Author Guest Post: Kelley York of Hushed

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kelley was born and raised in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, daughter, and an abundance of pets. (Although she does fantasize about moving across the globe to Ireland.) She has a fascination with bells, adores all things furry - be them squeaky, barky or meow-y - is a lover of video games, manga and anime, and likes to pretend she's a decent photographer. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or maybe a mermaid.

Within young adult, she enjoys writing and reading a variety of genres from contemporary with a unique twist, psychological thrillers, paranormal/urban fantasy and horror. She loves stories where character development takes center stage.
Find Kelley on: Website. Twitter. Facebook.

Write What You Know?

There's something so nostalgic and pretty about Christmas time, and it has nothing to do with the shopping or gifts and the crowds and who's crazy enough to attempt Black Friday shopping or... (You get the idea.) It's just...the atmosphere. The lights and ornaments and the weather.

I have a Christmas-time memory of walking around streets with family, being cold to the bone but wanting to see the done-up houses, and finding a place that was giving out free cups of hot chocolate. I remember how it warmed my hands and the way I held the cup close to my face because the rising steam made my cheeks sting less from the cold. I remember looking up at a house done in a fancy Disney theme, and how excited it made me. It's that sort of feeling I try to recapture every year.

And it's those little things we, as writers, should use when we write and what we, as readers, want to feel when we read. Familiar emotions and triggers that bring forth memories in order to help us relate to a scene or character. We might remember how something smelled, tasted, looked...but more than that, we'll remember how those things made us feel.

When people say "Write what you know," it doesn't mean if you're a 27-year-old female with a desk job, that you have to only write about that. I take it to mean you should use your well of memories to convey a feeling to your readers. We all know heartache, pride, tragedy, love, happiness, loss, smugness... Pinpoint the times in your life where you felt these things, draw on those memories, and it'll use what you know to connect to your readers. Put those memories, good and bad, to some use.


He's saved her. He's loved her. He's killed for her. Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn't protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he's never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn't matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another - Archer is always there,
waiting to be noticed.

Then along comes Evan, the only person who's ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is.

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer's committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn't get what she wants...And what she wants is Evan's death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.
'Kelley York delivers in this impressive debut. I was at the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next! Bottom line, this was unputdownable!!!' 
--- YA Fantasy Guide ---

'How exciting that we live in a time when gay teen protagonists can be just as screwed up as straight ones -- and their stories just as creepy!'
--- Brent Hartinger, award-winning author of Geography Club and Shadow Walkers ---

Find Hushed on Amazon. Barnes & Noble. Goodreads.


  1. Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the post. :-)

  2. I totally agree, and love this post!! I try to remember all those sense memories from when I experienced certain emotions, and bring them to my writing. I just never thought to mention it to anyone else before. Great post, Kelley, and so excited about all the buzz Hushed is getting!

  3. I like that, write what you know, and the know part does not have to mean what I think it means

  4. I think Christmastime is always good for memories. The whole season just makes me nostalgic! I'll have to see if I get inspired by anything. :) Thanks for the guest post!

  5. Such simple advice, but so very, very true. I think it would be easier to write something to which people can relate, however fantastical, if it's rooted even deep down in reality and personal experience. Thanks so much for sharing Kelley and Melissa!

  6. Great guest post! I have always heard write what you know, but I like Kelley's take on it.


  7. Hmm, I've never heard of this one. I like Kelley's advice on writing :) Great post, Melissa!

  8. i love what kelley says - write what you know. i don't write - don't really care to - but i want to READ something believable. so if they can manipulate and make it believable, that's awesome. but it is also truly smart to just write what you know, as kelley suggests.

    also, i have hushed coming up soon. it looks so suspenseful and different, and there is quite a buzz about it. i'll know for myself soon.... :)

  9. My very favorite thing about the holidays are the lights. I love to stare out my window and watch all the lit up houses and palms go by. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside which I'm not exactly sure why. I think, like you said, it has to do with the memories from childhood.

    I also agree, that routing those memories and experiences into a story is what makes it great. It makes a story relatable and therefore, personal and more realistic. No matter how fantastical the story is.

  10. Great post! I have read some great reviews on her wonderful book. I am going to have to check it out!


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