August’s Featured Author – KK Hendin

featured author


This month’s Featured Author is the fabulous KK Hendin! Let’s get to know her!

1) The question we’re all wondering…Is KK Hendin a pen name? What does the KK stand for?
KK is not the name my parents gave me (I assume y’all knew that by now), but it is a nickname that a lot of my friends use. My full name is Kayla.

2) While you openly state your ambition is to be a pink fluffy unicorn (awesome), what do you do? Are you a lucky fulltime writer, or is there a day job?
I’m not a fulltime writer yet, although I’d love to be one. Until I get to the magical fulltime writerdom (that’s probably where the pink fluffy unicornhood is waiting for me), I work as a preschool teacher. It’s a little different than writing about college-aged kids, but I love it.

3) When and why did you start writing?
I’ve been writing my whole life- but I kind of stopped for a while, which was a dumb idea. I started writing seriously with the intent of publishing in January of 2013 after having made a New Year’s resolution. Resolutions have never stuck, and none of the other 2013 goals happened, but I started writing again 

4) You’re a self-published author. Why did you choose to go the self-publishing route?
I self-publish my New Adult novels for a few reasons, the main one being that NA is still a relatively new category, and the main growth right now is still in the self-published books. HEART BREATHS, my first book, has a slight paranormal bent, which would have made genre-picking traditionally a little tricky. Also, I’m a little bit of a control freak, so having the creative freedom to write and publish books the way I want to is super excellent.

5) Have you considered traditional publishing? If not, or if you have, why?
I have! I write YA and MG novels as well as NA novels, and when I feel like one of the YA or MG manuscripts are ready, I will be querying it.

6) Your books all touch on very deep topics, some readers noting them to be depressive. Writing such topics can be mentally draining, how do you handle it all?
That’s a good question. Honestly, I’m not quite sure. I don’t walk into writing a book saying, ‘Oh, hey, let’s write about something super depressing and harsh! WOOO!!’ My main character is usually the first part of any book that I figure out, and as an author, it is my job to tell their stories with empathy and sensitivity. So when I’m writing about an eighteen year old with breast cancer (for example), I’m not writing it and thinking about how depressing it is. It *can* be depressing, yes. But a tragedy or illness in someone’s life is not all who they are, and that’s a big part of my writing process. Yes, Milcah had breast cancer, but she was still an eighteen year old girl who liked crocheting and thought Gabe was super hot. There are times that I will be emotionally drained after a scene, and there are times that I’ll write something and totally not feel anything until I reread it later. And there are times that other people tell me they read something and cried like a baby, and I didn’t cry at all. *shrugs* Who knows.

7) What inspires you to write about these topics? Are there personal experiences, do you do research or do you write purely from the heart?
I can’t say that anything specific my personal life inspired me to write any of my books, so to say, but there are definitely parts of me and my life in every book I write. Usually random quirks that the characters have, or a small backstory or character is based on my life. For example, I crochet, too, but not nearly as well as Milcah does. I do know people who’ve gone through some of the things Maddie has gone through, and I know a lot of people who’ve suffered from cancer, including family members. I always do a ridiculous amount of research- if I’m writing about something that I’m not super familiar with, it’s my responsibility as an author to get the facts right.
The crazy amount of research I do inspired the Goodreads Charity TBR Initiative- after spending so much time writing about fictional characters going through different difficulties, the least I can do to spread awareness is to donate some money to charities that support these people. I started doing it for ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG (where I got to donate $350 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation), and the COME BACK TO TEXAS one is going on now (where I’ll be donating money to the Wounded Warrior Project).

8) Your covers are absolutely kick-ass. Who designed them, and what inspired them?
Thank you so much!! The incredible Hafsah from IceyDesigns does my covers, lucky, lucky me  Each cover goes through the same process- I make a Pinterest board and think about what I want on the cover. Usually, I want the cover to have the same vibe as the book, and the cover to connect to a scene in the book. Then I send a ridiculously rambling email to Hafsah and brain vomit all the things. And somehow (I think magic), she comes up with the PERFECT covers. It’s definitely one of the easiest parts of the process 

9) What is the most challenging part of being an author?
Putting yourself out there, which manifests itself in a whole bunch of different ways. Marketing is a very delicate balance, because you want people to know about your books and buy them, but you don’t want them to feel like they’re being spammed. An author’s self-esteem is a poor, bruised creature- every book we put out is in essence, a part of ourselves we’re slapping on bookshelves. It’s a terrifying but incredible experience.

10) What advice would you give someone who is looking to publish?
Keep writing. Write more. Research. Do more research. If you’re going to self-publish, invest in an amazing editor and cover designer. Remember that even the people who hate your book are people, too, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You don’t need to agree with everyone. Everyone isn’t going to love you, and that’s okay. Become a part of the writing community- they will save you more times than you realize. Keep writing. Keep writing. Don’t wait for your success to show up before you write another book. Write more. Take care of yourself. Know that one day, your book will be the one that will change someone’s life. Keep going.
Random Round:
Coffee or Tea? Depends. I’m on an iced tea kick, and it’s magical. (Passion tea lemonade or pomegranate tea are my two favorites right now.)
Candles or Fragrance Plug-Ins? Candles. Always candles.
Dogs or Cats? Whatever’s closer and cuddlier.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.
Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner? I’ll eat pretty much anything for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, so, all? (I really like brunch, though. It seems very big floppy hat, high heels, air kissing, dahling kind of thing. And dinner parties. Those are fun, too.)
Sweet or Salty? Cheesy. Always cheese. (I know, that wasn’t an answer. But cheese.)





about the author banner

KK Hendin’s real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she’ll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate.
She’s the author of NA contemporaries HEART BREATHS, ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG, and the TWELVE BEATS IN A BAR series (COME BACK TO TEXAS debuts August 18th). She spends way too much time on


Twitter: @kkhendin









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1) You’re an Air Force wife, which always brings to mind lots of moving. How have the moves involved in this affected your writing?

