Monday, May 31, 2010

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational romance. She holds a masters degree in professional counseling from Liberty University that she believes gives her better insight into the minds, feelings and emotions of individuals, which helps her to better understand her characters and develop them more fully. Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense will release April 1st, and Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense, will release August 1st, both with Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at, most of which are signed by the authors. Her blog spotlights not only the books, but the authors also because we all want to know more about our favorite authors.
When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told.

When did you decide to be a writer?

I don't think I ever really decided to be a writer. I've always been an avid reader and began journaling about three years ago. I worked in a jail at one time and decided that if I ever wrote a novel, I'd like to place part of it in a jail setting. I began to journal the horrible stench, the sounds, and the daily routine of the facility just so I wouldn't forget the atmosphere. My over-active imagination ran rampant and before long, I had characters fighting to get onto the page. Killing Time, was born. It's an inspirational romantic suspense that will release from Desert Breeze Publishing in August.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

I wrote my first book a little over two years ago. I was a horrible first draft and upon re-reading it, I knew it. At that point, I bought every book I could find on craft and studied for a year before I attempted to revise it. After about a dozen edits, that book will be out with Desert Breeze Publishing in August. It's called Killing Time and it's my jail story.

Everyone’s journey to publication is different. Now that you’ve walked that road, what tips can you give to authors still hoping for that first contract?

Don't ever give up. If you do, you'll never land a contract. Looking back, I wasn't ready for that contract two years ago. My writing certainly wasn't ready and neither was my life. I was finishing up my Masters degree and changing jobs. It's staggering the amount of time it takes to market your work and keep up with Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. My life is much calmer now and I am more able to assume these challenges.

Was there something about the experience of getting published that was a surprise to you?
I'm surprised about how much work is involved after you've turned in the final version. Marketing is a never ending evil.

Are you a disciplined writer or do you just write when you feel like it?
I'm very disciplined and probably too driven for my own good. I try to write something every day and succeed most days. I loved the NaNoWriMo challenge, and every once in a while, I'll challenge myself to my own personal NaNoWriMo in the month of my choosing with a goal of 2,000 words per day, which allows me to finish a novel in a month. Once I finish, I'll take a month off and edit a prior novel before going back to edit the recently completed one.

What kind of activities do you like to do that help you relax and step away from your deadlines for a bit?
I love to take long walks with husband and our two hairless Chinese Crested dogs at a large lake near our home. My husband is not a reader, but he helps me plot during these walks. We plotted Queen of Hearts while we walked and since I'm so horrible at coming up with titles, he gave it the name.

What is your favorite novel (not written by you) and what made it special?
Michelle Sutton's Danger at the Door is my favorite. First of all, I loved the book so much that it kept me up half the night and I never stay up past my bedtime. Secondly, Michelle and I became friends later and she recommended Desert Breeze Publishing to me. Michelle and Desert Breeze have changed my life.

How do you think reading the work of others helps you as a writer?
I study the works of best-selling authors such as Patterson, Koontz and Coben. After taking Margie Lawson's on-line lectures (, I've learned how to analyze their work and what makes them so great.

Tell us a little about your latest release:
Here's the blurb from my publisher:
Daphne Dean is proud to be serving her country stateside during WWII as a reporter and an Office of Strategic Services operative. When the photograph she takes of the crowd at a murder scene places her on the mob's hit list, she's forced into hiding in a vacant mental asylum in the middle of nowhere with terrifying secrets of its own.

Daphne believed herself to still be in love with her ex-fiancée, Kenneth, until she spends several days locked away in the asylum with Vito, the mob boss' son. Can she put the terrifying events that occurred there behind her and allow herself to pursue a relationship with Vito? Or, will she return to Kenneth who has turned his back on his country by becoming a draft dodger and a black market racketeer? One thing's for sure, it won't matter if she can't escape the mental institution alive.

Where did you get your inspiration for Queen of Hearts?
I love the WWII era and have always wanted to write a historical. With two romantic suspense novels under my belt, I was ready to try something different. A story begin to develop in my mind. Female spy. News paper reporter. The mob. Murder. Romance. An abandoned asylum. I put all these concepts together and wrote Queen of Hearts.

Which character is most like you?
None of my characters are much like me, but they all have to be animal lovers and there's a stray dog who wins someone's heart in every story.

Who is your favorite character and why?
My favorite character is Daphne Dean because she's not the perfect every-hair-in-place woman. She has flaws and she knows it. For example, she becomes a spy and is sent out without any formal training, which leads to condemnation from spies who have more experience. Even though Daphne makes some mistakes, she perseveres.

Did you know how Queen of Hearts would turn out? Were you surprised by any of the plot twists or characters?
I always start with a loose plot and allow my characters to tell their story. I was very surprised when Daphne ended up going into hiding in an asylum. I had no idea that there would be an abandoned mental institution in this story when I plotted it. I was browsing the internet one night and ran across a wonderful website of photographs of literally dozens of abandoned mental institutions. Many of these images were really creepy, but fascinating at the same time. I just had to take Daphne into hiding in an asylum.

What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
I hope that readers take away that when we love God and follow Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. It may not be easy and may not come about as we'd planned, but God is always faithful.

What kinds of things have you done to market this book? Have you found anything that works particularly well?
I've actually just starting marketing. I've created a Facebook group called "Christian Fiction Gathering" that's been very successful (!/group.php?gid=128209963444) The members have been very supportive. I've linked my blog to this group. Since I give away anywhere from one to three books per week on my blog, it's attracted quite a following.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.
I recently completed a romantic suspense called, Death Came Stalking. An agent is considering it at the moment. I have found that I can't not write, so I've started another novel. The before mentioned agent told me that the "sweet spot" in the market right now is romance without the suspense. I'm writing my first non-suspense romance. I call it Finally Forever and it's about a woman who is shocked when the love of her life, who joined the Army ten years ago without so much as a goodbye, storms back into town intent on winning her heart. The only problem is that she's just become engaged to another man.

Do you have any parting words of advice?
I would encourage new writers to never give up. There were times that I felt like giving up and I'd always tell God, "I need you to send me some encouragement if you want me to continue on this journey." He always did. It seemed like every time I wanted to quit, He'd send me a little glimmer of hope. And, this is so everything you can find on craft. I'm still studying and learning and hope I never stop.


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