Our guest today is Kelly Wilson, author of the humorous memoir, Caskets From Costco. Kelly is an author and comedian who entertains and inspires with stories of humor, healing, and hope. She is also the author of Live Cheap & Free, Don’t Punch People in the Junk, along with numerous articles and short stories for children and adults. Kelly currently writes for a living and lives with her Magically Delicious husband, junk-punching children, dog, cat, and stereotypical minivan in Portland, Oregon.
For twenty years, Kelly thought that she had been marching through the stages of grief in a straight line. She had been following the formula, crossing each processed grief experience off my list.
Except that she claims she was totally deluded. She didn’t discover that until Jim, her beloved father-in-law, died. She found herself drying off from her shower the morning after his death, really hoping he couldn’t see her naked. Or, if he could, that he was averting his eyes.
From that moment, her path through grief resembled a roller coaster, spiraling and twisting and turning, circling back around. Echoes of past trauma, including childhood abuse and cheating death, would no longer be ignored. She somehow needed to get from the beginning to the end of this grief adventure, and she didn’t have a good sense of direction.
Caskets From Costco is a funny book about grief that demonstrates the certainty of hope and healing in an uncertain and painful world.
Dorothy Thompson: Can you tell us about your publishing experience?
Kelly Wilson: While I have written for years, I didn’t start to write for publication until late 2008. It took a few months, but my very first article was published for an educational website for a whopping $20. I photocopied that check and framed it, and it now hangs in my office. I am still really proud of it, as it was the first confirmation I received – in cash – that I could make this dream happen.
During that same year, I quit my job and decided to do some temp work, but we were mostly living on my husband’s income, and money was tight. I quickly figured out how to make the most of coupons and deals offered by stores, and was always scoring some kind of deal. I got really good at it, and one day a friend of mine said to me, “You know, you should really market yourself.” It struck me like a thunderbolt – I am a writer, I guess I could write a book about how to save money.
So after a ton of research and work, I self-published my first book, Live Cheap and Free. I developed a website with a blog and got into digital marketing and began working from home on a consistent basis. This helped me to parent my kids, who were about seven and four years old at the time. Life was adventurous with my two boys, and these stories led to my second self-published book, Don’t Punch People in the Junk!
From then on, I kept writing and decided to pursue writing my latest book, Caskets From Costco. I wanted to write a funny book about grief that offered hope and healing. In all, it took me ten years to write it, but it was completely worth it. After being self-published, this book was picked up by Gravity Imprint, which offers books about hope in the midst of grief and trauma.
D.T.: What can you tell aspiring authors on their quest to be published? Any advice?
K.W.: Writers always hear that they should not try to be published right away. I didn’t necessarily listen, but I have to agree. I wish I had spent more time just improving and honing my craft, because I split my time and attention between workshops and classes and trying to get published. However, for those who want to hone the craft of writing, find local and national organizations to plug into and start networking. Take as many classes and workshops as you can, and write every day. Join or form a critique group that meets even once a month, which will feed your soul and keep you accountable. Start a blog so you have a place online to call your own, and begin networking and building relationships online with industry experts, fellow writers in your genre, and readers.
D.T.: Where can we find you on the web?
K.W.: My website is Wilson Writes and you can sign up there for email updates. I also have several social media accounts where we can connect!
Amazon Author Page