Kirsty Dallas is the Best Selling and Award Winning Author of the comedy romance novel, Decker's Wood and the highly acclaimed Mercy's Angels Series. She has also written stand alone novels, Breeze Of Life, Violet Addiction and the award winning dystopian fiction, When Nothing Is All You've Got.
She is also a screenwriter who most recently embarked on a joint project with Director and screenwriter, Chris Sun. As co-writer and script editor on the film Boar, this highly anticipated horror has been signed to Universal Pictures Australia in 2017.
Because of her deep-rooted love for writing, she loves passing on the knowledge she has accumulated over the years to those just starting out. KD is more than happy to offer a mentoring partnership to debut authors, so feel free to PM her over at Facebook, or email any time.
Now, on with the interview...
ME: Let's start with a few personal questions. What is your favorite childhood book?
KIRSTY: Alice in Wonderland, although I think I’ve begun to enjoy it more as I’ve gotten older. The bright colours of wonderland and the extraordinary adventure Alice goes on is awe-inspiring.
ME: What is the first book that made you cry?
KIRSTY: The Bronze Horseman (that ending!!)
ME: Is writing your primary 'job' or do you have another source of income?
KIRSTY: I work 3 days a week as an optical assistant, we call it my ‘real’ day job.
ME: Do people around you know you write romance/erotica and what do they think about it?
KIRSTY: Yup, I have a very supportive crew around me. They all think it’s awesome and are constantly feeding me stories and information for my next book.
ME: Do you believe in writer’s block? If not why not? And if so what suggestions do you have to start the juices flowing again.
KIRSTY: Oh yeah, it’s not this mythological event that people whisper about, it’s a real thing. For me, a block in my creativity usually relates to my current state of mind, but after releasing Stupid Love, I hit a wall. For absolutely no reason what-so-ever, I just had nothing up there. And to top it off, I didn’t really care. I took that as a cue to take some time off, and after a few weeks my next idea just hit me out of the blue. When your creativity runs low, take it as a sign that you need a ‘time-out’, and I think anyone who suffers it should first and foremost, not freak out! Just chill, have a wine, enjoy having your quiet mind before the noise starts again, because it will, I guarantee it!
ME: Alright then, let's talk about your writing process for a bit. Are you a plotter or fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer?
KIRSTY: I always sketch a rough plot and I always deviate from it. I’m what you would call a ‘wander-writer’ (yep, I just made that up) For me, as the story progresses one word at a time, new paths appear and regardless of what I had planned, I love taking a chance on those new, unpredicted roads.
ME: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
KIRSTY: Depends on the book. Some of my books revolve around sensitive issues like rape, domestic violence and drug addiction. I think those topics deserve attention to detail. My research comes from Google, but I’ve also been known to reach out to doctors, law enforcement and the community for more personal information. For Violet Addiction (which dealt with drug addiction), I did actually talk to a number of former addicts to be sure my story was accurate.
ME: Would you rather write standalones, standalones with connections to your other works, or multi book series with no true conclusion until the very end?
KIRSTY: Ongoing series take a lot of commitment, and I’m finding after 4 years that commitment can get exhausting. I love to read interconnected series books, but they’re not my favourite to write. I actually prefer a stand alone.
ME: Where do your story ideas come from?
KIRSTY: Some deep, dark vault in the recesses of my mind…Usually when I’m in the shower. The amount of times I’ve had to nudie run to my desk dripping wet to jot something down is ridiculous.
ME: Do you ever base your characters, events or locations on real people, events or places?
KIRSTY: As a domestic abuse survivor I’ve taken some of my own experiences and inserted them into the Mercy’s Angels Series. Breeze Of Life was a road trip journey and a few of the spots visited in that book were places I had visited myself.
ME: Is there a character in one of your books loosely based off yourself?
KIRSTY: I guess Ella in the Mercy’s Series has many of my traits. Creativity, a foul potty mouth, strength with buried vulnerability. Saving Ella was my purging of a difficult time in my life, and I inserted a lot of myself into that character and story.
ME: What process do you use for selecting the names of your characters?
KIRSTY: For Saving Ella, my sister-in-law/P.A, Kylie, had entered a contest where she had to submit prospective character names. She didn’t win so I wrote her character names into my debut novel. Usually though, they are dragged out of that vault in my head I told you about. Occasionally I might use my trusty BFF Google if I’m looking for a name with a particular theme. Like my current project I wanted weird, bad guy names, and I’ve chosen demon names for my psycho bad dude characters!
ME: Who has been your most difficult character to write so far?
KIRSTY: Nada, from When Nothing Is All You’ve Got. Her environment molded her into a fascinating character and it was tricky to put myself in her position. While she was the most difficult to write, she was definitely the most rewarding.
ME: Have you ever killed off someone who pissed you off in one of your books?
KIRSTY: Not yet…but I did insert a character into Stupid Love that upset a friend of mine. #balloonlady #dontmesswithmycrew
ME: What was your hardest scene to write?
KIRSTY: The opening scene to Losing Lola. It was a rape scene and while it picked up at the aftermath of the rape, putting myself there, in that state of panic, it was difficult.
ME: Does writing energize or exhaust you, and why?
KIRSTY: Both. I love writing, I love imagining new worlds and taking the things I see in my mind and putting them to paper, but when you take it on as a ‘job’, there are new pressures introduced that can be tiring, especially if you work to deadlines.
ME: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal, and why?
KIRSTY: Maybe Kermit the Frog. Because he’s cool, calm, and collected, except when everyone around him loses their shit, then he gets all frustrated and blows his lid. After that though, he’s all cool, calm and collected again.
ME: Time for some advice for the budding novelists out there. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
KIRSTY: Start two years earlier, you missed the peek! Otherwise, nothing really, I’ve stayed true to who I am and what I write. I wouldn’t say I’ve nailed it, but I’m content with who I am as a writer.
ME: What are common traps for aspiring writers?
KIRSTY: Implausible plots and bad editing are probably the two I stumble upon most. It frustrates me no end when an editor misses plot inconsistencies. So get yourself a damn good editor.
ME: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
KIRSTY: On my editor :) We’ve now got this freakish, online ho-mance going on (she’s the ho, not me…#joking). She’s mine for life, I won’t share her. I adore her times a million.
Thanks so much for your time, Kirsty. Keep up the great work and we'll see you in September 2018!