Interview with The Second-Half Adventure's Kay Marshall Strom

Kay Marshall Strom is the author of thirty-six published books, including her most recent, The Second-Half Adventure: Don’t Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills & Resources to Change the World. Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, short stories, curriculum, stories for children, two prize-winning screenplays, and booklets for writers. Kay speaks at seminars, retreats, and special events throughout the country. She and her husband Dan Kline love to travel, and more and more Kay’s writing and speaking take her around the word. To find out more about Kay, or for contact information, check her website at www.kaystrom.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Kay. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Basically I’m a speaker-teacher-wife-mom-world traveler-passionate believer who loves to write. I started writing twenty-five years ago, and was fortunate to have my first book picked up right away, thanks to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. The Second-Half Adventure is my 34th book. Two more are completed and scheduled for release in 2010, and I’m under contract for a second fiction trilogy.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Absolutely! The Second-Half Adventure is about baby boomers who want to make the most of their second half of life. Actually, it is for anyone who ever dreamed of trading in make-a-living for make-a-difference. The subtitle says it all: Don’t Just Retire-Use Your Time, Skills and Resources to Change the World. I wrote it because so many people said, “Great idea! So how do I do it?”


What kind of research was involved in writing The Second-Half Adventure?

A lot of reading and travel, and even more talking. I had the great joy of interviewing the most interesting people who are experiencing the most exciting second-half lives! Many of their stories are in the book.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

Smooth then bumpy then smooth then bumpy then… well, you get the idea. I had my first book published right away, but I have really piled up my share of rejection slips. Of a necessity, I have done just about every type of writing you can imagine—everything from Sunday School curriculum to screenwriting to ghost writing to grant writing. But then, I have learned from each one, too.


For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Just nine months.


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I do have an agent—Janet Grant at Books & Such. For a long time, I didn’t have an agent and I insisted it wasn’t necessary. But the marketplace is changing.


Do you plan subsequent books?

Actually, The Second-Half Adventure is one of four books of mine released this summer and fall. Another one was the first book of the Grace in Africa trilogy, so I had the other two of the series to finish. Those are now completed. I just signed a contract for another trilogy, this one set in India.


Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

I have the greatest home office—roomy and light, with a super library, two sweet kitty cats to keep me company, and a husband who makes me hot cocoa from scratch every morning. Am I spoiled, or what?


If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A super publicist—no limits—and an assistant.


How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

It is absolutely essential. Offline I conduct many radio interviews, book speaking engagements, and I do book signings. Online I make use of Facebook, I am beginning to blog, I write updates on my website, I write for an online news service that gives me a nice byline and I do blog tours.


What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

Rejection. It is a part of the process, but it is just plain hard to take. To be a successful writer, one must be persistent and develop a tough skin. I never considered giving up because I was willing to write even if I never earned a dollar for it.


Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Never give up. Keep writing. Everyone gets better and better. No one gets worse and worse.


Thank you for your interview, Kay. I wish you much success!

Thank you so much. It was my pleasure to be with you.


Kay Marshall Strom is on a virtual book tour this month. If you would like to visit her official tour page, click here.
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