1. First, introduce yourself a bit. What is your name (or pen name) and where are you from?
Hi! My name is Kiersten Modglin and I’m from Nashville, Tennessee.
2. Next, tell us a bit about your most recent work. Is this your first published book? What is it about and what genre would you classify it as?
I just released The Missing, a psychological thriller about five strangers who are trapped on a deserted island and must determine who sent them there and why in order to escape. It is my 24th novel!
3. Tell us a bit about your main character; what are they like, how did they come about, and what are some of their strengths and weaknesses?
My main character is a woman who is supposed to be on vacation with her husband. She’s bored and lonely as he worked in their hotel room for most of the vacation. It’s because of this that she finds herself accepting an invitation for a free boat ride that lands her on this deserted island with no hope of escape. She is very strong and very kind. She takes on an almost motherly role in the beginning where she tries to keep everyone calm, but that quickly changes as events begin to unfold. Her weakness is her loyalty, even to a fault, and the fact that she jumps to conclusions very easily.
4. What was your hardest scene to write in this (or any) book?
Oh, okay… To tell you would be a major spoiler, but I will say (for anyone who has read it) it was the cliff scene. I rarely make myself cry while writing, I’m usually just scaring myself so badly I have to turn on an extra light, but this scene made me cry so hard I had to stop writing for the day.
5. Did you go the traditional route when publishing your book or did you choose to self-publish?
I self-published! This is my 24th self-published book! My first two traditional books will be coming out with Bookouture later this year!
6. What would you say is the most difficult part of your writing journey and what advice would you give to other writers?
I think we all have this idea that when we release our first book, the world will realise straightaway what a genius we are and we’ll become a worldwide success.
Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. For me, that was very hard. It was hard to keep going when my sales were dismal. Hard to keep putting so much money, time, and effort into a career that just didn’t seem to be gaining any traction. But eventually, I did hit my stride, I did find my readers, and I did find the success I craved. I think the best piece of advice I can give is just to keep going. If you love this career and you want to do it more than anything else, just keep writing. I truly believe perseverance plays a huge role in everyone’s success. During the hard times, I would always tell myself “If you give up today, what if you were finally going to make it tomorrow?” And eventually, my tomorrow came! Yours will too if you just keep at it.
7. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
With the exception of my The Messes series, four romantic suspense novels that follow one family and should be read in order, all of my books are entirely standalone. I do, however, like to throw in “Easter Egg” mentions of towns, characters, events, etc just for some extra fun with my loyal readers. But I want to build a body of work where readers can come in at any point, pick up any book, and read in any order.
8. What are some of your favourite authors and books and what inspired you to become a writer in the first place?
Ooh, such a fun (and hard) question. As a teen, I loved Lois Duncan, Sarah Dessen, John Green, J.K. Rowling, and Carolyn Keene, and Margaret Peterson Haddix so I would say they are the authors who really inspired me to go after this dream. Some of the authors who inspire me now are: Jodi Picoult, Gillian Flynn, Mark Edwards, BA Paris, Minka Kent, Liane Moriarty, Nora Roberts, VC Andrews, and Caroline Kepnes. I could go on and on!
9. What would you say has been the best way to market your books?
For me, social media has been a really important part of my marketing plan. But I learned early on “Buy My Book” posts just don’t work. I spend a good part of my day building connections with readers to get them excited about my work. I’m on Instagram and TikTok the most, but I also use Facebook and Twitter. I would also say that I do use ads and have found readers that way. And, of course, the best thing I’ve done is release consistently. Someone once told me “Nothing sells your last book like your next” and I really clung to that advice and have made it a goal to release quality books as often as I can.
10. Are there any tropes, clichés, or writing styles that you dislike and, if so, what are they and why?
Many readers have commented that my writing isn’t full of descriptions, but rather action and dialogue. I like to say that my writing style gets straight to the meat of the story without any filler. That’s because when I read, my eyes tend to glaze over the descriptions and search for the dialogue. It’s such a bad reader habit and I truly wish I could appreciate the work writers put into the world building and description that so many do, but for me, it’s all about getting straight into the story and letting it run away with you.
11. Do you read reviews of your book and, if so, how do you handle negative feedback?
I do read reviews of my books! In the beginning, negative reviews would really shake me and make it hard for me to write. There are days when my mental health really won’t allow me to look at negative reviews even now, but for the most part, I’m able to take the good with the bad. I know I have so many loyal fans and they really do keep me going. No book is the perfect read for everyone in the world, so I think it’s important for writers to remember that and I really try to myself.
12. What are some of your quirks as a writer? Do you like to plot everything out or do you prefer to just “wing it” and see where the story takes you? Do you listen to music when writing and, if so, what do you listen to?
I do plot everything chapter by chapter before I write the first word of the story. Usually, the plot changes a bit here and there, but I’ve gotten much better about sticking with my outline. Releasing as often as I do, a schedule is really important to me, and plotting helps me stick to a schedule. When I first started writing, I did a lot more “fly by the seat of my pants” writing, but I spent so much time thinking about where I needed each chapter to go or what I wanted to happen. Over time, I realised how much plotting helps my process. I also do listen to music while I write. I pick one song that matches the mood for each book and listen to it over and over again until it’s basically white noise. It’s really cool because, by midway through writing, as soon as I hear that song, I’m immediately in the zone to write and really feel like I’ve stepped into the world I’ve created. It’s a little bit of a hack I’ve made for myself. I also burn a particular candle for each book. To this day, if I smell a particular scent or hear a song that I wrote to, I’m immediately back in that world.
13. What is the best advice you’ve ever had when it comes to writing and what advice would you give to new writers?
For writing, the best advice I received was to write the first draft as if no one would ever read it. We can all pick at and edit our first paragraph, first chapter, first page, etc in order to make it perfect (spoiler alert: it’ll never feel perfect) or we can just get the first draft on the page in all its messy, wild glory and then go back and edit it to our heart’s content. The second option leaves you with a finished manuscript while the first will leave you with a finished paragraph. I think it’s so important to (especially if you’re unsure about your writing or just starting out) just get that first draft out of you, tell yourself the story, and then worry about getting it to the level of perfection you want it to be. It’s also important to know when to let go. No writer will ever believe they have the perfect draft…there’s also one more thing to change.
14. What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any new books or stories?
I’m always writing. Right now, I’m starting a new one now that will release in August as another indie title. I’ve also got my first traditional book, Just Married, with Bookouture releasing July 5th! It’s up for pre-order now!
15. Finally, feel free to plug your social media, website, and links to Amazon, GoodReads, and other relevant sites below, and detail any current offers available for your book/s:
Kiersten Modglin is an Amazon Top 30 bestselling author of award-winning psychological thrillers and a member of International Thriller Writers. Kiersten lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and their two Boston Terriers: Cedric and Georgie. She is best known for her unpredictable suspense and her readers have dubbed her “The Queen of Twists”. A Netflix addict, Shonda Rhimes super-fan, psychology fanatic, and indoor enthusiast, Kiersten enjoys rainy days spent with her nose in a book.
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