Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Kelly Stone Gamble

Kelly Stone Gamble is one of my favorite people. Not only is she super freaking talented, but she is one of the nicest people I have ever met. The first two books of her Cass Adams series – They Call Me Crazy and Call Me Daddy – are absolutely fantastic… and yes I would say that even if I knew she wasn’t reading this. I read the first one in just a few hours, unable to put the book down. Book three of the trilogy – Call Me Cass – came out last month and I can’t wait to tear into that one… even if it does mean the end of the character that I have grown to love so much.

Meghan: Hi, Kelly! I am so excited to have you back on! Welcome back! It’s been awhile since we sat down together. What’s been going on since we last spoke?

Kelly Stone Gamble: Writing, writing, writing! They Call Me Crazy became a USA Today Bestseller last summer, and Call Me Daddy (the second book in the series) was released. Call Me Cass, the third and final book, was released on September 17, 2019.

Meghan: Who are you outside of writing?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I teach Literature, Humanities, and Professional Speech at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. I like to travel, rescue animals, and find ways to make the world a better place.

Meghan: How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Kelly Stone Gamble: They better! Ha! If I were to write a memoir I may not be as comfortable with them reading it, but I write fiction and I love knowing my family and close friends are supportive enough of my work to read it.

Meghan: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Kelly Stone Gamble: As a writer, I feel I experience the world differently. I notice colors and textures and sounds and scents. I watch people and learn how they interact, what motivates them. In other words, I experience the world with all my senses. I don’t know how that could possibly be considered a curse.

Meghan: How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I was born in, and still consider it my hometown, a small town in Kansas. The town is actually the inspiration for my fictional Deacon, Kansas. I love the Midwestern accents and vernacular of this area, and love peppering my work with the country metaphors.

Meghan: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Kelly Stone Gamble: Genital piercings. It wasn’t necessarily the subject that was strange, but the person I interviewed is a friend of my sons. So I knew him as a teenager, and it was weird talking with him about genital piercings. He’s a total professional, though, and I learned all (if not more) than I needed to.

Meghan: Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Kelly Stone Gamble: Always the middle. When I start a project, I know how I want to start and where I want to go. However, there are so many ways to get there!

Meghan: Do you outline? Do you start with characters or plot? Do you just sit down and start writing? What works best for you?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I definitely start with plot. Once I throw characters into the story, I have to learn about them, understand them, and usually end up rewriting a lot based on the personalities that emerge. As I said, my idea of “plot” is – this is where I want to begin and this is where I want to end up – I try to outline some, but I find it difficult to follow.

Meghan: What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline/plan?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I let them wander around and follow them! Afterall, it’s their story!

Meghan: What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I go for a walk, or on a vacation, or do something out of the ordinary. I don’t know why that works for me, maybe it sparks my creativity, but it seems to be effective.

Meghan: Are you an avid reader?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I love to read, however, I don’t have the time to read like I used to. I read a lot of student papers and a lot of unpublished or pre-release books.

Meghan: What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Kelly Stone Gamble: Anything by Clive Cussler, and well-written apocalyptic fiction.

Meghan: How do you feel about movies based on books?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I guess it depends on the book. Some stories are better suited for the screen, in my opinion. Others don’t really translate well without the internal monologue a book offers. My books? If anyone would like to make them into movies, I’m ready to talk!

Meghan: Have you ever killed a main character?

Kelly Stone Gamble: In the third and final book of my Cass Adams novels, Call Me Cass, I do kill one of the main characters. No spoilers!

Meghan: Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I enjoy their suffering as a means to an end. I really enjoy allowing them to get revenge when they have suffered at the hands of another.

Meghan: What’s the weirdest character concept that you’ve ever come up with?

Kelly Stone Gamble: Have you read my books? Ha!

Meghan: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I’m a very headstrong person, so it may come as a surprise to those who know me how seriously I take non-toxic feedback. Rebecca Mahoney, the editor I use for everything I write before anyone else sees it, has no problem telling me what works or doesn’t work. And I listen. The best feedback she’s ever given me? In my last book, she basically said “this (about 80% of the story) doesn’t work”, and I pretty much rewrote the entire book. She was right. It’s so much better than the first draft! Worst feedback? I don’t really know. I listen to all of it, however, I don’t always agree with it and ultimately, it’s my work.

