Kelly Conner Blog
Updated: May 4, 2018
Hello, and welcome to the Kelly Conner blog special! Tonight's musings are dedicated to helping people get to know the wonder of Kelly and give an exclusive (not too exclusive, I don’t want people turning up at my flat) look at her creation and impact on my work. The aim is to be informative and share some never before told Kelly stories. I assumed this would take me half an hour tops to write, but then I reopened the part of my brain that she lives in and the words began to flow. Hopefully you will leave this a little bit more excited about Obsession You Will Always Be Mine (not sure if I mentioned it or not but that is the title of mine and Kelly's book, due out later this year) and desperate to know more about my crazy little creation. I am biased I know but I can't get enough of her. Naturally I will resist any and all attempts to get me to actually write something (especially blogs!) but the idea of dipping my toes back into her world was all the inspiration I needed to agree to this without the usual arm twisting. What follows is from the heart and a surprisingly open attempt at showing my Kelly off to the world.
I am going to start by sharing a very geeky side of my personality with you. I know it is hard to not see me as a really cool person (if you are laughing at this or shaking your head – boo to you, it is my blog and damn it I am cool!) but I have an inner geek inside me who pops out all of the time. I didn’t realise it was a geeky side, in fact before I met my wife I thought it was perfectly normal to track down any and all interviews by authors or musicians you respected in the pursuit of gaining a little unknown bit of information. I loved finding out a little bit of the secrets behind their methods or what was going through their mind when they wrote the piece of art that I love. Author interviews are something I particularly enjoy. Originally, before I became one (yes! I am an author, always good to drop that into something) it was purely driven by my love of their work and the written word in general and I would spend almost as much time reading about the book as I would actually reading it. During the course of these readings a few phrases popped up all of the time. Over and over again I would read the creator describe the created as if they were almost a real person and in some cases a friend. ‘I am nothing like my creation’ they would be quoted as saying ‘but for some reason, I have a bond with them that allows me to just know instinctively how they would react in any given situation.’ I never really believed them, I mean these people are not real, the moment you have shut down your laptop they cease to exist so how can you really think you know them? It was a nice story, but the cynical part of me always assumed it was nothing more than a nice quote for an interview.
But then I stumbled across Kelly Conner and now I know exactly how those authors feel because Kelly is in some unexplainable way very real to me.
I have very little memory of the first time I committed her to paper. I had a vague idea that she was the star of an old short story of mine called ‘But I Love Him’ but having reread that in preparation for this blog I was shocked to discover that the two girls share nothing in common but hair colour and a dedication to the one they love. So where did she come from then? The obvious and wrongly assumed answer is that she is based on someone I know. To me this is impossible because I don’t know anyone like her. And if I did the odds are we wouldn’t last very long as friends. The best answer I can give to the question of her origin is that Kelly is, like most people you create, made up of a million different bits of inspiration and experiences. There is no one obvious inspiration behind her but every single day I thank the higher powers of the author world that she popped out as wonderfully complex as she did.
Just like the authors I dismissed earlier I quickly began to feel like I somehow knew this lady. I knew what she liked, what she didn’t like and just how far I could push her during the 'fun' chapters. In some ways writing for Kelly became a constant battle between creator and creation as she was the first character I had written where it wasn’t important how clever or twisted an idea was, all that mattered was 'would Kelly really do that?' It is a question I have asked so many times, honestly I drove my wife crazy asking her if this made up lady would enjoy the wonderful idea I had just had, but it is impossible to explain just how important that question became during the writing of the book. There are so many ideas or plot twists that looked amazing in my notes or worked perfectly in my mind, but when down on paper, and with her at the centre, just did not work. If it failed the 'would she do it test' it was always taken out.
So with all of this said I imagine you think that the book was always about Kelly? Nope, in a sad sign of things to come, the narrative and story behind Obsession was intended to revolve around Aaron Taylor (or Phillips if you read the very early drafts – which is something I had forgotten before this ha!) and his life. Looking back at my original notes, Kelly was never really meant to get this much screen time. She wasn’t a background character, and she would HATE IT if she read herself being described her like that, but more a subplot who popped up at the end in a big way. I knew her name, a little bit of her background and what she wanted in life. Aaron had three pages of notes. Joey and Jasmine two each while poor Kelly has just seven lines dedicated to her.
Author confession time – I got that badly wrong!
Not that it became obvious right away. Nope, draft one or 'the short story pretending to be a book draft' as I like to call it, was written and finished with very little Kelly. This was back in the happy days when the only person who knew I was writing a book was me and my wife. I had two (I think) short stories that I had shared and Obsession started life as the next one of these. I really liked the idea of the short and so made the decision to hold this back and make it my first book. To be honest the description of Aaron in my original notes (Elvis attitude, Liam Gallagher appearance and John Lennon/Ashcroft tortured artist vibe) might have had something to do with it, but enough about Aaron, this is Kelly week! His story can be told later. Working fast I knocked off draft one in four weeks. I did no editing or proof reading, as if I would have to do that sort of thing, and declared myself the new Rankin.
It was only three weeks later (why three weeks, well I am or was really lazy and after finishing something I like to bask in the glory rather than actually finish it properly!) when I uploaded it onto my kindle that I discovered one or two home truths. Firstly, I had written a crime story with no element of crime detection. Bugger, this is something that still troubles me. Second 289 words does not make a full book – don’t worry I got a lot more wordy in later drafts and third and maybe most important – it sucked!
I hated the pacing. I hated the writing (slight problem when I wrote it) and I hated the way most of the people on the pages came over as nothing like they did in my head. There was however one shining light, one person whose parts I did enjoy and one ray of hope in the whole project, of course I am talking about Kelly Conner.
