Some of you may know Kim Chance from her YouTube channel where she chronicles her journey as an author and provides videos on writing advice. You may also know her from her author-centric Twitter chat #Chance2Connect, a place where aspiring authors gather to find advice, critique partners, and writerly friends who understand the struggle.
She’s become something of a force in the writing online writing community, and so I thought I’d pick her brain a bit on her own fiction work, her YouTube channel, and her choice to follow the route of traditional publishing as opposed to self-publishing.
For those who haven’t heard about it, tell us a little bit about Keeper.
Oh Gosh, I really suck at elevator pitches! LOL! So how about I post my synopsis instead:
Magic always leaves a mark.
When the ghost of a 200-year-old witch attacks her on the road, sixteen-year-old bookworm Lainey Styles is determined to find a logical explanation. But even with the impossible staring her in the face, Lainey refuses to buy in to all that “hocus pocus nonsense”—until she finds a photograph linking the witch to her dead mother.
After the library archives and even Google come up empty, Lainey gives in and consults a psychic. There she discovers that, like her mother, she’s a Keeper: a witch with the exclusive ability to unlock and wield the Grimoire, a dangerous spell book. But the Grimoire is missing, stolen years ago by a malevolent warlock known as the Master. Now that Lainey’s true heritage has been uncovered, she’s the Master’s only hope in opening the Grimoire, where a powerful spell is locked inside—a spell that would allow him to siphon away the world’s magic. In an effort to force her hand, the Master kidnaps Lainey’s uncle and offers a trade: the spell for his life.
With the help of her comic-book-loving, adventure-hungry best friend and an enigmatic but admittedly handsome street fighter, Lainey must leave behind her life of books and studying to prepare for the biggest test of all. She must steal back the book…before her uncle and the entire supernatural race pay the Master’s price.
What inspired you to write this story?
Well, that’s a funny story! I actually have no idea how I came up with the idea for Keeper. The original concept was this weird little Captain Planet remix based on elemental magic. I went through MANY rounds of edits and revisions and several complete re-writes of the outline. One day as I was struggling to make sense of my story, I got an idea that eventually would become a HUGE part of the Keeper plot. I can’t tell you what it is because spoilers, but that moment is when Lainey (the main character) really starting taking shape in my mind. I completely scrapped EVERYTHING I had been working on (About two years worth of work) and started from scratch. And thus, Keeper was born!
Would you consider yourself a fantasy or sci-fi writer, or are you planning on working in other genres?
I’m definitely planning to branch out and write in as many different genres as I can. I never want to put myself in a box or limit myself, so I’d love to try and experiment with new and different things! Keeper is a contemporary fantasy and my new WIP is some branch of sci-fi, but I’d love to write a historical one day, as well as contemporary.
What is your favorite part about writing YA fiction?
Oh there are so many things! I’m a high school English teacher and I’m heavily inspired by the students I see every day in my classroom. I absolutely love putting tidbits of them into my pages, and I write with them in mind. Imagining my book in the hands of those who helped inspire it is the best thing ever! I hope to see that dream become a reality one day!
You’ve chosen to pursue the path of traditional publishing. Why did you go that way instead of self-publishing?
Well, there are pros and cons to traditional publishing just like there are for self-publishing, and it’s really important that you do your research to determine which path is the best for you and your book. For me, it boiled down to a dream of mine. I want to be able to walk into a Barnes and Noble or a large chain bookstore and buy my own book off the shelf. To see my name up there besides the very people who inspired me to write in the first place would be a dream come true! Most self-published novels never make it into bookstores, so that was a huge factor in my decision-making. Everything else I based on my research. I looked into both paths and after LOTS of research and deliberating decided that traditional publishing was the path for me.
Do you have any advice for people looking to go the traditional route?
Be prepared to wait. The traditional route is NOT a quick or easy route. In fact, it can take years to see any kind of movement. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s certainly not for those seeking instant gratification. I read a statistic once that only 3% of all writers get published traditionally. Those are insane odds, so you really have to want it, you have to be willing to work your butt off for it, and most importantly, you have to be ready to wait for it. Despite the waiting and the odds, I stand behind my decision to go traditional and am really grateful for the steps I’ve been able to take in my career so far. I believe in the end, it will all be worth the wait!
Right now you are perhaps best known for your YouTube channel. I know a lot of authors don’t pursue that medium, but what inspired you to start your channel?
I’m a teacher by day, and I love working with young writers. I’ve also learned a lot on my own journey and wanted to share that with my fellow writers. Writing a book can be an incredibly lonely journey and I wanted there to be a place where writers could go for advice, but also for support—a place where someone understands them and “gets” them. I also wanted to record my own writing journey and path to publication. When I started making videos, I really didn’t think anyone would watch them, but my channel is growing and I have this wonderful network of supportive and caring people who tune in each week. I am so grateful!
What is your daily writing routine or schedule like?
Well, right now, it’s all over the place! I’m typically more strict with myself, but life is hectic at the moment so I’m trying to go with the flow. I’m not one of these writers who can write every day. That’s just not feasible with a full-time job, two kids, a husband, a household, and another baby on the way. BUT I do try to carve out 2-3 evenings a week that I can devote to writing. It’s usually only for an hour or two after the kids go to bed, but I take what I can get. I also stay up late on the weekends and write as much as possible. I write on my lunch breaks too if I can. I never want “I’m too busy” or “life is too hectic” to be an excuse. It’s hard to find time, but dreams don’t work unless you do, so I find whatever time I can and I write my heart out!
Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. I know that’s like the super cliché answer, but it really is the best advice I can offer. Writing a book is probably one of the hardest and scariest things you will ever do. You will be tested in so many ways and you will face more downsides and rejections than you thought possible. It’s a long and arduous journey, but if you stick with it, if you fight for it, you WILL see amazing things happen! I strongly believe that if you want something bad enough and you never quit, then eventually it will happen. So, if you want to be a writer, then write and don’t ever stop! No matter what!
Which authors are your biggest inspirations?
Oh man! There are so many! I’ll list my Top 10: Diana Gabaldon, Sarah J. Maas, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edgar Allan Poe, Leigh Bardugo, J.K. Rowling, Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gilbert, Carrie Ryan, and Stephanie Perkins.
What are you working on now?
The book of my dreams! No seriously, I’ve been dreaming of this book for YEARS! I’ve just been too terrified to write it! However, my agent is super supportive and loves the idea so I’m going for it. I can’t tell you much at this point except that it’s a mash-up of three of my all time favorite pieces of literature and it’s set in the 1920s. It’s both exciting and terrifying! I hope I can pull it off!
What inspired you to become an author and when did you seriously start considering going down that path?
I’ve always loved to write and it’s been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. However, I decided that I wanted to write books and pursue a career as a writer back in 2008. My husband was deployed and I was by myself in a brand new city. I had an idea in my head and decided to give it a shot! The rest is history!
You can follow Kim Chance on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. You should also check out her YouTube channel for some really great writing tips videos. And be sure to keep a look out for Keeper in the future!