Friday, July 18, 2008

Guest Blogger: KELLI STANLEY

I am delighted to present my guest blogger, Kelli Stanley. Kelli's first book, Nox Dormienda, just came out. Even though she spent the last week at ThrillerFest, Kelli still found the time to share a few thoughts...

You’ll Never Write Alone

Remember the lyrics?

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone

You’ll Never Walk Alone is Rodgers and Hammerstein at their finest (from Carousel). And today, July 18th, my debut book’s official release, I’m here at my gracious and wonderful hostess’ blog to tell you how true the words are … particularly in the writing community.

In the past year and a half – since January 17, 2007, the date of my publishing news – I’ve discovered that you never write alone.

I’ve always recognized the fact that we take the people we meet, the things we experience, the places we imagine, and distill them into a story, a character. In that sense, we don’t write alone.

And then there are the people who enable us to create … the parents who encourage us, the teachers who praise us, the spouses and children that patiently wait while we’re shut up in a room with a “do not disturb” sign. And there, too, we’re not really alone with the keyboard. Their love and support are with us, keeping us going.

When the manuscript is finished, and you turn toward friends for critique … when your agent reads and re-reads it, making suggestions, helping to shape the direction … when an editor receives it and fights for its place among a stack of books eager for publication, and then lovingly cuts and trims and pommels it into something you’re both proud of … and when the copy editor finds a continuity error, or something you forgot to fully research … throughout this process, the struggle for creativity and entertainment and salability in a very tough market … you’re never alone.

And then the publisher steps in, and you receive support from an overworked publicist who loves the book, and wants it to succeed as much as you do. And the marketing department makes suggestions, and the advanced reading copies go out, ready for review … a symphony has joined you, making the music of your book a possibility, helping to shape everything about it … does the cover work? Is it exciting? What about reviewers? What about the all-important pre-release buzz? Questions you can’t answer alone.

And along the way, the most important ingredient – besides your family – is friendship. The wonderful, generous people you meet in the industry. Fellow writers who agree to read the book, and like it enough to give you blurbs. They want you to succeed, as they have. You’re not alone.

Reviewer and critics who make time to read it, even if they don’t like it as much as you do. There are more books out there than reviewers, so whether they like it or not, they’ve done you a favor. And you’re not alone.

Readers who bid on an advanced reading copy, fans who ask you to sign programs at conferences because you don’t have a book to sell … all of them are helping you write your next book, because they’re giving you confidence for this one.
You’re not alone.

And when you’re down, and you’re walking (and writing) through the storm … as we all do … your friends are beside you. Because they’ve done it before, and they know what it’s like. And they’ll tell you, again and again: you’ll get through this. Keep writing. You’re not alone.

Then the big day approaches, and you’re faced with publicity and getting the word out … and still, you’re not by yourself. Through the generosity of people like Stacy Alesi, who helps spread the word about so many writers, especially debuts, you get a chance to let people know about your book.

The fact is, no one gets published alone. And no one writes alone. And today, on the official release of NOX DORMIENDA, I want to thank the family and friends and industry colleagues who have made this date possible.

To celebrate, I ask you to think of someone who has helped you; someone who reached out when you thought you were by yourself. A parent, a friend, a teacher, a stranger. Think about them. Post a comment about them here. Thank them, if you can.

Because no matter what we do … we don’t do it alone.

Kelli Stanley lives in San Francisco and earned a Master’s Degree in Classics. When she’s not writing or wandering in the fog, she can usually be found at bookstores, speakeasies and classic movie theaters.

Kelli’s debut mystery-thriller, Nox Dormienda, is the first of a new series and a new genre of mystery fiction: Roman Noir. A Writer’s Digest Notable Debut (August, 2008), Nox Dormienda has been described by Ken Bruen as “Ellis Peters re-written by Elmore Leonard.” Kelli serves as the ITW News Editor for The Big Thrill website, and is currently working on a novel set in 1940 San Francisco. Visit her at


Bill Cameron said...

Congratulations, Kelli!

While I'm here, I thought I would share my own little review of Nox, which I'm posting wherever I can!

Classic Noir in a Classical Setting

In Nox Dormienda, Kelli Stanley brings Roman Britain in the first century A.D. to life with deft writing and deep knowledge of the times. The story follows half-Roman, half-Briton Arcturus, physician and informal investigator to the Roman governor Agricola, as he delves into the death of a shady merchant. The trail leads through Londinium's seedy underbelly, shining a light in dark corners from the lowliest prostitute's crib to the highest seats of Roman power. The setting is crisply-drawn, the characters rich and engaging, and the mystery tight and enthralling, with Arcturus' wry humor and keen observations leading the way through this gritty page-turner. If you enjoy classic noir, or you enjoy your mystery with a classical setting, you won't be disappointed. It may be A Long Night for Sleeping, but don't plan on any sleep until you finish this gem.

Anonymous said...

Kelli, you're a gem! ThrillerFest remains a amazing event and you helped make it memorable. I loved your historical fiction panel.

I'm really glad I've gotten to know you and I'm sure our friendship will stand the test of time.

Here's to ya babe!


Anonymous said...

Kelli, m'love - congrats on the big day!

Wow, what an awesome post. You brought me to tears, honestly. And sweetie, you yourself have been a great reacher-outer, and encourager, and lifter-upper, and supporter - gosh, you're starting to sound like a bra! - anyway, your encouragement and enthusiasm and advice and support has meant the world to me, and I'm sure to many others among the debut group, as well. You're an awesome writer, but an even more awesome gal, and I know I feel so lucky to have you in my (virtual, so far) life.

Here's to ya, babe!

Unknown said...

Yay, Kelli! You're a star. It's my privilege to know you. Here's hoping you sell tons of your wonderful book!

Kelli Stanley said...

I've come back from a long day writing to find these messages, and now I'm all choked up. :)

You guys are amazing ... and truly the single best reason to be a writer is to have friends like you in my life!!

Thank you all so much!! :)

Lots of love,


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