Thursday, December 15, 2011

Author Spotlight: Kelly Lee

I'd like to welcome the lovely Kelly Lee to Half Past Midnight. Brave lass....

Um, hello? Am I in the right place?

*peeks head through a crack in the door and sees KB*

  KB: 'C'mon in y'all got the right digs . . . Don't be shy. I have caaaannnddddyy . . .

Well, thank goodness! For a minute there I thought I'd stepped into a movie set for a sexy art film! Your place is awesome. Surreal and a little intimidating, but rockin' cool. Thanks so much for having me over.

 KB: You are most welcome and thank you for the kind words!

I've been looking forward to this for a long time…I love any place that's got naked people on the front door. J

 KB: My philosophy is ya can't have enough nakkid peeps around!

Hand me a solid pour in a goldfish-bowl-sized glass of red wine, and I'll talk all night.

 KB: My kinda gal!  Done!  The wine is poured; comfy chairs set up, and let the interlocution begin!

Q1. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started my first book over ten years ago, and got as far as the first 25 pages. I had no idea where the story was going, other than I wanted to write something, but got discouraged very quickly and gave up. I dusted off the 'ol keyboard again about two years ago, with renewed motivation and a lot more maturity to really embrace the amount of work it takes to write a full length novel. Something clicked in me the second time around, and I finished the first draft of the manuscript in December 2010. I wish I still had those 25 pages from so long ago…but they're long gone and sitting on a hard drive somewhere at the bottom of an e-waste recycling program. Or, by now, it's probably been repurposed into a toaster!

Q2. Where do you get your ideas?

With Murdering Eve, the idea started as a nugget in the back of my head as a result of a trip to Europe about five years ago. After Paris, Rome, Florence, and Greece over a 3 week backpacking journey, I fell in love with Greek Mythology. I've always loved fantasy – vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc… and over time, a new world began to develop in the scary place that is my head. A world which is comprised of Four Realms, which has become the backbone of the series I'm writing.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Strangely enough, some of my favorite chapters to write were actually the ones from the antagonist point of view. The "bad guy" in the book is a sarcastic, ambitious, cutthroat woman named Holly, who would be perfectly happy stomping all over her own mother to get ahead. Getting into her mind and motivation - and really embracing the "bad" - was exceptionally fun for me. Which is why she's the lead female character in the sequel, which is almost complete~ J
How did you come up with the title?
Great question. It's not something I took lightly. When you write an Urban Fantasy with strong romantic elements, you want to let folks know there's a strong romance story in there. But in this case, there's a lot of action in the book with the relentless pursuit of Eve by our "bad guy", so I wanted to stay true to that. Luckily, the cover art of the book helps reinforce that romance element. 

Can you share a little of your work?

Well sure! I'd be happy to provide the blurb & an excerpt for Murdering Eve. 


Eve Moore is very likely going insane. In one week’s time, she has clear memories of surviving a murderous attack by her dead husband’s mistress, teleporting to another Realm, learning her best friend isn’t human, and uncovering the existence of trolls, titans and mythical Gods. If she hadn’t gone off her nut, Eve wouldn’t be coming to grips with the fact that her mother had an affair with an immortal and she is apparently their love-child.
But since she’s getting pretty comfortable with it all, she figures she’s probably strapped down somewhere cold and antiseptic with drool dribbling down her chin. Except if she’s locked in sanitarium, as she must be, why is she so damn scared of the God of War that threatened to send her soul to the Underworld? And why does the mere glance from a gorgeous man, one that she was tasked to find and return to Olympus, set fire racing through her veins?
Whether it’s reality or lunacy, Eve has no idea, but she is on one hell of a ride. If only she could get that red-headed harlot who tried to kill her the first time to cease and desist on the murder attempts, she could enjoy her psychosis in peace…


