An Interview with Kimberly Shursen: Author
Sylvia: Welcome Kimberly. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Kimberly: From director of marketing to full-time author, three years ago, I took the plunge to leave my career and write. As a young widow, with my three boys on their own, I felt it was time to take a leap of faith and do what I love to do.
Two of my full-blown musical plays have been produced. “Eden” is set to re-open next year with a larger cast and orchestra. Each of the musicals took five years to develop.
Writing music is yet another passion. Political thriller Itsy Bitsy Spider is the story of the adopted daughter of a powerful mayor of Boston. Twenty-six-year-old Claire McCallin hears her three-year-old daughter singing Itsy Bitsy Spider and knows she is the only one who can protect her from her step-father, Mayor Jack McCallin. Not knowing who to trust, as the mayor has friends in “high places,” she entrusts Boston Globe reporter Matt Christenson who helps Claire and Lizzie escape the mayor’s Belmont mansion – but this is only the beginning of an edge-of-your-seat thriller as the mayor wants Claire and Christenson found and silenced before his “dark secret” is exposed and his empire comes tumbling down.
Sylvia: First, I am so sorry for your loss; I pray you’ve had a lot of support around you. Now, that book sounds very suspenseful! What inspired you to write your first book?
Kimberly: For years, I’ve read and heard the stories of child abuse. From Oprah to Roseanne Barr, the stories always seemed centered around those raised in a lower socio-economic group. Just as any disease, I knew that child abuse knows no boundaries and couldn’t just affect one specific group.
I began to wonder how many wealthy, powerful people have gone to their graves with dark “secrets,” and their victims were too frightened to tell. I wanted to bring to life a character who had been dominated their entire life, threatened that if she ever told the “secret,” bad things would happen. Claire McCallin became the young woman who, if she didn’t find her power, would never be able to save her daughter from going through what she experienced.
Sylvia: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Kimberly: My message is that if you are the victim of abuse, or any kind of abuse that threatens you, there is a way out. An angel is always waiting to help – you just have to reach out and find them. A better life is out there, but, in order to find it, many will have to reach down deep inside and find a power they never knew they had.
Sylvia: Now that’s powerful! Do you have any advice for other writers?
Kimberly: Treat writing as a business. Write everyday and set a goal for yourself. Hire an editor, but do not take the highest priced editor, or take their word that they are the best at what they do. I made a huge mistake the first time around. I did a lot of research and interviewing before I hired the editor for my second novel that will come out in October. My editor Joelle Walker is my partner – a person I not only like, but trust. An editor is the single most important investment you will make if you’re serious about becoming a successful author.
Sylvia: That is great advice. And yes, anyone that have a lot of influence on your business, should be someone you Know – Like – Trust! What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Kimberly: Six months before Itsy Bitsy Spider came out, I began marketing on Linked –in and Facebook. Gathering friends, however, for marketing your own work doesn’t work. You have to offer them your attention and genuinely become interested in who they are and what they do, and not just for the purpose of selling your goods.
I put together my website and then pulled together a group of thirty authors to interview. We are each others marketing group. In order to be interviewed, the authors had to promise to market each interview I put on my site on their social sites and/or blogs twice a week. If I saw they weren’t doing this, they were dropped from the group. Many of these authors have 500+ friends on their social sites, so each time they marketed an author, thousands were introduced to their novels. I wanted a cover that would draw attention and, although most women say they hate spiders, it seems to draw people in.
Sylvia: Now that is a brilliant marketing idea! Why should we buy your book?
Kimberly: You shouldn’t buy my book if you don’t like fast paced thrillers with twists you didn’t see coming. You shouldn’t buy my book if you don’t enjoy reading about someone who takes a stand against a rich and powerful politician. However, if this is your kind of book, I hope you enjoy Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Sylvia: Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Kimberly: I write in my office that overlooks a wooded yard. It is private and peaceful and George and Gracie Burns are on either side of me. George is an eight pound Yorkshire, and Gracie is an eight pound Bichon Havanese. They each have their own pillow they lay on and, after they have breakfast at five A.M.; they join me until three P.M.; when I finish either writing or editing for the day.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Kimberly: Hush is due to be released in October. The novel parallels the Roe v. Wade case that reversed abortion laws in l973. Set in a present day courtroom, Ann and Ben meet and fall in love, both feeling that they had known each other all of their lives. Both adopted, when Ann becomes pregnant and Ben unseals his adoption papers, a nightmare unfolds that will lead them to opposite sides of the courtroom. HUSH, the brain child of Ann’s lawyer, is the silent pro-life protest that sweeps the nation and makes international headline news. And when the CEO of a large pharmaceutical company in Switzerland hears of the case that could overturn the Supreme Court decision on abortion, he will stop at nothing to stop this trial as it will cost Biologue Pharmaceutical billions of dollars. Hush (hopefully) is another edge-of-your-seat thriller.
The book is NOT a political statement, but rather offers the message that “behind every silver lining is a touch of gray.”
Sylvia: Wow, you have such an imagination and to take on such a controversial issue! I would love to read that novel, so please let me know when it is published. How many times do you edit your work?
Kimberly: Dozens. Each word and every sentence needs to be concise in order to further the story in a clean, forward motion. I literally will edit one chapter for hours or days until I feel it’s ready for the press.
Sylvia: How do you know if you’re found the right editor?
Kimberly: There is no way to know for sure, but I look for honesty first. I feel short-changed with my first novel as I know if I had found Joelle first, it could have been even better. As a writer, we miss such things as using the same movement such as “shaking their head,” or “walking toward.” My editor points this out and asks me to change up the motion. Find an editor that can help with structure, not just grammar.
Sylvia: Is there another novel after Hush on the horizon?
Kimberly: Yes. I can’t wait to start. I am not an author, however, that will shell out book after book in a matter of a few months. I need time to investigate and research. Hush has taken months of research. I also run legalities by two lawyer friends so that I understand courtroom procedures and protocol, and the laws and verbiage I use are correct. I then needed to interpret the law so that an average reader like me would not get lost in legal mumbo-jumbo.
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Kimberly: Mine are three words – finding your power. In the novels that I write, there is no “taking back your power” as the characters are on a journey to discover their own power.
Sylvia: Thank you for sharing your story! Please share your social media and book contact information.
Kimberly: Thank you Sylvia. My contact information is below:
- Website: http://www.kimberlyshursen.com/
- Facebook: Author – https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kimberly-Shursen-Author/286879094678995
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimberlyShursen
- Personal: https://www.facebook.com/#!/kimberly.shursen?fref=ts
- Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/wwwkimberlyshursen
- Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Itsy-Bitsy-Spider-Kimberly-Shursen/dp/1481014587/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376922904&sr=8-1&keywords=itsy+bitsy+spider+and+kimberly+shursen
- Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7033946.Kimberly_Shursen
- Itsy Bitsy Spider trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBCKVrqqmU4