Guest Author: Kelly Gay

Today, I get to welcome Kelly Gay to Literary Escapism. Kelly is the author of the amazing The Better Part of Darkness and the soon to be released The Darkest Edge of Dawn – both of which everyone everyone should be checking out.

It takes a strong woman to keep the peace in a city of endless night. . . .

Deep beneath Underground, a cunning bid for power and revenge has begun—one that threatens to make Atlanta the new battleground in the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. The powers of hellish Charbydon have the upper hand after plunging the city into primordial night. And under the cover of darkness, a serial killer targets the most powerful Elysians in the city, the angelic Adonai. For Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner Hank, tracking deadly predators is all in a day’s work . . . but this case will test the limits of their strength and friendship as it draws them into a deadly world of power plays, ancient myths, explosive secrets, and a race against time that risks all that Charlie holds dear.

Make sure you stick around, we’re giving away a signed copy of either The Better Part of Darkness or The Darkest Edge of Dawn – winner’s choice.

Hold on to your seats, people, because I’ll be taking over as Guest Poster for today. Ah, the power, the control, the— (This is where Jackie laughs at me, and waves her finger over the Delete Button).

Right. Okay. So, I’m Kelly Gay. I write the Charlie Madigan series, the second of which, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, releases August 31st. My series is urban fantasy, and not only do I write it, but I read it. I love the genre. I love the journeys within. And I love when the heroine or hero triumphs. But someone asked me the other day why I like to read books where the endings are always a given, and why read something when you know what the outcome will be?

I did a blog post about this several years ago after I’d heard a comment on this same thing about romance novels: Why read a book when the ending is a given – the two main characters will come together, and live happily ever after.

My answer was an immediate one. I read for the journey. The paths, the ups and downs, the trials and victories… This is genre reading. We all know what we’re getting when we pick up a romance, or a mystery, or a thriller; we just don’t know how we’re going to get to the end. And that’s the point. That’s what ‘genre’ is all about. You know what you’re getting whether it’s a happy ending, a mystery solved, a killer taken off the streets, or a battle won.

Urban fantasy is no different. As readers, we pretty much know at the end, the main character will triumph over an evil or achieve her goal. Sure, there might be other deeper or minor goals left unrealized (therefore carrying on the series), but in some ways we know what we’re getting — the main plot/goal to be attained. And maybe the bad guy does get away. It happens, but the story is usually set-up so that the heroine has achieved some victory that she’s been trying for throughout the story.

And that’s why I love writing — to take the journey with my characters. To figure out all the different ways to get to the end. Series writing is great because there are still dangers, sub plots, relationships yet to be resolved, and the main arc of the storyline carries through.

So there’s my long-winded answer. What about you, what draws you to genre books? Do you read for the journey?


Want to purchase Kelly’s Charlie Madigan novels?

  1. The Better Part of Darkness at Amazon or the Book Depository
  2. The Darkest Edge of Dawn at Amazon or the Book Depository


Thank you Kelly for taking the time to visit Literary Escapism!

Contest Time! Kelly has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of either The Better Part of Darkness or The Darkest Edge of Dawn – winner’s choice.  All you have to do is simply ask Kelly a question. Please indicate which prize you would like to be entered for.

As always, there’s more ways of getting your name in the hat (remember, these aren’t mandatory to enter, just extra entries):

  • +1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your answer.
  • +1 to any review you comment on, however, comments must be meaningful. Just give me the title of the review and I’ll be able to figure it out from there.
  • +1 If you are a follower of Literary Escapism on Facebook and/or Twitter
  • +10 Purchase The Better Part of Darkness or any novel through LE’s Amazon store or the Book Depository sometime during this contest and send a copy of the receipt VIA email for your purchase to: jackie AT literaryescapism DOT com. Each purchase is worth ten entries.

There is one thing I am adding to my contests now…the winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.

The contest will stay open until September 3rd, at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the Research Randomizer and the List Randomizer.

