Q&A with author Kellie Doherty!

Introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Who are you and what makes you tick?

Hi there! My name is Kellie Doherty. I’m a bi science fiction and fantasy author who currently lives in Alaska, the Land of the Midnight Sun. (Though right now it’s freezing and dark. Gotta love the seasons!) I’m published through Desert Palm Press, an independent publisher in California, and I have four full-length SFF novels right now through them. (The fourth came out on November 30, 2020—more on that later!) I’ve also written short stories, flash fiction pieces, non-fiction, and poetry. And I do all that on the weekends, ha! During the week I’m working at my full-time job as an office assistant and my part time job as a freelance editor. Hmm, as for what makes me tick? Well, I’m super passionate about writing stories with positive queer representation and all my work feature female main characters, too, since we never have enough. Oh, and my fantasy work also highlights some really cool animals that I created.

What does it mean to you to be an author? What makes a writer a writer?

Being an author is a dream come true. I know how corny that sounds, but seriously, ever since I started reading I’ve wanted to put my own stories out there. And now I have! It’s pretty amazing. I’m working with a small publisher so it’s really fun to collaborate with the publisher, editors, and designers in house to create the best book possible. I’ve also found a nice community of like-minded writers to cheer on and my writing group is amazing. That “what makes a writer a writer” question is always curious; the way I understand it, a writer is a writer if they write. Simple as that! Like any creative endeavor, it takes time and dedication—and lots of lots of reading—to improve in your craft but as long as writing is fun and you do it on a semi-regular basis, then you’re a writer!

Are you promoting a specific book? Tell us about it. Include the book blurb if you’d like.

I am!! Curling Vines & Crimson Trades is my newest adult fantasy book coming out from Desert Palm Press. It launched on November 30, 2020, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s an odd time to be launching a new book—in the middle of a pandemic with so much fear and anxiety in the world—but it’s also kind of the perfect time, too. People need to get away from real life for a bit and I swear to you, if you read any of my books, you’ll be whisked away for sure. It’s part of the reason why I wrote them, actually, to get away from real life for a while! Anyway, Curling Vines & Crimson Trades is the second book in my Broken Chronicles series—it’s a standalone though so you don’t need to read the first to understand the second. The series will be five books in total where the first four books are standalone and centered on one distinct main character and the fifth will bring them all together. (I’ve had one reader say it’s kind of like the Avengers!)

Rare goods trader, Orenda Silverstone leads a happy life with her wife and friends. She’s an Elu—a race whose crafting is centered on protection—but her power is broken. Now, her sword is her strength. When her wife gets kidnapped and Orenda has to use her trading skills to complete some nearly impossible tasks to get her back, a good sword arm won’t be enough. Orenda’s time is rapidly coming to a close. She needs help.

But she’s been forced into silence. Two sun goddess worshippers, twins Lan and Lyra, decide to join Orenda’s quest in order to guard one of the rarer items to its destination. Orenda’s not sure she can turn her back on either one, but with no other options, she competes against the sunrises to complete her tasks before her wife is killed.

Then, the unthinkable happens. Orenda’s best friend, Jax, tries to kill her.

Tell us about your biggest guilty pleasure. For example, to you sit naked in your pantry in the middle of the night and eat Nutella with your fingers?

I love to eat cookies. No, seriously, if you give me a big enough cookie, I will do anything. I celebrate EVERYTHING book-related with cookies—finish a chapter? Cookie. Write that really intense email to a possible partner? Cookie. Turned in the manuscript to my publisher? COOKIE. And I’m not picky about it either—I love all kinds: chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, cinnamon raisin, Thin Mints, rainbow cookies, thumb prints. Any cookie will do.

Tell us one thing that you’re passionate about. For example, would you strap yourself to an oil rigging a la Lucy Lawless with a Greenpeace sign in your hands?

One thing I’m really 100% over-the-moon passionate about is putting more positive queer representation in all of my books. I’m also passionate about getting more positive queer representation in all levels of book publishing—not only in the author and writing side, but also in the business side of publishing. Editors, marketing and publicity folks, accounting, publishers, librarians, booksellers, designers—there needs to be more queer folk everywhere. Back in 2016, I did my master’s thesis on the WeNeedDiverseBooks project to see how four Portland, OR, publishers were impacted by that movement and even though we’ve made a lot of progress, there’s still so much more to improve. I’m not in a position to make those kinds of decisions but I can still support the publishers and people who are making those decisions! If I ever break into the business side of publishing and get to hire people, you’d best believe I’m going to hire fellow LGBTQIA+ people!

