Indie Support Sunday: Kelsey Schulz
It truly is a great thing when bookstagrammers and fans of romance novels start writing and publishing their own books. While Kelsey isn’t a debut author—she previously published two books in 2015 and 2018—her upcoming release is definitely gaining all kinds of awesome attention. Between the beautiful cover and the intriguing blurb, I’m ready to have this book in my hands as soon as possible!
Pictures in Blue (releasing June 27th) is the first in her Blue Grove Mountain series, which is set in a small town. As a fellow romance reader, I’m already so excited for this small town, because I can tell it’s going to be absolutely fantastic. Having written a YA fantasy novel, Kelsey hopes to one day continue that series at some point.
Her first two books are available in Kindle Unlimited, so make sure you pick them up. And while you’re at it, preorder her upcoming romance, because I guarantee it’s going to win you over!
1. BEING AN AUTHOR
Who or what inspired you to write?
Gosh, this might be a long answer. But I have always wanted to be a writer. My favorite assignments in school were the writing-focused ones. I loved coming up with characters and writing about them and creating stories. My teachers were a huge part in encouraging me to write, because they always made sure to compliment my writing, which as a kid is one of the most validating things.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
The best is the connections I have made. I have absolutely loved connecting with other authors on bookstagram and getting advice from them as well.
The worst is probably self-promotion. You have to be really confident to sell yourself and your work and it’s really hard with imposter syndrome creeping up all the time.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
When I wrote my first two books, I did try to go the traditional route. I queried at least a hundred different agents between the two books but never had any luck. So I decided to self-publish to get my work out there. Granted, when I published then, there wasn’t a huge bookstagram community like there is now, so it’ll be great to see what it’s like this time around with all of the friends and connections I have made with everyone there.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?
I daydream about my characters and wonder what they might be doing at that moment.
If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?
This question is rude. JK. Romance would be the Lovelight series by BK Borison. Or Speechless by Lindsey Lanza. One of my all-time favorites in general is Ready Player One audio by Ernest Cline and narrated by Wil Wheaton. Absolutely love that one.
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
One thing I took away from my high school English teacher that I tell myself every time I write, “Write the draft. Even if it’s shit.” Get the words on paper and tidy up the mess later.
Keep going. Don’t give up because your story will speak to someone.
If you feel stuck, move on to a scene you know you want to write.
Imposter syndrome sucks and everyone has it, but you’re still amazing.
Make connections! I saw something on bookstagram the other day that writing a book can be lonely, but being an author is not. Talk to other authors, connect with them, bounce ideas off of them, and just know you aren’t alone!
2. ROMANCE AS A GENRE
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?
I read it a lot. I love romance and I love seeing characters connect on page as well as open each other up.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
I have written in the fantasy genre before and I’d love to finish that series eventually.
What are your most and least favorite tropes?
Mmmm, this is a hard one because I love a lot of tropes.
I’m not a huge fan of an overbearing miscommunication trope or surprise pregnancies.
Favorites include brother’s best friend and enemies to lovers. I swoon for great banter.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I have a few planned for the next books in the series I am writing.
But I would love to tackle a second-chance romance, friends-to-lovers and brother’s best friend.
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
Postpartum depression. I think it’s something in general that is very glossed over. Having that representation for mothers in general I think would be fantastic. I love the recent representation of anxiety as well. I think so many people have it and a lot of couples don’t know what their partner needs sometimes and I love seeing couples in books tackle that together.
If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?
I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I’d like writing sex scenes. I didn’t think I’d be super comfortable considering the very Catholic family that I grew up in where sex wasn’t really discussed. But I have found that I really love writing it.
3. YOUR BOOKS
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
The characters. I start with the characters first and build the story around them and what feels right, which sounds weird. But the characters for me kind of take over and I just have an outlet for them to figure their shit out.
Can you briefly tell me about your books?
Currently I have two books published.
Witchhunter: The Realm of the Isles (published in 2015) is a YA fantasy about a group of girls who discover they have magic and their whole town is actually from a magical realm. A curse separated them and others from their home and they find themselves in the middle of a war they aren’t ready to fight.
When Fate Steps In (published in 2018) is my first romance novel. It’s more of a romance drama with very mild spice. It’s based in a fictional small town, where the main characters fall in love and navigate their grief together.
Pictures in Blue (publishing June 27th), a romance set in the small town of Blue Grove, Oregon. Hudson and Avery meet and the meddling townspeople get them into some forced proximity where it inevitably heats up between them.
Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?
Currently, it’s Hudson Waters from Pictures in Blue. Man-bun, flannel, dog dad…need I say more?
If you were to cast your book for a movie/television show, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Hudson Waters - I picture Jason Mamoa from his Game of Thrones days.
Avery Reid - I have no idea yet.
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
I put a lot of myself into Avery in the sense of her anxiety and body dysmorphia
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
Stories that readers can connect with and feel the things I feel while writing them.
Is there one common element that readers can find in all your stories?
I don’t shy away from hard topics, but I also try to make sure I do them justice. The books I am writing now do focus heavily on the loss of a sibling/loved one and how to deal with that grief. But I also keep it light a lot of the time and focus on the relationships of the characters and letting their quirky personalities shine.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
Right now, I am working on the Blue Grove Mountain series which is an interconnected romance series set in the fictional town of Blue Grove, Oregon.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
I hope they feel a connection to the characters and I hope they feel like it’s a book that is perfect to cozy up with on a Friday night with a warm mug filled with their favorite drink.
4. AUTHOR’S CHOICE
Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks
Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones, series or standalones in a series
Music or silence when writing—I actually prefer some kind of white noise
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Water, tea, coffee or….wine?
Cold or warm weather—but I do love cold weather in the sense that I get to stay indoors by the fire or under the blankets
Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?—I don’t function well in the mornings and it’s hard with kids lol.
Illustrated or photo cover?