I actually turned to writing as a way to pass time after we moved to California in 2012. I hadn’t written anything since high school, really. But we had just moved from Charleston, SC where I’d had the most amazing friends imaginable, and living in California wasn’t going well. I hadn’t met anyone I really connected with and my husband was never home, so I found myself in a place where I needed a way to occupy my time. The three years we spent there were lonely and hard, but it gave me time to focus on the craft and work out the bugs in my writing.

2) You’re published by Etopia Press, how did you find them?

I participated in PitchMas last December, and was lucky enough to get two of the three pitches I submitted through to the next round. I had nine requests, mostly from editors at small presses. Etopia offered me a contract on Collision less than a month later, along with another small press. I did some research about both the companies and ultimately decided on Etopia simply because they had been around longer and were better established. I got very lucky, because the other press has since gone under. They were new, which was my major objection to them.
So far, I’ve been satisfied with Etopia. There have been a few minor bumps along the way, but nothing major. I’ve found everyone I’ve worked with to be friendly and helpful. My emails and questions have been answered and my editor has been great. And I love my cover for Collision.

3) Etopia is a smaller publishing house. What kind of marketing do they do for you, and what kind of marketing are you required to do?

They have a list of review sites they send the ARC out to, as well as a website, Facebook page and Twitter account. As an author, I’m not required to do anything. I did submit to a few other small presses who made a big deal about having a social media presence, but Etopia did not. However, the success of my book is going to depend on me marketing myself. I’ve been working on getting author spotlights and interviews on blogs, Tweeting consistently and even have a book blog tour scheduled for the end of this month.

4) Why did you choose the smaller independent publishing house route?

I spent a lot of time querying this and a few other novels to agents. I had plenty of full requests along the way, but it always came to the same result: Like it, didn’t love it. The no responses were piling up and it was just getting more and more difficult to stay positive. Ultimately, my goal was to get published. Would I love to walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelf? Yes! But I didn’t need it, and I don’t need to make millions of dollars. I just wanted to share my stories with other people, so when I got the offer from Etopia, I decided to go for it.
I haven’t totally given up on the idea of an agent, and I even have a manuscript out with an agent right now. But I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere and I just wanted to move forward in the meantime. There’s nothing wrong with starting out small.

5) Your debut novel, Collision, is a New Adult mystery novel. The New Adult genre needs more variety like this! What inspired the novel?

I love the age range of New Adult. I’m older, married, and have four kids, but I like reading about people who are still trying to find their way in life. But I often found it hard to connect to the characters in young adult. When they were seventeen or eighteen years old it wasn’t bad, but I can’t really identify with a fifteen year old!
New Adult is a great alternative, but right now it’s mostly contemporary and paranormal romance, which aren’t my favorite. So, I decided to write something New Adult that I would love to read. I always want a strong romantic element in the stories I read, but I need more plot than that to keep me interested.

6) Mystery novels can have leans towards sci-fi or the paranormal—does this novel have one of these leans or is it more real-life related?

I am not a paranormal fan, and even though I love sci-fi, there isn’t any of that in the story. Unless you count the main character watching a cheesy movie on the Syfy channel, that is.

7) What would you classify the ‘heat’ level of your novels and your writing?

Compared to the new adult romances out there, mild. There’s some sex, but it isn’t as graphic as most new adult readers are probably used to.

8) Your next book, Broken World, is about zombies in a post-apocalyptic America. What inspired this novel?

I’ve always loved zombies and any post-apocalyptic stories, and they are so popular right now! Of course, The Walking Dead is my favorite show. I wanted to write a zombie story, and I loved the dynamic of the Dixon brothers on the show. Sadly, there wasn’t much interaction between them. I really wanted to explore that kind of sibling bond and how something like the end of the world would affect it. So, I just went with it. Yes, the brothers in my story are inspired by those characters, but everything else comes from my own imagination.

9) Broken World is a part of a series. How many novels will be in the series? Where do you see it going?

I have three books in this series written already and the fourth one started. I love reading (and writing) a series. It’s so hard letting go of characters you’ve falling in love with, and I love these characters! I probably shouldn’t say this because it might make my other books jealous, but this series is my favorite. Which means, I don’t have a set number of books. I’m just going to keep writing and see where the story goes.

10) What advice would you give someone who is looking to publish?

Be sure to get beta readers, join writing groups, get feedback and get to know other writers on Twitter. The writing community can be very supportive if you look in the right places, and without feedback from other people, it’s going to be hard to break into the industry. And it can make all the difference in the quality of your writing.
Also, do your homework. I love the #tenqueries hashtag on Twitter, and it blows my mind how much agent time is wasted by people who just didn’t follow guidelines. Know what agents or editors want, follow their submission guidelines, and don’t submit until your manuscript is complete.

Random Round:

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. Every morning or I don’t function.
Candles or Fragrance Plug-Ins?
Either one. Whatever helps keep the little kid stink at bay.
Dogs or Cats?
Cats. I’m one of those rare people who doesn’t really love dogs.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate. It’s one of my addictions.
Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?
Sweet or Salty?


about the author



Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She spent most of her life in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California.
Kate enjoys any post-apocalyptic story – especially if zombies are involved – as long as there is a romantic twist to give the story hope. Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes that can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat, and her love of wine and chocolate is legendary among her friends and family. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children.

Find out more about Kate:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon







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