I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. Hey Jessica. Thanks so much for getting BPOD! :D Subplots, for me, come out of good characterization of your main character and from secondary characters ( and their goals and involvement with your heroine/hero). If you have a really good foundation, subplots tend to come naturally. For instance, you have your main external plot/goal…say, ‘heroine trying to catch a killer’. But that’s not the only thing your heroine does or thinks about, right? That’s not the only part of her life. There could be any number of things: a co-worker trying to take over her job, a relationship that blooms while she’s working on her main goal, a problem at home, a smaller, cold case that’s been haunting her… These are all subplots and you can decide what to weave into her life, some can even be connected to her main goal in some way. If you’re having a hard time with them, maybe try letting them come as your write instead of figuring them out beforehand. As your heroine moves through the story, she’s bound to come into personal issues and problems outside her main goal. If you have a really dynamic heroine, with a real-life (besides just that one main goal), the subplots should come. Hope that helps!

  2. It sounds like a great challenge to put your characters in a situation and try to get them out of it, logically. How do you decide what situations they get into? And are there times its hard to come up with an out? What do you do to try to think of an out for your characters in this case, or do you go back before and try some other situation?

    I have been wanting to get the first book, The Better Part of Darkness, for some time now. :)

    +1 question
    +1 on my side bar
    +1 Follow on Twitter @mellhay

  3. Great post! I can’t wait to read The Darkest Edge of Dawn.

    My question is: How do you come up with names for your characters?

  4. Hi Melissa. Good question! You know, I don’t think I have ever figured out beforehand how Charlie or my other characters are going to get out of situations I put them in, lol. Sometimes I know what scrapes they’ll get into, but never quite how they’ll get out until I’m in the story and actually writing it. I’m kind of right there in the moment with them, and thinking they same thing they are: “What now? How the heck do I get out of this?” Usually it comes. Sometimes, I write beyond it and figure it out that way, after the fact — but most often “we” figure it out simultaneously. LOL. :-)

    Hi Jenn! I *love* coming up with names and I use a variety of sources. Baby name books, indexes in history books, mythology texts, and sometimes I play with words, moving letters around, until something sounds right… :) The name has to have the right sound that fits the character and/or the right origin (or a close-sounding origin).

  5. Sure thing, Melissa. :-)

    Hi Sue. Hmm. So many things! Being able to do something I love, getting these crazy ideas out of my head and on paper, and sharing them with others. Starting from nothing and creating an entire world and characters… Those things are some of the best things about writing to me.

  6. We were lucky enough to meet you, purchase and have you sign your first book, Better Part of Darkness, at the RWA literary event here in Orlando. Please enter us for your upcoming book, The Darkest Edge of Dawn. We are hoping that having my wife’s name in the title will give us some added luck!

    My wife and I both, do not care for a romance dominated storyline, for the reasons you mentioned,”The Happily Ever Afterness”. Guess that makes us romance snobs? (Dawn, just said, “Hmm – does that makes us hypocrites then?!”) Have to admit we never thought about the expectancy of an outcome in UF or other genres. Maybe the reasons you mentioned are why we don’t read from the same genre, we switch it up constantly, maybe a couple of UF, then a mystery, non-fiction, another UF, couple of historical fictions and so on. Either way it keeps whichever genre we are reading fresh. We definitely read for characters that we care for and the journey and not really knowing how it is all going to turn out. Wow, you have really made us think! After digesting your post and debating our hypocrisy or romance snobbery, we would like to know, how do you feel being a reader of the genre helped you and hurt you in creating your series and characters? How do you then as a new author make us want to take a new journey with you in a genre that is burgeoning now?

  7. Hey Guys! First off, thanks again for stopping by my little spot at the lit signing. It was so cool to meet you! :D And how fun to see you all here, too! I can actually put faces to the names, LOL.

    Now on to the questions:

    I think reading in the genre has helped me in a lot of ways — mainly, it helps me to see what other books/series readers are really responding to, what works for them and what doesn’t. When I read a really wonderful urban fantasy it inspires me to craft stories that will give a reader the same kind of reaction that I just had. And it makes me, as a new author, want to give readers the story they expect when they pick up a UF, but also to give them something they have never seen before. I like to push the envelope, and I love working with a heroine that is very human with her responses (she’s not perfect, doesn’t always make the right decisions, etc..). As a reader, I get tired of reading about heroines who always make the right decisions, who always win every battle, who always say the right things, and are always the most beautiful… Urban fantasy is great because there is a lot of room to be different and stand out. It’s def. growing, and I think new authors have a chance of standing out among the crowd when they provide fresh ideas, worlds, and content.

