Sunday, August 24, 2014

Author Interview: Kerr-Ann Dempster: Beneath Scarlett Valley: Fantasy

Kerr-Ann Dempster was born in Jamaica, where she spent her adolescence writing and performing plays. After moving to the United States, she earned her bachelor's degree in Marketing from Loyola University, Chicago. She then worked as a Flight Attendant and a Visual Operations Leader. Kerr-Ann is also the owner of Ink City Books, the umbrella under which she pursues her self-publishing efforts. She now resides in Chicago, IL and Traverse City, MI.

Welcome Ker-Ann

Favorite childhood memory: 

My favorite memory is being at home with my sisters and mom during a blackout. We spent the entire evening telling jokes, re-enacting our favorite movie scenes, and playing games. My sisters still request my Steve Urkel impersonation at every family event.

About your education: 

I attended primary and high school in Jamaica. I sat CXCs and A-Levels in business and general courses. I completed two years at the University of Technology in Jamaica, focusing on Marketing. After moving to the U.S., I attended Loyola University. There, I studied Marketing and Operations Management, as well as Information Systems. The courses were fun, but I was mostly intrigued by the creative writing courses I took. They gave me the confidence to begin writing longer stories.

What languages you can speak and write? 

I speak and write English. I also speak patois, Jamaica’s local dialect.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

The people I meet. I spend a lot of time observing the people around me — paying attention to how they speak, their gestures, their quirks. It helps me to write more grounded and realistic characters. This is especially important since I write in the fantasy and paranormal genre. 

What hurts you most in this world?

Our disregard for each other. There is so much beauty in this world, but it is marred by hate. I believe that each person should define and enjoy their own life, without fear of ridicule and violence.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why? 

J. R. R. Tolkien. He has an incredibly creative mind, and knowing how his mind works would make me a better writer.

What is your favorite genre and why? 

I love the fantasy genre, especially novels written for young adults. I read for escape, and I write for those seeking escape too. In young adult novels the characters face many challenges, but they also possess an innocence that I will never get back. 

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I started journaling at a very early age. I filled my journal with stories of a fictional Kerr-Ann, who solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, married Joe Hardy, and had time to solve world hunger. Later, I began writing poetry and plays, and eventually I found the courage to write a full-length novel.
The need to write has always been there. For as long as I can remember, stories have been buzzing around my head, begging to get out. Keeping them inside was never an option.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

My novel, Beneath Scarlett Valley, is now available. It is book one of three.

Death or Immortality … Cassidy chose death. Cassidy Daniels hates being a Furor. First, there is the hellish rage that storms through her veins, urging her to kill. Then there is the gnawing guilt, the nightmares, and the pretense. Unfortunately, her sister wants to be immortal. To do so, she needs Cassidy's help to find the Source, an ancient pool hidden beneath Scarlett Valley. When they arrive in Scarlett, Cassidy intends to find the Source and get out, but then she meets Sebastian. Everything about him makes her rethink her choice. There is just one problem. The choice between death and immortality is no longer Cassidy's to make. There are pretenders everywhere, with dark pasts and even darker plans.
*Read the first two chapters here:

What are your forthcoming writings?

My novel, Cornered, will be available in December. Book two of the Scarlett Valley Series will be available in August 2015.

What four things do you take care of while writing a book?
·         Planning:
I cannot stress this enough. Before writing, it is crucial to plan. I plan every scene and dialogue. Plans change of course, but understanding every element of my story allows for better writing.
·         Character development:
I like to know everything about my character, even things that have nothing to do with the novel itself. It allows for more rounded and unique characters.
·         Pacing:
Pace can make or break your novel. You have to maintain a certain rhythm that excites and engages your audience.
·         Research:
It is impossible to know everything about everything, so getting the facts is important. It only takes one reader to point out that you’re wrong, to make others lose confidence in you.

Is a high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

For fiction writers, yes! I have never met a fellow author who doesn’t spend their every moment creating stories in their head. I can’t imagine it being any other way. 

Your dream destination on Earth?

I’ve traveled to every destination on my bucket list. As this point in my life, my dream destination is home. For now, I just want to have roots. I want to get to know my neighbors and my community.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

I just finished Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I am currently reading Empath by Becca J. Campbell.

Your favorite book and why?

The Hobbit. The level of detail is mind blowing. I read it every summer. 

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge was losing my childhood best friend, O’Neil. O’Neil and I competed all through primary and high school, trying to outdo each other in academics. Each time I accomplish a goal or reach a milestone, I think about him. I find myself wondering where he would be and what he would think of my accomplishments. There is no overcoming his death. Instead, I try to do well for both of us. My successes are not just for me anymore, they are for O’Neil too.

What comes to your mind when you think of India?

Amazing food, rich culture,  and technology.

Some quickies:
·         Sun or Moon: Moon
·         Laughter or Smile: Laughter
·         Morning or Evening: Evening
·         Coffee or Tea: Tea
·         Mountain or Sea: Sea
·         Long Drive or Short Drive: Long drive
·         Silence or Conversation: Silence
·         Left or Right: Left
·         Glance or Stare: Glance

What three words come to your mind for each?
·         Humanity: Purpose, Hope, Ambition
·         Love: Family, Faith, Country
·         Childhood Abuse: Anger, Confusion, Compassion

Favorite quote:

“Decide what to be and go be it.” It’s from the song, Head full of doubts/Road full of promises by the Avett Bros.

The last line of your autobiography would be:  

“She lived well.”

Kerr-Ann on the web:
·         Twitter handle: @annk3rr
·         Facebook page:
·         Goodreads author page:
·         Author website:
·         Amazon link:

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