What’s your writing process? That is, do you have a particular place you write and/or time of day? Do you have any particular things you do before you write? (e.g. do you listen to music, drink coffee, take dance breaks…)

My weekdays are pretty full of all the things so I tend to write the most consistently during the weekend. I usually spend a few hours with my manuscript each time, and I definitely listen to music when I write. I’ve been really into Lord of the Rings soundtracks to get me into the fantasy mood, and it has very few lyrics so that’s helpful. I tend to sink really deep into my writing so I don’t take breaks until I resurface again and that’s usually only to get a cookie, get something to drink, or stretch my legs for a few minutes.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you (unless you’d have to kill us, in which case tell us something that some people don’t know).

I hate beets. Yup, you read that right. The crimson root vegetable packed with essential vitamins and minerals that are on every single healthy eating website? Can’t stand them. I have never been able to eat one in its entirety or in salads and don’t even get me started on the canned version. The only time I was able to finish a bowl of borscht that my sister made after she came back from Russia was when I put in a lot of sour cream and spices.

Is there a book by another author that you wish you had written?

Oh goodness, I adore the work of Becky Chambers. Her writings make me wish I could pivot back to science fiction, but right now I’m embroiled in my fantasy realm. The first book in her Wayfarer seriesThe Long Way to a Small Angry Planet—is one I wish I could’ve written. I am so hyped that she’s releasing a new Wayfarer book next year!

If time and money were no problem, where would you most like to go in the world?

Japan! I was lucky enough to visit back in 2014 for an once-in-a-lifetime family vacation, and it was simply amazing. I love their culture and food, the scenery was beautiful and the ryokan experience, so relaxing.

And finally, what sorts of writing (or other!) projects are next for you?

I’m working on my third book in the Broken Chronicles series, of course! This next manuscript is going to be especially challenging with what I’m trying to do with the main character of Adaris, but I’m really excited about the setting! I like to say an author is writing a book, editing a book, or marketing a book—but most likely they’re doing all three!

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><strong>Author Bio:</strong><br>Kellie Doherty is a queer science fiction and fantasy author who lives in Eagle River, Alaska. When she noticed that there wasn’t much positive queer representation in the science fiction and fantasy realms, she decided to create her own! Kellie’s work has been published in Image OutWrite 2019, <em>Astral Waters Review, Life (as it) Happens, </em>and <em>Impact,</em> among others. She's currently working on a five-book adult fantasy series. The first book <em>Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties </em>released in March 2019 from Desert Palm Press and won a 2019 Rainbow Award. The second book <em>Curling Vines & Crimson Trades </em>launched in November 2020!<br><br><strong>Find Kellie:</strong><br><a href="https://kelliedoherty.com/">Website</a><br><a href="https://twitter.com/Kellie_Doherty">Twitter</a&gt; (@Kellie_Doherty)<br><a href="https://www.facebook.com/KellieDoherty89/">Facebook</a><br><a href="https://www.instagram.com/kellie_201/">Instagram</a&gt; (@Kellie_201)<br><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Kellie-Doherty/e/B01M0JV1B4%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share">Amazon author page</a><br><br><strong>Kellie's Publisher:</strong><br><a href="https://desertpalmpress.com/">Desert Palm Press</a><br>Author Bio:
Kellie Doherty is a queer science fiction and fantasy author who lives in Eagle River, Alaska. When she noticed that there wasn’t much positive queer representation in the science fiction and fantasy realms, she decided to create her own! Kellie’s work has been published in Image OutWrite 2019, Astral Waters Review, Life (as it) Happens, and Impact, among others. She’s currently working on a five-book adult fantasy series. The first book Sunkissed Feathers & Severed Ties released in March 2019 from Desert Palm Press and won a 2019 Rainbow Award. The second book Curling Vines & Crimson Trades launched in November 2020!

Find Kellie:
Twitter (@Kellie_Doherty)
Instagram (@Kellie_201)
Amazon author page

Kellie’s Publisher:
Desert Palm Press