    When I’m writing my rough drafts, I don’t read in the genre. I get deep into Charlie’s voice and world, and perfer not to then sink into another UF character’s voice/world during that part of the writing stage. I’ll read in other genres instead, and then go back to UF after my rough drafts are complete. Like you, I switching up genres, as a reader. Keeps things fresh for me too. Love reading YA, mainstream stuff, historical fiction, and romantic comedies. It’s a nice break from all the UF darkness and drama in my head, LOL.

  8. We really loved your thoughtful response to our questions and comments. My husband said you probably remember him because he was the tall guy amidst all the women ;~). Actually Ron said, “One of the few guys amongst the herd of women.” He tends to feel a bit uncomfortable at these events and worries that he sticks out at these events but I tell him it shows his devotion to his and our authors. He even went to the Romantic Times Convention, held here in Orlando last year, by himself (I was recovering from a wicked bout with The Swine, aka swine flu, H1N1 virus). Unintentionally going off subject has made us wonder how many male fans you, as an author, come across? How rare is my hubby in the UF world? Wonder what other commenters think? Our estimate is 85% female, 15% male.

    Back on subject now. You explained things so clearly on how reading UF helps you to hone your writing of UF, it seems to stimulate your creative process as well as challenge you. In this way reading within your genre is research and a great excuse to read just one more chapter/book – smart, very smart, LOL.

    It makes total sense to us that you would want to immerse your mind in Charlie’s voice and world during the writing process and not want any other genre influences to muddy things. Thanks for giving all of us a glimpse into your writing craft.

    One last note we thought we would share. We just found this from the RWA literacy autographing event: “Thanks to everyone who helped make the 2010 Literacy Autographing such a success! In two hours, 3,600 fans and 500 participating authors helped raise $55,000 for literacy.”

    +1 – Commented on the Waking the Witch book review.

  9. Hi Kelly – I’m with you, it’s all about the journey. I’ve gotta have my happy ending, but I love it when there is lots of angst that the characters have to go through to get there.

    If you were going to write in a different genre, which one would you choose?

    I’ve been wanting to read The Better Part of Darkness ever since it came out, so that’s what I’d choose to win.

    +1 commented on the Dark and Disorderly review.
    jen at delux dot com

  10. Kelly, you are a new author to me and I will def check out your books – they sound very interesting!

    I do read for the journey and I love to explore the created worlds!
    I would love to know what some of your favorite books in the urban fanatsy genre are?

    would love to read The Better Part of Darkness.

  11. I think it’s great that Ron braves the herd, LOL. :D I remembered both of you, and glad I could talk more about my process! Maybe I’ll see you both at the next event!

    Hi JenM — I write in YA, but that’s urban fantasy as well. If I didn’t write UF, it would probably be some hybrid of historical/thriller/paranormal.

    Hi Melanie! I love the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, the Signs of the Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson. Love Kim Harrison, Lilith Saintcrow… Oh, the list is soo long! :D

  12. Hi Kelly! Congrats on your new release! I agree with you, sometimes I don’t mind that the ending is a given, I love to see how the characters get there.

    I would like to ask whether you remember what novel introduced you to the UF genre? Or what is your most favourite UF novel/series?

    +1 commented
    +1 tweeted:
    +1 posted on Facebook:
    +1 follow LE on Facebook (Stella Ex Libris)
    +1 follow LE on Twitter (@Stella_ExLibris)

    Thanks for the giveaway, of course I’ll review it on my blog/Goodreads/Amazon, etc.

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  13. This is a new-to-me series that is on my wishlist to start. I’ve seen so many great reviews and gotten quite a few recommends for it. Can’t wait to delve in :)!

    My question is do you have any favorite female heroines/characters?

    I’d be happy with either book if I won, but would love to have The Better Part of Darkness.


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