- Are you still practicing law?
Yes. I work full time for a government agency, I do part time contract legal work, and I also take on a private case every once in a while. I generally don’t take on a lot of private work that isn’t for family or friends, and on very limited types of cases.
NO, I will not take you on as a client to read your publishing contract. Why? Because I have contracts with more than one Ohio publisher, so I couldn’t represent someone against them, and I’m not licensed to practice law outside of Ohio.
- But authors are rolling in it, aren’t they?
A million times, no.
Most authors work another job as well as writing and marketing their work. Making JK Rowling or Stephen King-sized checks are actually pretty rare. Don’t assume someone is loaded because they write books. They probably are socking their extra money into marketing their books. Even authors who write for big publishing houses aren’t making what they used to make. See Jim Hines’ website for a survey on what authors earn, here.
- Why do you refer to your family by generic names (Brother, Sister, Mom, Dad, Husband/Hubby, The Boy, The Girl)?
Well, I spent ten years as an assistant prosecutor. I handled some pretty bad cases, with some not-nice people. I’ve also handled some cases involving child support…which can certainly rile some people up.
Plus I do quite a bit of travel for the books, and talk to a lot of people that I don’t know well in real life. I don’t know if I need to worry about some of the people I meet (and I’m sure I don’t have to worry about most of them at all, but you just never know).
I’ve got kids. I’m careful. And they are entitled to their privacy.
Which is also why I have a policy at this point of not posting pictures of the kids that show their faces, without their permission. I did post some pictures of my daughter when she was first born, and those are still up, but she doesn’t much look like that anymore, so I’m not too worried.
- How can I get you to come to my event/city/library?
I’m normally planning my schedule at least a year in advance. I also have to balance The Boy’s sports schedule, since he’s in high school athletics, in multiple sports. I have a tendency to hit a lot of conventions, because they are great places to see a whole lot of people in one place. Plus I still work a day job and a part time job, so I can only take so much time off of work. And I need to spend time with my husband as well (which I sometimes do by taking him to cons with me!)
I’m averaging 10-12 events per year, which include comic cons, art events, local festivals, and book fairs.
I do a number of events in Ohio; I live there, have family there, and lots and lots of friends.
I’ve started doing more events in Indiana and Kentucky, and have done an event in Chicago, Illinois before. I’m considering events in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Travel much more than that involves major planning, with job and family issues. I’m not opposed to it, but I need a bit of advance planning.
If you’ve got an event/conference/convention that you’d like to see me at, send me an email at addiejking AT gmail.com.
TEACHERS and LIBRARIANS…
Want me to talk to students in person or via FaceTime or Skype about writing? Send me an email at addiejking AT gmail.com. I LOVE talking to students.
- So what don’t we know about you that we’d be surprised at?
Um…I have no idea. I crochet. I have played piano, the bass drum, and the clarinet over the years, but I’m way out of practice. I took Spanish in high school, but am no where near fluent. I like to garden, believe it or not, but haven’t had a lot of time for it. I like baseball; don’t really care what team is playing, just love the game.
I get on reading kicks. Recently I’ve been addicted to long distance thru hiking memoirs. Previously, I was reading prepper survival nonfiction books. There’s got to be a story kicking in there somewhere, because I can’t seem to stop. And I’m so not an outdoorsy girl, even though I have been tent camping, and grew up in the country.
- So, WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS????
Writers that I know mostly hate this question.
Because it doesn’t really help anyone else. Where I get ideas does not help you get ideas. And vice versa.
If I tell you that I got a story idea from a movie I actually didn’t like, that doesn’t help you find ideas.
If I tell you that I got a story idea from walking around in Gander Mountain (hunting and outdoor supply store), that doesn’t help you find ideas.
If I tell you that I got my idea in the dollar bin at Target, that doesn’t help you find ideas. But it might help you find a good deal on something else…
- Do you write everyday?
No. I just don’t have the time; unless I’m on deadline. My schedule is nuts, and sometimes the brain matter just doesn’t have the capacity for anything more on the schedule.
But I’ve been doing this a few years. I can hold a story in my head and pick it up fairly easy, or rather, easier than when I first started. But if I take too big of a break, it’s harder to pick it back up.
My advice to new writers is still to write every day. At least starting out, you need to exercise that part of your brain on a regular basis, or it gets stale and flabby and weak. I don’t mean you have a weak brain, but it’s like having a specific muscle that only gets used for this. You know, I haven’t been in a batting cage for years, but if I stepped back in a batting cage, after a bit of adjustment time, I’d be right back in the swing of it. It’s the same thing with the writer brain. Once you get the muscle working from muscle memory, its just about finding that memory again and remembering how it worked, but you have to build that memory in the first place. That takes time and practice to know what you need to do to keep moving forward.
- So what’s the best advice for a new writer?
Um, finish what you start? If you don’t ever finish a story, or a manuscript, then you don’t have anything to edit. No matter how awesome that finely polished first chapter is, you can’t do anything until you have the whole magilla on the page.
