Spotlight on Kelly Riad : Author, Reader, Pet-Hoarder, Personal Friend to Me and Nemesis to Katy Perry

10:47 AM – Started the day early reading Gary Shteyngart archives from the New Yorker. (His latest piece – “From The Diaries of Pussy-Cake” in the June 10th Crime Fiction edition is priceless. Check it out while it’s still free.) As funny as he is, I should have known – following the sort of night’s sleep one receives in response to eating Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie at 11:00 PM – such loungefulness would crash me out snoring on the couch, magazine on face, pug snorting me awake. So I’m trying Monday again. Take two. We’ll see if it sticks this time.


“Writing is finding a way to silence some of the voices in your head while listening to the others. Writing is trying to make sense of your madness and then presenting that crazy as craft.”  –  Kelly Riad, author of The Elves of Arethane Trilogy

Today I feel like a real journalist or reporter, maybe a real podcaster without the microphones and audio presentation. Chuck Klosterman, stuff your Grantland! Marc Maron, eat your garage studio work rags! Aisha Tyler . . . . you’re fine the way you are!

Today I’m using my humble WordPress site to promote my good and pretty and funny and dog-hair covered friend, who still writes letters on paper with ink pens and stuffs them into envelopes with stamps in the corner, Kelly Riad. Go check out her webpage (where you’ll find the same interview below featuring responses from yours truly) and then go read one of her books. I’m especially fond of her novel Always Me, since I had the privilege of working a bit with Kelly on it.

Without further hoola-baloo, my friend Kelly Riad:


Age: 36

Hometown/Where you live: I suppose Dallas could be my hometown, though I grew up in Houston.  Currently living in Antioch, CA – as far away from Texas as I could get while still being in the continental United States.  Not that that is a commentary on Texas, just that I wanted to experience something else.

What’s your favorite place to read? Favorite time of the day to read?  If you could pick the PERFECT place to escape to with a book, where would that be?  My favorite place to read would probably be in bed, though I toss and turn trying to get comfortable while maneuvering the kindle or book to remain in a viewable position.  It’s a constant battle.  And I guess that would make my favorite time of the day to read at night, like late at night but I prefer to read midday, after dinner is eaten, the dishes are done and there’s still some sun left out – I’m an old lady… If I could pick the perfect place to read, it would be in a well-lit, though not too bright hanging Papasan swinging from the tree tops all Swiss Family Robsinon-style.

In order from least to most, what would you say your top three books are? Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman, The Wee Free Men, by Terry Pratchett and Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynn Jones.  But I could read Pride and Prejudice over and over.  With the exception of Pride and Prejudice, I feel like all of these are pretty recent reads, considering how long I’ve been an avid reader, but these stick out most to me. I also was a very morbid child and read a lot of horror and dark non-fiction and I just don’t think you can include In Cold Blood in your list of favorites.

Favorite author?  Neil Gaiman is usually my ready answer, but I think any author you stay loyal to, anyone you go back to and buy their book based on it being their book alone says something.  I recently discovered Kresley Cole – she writes the smut kind of books that obviously is not for everyone, but despite the insidious content, is an incredible writer with an ability to juggle multiple worlds, multiple story arcs, and multiple characters with amazing organization and distinction of voice that I would love to be able to do myself.

What do you look for in a main character?  Do you want him/her to be some butt-kicking badass, a level-headed pacifist, a hot-tempered hero?  I like the broken characters.  I like them to be flawed, to be sympathetic in some way even if it’s an empathy for their sorry lives.  I don’t like a lot of whining, a lot of emo-woe-is-me especially if the story is written in first person POV.  They don’t have to kick ass in a Lara Croft kind of way if they are able to overcome emotional and day-to-day adversity.  I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog.

What are your character pet-peeves? See above – I don’t like to be stuck in the mind of a narrator who constantly bemoans his or her life.  I don’t like a character to be perfect.  I want them real, but I want them unique.  Tiffany Aching, ofThe Wee Free Men is probably one of my favorite female characters because of how pragmatic, yet clever and unique she is.  Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle is another – though he can be a bit whiny when he doesn’t feel well or his hair dye is switched – but he has so much personality and is so flawed that you can’t help but root for him.

What do you look for by the time you finish a book?  What expectations do you have going into a book?  I want to be taken to another world, I want to get behind the characters, I want them to stick with me long after I’ve turned the last page, though sometimes I also hate that because I want to move on and sometimes can’t.

What draws you to pick up a book in the first place, or more importantly, lay down some hard earned money on?  It doesn’t take a lot – A fool and her credit card saved in her Amazon account are quickly parted…

What are you currently reading? The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  It was mentioned in a Reddit discussion thread and for some reason, piqued my interest.  So far, it’s…different.

What kind of story would you love to read, but just can’t seem to find?  I sort of hate having come up with this question now that it’s directed back at me.  Part of the reason why I started writing was so that I could control the outcome of a story, after reading several and hating how they ended.  I would love a really good angel/heavenly battle story.  Like with archangels and avenging angels, sort of along the line of the Frank E. Perretti books.  Angelfall by Susan Ee has the potential of delivering on that request, but we’ll see with the next novel.  I love mythology and to me, angels fall under that so I would love to read something that treats it as such, with that lore grandiosity.


About Kiki Malone

Girding till the break of dawn.
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One Response to Spotlight on Kelly Riad : Author, Reader, Pet-Hoarder, Personal Friend to Me and Nemesis to Katy Perry

  1. kmriad says:

    This was fun, Kevin! Reminds me of our co-SUCKERPINCH review.

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