SF Interview with Kelli A. Wilkins – Giveaway

Long and Short Reviewss welcomes back Kelli A. Wilkins who is visiting with us to talk about science fiction among other things. It’s contest time! Want to win a PDF copy of Extraterrestrial Encounters? Here’s how to enter: 1. Leave a comment or post a question to Kelli. 2. One week after the interview, Kelli will choose a winner at random from all the comments posted.

Kelli has always loved horror and sci-fi, and she’s also had an active imagination. From an early age, anything horror, speculative, or creepy on television held her attention. Some of her favorites were Dark Shadows, The Addams Family, The Munsters, and Bewitched, along with any horror movie she could find.

“I saw Rosemary’s Baby when I was seven years old and I wasn’t scared – I was annoyed that they didn’t show the baby!” she explained. “Right from the start, I learned how to scare people and build suspense.

“My imagination combined with my love of horror inspired me to write my own stories. I credit Stephen King and Rod Serling as my two biggest influences – they know how to tell a good story. Without a doubt, Stephen King is my favorite author. He has been the main influence in my writing. My mother bought all of his books, and I read Night Shift when I was about nine years old. (I think it was the first “grown up” book I read.) The stories showed me how to plot, use details and descriptions, and give the story a voice. I think King’s On Writing book is a great way for anyone to get inside the mind of a writer and see how the process unfolds.

“I also have to give credit to Rod Serling, because I learned about the mechanics of great storytelling, world-building, and character development from watching The Twilight Zone. After being exposed to these types of stories I was motivated to write my own.”

I asked Kelli what she saw as the difference between science fiction and fantasy.

“For me, science fiction is imaginative fiction. Sci-fi (or SF) stories explore anything possible (or that may be possible one day): time travel, parallel universes, aliens, lost civilizations, artificial intelligence, robots, cloning, repressed societies, UFOs, mind control, futuristic societies, and more.

“There are two types of sci-fi. ‘Hard’ sci-fi focuses on science (biology, chemistry, physics, genetics) and technology (inventions). ‘Soft’ sci-fi stories deal with people, societies, and relationships. The short stories in my anthology, Extraterrestrial Encounters are all “soft” sci-fi stories.

“Fantasy stories take place in imaginary worlds that don’t exist in our reality. In most cases, fantasies are set entirely in the realm of the impossible, but occasionally, the fantastic element crosses over into our real world. (For example, a child finds a hidden entrance to a cave leading to an underground world populated by elves.)

“With fantasy stories, you’re not limited to what is (or could be) scientifically possible. In your fantastical world, your characters can teleport from place to place with the wave of a magic wand, and you don’t need to explain how it’s done. Readers naturally accept these things as normal and don’t think twice about it.”

As a fan of sci-fi/fantasy, Kelli likes being transported into another world. Whether it’s time travel, exploring another planet, or resurrecting dinosaurs, she likes reading stories that take you out of the ordinary.

“It’s fun, escapist, and if, done correctly, it’s believable,” she explained. “As a writer, I like being able to make up weird stuff. So I might write a sci-fi where an astronaut lands on a planet and discovers it’s populated by giant lizard creatures, or a team discovers a UFO under the sand in Egypt. It’s fun to make up unique stories and not have to worry so much about how ‘real’ something in this genre could (or should) be.”

Kelli told me that it’s a Golden Era for sci-fi/fantasy fans and authors.

“The sci-fi/fantasy fans are amazing! They’re fiercely devoted to their genre, their favorite characters, movies, and TV shows. The internet (and e-publishing) has made it possible for fans around the world to connect to each other, swap stories (and merchandise), and even write their own fan fiction,” she said. “Sci-fi/fantasy authors now take center stage at festivals and conventions, and they are finding more appreciation for their writing. Fans have the power to bring back TV shows that were canceled, and show their loyalty by dressing up as their favorite characters for Cos-play and LARP events.”

Kelli writes in multiple genres (romance and horror – with branching off into SciFi) because she gets to explore different styles of writing.

“After writing a few romances I like to switch up and focus on horror for a while,” she told me. “My horror stories tend to be more psychological and creepy than bloody, and my sci-fi stories are about strange things that happen to ordinary people. I write in almost every romance genre: historical, fantasy, paranormal, gay, and contemporary. So I’m pretty comfortable switching genres as the characters and plots dictate.”

She’s also written several non-fiction pet guides and authored two online writing courses.

“Is there a genre you don’t ever see yourself writing?” I asked.

“I’m not sure. Right now, I’m not ruling out anything, but I don’t particularly see myself writing mysteries. I have included mystery elements in my romances (Dangerous Indenture and Redemption from a Dark Past) and short stories, but I don’t see myself writing a full-on mystery.”

Kelli writes everything in longhand first – when she gets an idea, she writes her outline, lets the ideas for the characters and plot marinate in her head for a while, then she starts writing on paper. Once she’s completed the first draft, she types the book or short story. During this time, she adds details and edits out parts she’s not crazy about, so by the time she has that typed version, it’s very close to being a revised second draft.

I wondered, “What is your work schedule like when you are writing?”

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Finally I asked, “What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?”

“My sense of humor is very unusual and somewhat morbid and sarcastic. (Very Addams Family.) I grew up watching Monty Python, Benny Hill, and other Britcoms, so that type of humor is something I appreciate more than American comedy shows. (John Cleese banging an ex-parrot” on the counter? Hysterical!) And I absolutely love Miranda Hart!

“I don’t actively seek out many too comedy movies or TV shows, though. Usually I find them too predictable and just not funny. But every so often I’ll catch an episode of a show and I’ll be surprised to find myself laughing out loud. For me, the writing has to be clever and sharp. I liked The Cool Kids. The episode where Margaret dated the Zodiac Killer had me rolling!”

Are you ready to step into the unknown?

In these 18 sci-fi stories, you’ll encounter aliens of all shapes and sizes, curious (and sometimes unlucky) space explorers, and ordinary Earthlings having otherworldly experiences.

Some of the out-of-this-world tales in this short fiction anthology include:

“The Hoax” – A reporter learns that a creature from another planet is a dangerous thing to fool with

“It Grows on You” – A strange kind of mold has invaded an office, and it’s the perfect tool for revenge

“What Lurks Below” – Everyone knows there’s no life on Mars, but nobody thought about what might be lurking under the surface…

“The Con” – An alien becomes an unlikely ally to a down-on-his-luck petty crook

“Space Cowboy” – When a second-rate rodeo star is abducted by aliens, he makes the most of the situation

“They Just Keep Eating” – A Nebraska farmer encounters a menace from space… and it’s hungry

This collection of speculative fiction will stimulate your imagination, unnerve you just a little, and make you wonder… “What if we’re not alone?”

About the Author: Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

Kelli released Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in August 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.

Her latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements.

In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania. She released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit her website for more details.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock and iStock to view her photos.

Website | Blog | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Historical Romances | Facebook Contemporary Romances | Facebook Gay Romances | Free Reads | Instagram | BookBub | Books2Read | Pinterest


  1. Debra K Guyette says

    I enjoyed reading the post. What is the strangest thing you have done int he name of research?

    • I haven’t done too many strange things… but when I did research for my paranormal-comedy romance, “Beauty & the Bigfoot” I took a lot of books about Bigfoot out of the library. The librarian gave me a funny look and probably wondered what the heck I was up to!

    • Hi Debra!
      You’re the winner of my giveaway. Please contact me via the form on my site & let me know where to email your pdf.

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