IHS: Welcome, KC! Thank you for being with us today. I’m really excited to have you here! Tell our followers who you are, what city you're from.
KC: Yes! Great! Glad to be here. My name is KC Dunford and I'm joining from Salt Lake City, Utah and I’m from Arizona in a little town called Snowflake. It's a really, really little town so maybe you haven't heard of it but It's a good place.
IHS: What a cool name - Snowflake, huh?
KC: Yes - people think Snowflake, Arizona sounds like a contradiction because Arizona is a desert, you know.
IHS: Yes definitely! But now you live where?
KC: Salt Lake City. I just recently moved to Salt Lake.
IHS: Nice! what do you love about Salt Lake?
KC: Well it’s nothing like Snowflake, not speaking about the people or anything but the weather.
IHS: The weather?
KC: It’s got spring, summer, and winter all rolled in one.
IHS: Okay, sounds nice. Now we just finished up the Audio on your book Lost Illumination. Can you tell our followers a little bit about your book?
KC: So, Lost Illumination is the story of warriors who are actually in charge of keeping the world safe from these demonic monsters called Skathe. And in the dark, the Skathe became so powerful and they start taking over the whole world. So these warriors called the The Great Aldrics decide they are going to have to create a separate realm where they would banish these Skathe so they couldn't control the world anymore. But they ended up losing the war and the Skathe trap them in the dark world. The way to escape this realm is to bring in a person from the real world to help them fight the Skathe and break the curse and save the world from these monsters. That's where my character comes into play as Christian, the boy who was called in they teach him their magic and to hopefully beat the monsters.
IHS: What was your favorite part of the audiobook process and having your book come to life?
KC: My favorite part was hearing the narrator’s enthusiasm and her unique voices for my characters. She is especially good at doing the voice for Christian, who is a 13 year old boy. When I was selecting the narrator for my book, I was almost certain that I would choose a male since the protagonist of my story is male. I was however, open to hearing female narrators as well. The minute I heard Becca’s audition, I knew she was the one I wanted and I was so excited to work with her!
IHS: What was your muse or inspiration for this book?
KC: The inspiration for my writing comes from many places. Ideas often come during my morning walks, while taking showers, or when falling asleep at night, but I do specifically remember the first time I thought of the basic concept for Lost Illumination. Several years ago, I was taking a walk when I noticed the reflection in a particular puddle of water. The trees and sky were reflected so clearly that it almost seemed like I could have hopped inside and found myself in another world. That’s when I got the idea to create a story where someone travels through a puddle of water and ends up in another realm. I went home and wrote the idea down in my journal. Soon after, the name for the villains of this story came to me in a dream. In this dream, I was a princess running away from a demonic monster that called itself a “Skathe.” I woke up and wrote the name down because it was perfect. The name “Christian Bennett” comes from a cousin I really liked growing up and a teacher I loved in junior high. The name “The Great Aldrics” also comes from a teacher I had in second grade. So as you can see, there is never one single source of inspiration. Good ideas can be the result of hours of brainstorming, or a great idea can hit me out of nowhere! So little by little, you know inspiration just comes to you and it's never from one particular place.
IHS: Great answer, okay cool. So, is your primary business writing?
KC: I would say that my primary business is actually being a wife and being a mother. I put that first. Writing is my passion and my drive and being a mom it's the most important it's really fulfilling for me. My husband comes home and there's a peace and calm that he comes home to whenever he has a stressful day at work, he comes home to a clean house and a happy baby and a cooked meal, you know, it's a good feeling. Writing also brings me a great sense of accomplishment, so I make time to do it every day. The best part about writing is that I do it “for fun” but it is also a productive activity that gives me the opportunity to provide a side income for our family. Besides writing, I (obviously) love to read. I particularly enjoy suspenseful stories, young adult fantasy, and historical romance. My favorite authors are Julia Quinn, Dean Koontz, Kiera Cass, and Stephen King. A few of my other hobbies include drawing, painting, going for walks, and teaching dance.
IHS: Yes! I'm a mom too so that resonates really well for me. And this company was actually created with my son.
KC: Yes! I remember Drew was the one I first talked to!
IHS: Yes. Cool! Okay, next question. Many authors are not audiobook listeners by nature, have you ever listened to an audio book before your own?
