Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kayelle Allen Talks About Covers

This week we’re going to find out a little about author Kayelle Allen. April‘s theme is ‘Covers’ so Kayelle will be talking about book covers. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
And I'd like to apologize to Kayelle, because I messed up a couple of her answers in the middle of this blog. But they are fixed now.
Kayelle Allen is a best-selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr. She writes Science Fiction, Science Fiction Romance, Mainstream Fantasy, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance, Gay Romance, and non-fiction. She is a current nominee for the 2016 Ariana Cover Art Award, the winner of the 2010 EPIC award for Science Fiction and the 2008 Honorable Mention for Science Fiction Fantasy. Kayelle likes to attend Science Fiction conventions and has been a speaker at DragonCon, GaylaxiCon and NerdaCon. She holds an honorary lifetime membership to OutlantaCon, an Atlanta Scifi convention where she is often a panelist. Kayelle is the founder of the author-mentoring group Marketing for Romance Writers and manages the successful Romance Lives Forever blog, where readers can meet authors and find new books every day.

Beverley: How important are book covers in marketing your books?
Kayelle: I consider them vital. If a cover can induce someone to click it or pick up the book, then the blurb and a few pages of the story will do the rest
Beverley: What elements are important in the design of a cover?
Kayelle:  They must be clear and easy to read in thumbnail size, have a large font for the title and/or author name, and should fit the genre. I once saw a cover that had an old west style six-shooter and leather holster, but when you looked at the blurb, the story was set in outer space. It always wondered if there was a western novel somewhere with a spaceship on it. At first glance you should know the genre, author, and title. If those three things are obvious, then the rest is easy to manage.
Beverley: What don’t you like on covers?
Kayelle:  I'm not a fan of covers with 3D CGI people on them, especially ones that have faces with no expression. If the book has a cheap cover then I wonder what the writing inside the book must be like.
Beverley: If you self-pub, do you design your own cover or hire someone? Which ever you do, why did you go this route?
Kayelle:  I am self published and have the rights to all my books. Since I have training in graphic design, I create my own covers. I have done cover design for small press publishers and my private clients. When I'm working on a book, I create the cover first. I'm a visual person and having that cover helps me gel the story. I think a picture is worth far more than a thousand words.
Beverley: Is there a difference between an e-book and a paperback cover? If yes, what is it?
Kayelle:  An eBook cover only needs a front. A paperback needs the front, back and spine.
Beverley: Tell us about the cover of your latest book.
Kayelle:  It's science fiction set in the far future and opens on a space station in a section of the galaxy called The Colonies of Man. I wanted plenty of blue to contrast the bright red of the title. The words "Bringer of Chaos" are in a font called Sabotage. It's jagged, raw, and spattered -- and perfectly matches the personality of the hero, Pietas. I purposely wrote the title sideways and out of alignment to emphasis the chaotic nature of the hero as well.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Kayelle: Since I could hold a crayon. But professionally, for thirteen years.Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Kayelle:  I write in several, including science fiction, science fiction romance, mainstream fantasy, contemporary romance, holiday romance, gay romance, and non-fiction. I have varied interests and if a story appeals to me, I want to pursue it. I've never believed in limits when it comes to writing.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Kayelle:  My mother was a writer and though she had only one poem published, she wrote many stories. I always thought it would be cool to do that. In high school, a literature teacher opened the door to writing by revealing how various writers pulled us into their stories. I was fascinated by that. But it was books by Anne Rice, Mary Renault, and Heather Gladney that propelled me into the business. I loved their books and wanted to write like they did. I studied everything they wrote, trying to understand how they made me see, feel, taste, hear and smell their worlds.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Kayelle:  I was told when I was in my forties that I'd never be published because I was too old. It took me a while to overcome that and try, but my first book came out at fifty-three. I'm in my mid sixties now and have thirteen books and several short stories. I'm producing work all the time. If I had to write all the stories I have plans for before I die, I would live forever.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Kayelle:  Music, movies, a drive, walking in the park, talking to other writers... I am a creative person and have no shortage of ideas. I can get a spark of excitement from anything.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Kayelle:  Criticism. Not critiques - negative criticism. I think most writers are this way. You get a bad review and it throws you off. I have to let myself deal with the negativity for a bit before I can get back up and move forward. But I do move forward.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Kayelle:  Nearly every day, I have a glass of low fat milk, a banana, and a dark chocolate almond Zone Perfect bar. Once a week I have something like eggs and grits, or I go out for breakfast with a friend. Bacon, egg and cheese biscuits are my favourite. I don't like to change my routine for breakfast because I write when I first get up. I don't want to waste time or energy trying to make a decision what to eat. I can grab these and go.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Kayelle:  Comfy clothes. Usually a T-shirt and pants. I seriously do not own a dress. There is not a single one in my closet and I have no immediate plans to buy one. I am not a girly-girl. I don't wear earrings or much in the way of jewellery. I don't take off my single gold band wedding ring (no stones in it). When I pack for a trip it's quick and easy.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Kayelle:  At my desktop computer. I have a tablet and Smartphone and I keep notepaper near me, but the PC is my favourite input tool.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Kayelle:  I will laugh myself sick watching the Roadrunner cartoons. I used to watch them with my father as a girl and I think that's where my love for them started.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Kayelle:  That's very tough. Houston Havens is one of my closest friends. She lives in Florida and we talk almost every day by phone or Skype, but we've never met in person. I've designed multiple covers for her books and dozens of promotional banners. I'd dearly love to sit down and talk to her face to face and give her a huge hug. Now if you were wanting me to name a celebrity, it would be Lee Pace who played Elven King Thranduil in the Hobbit films and portrays Joe McMillan in Halt and Catch Fire. I'd love to see him as my character Pietas. He'd be perfect and I know Lee would do him justice.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Kayelle:  I should probably say rest because I tend to be busy all the time, but if I could do anything I wanted I would most likely write.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Kayelle: I'm writing the sequel to Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. This book is Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire and picks up where the previous book ended. Both books have been cathartic for me. Pietas was the villain in most of my other books. When I was trying to write one in particular, I kept doing rewrite after rewrite. I didn't understand the motive for Pietas. So I decided to write an origin book and use what I already knew about him to put it together. He was more complex than I ever expected! I've spent the last two years getting to know him. Surprisingly, he isn't a villain at all. He's working in a behind the scenes way to create a catalyst that will change everything in my story universe. I had written all the clues already but hadn't put them together. Odd, how the writer sometimes is the last to know! But true.
This series is science fiction, set hundreds of years from now. My other series features the same immortal characters and is set thousands of years in future.

