Kelley Grealis was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She has a B.A. in Accounting from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Masters of Business Administration from Cleveland State University. She has loved all things vampire since she was a little girl, and it was that passion combined with thirteen years of Catholic schooling, that inspired her to write THE DESCENDANT. She lives in a Cleveland suburb with her husband and their two cats. Kelley enjoys running, bicycling, motorcycle riding, gardening, and feeding the wildlife that visits her backyard.
What is the name of your book and if you had to sum up a description in 40 words or less, what would you say? The Descendant (Book 1 in The Descendant Vampire Series). Dubbed a vampire tale of biblical proportions, The Descendant reveals the biblical origin of the vampire through the experiences of a woman who discovers that she’s a descendant of the first vampire.
Where did you get your idea for your book? I wanted to write this book because I noticed that most vampire books and movies didn’t talk about the vampire’s origin; the vampire was always just ‘there.’ I’ve always loved vampires and I’m the type of person that likes to know the reason behind most things, so I really had to answer the question about how the vampire came to be for myself. I tie the vampire’s origin to popular biblical stories – Adam & Eve, Cain & Abel, the Garden of Eden, Noah & the Flood, and the plagues – but the book is set in modern-day.
Is your book part of a series? Yes, The Descendant is Book 1 in The Descendant Vampire Series. When I wrote it, I knew there would be a sequel (The Search, to be published fall/winter 2013), but I had no plans to write a specific number of books after the second. I didn’t want to force myself into a trilogy or a fourth book if the story line had run its course. However, as I was writing The Search, I realized that I wrote myself into a third book. I also plan to write other vampire stories using characters from The Descendant Vampire Series and show how those vampires influenced world history. I anticipate the stories to be a blend of paranormal and historical fiction. My intent is to make people think “what if” as I offer alternative events to what was actually reported to make people wonder if vampires really exist and could have influenced world events.
When did you publish this book? I published The Descendant on May 24, 2012.
What is the most important thing about your book you would like to share with potential readers? I wrote this book because it was the vampire novel that I had wanted to read. As I stated above, I had to answer for myself how the vampire was created as I hadn’t read a story that satisfied my curiosity. Also, although I tie the vampire’s origin to popular biblical stories, the book is not overly religious. I take elements from the most popular stories and spin them from there.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? Finding the time to write. I have a day job so I’m typically home after 5 p.m. I’ll grab something to eat and then try to write until 8 p.m. I cut myself off at 8:00 to spend time with my hubby. But life happens; things pop up during the week and on weekends that keep me from writing. Also, now that my first book is published, I spend a fair amount of time on marketing The Descendant. It’s a struggle to find balance between life, writing and self-promotion.
What is your next writing project? The Search, Book 2 in The Descendant Vampire Series. After that, I’ll work on the third book in the series. I also have plans for non-vampire books, including a political thriller and another story that I’m not sure how to categorize. My husband’s best friend died several years ago and he’s the inspiration for the story. His character will be playing matchmaker from heaven.
What formats is your book available in: eBooks, Paperbacks? Paperback and ebook. You can find paperbacks on Amazon, B+N and some other on-line retailers. If you live near Cleveland, OH, you can visit The Learned Owl Book Shop in Hudson and pick up a copy. The ebook is available in most ebook formats – Kindle, Nook, itunes, Sony, etc.
Where can readers find you?
What is your name and where are you located? Kelley Grealis; I live in a suburb outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
Do you write under a pen name? No
What books have influenced your writing? I’m asked this question quite often, and I really don’t know. When I was young, I read a lot of Christopher Pike. As an adult, I’ve read a lot of John Grisham and several books by Boyd Morrison. As you can see, I don’t read a lot of books in the genre I write. I suppose if what I’ve read influences my writing style, then these authors would be my influences.
What inspired you to first write? I wrote a lot of poetry and short stories when I was younger, but I pushed my creative writing aside in high school and college to focus on my studies. In 2009, a culmination of events lead me to rediscover my passion for writing. At that time, the company I had worked for was acquired, and the future of my job was uncertain. This caused me to reflect on what I was doing for a living and I realized that I was professionally unfulfilled. I considered this my career mid-life crisis. At that same time, I had just finished reading a popular series of books, the premise of which was so simple that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it myself. I stewed over this one evening before declaring to my husband that I was going to write a novel.
What have you learned the most about being a writer/author? One of the most important things that I’ve learned about writing is that there is a method to the writing madness. When I first wrote The Descendant, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I started writing the middle of the book, then went back to the start, then wrote the end, then attempted to edit it myself. It wasn’t the most methodical approach to writing a book. After taking some writing classes and participating in writing clinics, I learned about the 3-act structure, 9 plot elements, and lots of tips and techniques to improve my writing. I rewrote the book and used these techniques and wholeheartedly feel that my manuscript benefited greatly. Employing these techniques, I was able to considerably reduce the amount of time it takes to write a book. The Descendant was published 3 years after I started writing it. The Search is on target to be published in less than a year and a half from when I started writing it!
Do you see writing as a career? I do see writing as a career. I was inspired to write a book and share the story with the world. But I know that my work is a reflection of me, so I do as much as feasibly and economically possible to ensure I publish the best possible product. This means taking sufficient time to develop and write the story, engaging test readers, hiring an editor and a graphics designer. I ultimately view my reputation as being on the line, and even if you don’t like my stories, I hope that you can at least see that I’ve made the effort to publish a quality product.
Is there an Author that you would really like to meet? I would like to meet Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian. The book blends history with vampire lore and I’d love to hear about the research she did in Europe on Vlad the Impaler.
Do you have any advice for other writers? If you’re inspired to write a story, write it. Don’t try to fit yourself into someone else’s expectations; write what you want to write, the way you want to write it. Take some classes to learn the craft; there are inexpensive on-line classes out there. Put your best foot forward – hire an editor and a professional cover designer and if you don’t know how to format your files, hire someone to do that too. But above all else, have fun! If you’re not having fun, that will show in your writing.
What is the one most important thing others should know about you? Yikes! I really don’t know! I’m just your average person who has a day job and a passion to write the stories that pop into my mind. Writing doesn’t consume my life, but it is a big part of it. I may not make a living at writing, but it’s my writing that makes me feel like I’m living. Outside of my day job and writing, I enjoy motorcycle riding, running, cooking, gardening, and all sorts of sports.