The hinges screeched as she opened the motel room door. She tossed the towels on the bed, which sat in the middle of the room, covered by a ratty blue bedspread. Two nightstands had visible bolts securing them to the floor. An overhead light fixture with a broken shade hung loosely from the ceiling. The beige carpet felt stiff under her feet, years of dirt and grime hardening the fibers.
There was literally nothing else in the room—not a curtain, not a lamp, and not a Bible in the nightstand. Behind the only other door, which had a hole punched in the center of it, was a utilitarian restroom. The toilet seat was missing. The mirror was made of something plastic and shimmery. The place was a certifiable dump. Holly figured the room might be a good place to torture demons, but that was about all she would do there.
Thinking through what she needed to do next, Holly absently tapped the dagger nestled in the sheath at her thigh. She needed a weapon, but the blade she wore had been created by Hephaestus. Weapons forged at his anvil were fashioned specifically to injure supernaturals. After the debacle of trying to use the Acheron Cup on someone she believed to be human, Holly wasn't willing to risk using a supernatural weapon again.
Silently assessing her options, Holly settled on one of the few makeshift weapons available to her. She lifted the lid on the toilet tank. Black grunge from the underside slid grossly across her fingers. She wiped her hand on a nearby towel, grabbed two washcloths, then picked up the lid, both hands wrapped in the washcloths to prevent slippage. A few practice swings later, Holly noted the porcelain club balanced nicely.
She tossed her new weapon on the bed along with her room key and extra towels, then moved toward the wall separating rooms 23 and 24. Before she placed her ear to the plaster, she easily heard the distinctive thunk-thunk-thunk that could only be the sound of a headboard hitting the wall. Listening more carefully, she made out the faint grunting and moaning of sexual activity in the next room. No time like the present.
She quietly let herself out of her room with her weapon tucked under her arm. Taking a deep, steadying breath outside of room 24, she withdrew the skeleton key from her pocket. The key slid silently into the lock. The door swung open with only a slight squeak from the hinges.
As it turned out, she could have accompanied her intrusion with an exploding stick of dynamite and she'd still have entered unnoticed. The couple locked together on the bed wouldn't have heard anything anyway. The woman had her eyelids scrunched together tightly, her mouth forming a small O, as the man had her pinned in what looked like a horribly uncomfortable position against the headboard.
Holly closed the door behind her and tilted her head, observing the humans crudely copulating. The poor woman's right leg was bent at a strange angle, practically cold cocking her in the forehead with her kneecap at every sharp thrust. The man jerked and bucked without a consistent rhythm, but clearly seemed in the throes of something intense. Holly shrugged and adjusted the toilet tank lid in both hands, as she moved closer to the bed. She got a better look at both of them and grimaced. They were not an attractive pair, no matter the species.
The man shouted his climax and the woman's eyes opened—probably in relief the experience was over—then bulged in fear as Holly widened her stance, taking a swing at the back of the man's head. He buried his face into the woman's neck at the right moment to avoid the brunt of the blow. The lid struck the back of his head and the front of the woman's face simultaneously. Blood spurted from the woman's nose and mouth as she screeched in pain. The man merely went limp. That pissed Holly off a little.
The woman frantically pushed the man off her and scrambled to the opposite side of the bed, but Holly smacked her on the top of the head with the heavy porcelain. She dropped like a rag doll, unconscious. The lid dropped to the carpeted floor with a dull whack, and Holly grabbed the woman's purse off the nightstand to search for cash. She found two condoms, a stick of gum, a driver's license from the state of Kentucky in the name of Becky Oldham, and exactly forty-three dollars and sixty-seven cents. Great.
Disappointment welled in her chest, but she dampened it quickly, talking to herself. It's a marathon, not a sprint. She had expected collecting enough money would take more than one try. After all, the ratty motel she'd targeted wasn't the Ritz.
Picking up the man's pants to rifle through his pockets, she felt a large lump in a front pocket. An impish grin lit her face. The thick wad of bills rolled into Holly's eager hand, and she dropped the pants. A groan emanated from deep in the man's chest as he lay face down on the bed. Holly ignored him. Flipping the bills out and counting quickly, she noted only one or two large bills wrapped around the outside of the roll. The rest were, predictably, of smaller denomination. The man was obviously trying to impress someone with the wad of cash. She got halfway through counting the preponderance of one-dollar bills when the man pushed himself up, cradling his head in his hands.
Holly set the money on the edge of the dresser, then picked up the lid, waiting for him to fully regain consciousness.
He blinked stupidly and looked down at the woman. Blood seeped out from her head, spreading across the rumpled sheets. The man jerked away, slipping and falling off the bed. He landed on his ass, his feet kicking madly when he saw Holly standing over him. He scrambled in a backward crab walk until his shoulders hit the wall. She lifted her weapon and he froze, as though his brain was trying to make sense of what he was seeing. The sudden impact of the heavy lid against his temple prevented him from connecting the dots.
Blood splattered across the bed. The man's body slumped to the side, wedging his face between the wall and the back of the nightstand. Holly dropped the lid again and went back to counting. All in, the cash totaled two hundred and twenty-eight dollars.
Allowing herself a brief moment of satisfaction, she acknowledged the total was more than she thought she'd get from one couple in such a seedy motel. Unfortunately, the amount wasn't nearly enough to get her to Scotland. At least eight more rooms were currently occupied as of about ten minutes ago. With the inevitable revolving door of people checking in and checking out, she needed to work fast.
Shoving the thick roll of money into her jeans, she opened the wrapper on a stick of Becky's gum and popped it into her mouth. Spearmint flavored, my favorite. She picked up the lid and a grabbed a towel from the restroom, wiping off the blood quickly.
Holly looked down at the unconscious, naked couple. Should she finish them off, or leave them? The idea of killing them didn't appeal to her. Whenever possible, she avoided such things, but taking Eric's life hadn't exactly caused a crisis of conscience.
Holly glanced up into the mirror above the dresser and watched the crease between her eyebrows deepen into a scowl as she considered the best option. What were the chances of the couple waking up and reporting the incident to the cops? Looking around the room, she figured the odds of them calling the police were next to nil. The man was probably a cheating husband, and Becky was probably a hooker. If Holly killed them, a double murder guaranteed police involvement. Given the circumstances, they'd probably scurry back to their lives and try to forget what happened.
Decision made, she tucked her weapon safely back under her arm, readied the skeleton key in her hand, then slipped out of the room without another glance at the couple that lay bleeding in room 24.