Do NaNoWriMo. It helps propel you past the perfection fears and just get the story moving. You can fix it later. You can pretty it up later. You can fix mistakes later. Get it down. I’ve said before that writing the first draft is like vomiting the clay onto the wheel. Unless you have clay on the wheel, you can’t shape it into anything. Get the clay on the wheel. Get the story on the page.
That means butt in chair, hands on keyboard time.
- So I have this crazy awesome idea. Howzabout I tell you the idea, you write it, and we split the profits?
Hells to the no. And, yeah, that’s way more blunt that I normally am.
Let me turn this around. Let me make a suggestion on how to build a barn, and you do all the work, all the heavy lifting, all the planning, all the sweat. We’ll sell the barn, and split the profit.
Does that even sound close to fair? It’s not. The person doing 99.99% of the work is getting shafted.
Look, that’s different than work for hire. In that case, I would be getting paid a fair wage to do work to execute someone else’s idea; much like hiring a contractor to build your barn based on your suggestion. The contractor is going to charge for their labor. I would charge the person hiring me to write the story. So…unless you’re going to purchase the story from me for the going rate…no. And if you are, I still want to know that it’s going to be distributed somehow for my readers. Even if I’m not getting a royalty rate, it’s still about exposure, and about sharing with the people who buy my work on their own.
- Okay, so I’d like to borrow your characters to write fan fiction. Am I allowed?
If you’re writing a piece for yourself, that you will not publish anywhere for profit, and is not in any way causing an erosion to my own copyright and trademark rights? Sure. But it better be just for yourself, and as a writing exercise for fun.
Please don’t send it to me. I will not read it. I will delete it the minute I realize what it is. No matter how good, no matter how well written, no matter how damn-spec-freaking-tacular it is. Because I don’t ever want to be accused of ripping ideas off of anyone else, and reading fan fiction covering an even tangentially related topic to what I’m currently writing could open me up to a lawsuit.
And while I could defend myself, it’s unlikely that I could do so and still support my family. There’s a limited number of hours in a day.
If you’re doing it to practice foreshadowing, and you want to use my pre-existing characters? Go for it as an exercise. If you’re doing it to practice characterization? Yup. No problem. Work on writing dialogue, work on perspective, work on writing an action scene? No issue.
You publish what you wrote and try to make money off it? Problem. And if I find out about it I have to act to protect my intellectual property. So just don’t do it. As a writing exercise? No problem.
But not for public consumption.
ON THE BOOKS…
- So, is The Grimm Legacy series finished?
- WAIT, aren’t you going to write more about Bert/Janie/Aiden, or any of the others? EVER?
Look, never say never. I’m not saying I’ll never do it. But as much as I loved writing those books, I have 427 billion and one other ideas that will never get written if I just write about the Grimm characters. Right now, I’m writing other books. Please checks out my other work as well.
- So what’s this Shades of Gray thing? Didn’t know you wrote erotica/BDSM/romance?
I don’t. I wrote about werewolves. And police officers. And police officers becoming werewolves.
Nothing against erotica. Or BDSM. Or romance. I might write something about each of those or something in each genre someday…but this book isn’t what you might be thinking of.
I wrote the novel, Shades of Gray, which is the first book in The Hochenwalt Files series, way back in 2005. The book by E.L. James that you’re thinking of wasn’t out yet. I can’t think of a better title for the book, it just fits too well.
If you pick up Shades of Gray and think you’re getting BDSM or erotica, boy are you going to be shocked when the werewolf jumps out.
OH…and Gray is spelled different in those books.
- So are your books safe for kids?
The Grimm books are safe for kids age 10 and up. I generally tell parents that if their kids have seen or watched The Hunger Games, there’s nothing in my Grimm books to be worried about.
The werewolf book is probably best for ages 16 and up. It’s about a rookie cop getting bitten by a werewolf in the line of duty. By virtue of the subject matter, it’s darker than the other series.
Most of my short stories are safe for 10 and up as well, mostly what I would consider PG or PG-13 rating if they were filmed.
If you’re considering something for your kids and just aren’t sure, drop me an email at addiejking AT gmail.com. Let’s chat. I’m a mom. I totally get it.
- Why don’t you write kids books/women’s fiction/hard science fiction/murder mystery/humor columns/chick lit?
Look, never say never. I might write any one of those things…much less any other genre out there. I’ve had an editor approach me and tell me that based on my background they were interested in my writing a legal thriller or police procedural. At the time, my head was in the Grimm books and in my current work in progress; there’s only so much room at a time for so many projects. I may yet go back to something like that. And I’ve remained at least tangentially in touch on social media with that editor, who I’d love to work with…so you never know.
But right now, I have enough of a slate of projects that will keep me busy for a number of years. And if any one of those ideas gets picked up and becomes another series? That will tie up my brain even longer.
But you never know…😉