With this in mind more notes got written, more edits made and draft two moved much, much closer to what I wanted the finished product to be. In a blog exclusive I can even tell you all that a detective called 'George Parker' was added in this draft. He was going to be the guy who made it a crime novel and moved me from 'thriller' to 'crime' and while George's role in the book shrunk with each edit (and I eventually accepted that I had written a thriller) he, like Kelly stuck around in my thoughts. Who knows, one day I may write something about him (insert amusing cartoon laughter at this point).
Draft two, much like one wasn’t very good but it did show me the way to publication. Change things, edit stuff and write more about this Kelly girl! Her chapters in draft two jumped out of the page at me and it was suddenly much more important to get her voice out and running through the book than that of anyone else. As anyone who went through the many, many drafts of Obsession knows (admit it, you all loved draft eight as much as I did) the book changed a lot over the years. Major plots disappeared, good people turned to bad and even I struggle to remember how it actually ends sometimes, but the one constant after that second draft was Kelly. She is an enigma, wrapped up in a riddle with a touch of crazy, a dash of shy and a dollop of innocence thrown in. There is not a shadow of a doubt that she is my favourite of all the people I have created and no one has given me more fun to write about than her. The preview story, coming this Friday, is half to promote the book and half because I jumped at the chance to spend time with her again. I don’t know if I will ever create anyone like her again, and I am comfortable with that because she exists and will always be out there as evidence that I can create a Kelly.
Her impact on me stretches well beyond the pages of book one. Over the years when I doubted myself and questioned if I could write a book it was her chapters which gave me the conviction to carry on. When I wanted to quit and give it all up, it was a nagging desire to find out where she would go next that forced me to pick up the laptop and carry on. There is no doubt in my mind that the confidence she has given me has spilled over into my next book and the popular novella that lurks around this page.
I believe that Obsession is now Kelly’s book. She is the star, she is the person people will (hopefully) go away talking about. Some people will hate her, my own wife says that she wouldn’t get on with her, but I don’t think anyone will be indifferent to her. I was asked during the search for a publisher what made my book stand out from other thrillers on the market, and the answer I gave was Kelly. I don’t think I have ever read a character like her in anyone else’s book and her twisted but somehow innocent view of the world is, hopefully, the magic fairy dust to make my story that bit more appealing.
I was asked to give a brief, none spoiler description of Kelly, so here goes. She is a young girl, in her mid-twenties who lives in her family home, alone. She is shy and does not get along with people but if you cross her she is not backwards in coming forwards. When we first meet her, she works as a dental assistant and her job is something that she and her mother are very proud of. It would be fair to say that Kelly was never destined to be a high flyer in life. She was never destined to be a 'somebody', but somewhere out there is a very small thread, so small most people can’t even see it, that Kelly clings to and fills her with an unshakable belief that soon things will change for her. There will be obstacles to overcome, but if I know one thing about my Kelly it is that nobody and nothing will stop her from getting what she wants in life.
As mentioned above this Friday will see the re-release of ‘Kelly Goes to London’ a short story that was written as a sort of teaser for my soon to be released book. Kelly Goes to London was written during a dinner hour and edited just as quickly. It was never intended to be anything more than a quirky way of getting people interested in the book. I read it back a few days ago, and while I am quite happy with it I know that I can now do better. The story won’t be changing, well not much, but the writing and editing will. If you have read it before, I would urge you to give it another quick read and if you have not read it yet I would strongly recommend you do. I will be making posters, videos and all sorts of other promotional pieces in the build up to release of the book but I promise you nothing will sell it better than meeting Kelly and spending time with her.
Under pressure from people who enjoy my small and very rare mistakes I have decided to end this blog with short Kelly story that we call ER v OR.
In the first edit Austin McCauley sent me back it was noted that for some reason I changed Kelly Connor to Kelly Conner several times during the book. What do you want to do they asked, go with ER I said, ER is a different, Kelly is different so Conner suits her more than Connor. Easy they said, we can find and replace and it will be changed for you.
Fast forward a few weeks to the preparation stage for Kelly Conner week and all of a sudden my flippant answer jumped up to bite me on the backside. Every single bit of promotion we had made, all the posters, the videos, the preview stories, the synopses and all the previous mentions of Kelly on my page were spelt Connor. I was livid and while I am delighted with the new promotional pieces it took me a good few days to calm down from my sulk. My eventual change of attitude happened when my ever suffering wife, Leanne laughed about the mistake and said 'how typical'. Assuming she was saying it was typical of me to make such a mistake I gave her my dirtiest look and said 'explain?' in a voice that sounded like a small bear barking at a bigger, stronger and more accomplished bear. 'Well, it is just so Kelly to make such a small thing turn into such a big disaster'. She is right of course, and how strange that two people could both know instantly how much joy this error would bring to someone people say isn’t real….
I hope people have enjoyed this little behind the scenes look the creation of Kelly and I hope I have made at least one new person curious as to what the fuss is about. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you all enjoy reading about Kelly as much as I did writing about her.
Kelly Goes To London - Available to read here - https://www.paulphillipsauthor.co.uk/books
Obsession You Will Always Be Mine the book Kelly is desperate for you to read is available on the following links!
Austin Macauley – http://www.austinmacauley.com/book/obsession-you-will-always-be-mine
Barnes and Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1128265283?ean=2940155182283
Booktopia (For Australian Fans) - - https://www.booktopia.com.au/obsession--paul-phillips/prod9781787109780.html
Paul’s Author Twitter Page - https://twitter.com/pphillips_ukuk
Paul’s Author Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/PaulPhillipsAuthor/
Paul’s Author Instagram Page - https://www.instagram.com/paulphillipsauthor/