As I hand back to you my empty wine glass, I have to say you've been an incredible host. Thank you so much for having me, KB!  

 KB: Much too kind m'dear. Thank you for stopping by, you raised the property values!

If you want to read more excerpts or find out more about Kelly, you can:
Like her on Facebook at, or
Follow her on twitter: @kellyleefiction


Margie said...

Great interview, Kb. Thanks for introducing me to Kelly. Her book sounds like it will be a fun read - so it's now in my TBR pile.

Margie Church said...

Kelly, I love learning about an author's path to publication. I, too, was so intimidated by the amount of work it takes to actually write a novel, I didn't do it for years either. Good thing I was still pretty clueless about what REALLY is involved or I still might be running in the other direction. I really enjoy characters like yours. I put Murdering Eve on my TBR pile. Definitely.

Oh and KB, sweet digs. No wonder you're always "home."

Kelly L Lee said...

Thanks to Mista Cutter for making me feel so welcome...

Kelly L Lee said...

Oh Margie, after just finishing the manuscript to the sequel of Murdering Eve, I'm actually a little afraid to submit it because I know what happens next. REWRITES!!! :)

kbcutter said...

Thanks fer stopping by Margie!

Yeah-I kinda like it around here... ;-)

You are most welcome, Kelly! Drop by anytime! Mah pleasure!

Margie Church said...

Kelly, the polishing is what makes it wonderful but I hate editor's remarks. Those can make me so crazy. Oh well! It's part of our profession. My goal is to beat the editor!

Kb, it is so sweet of you to use my silhouette here. I'm flattered. LOL

R. Renee Vickers said...

Great interview and excerpt! I enjoyed reading them very much! :) I have this on my TBR list. :)

Kelly L Lee said...

Thanks Renee~ You are too kind!

Jodi said...

Kelly, well crafted blurb and terrific excerpt! What a unique weapon of choice and spot-on time of attack! Sounds like a wonderful read. (Gee, Margie, I hope you didn't mean that about beating the editor...literally.)

Joelle Walker

Kelly L Lee said...

Thank you kindly, Joelle - have a wonderful holiday season!