Monday, March 1, 2010

Interview with author CK Kelly Martin

Today I'd love to welcome young-adult author C.K. Kelly Martin to Books Obsession, for an interview! She has the written the books One Lonely Degree and I Know It's Over; along with her soon to be published book, in May, The Lighter Side of Life and Death.

What is your favorite thing about being an author?

It’s sort of like being an actor in that it almost feels like you get to emotionally experience several different lives. That’s pretty magical.

Was it difficult writing I Know It's Over from the boy's point of view?

I didn’t find it especially difficult writing from a boy’s point of view (The Lighter Side of Life and Death, which is coming out in May, is also from a guy’s POV) but because I wrote I Know It’s Over after finishing a trilogy (as yet unpublished) about a female character it was sort of hard to get her way of thinking out of my head initially. Once I really figured out who Nick was, though, the story just flowed.

Which of your books is your favorite?

Of the published ones I don’t really have a favourite but overall I love the trilogy the most because I spent three books with those characters, and also because it’s set two-thirds in Ireland which, as a place, to me feels kind of like the guy/girl you know you can never really get over. Plus, it’s a first love story and they were the first books I wrote so all round when I think of them they have that ‘first cut is the deepest’ vibe.

When did you decide you wanted to be an author? If you hadn't become one, what do you think your profession would be?

I started writing (and illustrating) my own little books when I was seven so I think I even knew then but I didn’t figure out that I wanted to try YA until 1999, after I got addicted to repeats of Party of Five. Now I’m totally hooked on YA and have a difficult time imagine writing for another age group. My degree is in Film Studies so I can sort of envision being a film critic. If not that it would probably have to be some other creative job but I’m not sure what.

Which of the covers for your books do you like the best? Did you have any input in the creation of it?

So far the cover for One Lonely Degree is my favourite because the models look so close to my mental image of Finn and Jersy. I love the chemistry but tentative quality you can see between the two of them in that cover shot. Usually my editor asks if I want to throw an idea into the pot and she and the designer also have various ideas and between all the different concepts (and considering the material they can get a hold of stock photo wise or, if there’s a photo shoot, what the results of that are) they see what works best. There have been covers I wasn’t very keen on and I was lucky that my editor really wants me to be happy with the cover design so when that’s been the case they’ve gone back and come up with something new that everyone approves of.

Have any projects/books you're currently working on?

I recently finished a YA book that has an other-worldly element too it (though I wouldn’t quite call it paranormal) where one of the main characters is really damaged because of something terrible he considers himself responsible for and desperately wants to change, but can’t. Hopefully I’ll be able to reveal more details about it as time goes on!


Now for some fun questions!

Good, good, bring on the cupcakes!

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

The biggest one by far would be Coca-Cola. I don’t like coffee so Coca-Cola is my big caffeine supplier and if I don’t manage to drink one by about one o’clock obtaining a Coke really starts to preoccupy me. It can’t be Pepsi either. I will go out of my way to track down a can of Coke and was incredibly disappointed when, for the first time in decades, I was forced to ask for Pepsi instead because I was on a flight that had no Coke. I don’t like the fountain version of Coke nearly as much as the bottled or canned so I always smuggle a proper Coke into the movies with me. There have been so many pictures of me taken holding cans of Coke over the years that they could make up a photo album themselves.

Also cupcakes (anybody who goes to Vancouver seriously has to visit one of the Cupcakes locations - they’re the best!). As far as TV goes, The Trailer Park Boys and Stargate Atlantis. I’m so disappointed that the SGA TV movie has been delayed.

Which cartoon character is your favorite?

I’ve always been a big Snoopy fan. My stepmother gave me a gorgeous huge plush Snoopy for Christmas years ago and he lives in my bedroom, on top of the TV. I’m a huge Tintin fan too (bought the entire series over time with allowance money when I was a kid) and read them all so many times that they’re completely falling apart.

If you could go back in time to any point of your life, when would it be?

I had such an amazing time living in Dublin, Ireland in the early to mid-90’s. Met so many incredible people and the place had such a buzz about it. It’s still very cool, of course, but there was something about that time that was really special and the people who were there with me then know what I mean. It was just so vibrant and fresh (totally unjaded) and everyone I knew at the time was trying to work stuff out and didn’t completely have it together but we all felt okay about it because we were all in that same headspace. That was before cell phones and the Internet and tons of techie gadgets so people were more grounded in the moment, which was another positive thing about it. Actually, if you listen to the Song After Hours by We Are Scientists it feels so much like that time and place to me. (Wow, I LOVE that song! It's definitely my favorite of theirs. [: )

Where's the most exciting place you've ever visited?

I don’t think I’ve been enough places to fairly judge but I get giddy just thinking about London (or seeing it in a movie) and tend to think of it as the centre of the universe. I’ve been six times over the years and hope to be back many more!

Thank you for answering my questions, C.K.!

Thanks so much for having me visit, Ashley!


  1. Insightful interview. Is she available to answer a question? If she is, I was wondering if she ever finds immersing herself in a character's personality tiring.

    She compares it to acting, and I've dabbled in both acting and writing, and one thing I found is that it's exhausting to give yourself completely over to a whole new character, with all of his/her emotions, etc.

    I was wondering if it was just me, or if she sometimes feels this way too? Thanks!

  2. Great interview. I'll be on the lookout for Miz Martin :P

  3. Awesome interview! I loved all the questions. I will
    for sure be looking for her books. =)

  4. Thanks, Dannie & Bere! And Judith, I do feel like it's an energy drain and almost like I'm in another world and that it's difficult to come back to this one. It's like a trance state, I guess. It's interesting that you've noted that same thing in both acting and writing. Glad to know I'm not the only one. Thanks for raising the subject!

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