Let’s kick things off with a rundown of you and your books. In other words, tell us about yourself and what you write!
Hi, I’m Kim and I write YA mysteries with ghosts. I love to be haunted and I love history and my mysteries reflect that. My debut novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards, is set in 1996 and tells the story of two teens, one alive and one dead, who solve a murder. The follow-up, The Lady in Blue, is set in both 1955 and 1996 and features a ghost as the narrator who tries to uncover why she haunts the woods. And my latest book, Dead and Breakfast, is the story of two teens who try to put a ghost to rest after she haunts the hotel they work at. It has flashbacks to the 1960s. The sequel will have scenes set in the 1920s. If you like spooky whodunnits with unique historical context, I’m your girl.
How long have you been writing? And how long have you been publishing?
I’ve been writing my whole life. When I was little, I wanted to be Murphy Brown, so I wrote for my middle school, high school, and college newspapers. But as it turned out, I sucked at the cynical, hard-lined approach to journalism. I too easily take people at their word. Fast-forward 15 years to 2014 when my debut novel was published by a small press. I self-published The Lady in Blue, and my most recent book, Dead and Breakfast, won a Kindle Press contract via Amazon’s Kindle Scout.
What “kind” of writer would you describe yourself as? (Traditional, Self-Published, Hybrid, Something else entirely?)
I consider myself an indie author because my work is represented by either an independent small press or myself.
How did you decide what publishing route to take for your books?
I originally wanted an agent and traditional publishing deal, but when Grunge Gods wasn’t getting any agent interest, I switched gears and looked at small presses. Red Adept Publishing was a great step for me. They gave me a lot of individual attention. Their editors were outstanding and I learned how to do comprehensive edits. I had input in my cover design. They provided a blog tour, put my book up on Netgalley for a few weeks, and even scored me a Book Bub ad. But as I learned more about indie publishing, I decided that was the route for me. I could be in control of all aspects of publishing including writing what I want, publishing when I want, and contracting people who share my vision.
What one piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to do the same?
If you’re looking to self-publish make sure you research. Not just the monetary investment, but the market. Are you writing in a market that will earn you money? Honestly, YA is a tough market for indies. Teens enjoy reading physical books from bookstores and libraries and so indie authors wind up marketing mostly to adult YA readers who download books. It’s not an easy task. YA is my passion. Before my son was born, I was a YA librarian. I love YA. I really do. But sadly, I’m not making money in it.
If you could make one decision differently in your publishing career so far, what would it be?
I would’ve gotten on KBoards sooner. I’d also have written faster. It took years to get Grunge Gods published because I spent so much time starting and then stopping. Commit!
In terms of writing and publishing, what’s something new thing you’d like to try in the future?
I’m going to start writing adult historical mysteries. It’s a genre I love to read. I have a great idea for a series set in the early 50s featuring a mystery author and retired baseball player who team up to solve murders. I’m also working on a mystery serial set in the 90s. Eventually, I’ll try my hand at a romance series set in Europe. My brain is constantly churning out ideas and it’s both exciting and overwhelming to tackle these projects. My kids are young too, so it’s not like I’m rolling in extra time either.
What’s next for you?
I’m outlining Book 2 — Ghost and Found — in the Cayo Hueso Mystery series and I plan to draft it this spring. Then I’m off to write Book 3. After that, I’ll get started on my serial and adult mysteries. And at some point, I really need to work on a marketing plan. But that’s a topic for another interview.
Kimberly G. Giarratano, a forever Jersey girl, now lives in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and small children. A former teacher and YA librarian, Kimberly adores Etsy, Jon Stewart, The Afghan Whigs, ’90s nostalgia, and (of course) everything YA. She also speaks Spanish, but is woefully out of practice.
Kimberly always dreamed of being a published author. Her other dream is to live in Key West, Florida where she can write in a small studio, just like Hemingway.