Today, we are meeting with Kim Riehle. She is a fantastic author on Kindle Vella and a strong member of the community of Kindle Vella authors. I first met Ms. Riehle in an author group and she agreed to this interview. When we first shared the questions she had only three vellas published, already she has four. I highly recommend you check them out after reading this interview.
Why A Series? Why this series?
How did you know you had this series in you?
From the time I was young I began crafting stories. I would make up plays for all of the neighborhood children and include costumes and props. Because of my love for theater I began trying my hand at writing. From there it transformed over the years and became novels. The Sliders Series specifically came from a writing challenge many years ago. I had the plot outlined but it was the introduction of Kindle Vella that helped me to be serious about its formation and completion.
Why did you choose to use a series format?
The first time I heard about series format writing was at a Comic-Con in 2014. I was listening to a writers panel and one of the author’s mentioned that she wrote serialized fiction. When she explained it I didn’t believe anyone would ever be successful in such a format. “Why would you not just buy the book?” Fast forward to the summer of 2021 and a friend of mine, Ginny Stevenson Young, asked me to read her Vella story. I had no idea what she was talking about so she walked me through it and shared her link.
Well, here I am. I am a wife, mom of 10, grandma of 7, friendly neighbor, genealogist, reader, theater enthusiast, home improvement diy-er, part-time college student, and I am homeschooling my two youngest kids. With all of the above, I am also an author. I have written stories for many years and I have published very little, not because I am afraid of failure, but because, in the past I have been afraid of success. I never wanted the time I spent writing to take away or make things weird with my family. Serial writing has given me an opportunity to share my writing from the comfort of my computer.
The difference I have seen between writing a novel and writing a serialized story is the formatting. You can write the same story but you need to look at the marketing aspect of things. When you write a story, each 100 words will cost the reader a token. The range for episodes is 600-5000 words. The tokens required to purchase the episodes after 3 are roughly .01 each. Stick that information on the back burner for a moment.
Readers are more likely to open up an episode for 9 tokens quicker than 10 or 11 tokens. Similarly, if your episodes consistently cost 10-19 tokens readers can be bothered by a 21 or 22 token episode.
A good chunk of The Sliders Series was written in draft form prior to jumping on to Kindle Vella. I had to dissect my chapters and shorten them into 2 of 3 episodes.
What is your greatest challenge in writing?
My greatest writing challenge is having too many ideas and not enough time to make all of them into full-length novels. I also write best when it is quiet. It is not overly quiet at my house until everyone is asleep. Most moms would say they would say they would like a few extra hours in a day. For me, those hours would be spent with fictional characters and their adventures.
I would love to have a few more uninterrupted hours in my day to just write. Not market, just write and edit.
What surprised you in the writing process?
When I was a young writer I was surprised at how therapeutic it was. Now I depend on that. Writing helps me to be better, to try again, and to find joy in the midst of chaos.
Is there something in particular that you found helpful to writing?
I find world building extremely helpful. Often world building is only referred to if you are writing sci-fi or fantasy but each character in a story comes from their “own world”. Maybe they are afraid of the dark, or they love skateboarding. Take those personality traits and put them in a place where they can exist in the story. Develop your world even if it is within the bounds of something very tangible. By doing this you will be able to express the emotions you want your characters to feel.
I know we tend to write what we know, but did you need to do research for this book?
I do research for all of my books.
So, what was the coolest or most surprising thing you learned?
I needed to research what would happen if a school bus was in an accident and rolled. I really didn’t want to read about horrible accidents, even though there is one in the story, so I watched crash test videos and simulations. It’s funny how I can write something that might be scary but it is hard for me to watch it.
What else can you describe in your writing process?
One of the most important things I try to share with others is that what you feel, what you put down on paper does matter. The process of writing is being able to express part of who you are in a way that will draw other people in and let them become part of your story. We do that through the characters and places we create. There is beauty in all of us and that is often manifest through writing.
I have had to be able to internalize that over the years. Not everyone will like what I write and that’s ok. I write because I love to and that is the most important thing for any author to remember.
How do you know your piece is ready to be shared/complete?
Being able to share your story before it is complete is the beauty of serialized stories. You can write episodes and publish them one at a time. Before I publish anything though, I read through it three different times. One of those times I read the story out loud.
Who is your expected audience?
My expected audience with The Sliders Series is broad. It is originally marketed as a YA Fantasy. My reason for doing so is to let people know that there isn’t anything in it that would be inappropriate for kids. The story has been well received by adults of all ages as well.
There are a lot of adults who enjoy YA marketed stories. Myself included.
The Cheer Squad
Who has been your strongest supporter?
My family have been my strongest supporters. They have shared in the writing process as we have created characters together and acted out stories in the dining room as well as encouraged me to get my writing on the public stage.
If you could have any author (alive, dead, or fictional) read your book, who would you like to read it?
It might sound a little cliche but I would love William Shakespear to read my work. I love how he weaves words together and paints humanity. In high school I wrote a play about how he created the characters in his stories.
People either love or hate Shakespear, but he was a definite wordsmith.
What author, or book, or series most influenced you?
As with many, I am a huge fan of J.R.R.Tolkien. My reasons stretch beyond his novels with elves, dwarves, and a ring. I love that what he created came from the way he processed life. The trials he experienced were processed and manifested in his writing. He was an amazing world builder, who was 45 when he first published The Hobbit and 62 when The Fellowship of the Ring was published. You are never too old to write.
I completely agree that Tolkien (and CS Lewis and Shelly) were amazing and inspirational writers. They had tenacity and used their own lives for impeccable nuances.
Something else you can share with us, that’s just about you?
A little about me… I love zucchini and tomatoes. Cheese is one of my favorite food groups. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love going to cemeteries. Everywhere I travel I try to find a cemetery to visit. They are the most amazing places and there is so much history there among the stones.
People think I’m crazy when I talk about going for a run in the cemetery and looking at the stones.
What else is important to share about your book?
My stories are written in a PG to PG-13 rating system. I never want to write anything that I wouldn’t feel comfortable having my children and grandchildren read.
When can we expect more from you?
Yes, I currently have four titles on Kindle Vella and I hope to add more as time allows. I am grateful that serial writing has given me the opportunity of sharing one of my passions.
Where can we find you?
My Personal Facebook page: Kim Flygare Riehle
My Facebook Author page: Kim Riehle Books.
Instagram: Kim Riehle
The Sliders Series: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09F2CSYY8
Mending the Mirror: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09PDJQ9PJ
H.O.P.E. – How Our Plans (Really) Evolve: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09GN9J7T1
Mississippi Bones: https://www.amazon.com/Mississippi-Bones/dp/B09VC9QV1Q