Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meet Kelly Hashway - Rate Your Story Judge

It’s good to be home!  After an absolutely amazing trip visiting Morocco and trekking across The Gambia over the last month, adjusting to life back “home” has been a bit of a transition.  Plus, as it was my fifth trip to Gambia, I realized just how much being there feels like home now.  But while I was away having adventures (and completely missing last week’s Author Wednesday interview...sorry!) I missed many adventures in the writing world.  So, without further ado...let me introduce a great writer whose journey toward publication has been as adventurous as her amazing writing!  Please welcome...

Author Kelly Hashway!

Kelly Hashway writes young adult and middle grade fiction and is represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA Management. Her debut YA, TOUCH OF DEATH, releases January 2013 through Spencer Hill Press. In addition to YA and MG books, Kelly is the author of three picture books, with five more titles on the way.

Miranda:  Welcome, Kelly!  Now, I’ve “known” you for quite some time, but our readers might not be aware that before you landed your recent 2-book contract, you wrote (and published) a TON of short stories and a few picture books.  So tell important do you feel it is for young writers to get their name out there and write short stories before delving into a full novel?

Kelly:  First of all, I never thought I'd write short stories. I only wanted to write novels, but when I finally gave in, I realized writing short stories can really help you learn to be a better writer. You have to fit all the necessary elements of a story into a small space, and that takes practice. Publishing those stories and my picture books gave me confidence and put my name out there so I could begin building my platform. All of these things are positives, so I would suggest that young writers pursue short fiction before trying to tackle a novel.

Miranda:  And where online can we read some of those stories to be inspired?

Kelly:  I've been published by online sites like, Super Teacher Worksheets, Stories for Children, Guardian Angel Kids, Stories that Lift, Spaceports & Spidersilk, and Bumples Magazine.

Miranda:  Well, now that you have validation via publication’re probably pretty confident.  But let’s back up to earlier writing...have you ever written anything that you think might get a 10 rating on Rate Your Story (the worst)?  If so, were you able to revise?

Kelly:  Definitely! I think everyone has at least one piece that is better kept hidden. ;) I have taken some poorly crafted stories and revised them after much time away, and some have been published. Others I've come to terms with just being written for the sake of exercising my writing muscle.

Miranda:  Like that...exercising muscle.  Only one, though? :)  Let’s hear more about that exercise.  Tell the writers here more about your revision process.  Do you have a critique group?  Do you self-edit?

Kelly:  Every piece I write (especially novels) is different. For some I've revised as I drafted. Others I've fast drafted and then gone back to do a lot of revising later. Since I'm a former language arts teacher, I take self-editing very seriously. I revise on screen several times before printing the manuscript out and revising in print. I look for different things with each run through, and I've been known to use a lot of colored post-it flags and pens along the way. I also have a critique group and beta readers who help get my stuff in shape, and of course my agent edits all my novels before they go out on submission.

Miranda:  Not only do you do a lot of revision of your own stories, but I know that you critique a lot of stories.  What's the most common comment you have to make?

Kelly:  Show. Don't tell. If you can show us what your characters are doing and feeling through actions and gestures, it's so much more powerful than telling your reader what's happening.

Miranda:  Okay...beyond the writing know as well as anyone that we writers cannot just write anymore...we’ve got to think business.  And Kelly, you're a shining example of platform building.  Can you tell the pre-published writers who visit our site more about what that is and why it might be important if you're a new writer?

Kelly: Well, thank you! Building your platform is important for two main reasons. The obvious one is that it gets your name out there and makes people aware of the fact that you are a writer, so when your work comes out, you have a built-in audience. But the second reason, which is also my favorite, is building your platform connects you to other writers. This industry is tough and writers need the support and guidance of other writers. I'm a firm believer in helping each other out. That's also a great way to make your platform bigger. The more writers you know, the more readers you will find.

Miranda:  Lastly - as an author and a mother - any tips for writers with busy lives (and how to get it all done)?  There seem to be a lot of busy people submitting to Rate Your Story.

Kelly:  Schedule time to write. If you want writing to be a career and not just a hobby, then you have to treat it like any other job. You go to work everyday at a certain time. Believe it or not, you can train yourself to be creative at specific times of the day. And the other great thing is that if people know you write from 7-9pm, they learn to give you time to yourself from 7-9pm. Set a schedule and stick to it.

Miranda:  Great advice.  Where can we learn a lot more about you and your fantastic, gripping writing? 


Miranda:  Thanks for all you do for Rate Your Story and for taking the time to share such valuable information with our readers!

A Note:  Because of my trip delay, I've pushed back our Author Interview Schedule by one week.  Sorry for any inconvenience, and I hope you'll come back next week to learn more about Editor Sharon Verbeten!


  1. Kelly, congratulations on getting that two-book contract! Thanks for sharing with us today. And welcome back, Miranda!

  2. Kelly, I'll second Miranda's comment that you're a shining example of platform building. You're one of my models for establishing a web presence. And your advice to treat writing as a job is so important. It will never become your job if you don't act like it already is.

    1. Thank you, Anne. I really appreciate that. :)

      And let me add that I LOVE my job! I work seven days a week and never complain about having to work. Even when writing is tough, it's still so rewarding.

  3. Excellent advice. Show,not tell- platform building- and schedule writing time are all great tips for those trying to build a writing career.

    1. I'm glad you think so. These are all things that worked for me, so I'm happy to pass the tips along.

  4. Kelly, you're right about connecting with other writers and readers. It's incredibly rewarding & so important to find the right support! Congrats on all your achievements. (And welcome back, Miranda!)

    1. Thanks, Claudine. I love the other writers I've met. This really is such a supportive community.

  5. And wait until you read Kelly's books--they are amazing!

  6. Great interview and congrats on the two-book deal! I completely agree about scheduling time to write - no matter how busy your schedule is! I quit writing for about 15 years after going back to work full-time and I really regret the time I lost! Even if you can only fit in a couple of hours a week - do it!


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