The Writer’s Desk with Kelly Underwood
Kelly Underwood’s favorite things are reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She was born in New Hampshire, but don’t ask her about snow, because she’s been a Florida girl since she was twelve. She writes book reviews for her blog bestinsuspense.com and is an active member of the Central Florida chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She’s a sucker for a good suspense novel, the kind you have to read cover-to-cover until the mystery is solved and the bad guys are in handcuffs. If you’re looking for her, she’s probably on her back patio with a Kindle in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
More about Defending Honor:
She’ll have to pretend to be his wife to save his life…but what will it cost her heart?
Laila Rabbinowitz is all business. Tough and stoic, she was the perfect Mossad agent…until a terrible betrayal led to her worst nightmare. Being a bodyguard with the Elite Guardians allows her to keep her heart safe—she’ll never let anyone close enough to betray her again. And she’s certainly not going to trust anyone who doesn’t earn it.
Billionaire and former playboy Preston Whittaker walked away from his famous family after a terrible event, but then his father and brother are killed in a suspicious boating accident. Since he’s next in line to helm the family business, now someone wants him dead.
Preston needs someone by his side 24/7, and the only solution is a fake marriage. In order to keep him safe, Laila will have to convince everyone that she and Preston are in love. She’s used to putting her life on the line for a client. But what will this case cost her heart?
Q&A with Kelly Underwood
TG: Everyone always asks for an interesting fact, we’re going to flip the question. What is one boring fact about yourself?
KU: Maybe it’s not so much as boring, but an unpopular fact. I don’t like sports. I don’t enjoy playing them, watching them, or talking about them. I once went to a football game solely based on the fact that the stadium sells amazing barbecue nachos. Sports analogies always go over my head.
TG: Where did you get the inspiration for Defending Honor?
KU: The idea for Defending Honor hit me like a bolt of lightning. I knew I wanted to submit a proposal for Sunrise, so I sat down and read a list of tropes. The thought of someone straight-laced, intense, and tough as Laila having to pretend to be a socialite wife of a billionaire businessman made me laugh. It seemed so ridiculous that I thought it might just work!
TG: Do you have any habits or rituals as a writer?
KU: Sometimes I have to get out of my house to write, so usually I write in coffee shops. The sounds of the espresso machines and clinking mugs makes the perfect background noise.
TG: What habits would you encourage others to take up to be a more productive writer?
KU: I think scheduling time to write helps. If you dedicate an hour or two and put it on your calendar, you’ll treat it like any other appointment. Otherwise, you spend your day thinking, “Oh, I should be writing,” rather than having an established routine where you’ve already put your writing hours in for the day.
TG: What do you snack on or drink while writing?
KU: Coffee. Always coffee.
TG: How do you overcome writer’s block?
KU: Change locations. If I’m home, I head to a coffee shop or somewhere else just to get a change of scenery. I might even just move to a different room of the house. But sometimes I’ll take a long walk and then come back to that difficult scene. Taking a break helps. But also calling another writing friend to brainstorm is a great way to overcome writer’s block.
TG: Are you an “edit-as-you-go” writer or do you wait until the very end before you do any editing?
KU: I used to edit as I go, but I have found it’s easier to write a really really rough draft to get the full story idea out. Then the second round isn’t trying to figure out the plot, but it’s adding emotional layers and making the story work. It helps because I used to edit as I wrote and then get stuck and start over. Now I push through and get the first draft done, so editing is much easier.
TG: What would you say is the most common mistake new writers make?
KU: Thinking that everything has to be perfect in order to start pitching to agents and editors. There’s no magic formula for perfect writing. If someone has spent time learning the craft, take the next step of making contacts in the publishing industry and submitting proposals. You never know when the perfect opportunity will arise.
TG: What is the best piece of writing advice you’re ever received?
KU: Take care of yourself first. Neglecting healthy habits like eating right, exercising, or reading your Bible affects your future productivity. Ground yourself first in good habits.
TG: What is coming up next for you?
KU: More Elite Guardians! The Elite Guardians crew is working on a novella collection for 2023 and then new bodyguards for 2024.