. Fab interview! I'm left sighing over the fact that I don't have my own island. Having a 'writing room' is a big thing for me - somewhere quiet where I can get lost in my MS (or reading a good book).

    Speaking of which, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is up next on my TBR list, so I'm happy to see how much you liked it, Kelsey :)

  2. Thanks for the interview, Simon! This has been great fun!! :)

  3. Great tips! I usually follow the first two. Now if I could just get to that island...