KC: Yeah I love to listen audio books. I've been doing it for years. And actually the first time I downloaded an audio book was to listen to it at the gym and then I was just hooked after that. I almost always have an audiobook now to help me during housework or while I'm taking walks or trying to fall asleep, road trips, you know. And it can be hard for a busy mom to find time to actually sit down with a real book so audiobooks for me sometimes is the way to go. So yeah, I love audio books.
IHS: We have a downloadable PDF called 6 Reasons Your Book Needs to be an Audiobook NOW!. I think one of them things is that you're getting to people who have busy hands but open minds. Good point! So, next question… When you were listening to your narrator auditions, what was it like to hear your book get voiced by different people? Just the auditions part.
KC: On the auditions I was really surprised at how unique the mood of each clip sounded with each part because just the tiny little quirks and different intonations that each person has it really changed the story for me and even just that small clip. So it was exciting to hear that and also to hear just a part of it read out loud by someone who wasn't a friend or a family member, that was kind of magical so that's cool.
IHS: I like that word. Okay very good. What were you most worried about when starting with the audio book process? Did that worry happen or was it totally unjustified?
KC: The thing I was most worried about when starting the audiobook process was that it would be difficult to get in contact with I’m Hearing Stories and that might be treated like a number rather than a person. I have had this experience with publishers in the past. Thankfully, this fear could not have been further from the truth! Any time I had a question or a comment, I received a quick personal response, usually within a day, and was treated with respect. It was honestly so easy to work with Kimberly and her team! Another fear that I have had is that once the process of creating the audiobook is complete, my story and I will be written off and the team will move on to other “more important” projects. I would hope that I’m Hearing Stories is committed to the continual success of their authors. Now that I have worked with this great company, I feel confident in their work.
IHS: Wow thank you for that. I appreciate those kudos and good press! All right, in hindsight was there anything that you actually probably should have been worried about instead of that?
KC: No. On the contrary I was pleasantly surprised by how easy some of the process was. There was nothing that caused me worry or stress during the creation of this audiobook. On the contrary, was pleasantly surprised by how easy and smooth the process was. It was absolutely wonderful to have promises and expectations fulfilled in a timely manner.
IHS: Great. So let’s talk about reviews. Do you read your reviews and do you read your listener comments? And what do you like to see most and what makes you most nervous?
KC: Yes I always read my reviews. I think that's really important because writing is something obviously that I enjoy but I don't just write for myself, I write for readers. So if I'm not taking into consideration their opinions and their reviews then I kind of see that as a wasted opportunity. If in my mind if there's one person out of twenty or ten who doesn't like a certain aspect of my book I can take that lightly and keeping in mind that, okay, fine they can have their own opinion. But if there seems to be a pattern in the majority of the reviews are saying the same thing then I can say: "Okay this is something I can improve in the future". So I use that as a way to get better as a writer and so first the thing that I like to see the most in the comments is a good review. It maybe a little bit of constructive criticisms that always helps but of course it never hurts my feelings when get a perfect five star review! That's always good too! And I’m grateful for those!
IHS: Once a book is finished then the marketing work begins. What do you do to spread the word about a new release?
KC: OK. Well there's a lot of things that I do. The main platform that I use is Instagram because I just find that's most popular for the age group that I'm working with in this book. I've worked really closely with social media marketers to help grow that platform and the process has taken a lot of years but I've managed to establish a pretty solid following for my book. And as a new author I spread one of my tactics, I guess you could say as I spread the word about my book by maybe offering a free copy of the book just a PDF to kind of catch people's attention and then hope that they will be engaged enough to purchase the sequel in the future. So far that seems to be promising because the readers of Book 1 is practically begging for Book 2 to come out so that's good. It kind of ends on a cliffhanger since it's a series so that seems to be a really good way of getting the word out there. So that's my main thing but I'm always trying to interact with people, get to know people, offer tips to other new authors that they see me as a credible a friend and they're more interested in my book.
IHS: What advice would you give to those who are thinking about becoming an author?
KC: Wow! A lot of things. I guess the first thing I would say is ask yourself honestly why do I want to be an author? And that ask yourself is writing something that I would do you and I want to do every single day and I'm willing to dedicate myself to this cause for the rest of my life? Because I've talked to a lot of people who say they want to be authors but they also say they can't finish a story or they only write when they're in the mood or they don't have time to write. But if you really do want to be an author you'll make it happen, it's that simple. Sit down and finish your book, do your research, get published and then seriously work hard every single day to spread the word about your book. And it really comes down to this being a writer is a hobby but being an author is a lifestyle.
