Kendall Grey Interview

Written By: Kellie - Apr• 17•12

ReaWrite: Before we get started, can you tell us a little about who you are and your upcoming novel?

Kendall: I’m Kendall Grey, and I’ve been a whale addict for six years. My upcoming novel, INHALE, is the first in the JUST BREATHE urban fantasy romance trilogy. I jokingly tell people it’s a story about sex, whales, and rock ‘n’ roll, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Here’s the blurb:
Strangers in reality, inseparable in dreams…

After years of suffocating under her boss’s scrutiny, whale biologist Zoe Morgan finally lands a job as director of a tagging project in Hervey Bay, Australia. Success Down Under all but guarantees her the promotion of a lifetime, and Zoe won’t let anything—or anyone—stand in her way. Not the whale voices she suddenly hears in her head, not the ex who won’t take no for an answer, and especially not the gorgeous figment of her imagination who keeps saving her from the fiery hell of her dreams.

Gavin Cassidy hasn’t been called to help a human Wyldling in over a year, which is fine by him. Still blaming himself for the death of his partner, he keeps the guilt at bay by indulging in every excess his rock star persona affords. That is, until he’s summoned to protect Zoe from hungry Fyre Elementals and learns his new charge is the key to restoring order in the dying Dreaming. He never expects to fall for the feisty Dr. Morgan…nor does he realize he may have to sacrifice the woman he loves to save an entire country.

ReaWrite:- The most obvious question first… why did you decide to take the self-pub route rather than something more traditional?

Kendall: Rejection. Lots and lots of rejection. Hahaha! I pimped INHALE out to over 40 agents and editors and got nothing but form rejections. I finally attracted the interest of an agent from a big agency, but only after winning a 3-chapter critique from her through the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction (if you’re not familiar with it, check it out – GREAT cause!). The agent liked the story, requested the full, and later asked for a revise and resubmit. In the end, she rejected it. INHALE had finaled in a lot of contests that year, so I knew the book wasn’t terrible. I felt like I was really close, but New York just wasn’t buying what I was selling. Sick to death of hearing “no,” I vowed that agent’s rejection would be the last one I’d ever get, and I took matters into my own hands.

ReaWrite: Who do you imagine as your ideal reader and how do you keep that in mind when marketing Inhale?

Kendall: My target reader is the urban fantasy lover who likes her books with side of sex, graphic language, and violence. INHALE features whales, music, Elementals, alternative worlds, so appreciation for those things helps. My style is gritty and often metaphoric, which a lot of people don’t like. I don’t pull punches. I kick bad words around like flaming hacky sacks. The world is complex. Some readers have difficulty understanding it. There are lots of clues hiding among the words. Everything’s there for a reason, though it might not be evident until the second or third book. If you prefer to be spoon-feed information, this book is NOT for you.

How do I market all that? I don’t. My strategy was to send the book to any reviewer who’d read it and hope for the best. I also attempted to brand myself (I hate that term) by creating a Kendall Grey “personality” on Twitter and Facebook. I try to appeal to my target audience through outlandish humor and sarcasm. Maybe if they like my shocking Tweets, they’ll like my books too. ;-)

ReaWrite: How many hours a week do you put into promoting Inhale? Has this fluctuated at all since you first started promoting your book?

Kendall: Man, lately it feels like promoting is all I do. I wonder whether it will pay off. It’s the end of March as I write this, and I still haven’t finished the first draft of book 3 in the trilogy. I’m freaking out because marketing/promotion eats up so much time. I probably put in an average of 2-3 hours of promotion every day, and that number is growing as I get closer to release day. Securing reviewers, organizing big release day plans, social media, blogging, and a ton of other stuff I can’t talk about yet — these are all massive time sucks.

ReaWrite: Inhale has gotten some really rave reviews from the book blogging community and it’s not even out yet. What was the best part about working with bloggers? And, what was the most challenging?

Kendall: Thanks! I’m overwhelmed by the positive response INHALE has gotten so far. Compared to traditionally published authors, my numbers are a drop in the bucket. But for an unknown indie who never expected much success, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve met some truly amazing book bloggers on this journey, and I bow down to the power they hold. The right blogger with the right following can work miracles for an author. One well-known blogger posted a glowing review for me a while back, and my Goodreads “adds” spiked like mad in the two days following. That’s an author’s dream.

On the other hand, there will always be readers who just don’t get the book, and I’m a big baby when it comes to “bad” reviews. I take everything personally, even though I know I shouldn’t. I can rationalize that my stories are not for everyone, but I’m still disappointed when readers don’t dig the book. I feel as though I’ve failed them somehow. I guess my hardest challenge in working with bloggers has been a personal one — developing a thick skin.

ReaWrite: With less than a month until the official release date, is there anything that you would have done differently?

Kendall: Not really. I’m very pleased with how well the process has moved along. The only thing I might change for future books is my working timeline. I write and revise very slowly, and the fast pace I set for this trilogy is killing me at the moment. I will plan future self-publishing ventures a little more realistically.

ReaWrite: Do you have any advice you would offer to someone who is considering self publishing?

 Kendall:

1. Hire a professional editor.

2. Hire a professional cover designer.

3. Don’t be afraid to shell out a fair amount cash for these services. If you skimp on editing or a quality cover, the book WILL be subpar. Don’t give yourself and the rest of us a bad name. If you want respect, enlist professionals to help you.

ReaWrite: What’s next for Kendall Grey?

Kendall: I intentionally positioned several characters in the JUST BREATHE trilogy for possible books of their own down the road. These guys and girls have great stories to tell, and this world can take them in any direction. I’ve already drafted the first chapter and roughly plotted out my follow-up to JUST BREATHE. I’m really looking forward to writing that story.

I also have an idea for a totally different, off-the-wall book that my husband and I came up with. It’s a fantasy/supernatural comedy – no romance at all. The storyline has a Christopher Moore feel to it — silly, absurd, and ridiculous. But lots of fun. At least I hope so.

Thanks for having me on your blog again, Kellie!

ReaWrite: Thanks so much for being here!

Be sure to follow Kendall here, there and everywhere!

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One Comment

  1. Kendall Grey says:

    Thanks for asking me to do this super-fun interview, Kellie! I loved it!

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