Interview with romance novelist A Kelly

Novelist A Kelly joins me today to talk about her spicy
romance novel On the Canvas of My Soul
Bio:
A Kelly
doesn’t write romance; she bakes it, then sprinkles it with spice – and
controversy. She has travelled the seven continents and met people from
different walks of life where she draws inspirations from.
A Kelly
currently resides in Australia.
Welcome, A. Please tell us about your
current release.
Zen, a highly-acclaimed painter, believes she has murdered
her abusive boyfriend. As she struggles with guilt, she finds solace in a
married gay man, Marcus.
In her own world Marcus becomes her inspiration and obsession.
But her world turns a different way when she learns he wishes her to become a
surrogate.
Zen and Marcus are inexplicably drawn to one another, but a
confession reveals a sinister reason behind Marcus’s desperation to become a
father. Meanwhile Dean uncovers his husband’s affair and plots to keep Zen out
of their lives whatever the cost.
What inspired you to write this book?
“I want to
have a baby,” a gay friend told me one day. I was a naïve Catholic teenager, it
was early 90s, and my knowledge of homosexuality was pretty much zero. Afraid
of offending, I simply smiled and politely changed the conversation. Deep down I
kept asking: How? Without a woman you can’t have a baby, right? As I explored
the world of same-sex relationships and surrogacy, On the Canvas of My Soul was born. It was originally titled Human Nature and it took me 20 years to
finally publish it. The settings and characters have changed a few times, but
the main story has remained the same.
Excerpt from On the Canvas of My Soul:
Men remain the
ninth wonder of the world to me. However, learning that a couple of them are
fascinated by me – with no amorous or sexual inclination – has added a new
dimension to the meaning of ‘wonder’. It makes me want to sail further, in hope
of discovering something that I can truly treasure as a human being, as a
woman. It’s not motherhood, it’s not feminine heroism; what I long for is being
a part of a man’s life that is fulfilling; but not at a cost, and not forever.
It hits
me.
I go back to
my painting and squint at the balcony again. What if I stand there: bare,
facing forward, hair up, full of pride; because the ochre, umber and sienna are
the colours of my soul rejoicing? Because I have finally done something right,
I have chosen wisely, I have become the woman that I wanted to be. From that
balcony I will gaze far, admiring a man who has become a part of me, yet he
doesn’t need to be beside me.
Beautiful.
And I
can’t reject beautiful.
If I agreed
to this surrogacy arrangement, would I feel the difference if the father was
Marcus or Dean? Technically I won’t know. Technically I will do it for both of
them, so it shouldn’t matter who provides the seeds. Technically the men may
see me as simply a supplier in the process – hey, can we have your eggs and
borrow your womb for nine months? As cold as this may sound, I don’t feel a
sense of degradation. But technicalities aside, it would have to be Marcus’s;
he’s the man I want to be a part of. The joy – of knowing the baby that he was
holding, whom he would love forever, was mine and his – would be unparalleled.
I could be noble and say that the spiritual satisfaction of realising a man’s
dream would make me complete, but I’m far from noble. So… what if I said…
I’ll bear your child, Marcus, but first I want to hear your whimper while
you’re inside me.
Imagination
needs no obligation, but reality can promise more than just momentary bliss.
Let this be my one last try at life, at men, at my soul.
And if I
succeed, I know what my next self-portrait will look like.
I have
to find him!
What exciting story are you working on
next?
My next novel
is Virtuous Infidelity. It’s a story
about a woman, Andrea, who is trapped in a sexless marriage after she and her
husband Chris lost their sons in tragic circumstances. In an attempt to fix
their marriage, Chris proposes that she sleep with another man. Soon Andrea finds
herself battling her feelings when she meets veteran escort Frederico, who has
his own devious plan for Andrea. As Andrea steps deeper into Frederico’s world,
she gets more than she bargains for when she discovers her husband’s secret
life.
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
I always feel
that I am a writer – although in the early days I was a writer for an audience
of one: myself. I think I consider myself a ‘proper’ writer when I decided to
send On the Canvas of My Soul for its
first editorial assessment.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I have a
demanding day job as a learning and development consultant. I like this job
because it requires me to write a lot; storytelling is always an integral part
of learning. While my clients wouldn’t appreciate me embedding romance or
erotica in their training programs, I write ‘my kind’ of stories most weekends,
or when I’m on holiday.
As a writer, who do you draw inspiration
from?
I travel a
lot. I’ve sailed to Antarctica and dogsled in the Arctic (one of the toughest
things I’ve done). When I meet couples in my travels, I like to ask how they
met and how long they’ve been together. People are usually happy to gush to a
stranger who seems like a good listener. They might’ve made up some facts, but
when your partner or spouse is with you, it’s likely you’d want to get your
story right. Every relationship has its quirk and that fascinates me.
For On the Canvas of My Soul, the people who
inspired me to rewrite and finish the novel were a beautiful gay couple I met on
a hike in New Zealand. Hikers on this trail sleep in bunk beds inside a hut,
and this couple happened to take the beds next to mine. Initially they slept
separately, but in the middle of the night I heard rustles and whispers. In the
morning I found them cuddling inside the same sleeping bag – the ‘Marcus’ of
this couple caressed ‘Dean’ who was visibly upset with something. That was the
sweetest human connection I’ve seen in the wilderness.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
In my stories
I often put dates that mean to me personally. Or if you add or subtract the
month/date/year you’d get a number that signifies something in my real life.
I hate clichés.
I always try to invent my own expressions e.g. walking like I had a giant squid
hanging onto my head, a pair of cupids to describe someone’s derrière. My
editor is very good in keeping me in check though. Sometimes those expressions are
completely off.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
A
teacher
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