Author Spotlight Interview: K. L. Bryce / Kayley Wood
Today’s Author Spotlight Interview is with K.L. Bryce, the author of Mean Crush, the first in the Unbroken series. Even though this is her first book under that penname, it made an immediate impact and has already left readers hungry for more – plus, you can find more of Kayley’s writing under her other penname, Kayley Wood.
HG: Firstly, WHO ARE YOU? Or more accurately – how would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
KLB: I’m a big goofball, really. I love to laugh and to make others laugh. I’m laid back and more of a peacemaker who avoids drama if I can help it, which is pretty funny since I write romance.
I love my friends and the amazing woman in my life who have helped shaped who I’ve become. I was very lucky to have a close relationship with my grandmother…a beautiful, sarcastic, funny, loving soul who was way ahead of her time. I’m blessed to have women I still call friends since grade school and high school, and a diverse family I love to pieces.
Fun fact: I used to do community theater in my early twenties and once sang a solo on stage. The twist? I hate singing solo on stage! Acting and dancing I loved.
Quick Favs (that isn’t writing): a good book I can’t put down, making music playlists, dancing or performing in the living room for my 9-year-old puppy (she lets me know if it’s really bad with a sigh and a turn of her head. If it’s good, I get a tail wag), bad jokes or “dad” jokes, and binge-watching a great series (sometimes when I should be writing!)
HG: So how did you get into writing? Have you always been a writer?
KLB: I’ve had a love for storytelling in all forms for as long as I can remember. There’s something almost magical and cathartic about living through a character and going through the journey and emotions along with them. I will confess that I did attempt my first novel at the age of fifteen. It was really bad. Think the worst soap opera plot ever created and that about sums it up. My only regret is I didn’t keep it. That handwritten catastrophe could serve for hours of entertainment and laughs.
HG: So, is Mean Crush your first ever title? What was the route towards getting it published?
KLB: Mean Crush is my first title published under K. L. Bryce. I have a romantic comedy series published under Kayley Wood. Since that series was more chick-lit style with no sex, I had decided to create a new pen name for a sexier series I had in mind. Although I still like to keep the same heart in my contemporary romances, I really wanted to give my characters and plot ideas more freedom to go darker, steamier, and curse to their heart’s content without offending my sweet romance fans who don’t prefer that type of romance.
HG: What have you got planned next? You say it’s book one of a series – when is the next one out?
KLB: I’m so excited and a little nervous about book 2. It’s the most angsty of any of my previous books with some intense scenes. The original plan was to publish around late June, but because of some last-minute gutting and changes, it looks like it will be pushed until sometime in July. I can write pretty fast when I’m in the flow, but slow when I’m stuck. I often find that if I’m stuck or need to force it, then something is wrong. This is when I go back and re-evaluate the outline and where I’m headed in the story. And I have to say the male hero is very adamant about how he wants his side of the story to be told lol. He’s so stubborn! But he’s hot and has a whole lotta heart, so I forgive him.
HG: What inspired Mean Crush?
KLB: I love the misunderstood alphas or bad boys in books (give me Darcy any day!) On the outside they may seem cold, aloof, or even jerks, but on the inside, they love deeply…or are at least capable of loving deeply for the right woman who melts the ice around their hearts. I wanted to do a series dedicated to misunderstood alphas with broken hearts, and how the love of their life finally mends it.
HG: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about writing on this journey?
KLB: Write what you would love to devour yourself. If your heart isn’t in it, it shows. Readers are smart. They are even forgiving of typos once in a while if they fall in love with the story and the characters. I find in romance, it’s not perfection readers seek, but all the feels! If you have your heart in your writing, then it reflects on the pages.
HG: So what’s the process of writing with you? What does actually WRITING look like to you? Do you schedule your writing time? Do you have a writing space or office? Or are you a laptop-in-starbucks kind of writer (not that we can be right now.)
KLB: You would never catch me writing in a café or anywhere in public. I mumble when I write. I sometimes talk out dialogue as I write, especially really intense or emotional scenes. I cry. I’m sure I would scare strangers in public with my writing process lol.
My writing space? Haha. My desk is a coffee table that pulls up like a TV tray over my lap, and the couch is my chair. Sometimes I sit on the recliner with a laptop where it was meant to be…my lap. I’ve never really been a desk person, but I do like to feel as comfortable as possible when I write.
My writing process? Oh boy. Well, the early stages are usually about an idea that I flesh out. I tend to come up with characters and a situation first. After that, I write a sort of skeleton outline, then a more detailed one. But once I start writing and get into the flow, the original outline pretty much goes right out the window because new ideas present themselves as I go. I always go with my gut on that and never force myself to stick to an original plan. If it excites me, I go with it.
HG: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
KLB: A little of both. I always plan to make sure I won’t write myself into a corner but have no problem changing things up as I go…especially when characters are more developed, and I understand them better.
HG: What is it you hope people get out of reading your books?
KLB: For romance, my goal is to write books that are hard to put down and gives all the feels. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when I pick up a book and stay up into the wee hours until I can’t keep my eyes open because I want to know what happens next. To be that immersed in a new world, story and the characters…there’s nothing like it. If I’m not hooked by the first chapter, I usually don’t continue. There are just too many books to be read out there, and I’m always searching for that book I want to devour until the end.
HG: Who is your favorite character from your books?
KLB: If I’m honest, it’s a character named Edgar Morgan from a contemporary fantasy/romance I haven’t published yet. He’s complicated, mysterious, and it would be so easy to call him a villain, but there are many ways he isn’t.
But that project is for another time. 😉
My favorite character in a currently published book? I don’t have a favorite one character, but I will say my favorite couple is Emma and Alex from my first published book, The Virgin Club. The fan-favorite couple? Many loved Logan and Mia in The Karma Book Club. But my favorite stories to write was definitely The Matchmaker Club and Mean Crush. I had such freedom in writing Mean Crush…and I may have a new favorite couple with Cruel Intent!
HG: What are you working on right now?
KLB: I’m working on finishing up Book 2 of my Unbroken series, Cruel Intent. The heroine of this story is Paige, Tabitha’s best friend from Book 1, Mean Crush. I’d say more, but there is an unexpected twist in the beginning that I don’t want to give away. 😉
HG: The only other thing I haven’t asked you is who your favorite authors and books are!
KLB: For a time, I was really into YA fantasy, dystopian, and paranormal romance such as The Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent, and still read both YA and adult now in those genres. The first book I’d ever wrote was a YA fantasy (unpublished.) I didn’t read many contemporary romances until I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. Now I have the luxury to try all kinds of new authors. Some indie authors I enjoy are Max Monroe, Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland (Hate Notes was the first I read by them and loved it!), Vicious by L. J. Shen, R.S. Grey is a fantastic rom com author, and there are so many more talented authors that are too many to name. I like to explore all types of contemporary romance from dark and steamy to light and fun.
HG: Where can people who have had their appetites whet find out more?