IHS: A lot of authors feel like seriously work hard happens while writing the book, but you said: you finish and then you start to seriously work hard. That can really be more true than people think. I agree! Can you speak a little bit to that? What you mean by: seriously work hard after the book is done?
KC: So the process of writing a book obviously is hard work but that's just the beginning. Working hard after the book is written is not just stopping there. It's getting in contact with people, being brave and not being ashamed to put it out there on social media and making connections. I talk to new people getting to know who they are. The other day I was talking to somebody in a meeting and he mentioned that he had a buddy who worked in the publishing industry. And now of course my ears perked up and I was like: "oh can we talk about that?" And he's going to now connect me with this person who has connections in the publishing world. So you just you know getting to know people constantly have your radar on for ways to promote and ways to continue. I'm always entering into poetry contests, short story contests and just sending letters to literary agents because if you stop, you're done. It's really an ongoing process. Seriously, when I say I work on it every day, I literally work on it every single day. That's a lifestyle for sure.
IHS: How young is your son?
KC: He’s seven months old. And he's sleeping right now, thank goodness. I was like: "please sleep during the interview."
IHS: Okay! We've got to finish quick then! What's his name?
IHS: Awwww. Great name! Okay - Next question I forgot where we were! All right. What advice would you give authors who are thinking about doing an audiobook from their published book?
KC: So from my experience the advice that I would give, is to do what I did. Have a personal conversation with someone from the company before doing business with them. Because when I spoke with you over the phone before we went ahead with the process, it was really reassuring. I felt like I could really trust you because you were real with me and I feel that you have worked hard. So I’m Hearing Stories is a company that I would definitely recommend working with. It just makes the process easier and another piece of advice for your audio book is, don't be afraid to ask your narrator to make changes to the way they read your story. Chances are they'll be happy to accommodate any reasonable requests and you'll end up happier with the finished product.
IHS: Perfect. That was really good. So - Last question you know audiobook listeners that love a series, once you've finished the first one, you have to have the next one.Do you have a second book coming for them??
KC: I have written the second one. It's in the process of being finished and edited right now. I have some beta readers they're reading it but not published yet.
IHS: Great news! Definitely, because that's what they're going to want next. Okay, can you share your Top 10 Signs That You Are Meant To Be an Author...
1. You keep a journal. Writing down your feelings helps you cope with life, and the sloppier the handwriting, the better.
2. You are incapable of scrolling through Facebook without fantasizing about correcting everyone’s spelling and grammar.
3. You involuntarily narrate parts of your life inside your head. For example, “K.C. knew that she needed to do the dishes, but today the task was unusually daunting. If only she had a maid on whom she could dump all of her menial tasks. Then she could lock herself away and write for hours.”
4. The rejection letters from literary agents used to hurt your feelings, but now you just scoff at them and think, “You’ll all regret this when I’m famous.”
5. You lie awake almost every night thinking of ideas for your stories and making yourself way too excited to sleep.
6. You have been writing since you can remember and your friends all say, “I knew you would” when you tell them you’ve published your first piece.
7. You have literally rehearsed your future interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres, and Oprah.
8. You always know which books are trending, but you are too poor (or too low on bookshelf space) to buy them, so you force yourself to wait until your name reaches the top of the library waitlist to read them. Of course, by that time, you have already read every spoiler and basically know the whole plot. You read it anyway.
9. Almost every time you hear an organic joke or interesting piece of dialogue, you add it to the notes section of your phone for later use.
10. You know that authors rarely get rich, but you secretly believe you are the exception to the rule.
IHS: And give that to us In “ten words or less”:
KC: “You are always writing or getting ready to write.”
Wonderful! Please share with us how our followers can learn more about you?
Web: www.kcdunford.com Facebook: K.C. Dunford Instagram: @kcdunfordbooks Twitter: @kcdunfordbooks
KC’s Author Bio: K.C. Dunford is a middle grade/young adult fiction author. She recently released her debut fantasy novel, Lost Illumination, and has a sequel in editing. Her poetry has been published in the Remington Review and one of her short stories will soon be published in a book called Words and Brushes. On the side, K.C. does social media marketing, oil painting, and teaches dance. Despite her many passions, K.C.’s most fulfilling line of work is being a homemaker and loving her husband and baby boy.
Okay, folks! There you have it! KC Dunford, author of Lost Illumination. Available now on Audible.