A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
A native of the Ozarks, K.D. McCrite primarily writes books set in the mountains of Missouri and Arkansas. Her stories are touching, and often humorous, portraying ordinary people who keep the wheels of life turning. McCrite’s first three novels were published through Avalon books under the name Kathaleen Burr. Her “Confessions of April Grace” Series, published by Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins is a hilarious series for mid-grade 'tweens. McCrite also writes cozy, crafting-circle mysteries for Annie’s Publishing. Lee Press will be publishing the “Further Confessions of April Grace.” McCrite has just signed a five-book contract with Oghma Creative Media for a new series, “The Cassidys.”
She has also published under the pen name of Sidney Archer. That book, Desolate Heart, is an unusual modern day fairytale. For now, McCrite keeps her identity and her third pseudonym separate from each other.
Her novel, In Front of God and Everybody was in the top 12 finalists for the prestigious Mark Twain Readers Award in 2013-14. All books in the “Confessions of April Grace” series are on the Accelerated Reader list.
With an unending love for books, McCrite worked for several years in two public libraries. She has also worked in the mental health field as a caseworker.
McCrite graduated from Drury University with a degree in psychology.
What makes you proud to be a writer from the Ozark Mountains? Thanks to movies and television, our region tends to be put into a category of nurturing ignorance and bigotry. Unfortunately, ignorance and bigotry exist in every region and every city, no more so here than anywhere else. I try to lay that stereotype to rest. I’m proud to put into my work the richness of character, kin, and region found in this part of the world.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I have been inspired by many writers – Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Alexander Dumas, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Janice Holt Giles, just to name a few. I can’t point to just one, but have learned for them all.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? January 1, 1980, my New Year’s Resolution was to pursue writing with the serious intent of making it my career.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Yes! I grew up in the country, on a dairy farm, in a region where my ancestors settled in the 1860s. I love the hills, the mountains, the country life, and the people. All these elements are strong in my work.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? Sometimes I come up with a title, and then build the story around it. Other times, I’ll create a title early in the writing stage. I never wait until the manuscript is finished to title it. To me, that’s like having a child and not naming him until high school graduation.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? My best known books, at this time, are a series for middle grade readers, “The Confessions of April Grace.” These books were originally written for any age to enjoy, but my editors at Thomas Nelson decided to market them as kids’ books. I love writing humor, and the voice of my character, April Grace Reilly, works extremely well toward that end. (Although they are published by a Christian publishing company, I make sure they are in no way preachy or overtly religious.) I also write cozy mysteries for Annie’s Publishing. Because Annie’s is a crafting publisher, their fiction line carries a strong thread of arts and crafts. These books are sold exclusively through the Annie’s bookclub. My preferred genre is mainstream, but those kinds of stories are a hard sell.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write the book that you are seeking promotion for? I wrote a short story years ago about the root cellar in our backyard. April Grace was my character, and I so enjoyed her, I turned her into books.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? When readers reach out to tell me I have touched them in some way, have brightened their day, or in a few cases, have changed their lives. Nothing is better for my soul. For me, the reader is number one, not fame, fortune, awards, bestseller lists or any of that. The reader, always.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I hate to think of negative experiences, because it is through those experiences that we grow, as writers and as people. Unfortunately, I’ve had a negative experience with an agent whose lack of training and experience tied up my books with contracts that became a disaster for me as the writer while benefitting both the agent and the publishers, a clear breach of ethical behavior if not breach of contract. Writers need to sit on their enthusiasm long enough to have an attorney go over contracts. Also, make sure your agent is savvy and professional enough to represent your work to the bigger markets. Check the agency website, see the caliber of client represented and what companies the agency tends to pitch manuscripts to. If you want to go with a small press, you don’t need an agent for that. If your agent is too busy or too careless to look after your best interests, or if he focuses more on the best interests of the publisher, fire him, ASAP.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Beyond the learning process and meeting the most amazing people, the greatest experience was when a major publishing company discovered my work and offered me a lovely contract. To be validated as an author, especially when it takes a long time to reach that point, is one of the most fulfilling experiences we writers can enjoy.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I’ve had some negative experiences with three small presses. One, under the guidance of my erstwhile agent, I signed away publishing rights for a certain book to a small publisher for the length of copyright. That is, my entire life. The cost to get my rights back on this title is prohibitive. Again, under the care of that agent, I signed with another small publisher who refuses to live up to her contract. The other small press failed to fulfill promises and has been negligent in paying author royalties. Before you sign on with anyone, publisher or agent, do your homework. Investigate.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Do your very best, be diligent, listen to your editors, and never, ever give up.
