A Whitewater Thriller Book 1
by Kelly Romo
Two teenage girls on the run with fake IDs and a beater car…what could go wrong?
Emmy has always been impulsive. She is no longer a minor and has aged out of foster care. When her best friend, Amber, is the target of a perverted uncle who lives in the basement of her group home, they plan her escape.
They head for Canada, where Amber will be safe, and the foster care system can no longer control their lives. When they come across a whitewater rafting brochure, they decide to take a detour for one last adventure before leaving the country. Emmy and Amber have no idea it will be a decision that will forever change their fates.
The rafting town is so far in the middle of nowhere that Emmy’s car radio catches nothing but static. They consider turning around until a truck pulls up, loaded with hot whitewater rafting guides and rubber rafts–just the fun they were looking for. Ignoring every instinct, they turn off the pavement and follow the truck down an isolated dirt road. They end up in Lodell, the town where a girl went missing the previous summer…and she will not be the last.
How long have you been writing?
I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was pregnant with my youngest child. Between raising three kids and teaching myself how to write, it took me forever–but I never gave up. I got my first book published when he was twenty-two years old.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I usually know the main characters, but others come to me as I write.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
At the beginning, I do a lot of preliminary research. As I add new things, I research more. I am a stickler for accuracy. If someone is familiar with guiding, and I represent something wrong, it will pull them from the book. One time, I had a character look up at the night sky in August in San Diego, 1935. I got star charts and made sure the constellation she saw was visible at that location on that date and time of night. I know that is a bit obsessive, but what can I say? I also have content editors review my novel before I publish it. For DEAD DRIFT, I had it edited by a young woman who grew up in foster care, a sergeant from the sheriff’s department, two river guides (one male and one female), and another author who grew up fly fishing in the area I wrote about.
Do you see writing as a career?
It is a dream career for me. I hope I can earn enough to write full-time. I have so many ideas, just not enough writing time.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I think the market is shifting, and there are so many unknowns. I think the indie market is taking off, and writers do not have to rely on traditional publishing anymore. Indie publishing is a lot of work, but it also allows people without connections in the publishing industry to get their awesome books out there.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I love historical fiction and thrillers, both of which I write.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I prefer to write in silence. The voices in my head are enough for me.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I have several “in process,” but I usually focus on one at a time.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I write on the computer. I used to write in the computer and print it out to edit. I now edit directly on the computer. I use Scrivener software, and that makes it easy.
A day in the life of the author?
I get up at 4:00 and write for about three hours before work. After work, I may do some research, walk my dog, do something with friends or family, or work on my marketing. Since I am a teacher, I have summers to camp, hike, and fish. The funny thing is that I get much more writing done during the school year than I do over the summer. Maybe because the weather in Oregon is rainy in the winter, or maybe because of the strict schedule.
Do you have any advice to offer for new authors?
Butt in the seat. Whether you feel like writing or not, put your butt in the seat every day. You may only get a few paragraphs written, but they add up.
Describe your writing style.
I’ve heard writers described as plotters or pantsers. Plotters make outlines, and pantsers write by the seat of their pants. I am a plotter. I’ve done extensive plotting, and I’ve created basic outlines. I’m someone who needs a direction to go. I find freedom in at least having an outline. I know what needs to happen, and I can focus on that one plot point. Once, I tried being a pantser…after staring at a blank screen for fifteen minutes without a single idea of what to write, I made an outline.
What makes a good story?
Dynamic characters, a setting that is almost like another character, and a plot that forces the characters to grow.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve been reading Lucy Foley and Catherine Ryan Howard.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
My family. They are a loved Kryptonite, but I cannot write when they are awake. I don’t want to miss my time with them. I was able to write with my daughter when she was little because she would sit with me doing her art, and I did not feel like I was neglecting her. Plus, we would take a break for a nice lunch together.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I try to be true to the story with the reader in mind.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I believe in things getting in the way of my writing and losing focus. When I have what could be considered writer’s block, I sit down to write anyway. I open a new document and a published novel. I type word-for-word what is in the novel. I usually choose one written from the same point of view of my work in progress. By doing this, I get in the flow of writing. After a page or two, I close the document and open my own manuscript.
Kelly Romo grew up in California but has lived in Oregon for over twenty-five years. She teaches writing, literature, and social studies. She is the mother of three grown children: Brittany, Brennan, and Ryan. She is an avid outdoorswoman who loves to kayak, hike, and fish.