Your Name (as it appears on your books):

Keryl Raist

Your Blog or Author Website (no purchase links):

Your Twitter (if applicable):


How would you describe yourself?

About five four, 120, pale skin, my hair is a new color every other month, and eyes that are greeny-brown.

How would you describe what you write?

Character driven and dialog rich fantasy.

What inspired you to start writing your first book?

One of my friends had been working on her book, and reading it reminded me that I had stories to tell. Eight months after reading her piece, I had my first draft done. Eight months after that I had my first novel out.

Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla?

Chocolate as a food. Vanilla as a scent.

What authors influence your writing?

Robert Heinlein, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Larry McMurtry, Harry Turtledove, Roger Zelazny, Frank Herbert, Dave Barry… So many authors have made me the writer I am, it’s impossible to list them all.

What one writing tip do you have for new authors?

Story editors/beta readers. It’s not enough to have your buddies read your story. You want other writers, who write the same sorts of stories you do, who you genuinely think are good at it, to read and go over your story. I’m avid enough about this to say that if you don’t have a circle of competent beta readers, then spend your money on a story editor rather than a proof reader. (You can learn good grammar more easily than you can see the plot holes in your own work.) Readers will forgive occasional wonky punctuation and spelling in a fantastic story. They will not forgive out of character interactions, lost plot threads, and clunky dialog, even if it is written with pristine grammar and punctuation.

Did you self or traditionally publish, and why did you choose that route?

I self-published. As for why, it came down to a matter of time. From everything I could see, getting an agent and having that agent sell your book, and then getting the book into the shape the publisher wants, takes years. I figured I could have my first, second, and probably third books all out in the same amount of time that it would take me to get the first book out if I went the traditional route.

Do you have a blog, and how has it helped with your promotional efforts?

Yes I do. It’s called To Publish or Not To. I’m not entirely sure if it has helped my promotional efforts. At least not directly. I don’t think anyone has read my blog and thought, “Wow! This lady is an incredible writer. I need to go read her book!” But, I am slowly getting a reputation as a good reviewer, and I’m getting to know other writers. I think having a web of contacts in the writing community is useful, and I think as the blog grows, that having my name out there will come in handy.

What one thing are you OCD about, in general?

I’ve recently gotten into 3d rendering, in my unending quest for better cover art, and I love booting up a pic and watching it render. Sitting there watching the picture slowly emerge is addictive.

What is the most creative way you have promoted any of your books?

Alas, not a lot of creative promotions from me. There are things I am creative with, and unfortunately this is not one of them.

What would you do differently if you had to start over?

I’d vet my editor better. I learned the hard way that if you don’t know enough grammar to know if your editor is doing a good job, find someone who does, and make sure they check his work before you send him any money.

Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?

I’d like to have at least five novels and a bunch of short stories out. I’d like to be making a profit on them, and if not rolling in vast piles of cash, at least be able to pay my mortgage. I’d like my blog to have a good reputation as a review and writing site. And, in my heart of hearts, I’d like to be able to lurk on fan fiction sites and see stories dedicated to my works.

What are the first three rules you would make if you took over the world?

My husband and I have a running joke about how we’d be assassinated within seconds of taking over the world (We’re not very mainstream politically.) but… First and foremost, I’d kill Daylight Savings Time. (As you can probably guess, I’m a mom with small children. DST is not fun in that situation! But it’s also an utterly useless waste of energy.) Next up, free trade for everyone, no more trade barriers at all. And, if I really had the power to do it, I’d declare that everyone really does own his or her own body. My body, my choice, on everything.

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