Who is your favorite author and why? I have so many favorites, but currently, I am enamored by M.G. Miller. His writing and his stories are unique and compelling, taking us back to the glory days of Southern fiction at its finest.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? Taking up the life of a writer can be the greatest joy and the greatest burden. There are those who neither support nor understand, but they are balanced by those who lift you up when you are in the dregs of despair. For those of us who want to be successful authors, we should also remind ourselves, often, that writing is a profession. It needs to be approached with respect, skill, and knowledge, and given our very best efforts. As with all professions, this is not an overnight career. Do yourself a favor and refrain from getting so excited that you send your work out into the world before it’s ready. Keep the ego in check. Stay humble and approachable. Realize and accept there is something new to learn, every day. Don’t write with dollar signs in your eyes.
How many published books do you have? Seventeen published but with two more under contract to be released in 2016 and 2017.
Just A Few Of Author KD McCrite’s Published Books:
A Stony Point Christmas (Annie's Attic Mysteries)
Chocolate-Covered Baloney (The Confessions of April Grace)
Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks (The Confessions of April Grace)
Desolate Heart Kindle Edition by Sidney Archer
Double Strand Deception
In Front of God and Everybody (The Confessions of April Grace)
Pink Orchids & Cheeseheads (The Further Confessions of April Grace)
The Deed In The Attic (Annie's Attic Mysteries)
The Ring In The Attic (Annie's Attic Mysteries)
The Unfinished Sonata (Annie's Attic Mysteries)
In Front of God and Everybody
(The Confessions of April Grace) by KD McCrite
Growing up in the country is never easy, but it sure is funny―especially if you happen to have a sister obsessed with being glamorous, a grandma just discovering make-up, hippie friends who never shower, and brand new neighbors from the city who test everyone’s patience. From disastrous dye jobs to forced apologies and elderly date tagalongs, you’ll laugh ‘til you cry as you read the Confessions of April Grace!
Here are just a couple of April's thoughts: On her sister, Myra Sue: "How anyone can be that dumb and still be able to eat with a fork is beyond me." On senior citizen lovebirds: "What if they started smooching right at the table in front of God and everybody?"
In spite of all the loony characters in her life, April Grace is able to learn from her parents as they share the love of God―to even the craziest of characters!
Award: One of the top 12 finalists for the 2013-14 Mark Twain Award.
Book Genre: Middle-Grade (tween) Fiction
Just when April Grace thought the drama was over . . .
After an automobile accident, Isabel St. James―resident drama coach and drama queen―needs help putting together the church play. Mama insists April Grace and Myra Sue will help. April’s fall is now devoted to spending every afternoon with Isabel and Myra Sue―if anyone is as big of a drama queen as Isabel, it’s Myra Sue. Plus, she’s dumb. (Okay, not dumb, but "older sister dumb.") If that’s not enough, Isabel is wreaking havoc in the community trying to get Rough Creek Road paved, the new boy at school will not leave her alone, and then Mama drops the biggest bombshell of all . . . April Grace is no longer going to be the baby of the family . . .
Girls will completely relate to April and love her sense of humor as she deals with siblings, boys, and the many changes that come with growing up.
Book Genre: Middle-Grade (tween) Fiction
Featured Book Three:
(The Confessions of April Grace) by KD McCrite
The last thing April Grace wants is more change in her life―but that’s exactly what she gets! Plus, April has a new mystery to solve when Myra Sue starts sneaking around and acting very suspicious!
From snooty new neighbors to starting junior high to getting a new baby brother to having her grandmother get a boyfriend, April Grace has had enough change to last until she is at least 87 years old.
But when it rains, it pours, and April Grace is in for the ride of her life when her prissy, citified neighbor Isabel becomes her gym teacher and a long-lost relative suddenly reappears and throws everything into a tizzy. On top of that, April’s sister, Myra Sue, has been hiding something and sneaking around. April needs to find out what is going on before her silly sister gets herself into trouble again. More important, will April find the grace she needs to handle her topsy-turvy life and forgive past wrongs?
Book Genre: Middle-Grade (tween) Fiction
An accident on the road. An unexpected marriage. A slew of long-term, noisy wedding guests from Wisconsin who prefer sports to romance. A new friend who isn't what she seems, and another one who is more than April Grace could hope for. The summer of 1987 at the Reilly home is off to a rousing, hilarious start in the continuing Confessions of April Grace!
Featured Book Five:
Desolate Heart by Sidney Archer (KD McCrite)
Desolate Heart is a story of love spurned, lost, and then found. In the spirit of 'Somewhere In Time,' this is the story of a love that surpasses time and triumphs against all odds. When a fiery mountain girl's obsessive love is rejected by Andrew Wade, a young medical student one hundred years ago, she demands the help of the local medicine woman, who is also known for dark sorcery. The curse is one of selfish revenge and dooms them both; the girl to her death, and Andrew Wade to his exile - in a painting. Abigail Matthews, a successful defense attorney in our time, is disillusioned with her career and sets off to her friend's home in the Ozark Mountains to sort out her life. In route, an unrelenting urge compels her to stop at a ramshackle roadside antique shop where she buys a mysterious painting; one that draws her into it, transporting her into Andrew Wade's existence. The key to their escape from this endless time in a bewitched painting is true love. Time, space, and a hundred-year spell will challenge and reinforce what is truly meant to be.