Today I’m hanging out with author K. M. Robinson–who loves writing retellings as much as I love reading them!
We chatted all about how mean she can be to her characters, some of the highlights of her writing career, spilled some secrets for upcoming books, and she gave some advice for all you aspiring authors out there. Check it out!
1) To start off, tell us three fun facts about yourself!
- I have extremely long hair like Rapunzel, but as a kid, I always used to love it because it was mermaid hair. I occasionally shut doors behind me, make it several steps and then get yanked back because my hair was caught in the door.
- I’m a professional fine art composite photographer and a lot of my story telling images have inspired my books.
- I once made props for a Channing Tatum movie. If you scour my social media and videos, I’ve told fans which one it was once or twice. Do I know behind the scenes from when they were filming the movie? Why yes, yes I do.
2) For those who don’t know you yet, what kind of books do you write?
I’m a young adult writer of sci fi and fantasy with a strong emphasis on twisted fairytale retellings, dystopians, and mermaid books. On occasion, I dive into the world of cyberpunk and steampunk as well. My fans typically compare me to Hunger Games, Divergent, and Sarah J Maas books. My fans have also had to start emotional support groups after reading my stories because I’m a littleeeeeee mean to my characters and I put fans through an emotional rollercoaster….their words, not mine!
3) As a professional photographer turned author, what drew you in to writing fairy-tale retellings?
I’ve always loved fairytales, but more than the story itself, I loved discovering the “true” story behind the story. When I was a kid, I read a book where the Big Bad Wolf wasn’t really the villain and the little pigs were, so from that point on, I was always trying to see the flip side of the story. When I turned my photography business away from just doing typical portraiture toward storytelling imagery, I would frequently find myself portraying other sides to the characters I created in my images, many of which were fairytale inspired.
4) What’s your favourite way to interact with your readers and fans?
I’m actually a professional social media strategist, which means I teach entrepreneurs how to build brands through social media, so Live broadcasting, hosting online parties, posting photos and videos and talking in the comments are all incredible ways to get to know my fans, but I’ve even had the opportunity to email back on forth when fans reply to my weekly newsletters.
From a social media strategy standpoint, I know the algorithms favor video and Live video because that’s what most users consume, so I’ve strongly invested my time there and my fans show up when I go on air, even if it’s unannounced. It’s an incredible way to have real-time conversations with fans, answer questions, and show off exclusives. I’m on both Facebook and Instagram live several times a week, and even have a weekly talk show called Young Adult Edition where my co-host and I talk to authors and book world professionals about different book world topics. It can be joined Mondays at 10am EST on my Facebook Page.
5) Which is your favourite fairy-tale retelling of all time–and have you covered it in a book yet?
Goldilocks is my favorite because we share the same golden colored hair (none of that blonde nonsense the media portrays her as, but actual gold colored) and she was my debut novel. Goldilocks wasn’t naive, she was sent on a mission and Dov Baer is her new target.
I also have an absolute love for Rapunzel, which again, is a hair similarity thing. I haven’t written her story yet, but it’s on my massive to-write list.
6) What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently pounding out a few projects for the rest of 2018 and early 2019 including a twisted Hansel and Gretel retelling for a villains anthology (Hint: Hansel and Gretel’s witch…wasn’t) the next few books in the Legends Chronicles (Little Miss Muffet with a cyberpunk hacker twist) the next few installments of Virtually Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty is trapped inside a virtual reality game and can’t wake up in real life) the next few books in my mermaid series, The Siren Wars Saga, and a steampunk retelling, but the topic is top secret for now.
I also have a Jack Frost retelling called The Revolution of Jack Frost coming out this fall, the omnibus for the first trilogy inside of The Siren Wars Saga, and possibly a few secret tricks up my sleeve (I like dropping surprise books for my fans…on occasional random Tuesdays, they’ll open up my newsletters to find I’ve released a secret book…or two…because I’ve done a double surprise release before hahaa)
7) What’s one of the best moments you’ve encountered so far in your author career?
Well, I just got asked to be a panelist at Mer-Magic Con this coming February, so I imagine being able to speak on mermaids in the media is going to be a definite highlight (I might have just bought my dress of the mermaid ball a few days ago!)
I also had one of my books hit #7 on the entire Amazon book platform once, which was amazing. My fans and I had a great time celebrating that one!
8) Which do you prefer to write and why: standalone books or a series?
9) If you had one piece of advice for any aspiring authors, what would it be?
Protect your work viciously. Just because you get an offer on a book, doesn’t mean you should take it. I turned down several deals before I finally picked my path and I’m so grateful I did because some of those places weren’t a good fit for me and bad things were happening at some of those companies behind the scenes…thankfully I listened to my gut and avoided a bad situation with one of them.
Don’t ever sign anything without having a publishing lawyer look it over, even if you have an agent. Most lawyers work on a sliding scale based on the advance you’ll get, so it’s not terribly hard to find a pub lawyer you can afford, and some even do it for free. It’s worth it to protect yourself and make sure you’re being taken care of in a book deal. No one will protect your book but you.
Don’t get overexcited and sign something you shouldn’t. Wait until the timing and the deal is right, even if it means an extra few months or years. I paused my publishing career for an entire year after turning the last contract down (after a year and a half) and because of it, I was published at the right time and ended up as #7 in the entire Amazon store once…I doubt that would have happened if I hadn’t waited until the right publisher came along.
10) Finally, for those who have never read your work, which of your books do you recommend people start with?
If you’ve never read with me before and you’re looking to dive into a series, I vote The Jaded Duology. This is the one that caused my fans to need an emotional support group. Authors have called it the “YA Dystopian Mr. and Mrs. Smith” because you honestly don’t know what team everyone is on and not everyone may survive. It has some Beauty and the Beast vibes, but it’s not a retelling. Everything about it is just lovely.
But be forewarned, I don’t have a book out there where fans haven’t actively DMed me while reading to swoon over things (apparently I’m the “queen of kissing scenes”….not sure if that’s a good thing hahaa) and yell at me for being mean to my characters, so you’re likely going to want to reach out so you can talk about it with someone, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll throw the book across the room…and most people are left with what they call a “vicious book hangover” leaving them having trouble moving on to another book for a few days. Good luck, friends!
If you’re interested in checking out my books, Golden, Jaded, The Siren Wars, Along Came a Spider, And They’ll Come Home, and my short stories, Origins of the Siren Wars and The Sinking from inside of the Of The Deep Mermaid Anthology, are all currently free in ebook form everywhere books are sold!