Good evening, everyone:
Kept, by Christian fiction author Sally Bradley, is now available for purchase from all major retailers. Be sure to stop at your favorite website to purchase this fabulous book by who is soon to be one of Christian fiction’s newest favorite authors!
This weekend I will post my review of Sally’s debut novel, Kept. To celebrate the release of her novel, Sally is making three appearances on my blog to share her thoughts on her writing process, the story behind Kept, and future projects! I’ve been working with Sally for about a month now and have truly enjoyed getting to know her. This weekend I will have the pleasure of meeting her in person at the ACFW conference in St. Louis. I am so excited! I hope you have fun getting to know her through these posts.
In our first session, Sally will discuss her debut novel: her inspiration behind the story, the making of her characters and their names, and the creative process behind Kept. Welcome, Sally!
1) How did you decide upon the title of Kept? I wanted a short, gripping title, and since my character is a kept woman in the beginning, I thought Kept might work. Then as the book went on, I began to see all the nuances to the words and how it meant different things to the heroine at different times. So the title stuck, and I’m pretty happy with it.
2) How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names of character in Kept based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? Names are huge to me! Give someone the wrong name or try to change it, and forget it. The story dies. Weird, I know.
I’m not big on picking names based on meaning. I go more for sound and era. Miska came to me fully named. The name was unique and beautiful, just like her, so it worked well. For Dillan, the hero, I wanted a name that had a very contemporary feel to it. He’s a good guy who’s lived a godly life in an ungodly culture, so I wanted the very modern name to show that yeah, he’s living right now. Then his brother and sister received similar names since parents tend to go with one style.
3) Are any experiences in Kept based on personal experiences? Did you draw upon any stories or movies for inspiration for the novel? SportsCenter gave me the idea for Kept. They ran a series on temptations pro athletes face, and one of them was about women who made their living off athletes. One woman they interviewed was completely silhouetted but had a very unique short haircut. As the interview went on, she confessed that not only was she “kept” by one pro athlete, being available only to him when his team came to town, but by a second one—and that each man thought they were the only one. My immediate thought was, Honey, I hope you’re wearing a wig. Or they know now.
I couldn’t get her out of my head and had to figure out what would make her live that way and what it would take for her to see—and want—the truth. Plus she needed a truly happy ending.
4) What was the hardest part of writing your book? Being careful with what I showed. My heroine starts off the book with pretty sad morals. Since I had to show what she once was before she could begin to change, I had to deal with some scenarios that could have gotten bad fast. So as I wrote and as I edited, I was always evaluating if I’d shown enough or if I’d shown too much. I never wanted to glamorize her sin or make it come across in a scintillating manner. And thankfully I’m hearing that I succeeded here. Phew!
5) Do you forsee any more stories for this family of characters? I do hope so. There’s a lot of potential for that, and I’ve had people asking about two characters in particular. I just have to figure out what happens to whom. 🙂
6) Who was your favorite character in Kept? Miska and Dillan were equally my favorite. Miska has come from such a messed-up home and has known so much pain, but she just thinks it’s a normal part of life. I loved having her discover what life could be. And Dillan was this wonderful guy who isn’t perfect but is trying to live for God and has his own attitudes challenged as he crosses path with a woman whose life is so completely opposite his.
7) Was there anything in Kept that you did not enjoy writing about? There were a couple scenes where Miska’s behavior was a bit… much. I debated whether those scenes needed to be included and realized, after writing a version without one of them, that they absolutely had to be there. So that was one of those spots where I was extremely careful with what I showed and with where the scene began and ended. So far, knock on wood, no one has had trouble with those spots, and everyone has said there’s nothing gratuitous. Another big sigh of relief!
Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her—all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago’s lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.
Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father’s sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can’t help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she’s longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.
When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes that her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her—a woman who’s gone too far and done too much.
Find Kept at the following links:
Sally Bradley has worked for two publishers, writing sales and marketing materials, sorting through the slush pile, and proofreading and editing fiction. She has a BA in English and a love for perfecting novels, whether it’s her work or the work of others.
A judge in fiction-writing contests, Sally is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, The Christian PEN, and the Christian Editor Network. In 2000, she left the working world to have her first child. She now runs Bradley Writing and Editing Services from her home outside Kansas City. A mother of three, Sally is married to a pastor who moonlights as a small-town cop. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, doing laundry, and rooting on her favorite Chicago sports team of the season.
You can find Sally at Sally Bradley, Writer on Facebook.
Kept is her first novel. Visit Sally at www.sallybradley.com