Meghan: What do your fans mean to you?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I love my fans! Since my books are a little nutty, my fans tend to be a little more fun. I have some great pictures that readers have sent me showing my book in interesting locations, and I love it! It’s an amazing feeling when you write something that someone else likes enough to tell their friends about.

Meghan: If you could steal one character from another author and make them yours, who would it be and why?

Kelly Stone Gamble: Wow, I don’t even know how to answer that. I like my characters, I can’t think of any that I would rather write than my own.

Meghan: If you could write the next book in a series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I’d love to write a book 2 of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, where Edna doesn’t drown, but is saved by a passing fisherman and chooses not to go back to her old life.

Meghan: If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I would love to collaborate with Stephen King with a story set in the deep woods of the Midwest. Deliverance meets Misery. If you’re interested, Mr. King, call me. 😊

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

Kelly Stone Gamble: I’m always working on my historical fiction novel set during the building of the Hoover Dam, which seems to be my life project. I’m currently working on a story in its infancy that is so full of holes at the moment, I can’t even tell you what it’s going to be about. How is that for vague?

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Kelly Stone Gamble: Website ** Red Adept Publishing ** Amazon ** Facebook ** Instagram ** Twitter

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview or the last?

Kelly Stone Gamble: Appreciate each other, take care of yourselves, and be kind to animals. And keep in touch! I love to hear from my readers!

Kelly Stone Gamble is the author of USA TODAY bestseller They Call Me Crazy, Call Me Daddy, and Call Me Cass. She is an Instructor for Southeastern Oklahoma State University-McCurtain County Campus, and lives in Henderson, Nevada and Sawyer, Oklahoma (It’s complicated).

Cass Adams 1: They Call Me Crazy

Cass Adams is crazy, and everyone in Deacon, Kansas, knows it. But when her good-for-nothing husband, Roland, goes missing, no one suspects that Cass buried him in their unfinished koi pond. Too bad he doesn’t stay there for long. Cass gets arrested on the banks of the Spring River for dumping his corpse after heavy rain partially unearths it.

The police chief wants a quick verdict—he’s running for sheriff and has no time for crazy talk. But like Roland’s corpse, secrets start to surface, and they bring more to light than anybody expected. Everyone in Cass’s life thinks they know her—her psychic grandmother, her promiscuous ex-best friend, her worm-farming brother-in-law, and maybe even her local ghost. But after years of separate silences, no one knows the whole truth. Except Roland. And he’s not talking.

Cass Adams 2: Call Me Daddy

Cass Adams comes from a long line of crazy, and she fears passing that on to her unborn child. Also, she’s run over Roland and Clay’s surprise half brother Britt, landing him in the hospital. With her inner demons coming out to haunt her, she doesn’t know if she should keep the baby.

Clay Adams has his own decisions to make. His half brother shows up to tell him their father, Freddy, is still alive but needs a liver transplant. When Freddy blew out of town thirty-five years ago, secrets were buried. But it’s time for them to be dug up, because only then can Clay hope to lay the past to rest.

Call Me Daddy is a story of family, the secrets they keep, and to what lengths someone would go to protect them.

Cass Adams 3: Call Me Cass

Cass Adams is finally happy. She has a man who loves her, a family that understands her, and a baby on the way. Other than seeing the occasional dead person, Cass feels normal. But pregnancy has an unwelcome side effect. Cass is having visions of the future, just like Grams does. While some are cloudy, Cass knows one thing for certain. Her best friend, Maryanne, is going to die.

Police Chief Benny Cloud has his own problems. His father has been released from prison and is on his way home to surprise Benny’s mother, who’s been keeping time with the county sheriff. Fat Tina’s Gentlemen’s Club is under siege by protestors. And it’s growing dark outside.

A devastating storm is coming to Deacon, Kansas. In its wake, the town must deal with tragic losses that force everyone to reevaluate their lives.

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