Blurb for Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas
The immortal Pietas leads the fight against his people's oppressors: humans. To end the war and save his kind, he agrees to exile. But when he submits, he's betrayed and imprisoned within an unpowered lifepod. His unlikely ally is Six, a human. Though Six captured Pietas, he had no part in his betrayal. Together, they must cross an alien world and find the other Ultras. That is, if they can overcome their desire to kill one another...

Blurb for Forged in Fire
A step beyond human, the Ultra known as Pietas inspired fear in humanity, but his scientist side instilled terror. Detractors among his kind betrayed him and humans isolated him and half a million of his followers on an alien world. Left without food, shelter, or a means of escape, death would be imminent for anyone else, but no matter how many times Ultras die, they come back. On the planet Sempervia, with its lack of resources, death will not be a mercy. Immortality breeds endurance and a good soldier is endurance made flesh. But how much pain can a soldier--even an immortal one--endure?

Buy Links:
You can find all of them on my books page.

You can find Kayelle at:
Kayelle's Books
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Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and next week we’re talking about Heroine’s.


  1. Welcome Kayelle! Loved your thoughts on covers. I do the cover after I finish the story. It's like a reward for getting it all done! :)

    1. Once I have the book in mind, the cover comes easily. I create it and then use it as an inspirational point. I have covers for books I haven't begun to write. In fact, I have the entire Bringer of Chaos series set in one beautiful banner. Each book already has its tagline and a bare bones plot. I tend to be a plotter by nature. However, once I start writing, my characters often redirect the story and it ends up going somewhere completely different. So kind of a pantser too. I call myself a plotser. ;o But the cover is a big help for me in writing.

  2. Good morning, Kayelle and Beverley! and many smooches. I was really struck, Kayelle, about people saying you were too old in your forties to write and publish. Should Betty White stop acting? Heck no. And your thoughts on book covers are very helpful. This one you features is very striking!

    1. Thank you. I look back on that now and want to smack myself for ever seriously considering that to be true. But then, that was back in the dark ages. lol ;)

  3. Beverley, no worries. It seems sometimes that if one thing goes wrong, it cascades like a snowball going downhill. As Pietas would say, "I've had lives like that." ;) Honored to be here.