The first week of featured authors has been awesome! Closing out this week is Author Kai Leakes. She is a beast with the pen, Yawl!
Kai and I became connected via Facebook in the Reading in Black group. I love her work. The books in her Sineaters Devotion Book Series are phenomenal. I am a big fan. Lets give her a nice Kickin’ It With KeKe welcome!
Author Kai Leakes
Take a Journey.
Born in Iowa, but later relocating and raised in Alton, IL, and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was an imaginative Midwestern child, who gained an addiction to books at an early age. The art of imagination was the very start of Kai’s path of writing which lead her to creating the Sin Eaters: Devotion Books Series and continuing works. Since a young child, her love for creating, vibrant romance and fantasy driven mystical tales, continues to be a major part of her very DNA. With the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world, Kai Leakes hopes to continue to reach out to those who love the same fantasy, paranormal, romantic, sci/fi, and soon, steampunk-driven worlds that shaped her unique multi-faceted and diverse vision.
You can find Kai Leakes at: www.kwhp5f.wix.com/kai-leakes
“The Light Always Prevails.” - Kai Leakes.
KC: So tell us, how long you have been writing?
KL: Thank you so much Keke for inviting me on your blog! Hello readers! J Let’s see, I haven’t been writing long in my opinion. I wrote my first unpublished novel in 2007 and have been writing off and on between then and the release of my first published novel, Sin Eaters: Devotion Book One, which was in 2012.
KC: What genre do you write or prefer writing?
KL: I love writing speculative fiction namely Fantasy, and pararomance. Fantasy is my first love. I grew up imagining myself a mermaid, Storm or Phoenix, and a witch. I can lose myself in a fantasy and have a great time writing a story when not going through writers block.
KC: How did you know you wanted to become an author/writer?
KL: I don’t think I ever had that sense of, I was meant to be an author/writer. I literally just fell into writing out the stories that had always been floating in my mind due to depression and having a series I loved reading end, leaving me with nothing at that time to fall into as an emotional escape.
KC: What inspires you to write?
KL: Curiously enough, my inspiration to write is my selfish desire to see myself reflected in fantasy and romance novels. I became tired of reading about pale rosy skin the color of cream and Highland knights clashing together in wanton quivering love and lust. LOL. I wanted to see myself in that. I wanted to imagine myself being desired by an African prince or warrior. Or a Tuskegee airman. I wanted to see a black girl being cherished, desired and loved, but who was a kick-ass witch, or vampire, or slayer. So, I fell into writing to give the little kid in me and later women who desired to read such literature.
KC: That is amazing! And I, being a woman of color who loves to read genres that don’t always include urban or street lit, appreciates you greatly.
KC: What message do you want readers to take away from your work?
KL: I’d love my readers to gain a sense of pride and awe. I want them to love the color of my world. To see how friends, lovers, families, unite through challenges, battle evil, fall in love and kick ass in a magical world.
KC: Yassss! Hunty! LOL…Reminds me of a scene from one of your books.
KC: How would you describe your writing style?
KL: My style, I’m still learning, but basically, it’s an eclectic freeform manner. I enjoy writing in second-person, but I’ve been challenging myself to write 1 person, as to broaden my style.
KC: Who are some of your favorite authors?
KL: I am so a reader! I used to be married to Barnes and Nobles, that’s how much I loved to read. L.A. Banks helped me during the time I was going through my depression and trying to find my writing voice. Tananarive Due – She may not know it, but her advice led me to L.A. Banks and after gave me the support I needed in becoming a writer. Brenda Hampton – Her books introduced me to Contemporary Romance. Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Anne Rice, Nora Roberts, and Jacqueline Carey. Several others from my childhood are Bram Stoker, Anne M. Martin, R.L. Stine, Shakespeare, and Jane Austin. I have more, but I’m keeping it light. LOL.
But I will add, currently, in my library, I have Daniel José Older, and I know without a doubt that he’ll end up being one of my favorites. :)
KC: You and I have so much in common it’s ridiculous. No wonder I gel well with you and your stories. Thank God for Facebook! Hopefully, we’ll get to meet face to face someday. I have so many friends to meet.
KC: What are some of your favorite books?
KL: L.A. Banks Vampire Huntress series, Crimson Moon Series and more. Brenda Hamptons Naughty series. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. I loved Bram Stokers Dracula, Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.
KC: More things in common.
KC: What is your formula when working on a new project? (Do you listen to music, use an outline, meditate, or simply start typing?)
KL: I use Music, and flow-writing, meaning I just start typing.
KC: If you could collaborate with any of your peers, who would it be and why?
KL: I’m not sure. I was given the chance of doing an anthology with Brenda Hampton, but to actually write with her would be awesome. Had L.A. Banks still been alive, it would have been one of my dreams as well and okay…I’ll add Daniel José Older because his energy is awesome. I’d learn so much from him as well.
