Using Life’s Lessons to Create Fiction

Using Life's Lessons to Create Fiction, Kelly KlepferToday’s author interview is with Kelly Klepfer, whose debut book released earlier this month from Bling! Romance (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). I really enjoy Kelly’s sense of humor and think you will too.

Kelly had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas…she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled Dregs, Modern Day Mishaps, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons.

Let’s jump into today’s interview and see what randomocities and learned lessons Kelly has for us writers.

Why did you write Out of the Frying Pan and was there anyone who was your inspiration for Zula or Fern, the main characters?

Author Kelly KlepferYears ago I worked in nonprofit with a woman who ran a program for elderly volunteers. This friend, Christa, had a Bachelor’s in Theatre aka drama. That’s a thing. We all talk about drama in the workplace, but this girl has a degree in it.

She and I got ourselves into lots of fun situations. We designed an afghan of our city as a fundraiser, and we had to go to the sites and take pictures for the company. Let’s say our field trips were not exactly professional or buttoned up.

We went on a road trip to Branson together with the older folks as a fundraiser for her program. Oh, my, was that a good time. I’ll never forget our fun adventure. She was a stinker about us all being on the bus exactly on time. A whistle-blowing, checklist-wielding “fun-hater” who was way too much fun. She was late to arrive while we were at a shopping mall. We all laughed and had fun with that. She, the diva of time management, was late, so I convinced the bus driver to pull up to the front door of the mall and honk. Yes. Very satisfying.

After that trip we started talking about a novel with older ladies as characters. One day we found the best name for one of the characters. Zula. Years later, as I talked with another author friend I told her this and we decided Zula’s story needed to be written. Zula lives and out loud at that. Fern joined up shortly after.

Did you work with a critique group or an editor to fine-tune your manuscript prior to submitting to publishers?

Michelle Griep (my co-author) and I met through an online Christian fiction critique group. She and I bonded even though I was working on women’s fiction and she on sci-fi/fantasy. We critiqued each other’s first books and had a great time doing it. As we did so we developed a life merging friendship.

My first book never saw the light of day, but hers was published. Gallimore. While she was writing and editing and I was still trying to find my voice, we began to hang out. My daughters and I drove to her city for a first meeting. We kind of like that story. The whole shocker of “I drove my innocent little girls to a big city hours away so I could meet my friend from the internet.” But be assured we had spoken on the phone and had shared enough we were both fairly confident that neither of us was an ax-murderer.

We have written Out of the Frying Pan over several years while she has been publishing like a beast. I think this is number seven for her. But I’m also pretty sure it’s her favorite. We also developed a few other friends in our critique group and they gladly chewed up our manuscript looking for weak writing and errors. I love my critiquey friends.

Many writers dislike marketing, but we know marketing our books is a major part of what authors do these days. What does your marketing strategy include?

We will do what we need to do to get our book out there. Publishers don’t have the big budgets for glossy posters and scads of books for endcaps in every bookstore for the little people. We are creating a blog for Zula and Fern to interact and teach all their mad skills. We will promote posts via Facebook and plan to do a serial type story involving the ladies. Food and fun signings are scheduled at a couple of venues. Michelle has been here before. And I’ve been approached by every single PR person in the country seeking reviewers so I’m using some of the same techniques. We also have great people in the business who are more than willing to help us out.

What did you learn—good and bad—through this that you’ll apply to the next time?

Whew. There are lots of bits to publishing. Our initial editor, Sandra Bricker, was amazing. The most thorough Michelle has ever worked with. She read it through at least twice during the first round of edits. But the sheer work involved in getting the book out and into people’s hands is huge. They say it takes a village to raise a child, I’d say it also takes a village to get a book out.

I will start earlier, plan better and keep on top of details better the next time around. I hope. Michelle just came off promoting a novella in June/July, Out of the Frying Pan now, and has another novel releasing in October she’ll be promoting. The lady had a good year in publishing however, she’s worked her hind end off.

Thanks for being here today, Kelly, and sharing your journey and advice. Readers, if you have a question for Kelly put it in the comments and she’ll be sure to respond.


Out of the Frying Pan book coverWhen the chef of Sunset Paradise Retirement Village ends up dead, life for sisters Fern and Zula Hopkins is whipped into a froth. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective Jared Flynn. Should he be concerned about their safety or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts—especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Before the snooping pair gain any headway with the case, it becomes crystal clear that the sisters share a mysterious secret that takes life from the frying pan and into the line of fire.

Available for purchase on Amazon in print or kindle.

Want to get published but don’t know where to start?

Maybe you have a finished manuscript or just an idea stuck in your head. Email me today at Deb [at] DebraLButterfield [dot] com, and let's discuss how I can help you reach your dream of publication.


  1. Thank you for your excellent article

  2. kellyklepfer says:

    Thanks again, Debra. It was a pleasure to get to know you a bit. I hope we kept you guessing until the end of the book, too!

  3. kellyklepfer says:

    Thank you for hosting me today, Debra!

    • My pleasure, Kelly. Your sense of humor is refreshing. I take life much too seriously. I sure hope there’s a sequel in the offing. Fern and Zula are hilarious, and cozy mystery is my favorite genre.

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