KC: I’ll definitely have to add him to my list of authors to read. You’ve mentioned him a few times.
KC: What advice would you give aspiring authors?
KL: I say write because you love to create. Write because it’s your passion and write to bring change to the literary world. It’s not easy to do this, especially if you’re broke and wish to publish independently, but write anyway. Write on your own time, when you can, and when you want too, and a little pressure is good, but don’t let it consume you.
KC: Wonderful words advice, Kai.
KC: What are you reading currently?
KL: I have on queue Nikki-Michelle’s ‘Bi-Satisfied’ and Daniel José Older’s ‘Shadowchaser.’
KC: How can readers find you?
KL: Readers can find me at my Website: kwhp5f.wix.com/kai-leakes
As well as the majority social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter (@kaileakes), Tumblr.
KC: As an author, do you think using social media is a great source for gaining new readers/supporters?
KL: I feel it’s a great source. I’ve meet so many awesome writers and readers because of it. It’s also important to me in regards to marketing and sharing my books. If you read, please leave reviews, be it good or bad or just a star. It’s so important for use writers because it helps in sharing our brand with a wider audience.
(Actor Tony Todd—He played “Candyman” and the spooky morgue attendant in two of the “Final Destination” movies in case you don’t know him. He also starred in Night of The Living Dead, and The Crow)
( Actor Doug Bradley—Pinhead from the movies Hellraiser at Candian Comic Con 2016)
KC: Tell us about your latest work?
KL: Currently, I have Rebel Guardians: Sin Eaters Chronicles (Behind The Books). This is a mini novella series meant to give readers a little glimpse into what the other team members from the Sin Eaters Devotion Series, are doing. R.G. allows the reader to reintroduce themselves to the youngest members of the SE team, Dare and Take as they take on their first mission as Guardians. Their journey will lead into the future book three to the Sin Eaters Devotion Book Series.
KC: *clapping hands* I cannot wait!! LOL
KC: What’s next for you?
KL: What’s next is to finish up the 2nd half of the Rebel Guardians (BTB) and finish my first full Afro-steampunk novel, currently titled “Pulse”.
KC: Do you believe networking is crucial to being successful in the writing industry? Why? Why not?
KL: First let me say, I am not a good networker. I’m super shy and quiet when it comes to talking in public. However, yes, networking is crucial to at least building a writer’s brand and experience. I’ve learned so much as a growing writer because of the few networks I have, and I’m very thankful for them all.
KC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
KL: In five years? Hmm…I’m not sure. Let’s say I hope to see myself on the New York Times Bestseller List with a writing award and on screen. LOL.
KC: Where do you want to be with your writing in five years?
KL: I hope to really just get better at my writing and create characters and stories that inspire others and are memorable in a positive way. I hope to have published some children books, YA and NA books, and continue my love of writing speculative fantasy and awesome supernatural entities.
KC: Tell us something that you live by daily, that we can carry with us that should inspire and motivate us to pursue our purpose?
KL: Take life as it comes. Don’t let it consume you, but let it motivate you.
(The Taste of STL—book signing)
KC: I like to incorporate fun and excitement into my blog interviews during the author spotlight segment. This gives readers insight as to who you are as a person. Fun facts are my way of doing so, plus, I get to learn something about you too.
KC: What is your favorite color?
KL: Okay, the fun stuff! Purple.
KC: What is your favorite food?
KL: Funnel cake.
KC: What is your favorite pastime?
KL: Sleeping. LOL Watching TV.
KC: Football or basketball?
KL: Eh…both if I have too.
KC: Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
KL: LOL!!!! Back when I was just a wee tike (Only in my mid-30’s people LOL), I’d say MJ all day!!! Currently, I still say that, but….Lebron’s okay. LOL
KC: Thanksgiving or Christmas?
KC: Books or movies?
KL: NO FAIR!!! LOL. I guess, looking at the library I wish to have…books.
KC: Winter, spring, summer, or fall?
KL: I like Spring and Fall equally.
KC: If you were allowed only one thing with you during the day, what would be the thing you pick?
KL: My laptop.
KC: Breakfast or Lunch?
KL: 2nd breakfast precious. Or what I enjoy calling brunch! Ha! I get both. :)
It has been great having you Kickin’ It With KeKe today, Kai. I cannot wait to read the rest of the Sin Eaters Devotion Book Series. I gotta know what happens, happened, or will happen in the future. Those characters are one of a kind, whom I am rooting for. I wish you continued success. Thanks, my friend.
Until next time Be Inspired, Be Encouraged, & Be YOU!
Checkout out Kai’s book trailer by clicking on the link: