Interview With Author Kelly Florence

About Kelly Florence 

Kelly Florence teaches communication at Lake Superior College in Duluth, MN and is the creator of the Be a Better Communicator podcast. She received her BA in theatre from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and her MA in communicating arts from the University of Wisconsin-Superior. She has written, directed, produced, choreographed, and stage managed for dozens of productions in Minnesota including Carrie: The Musical through Rubber Chicken Theatre and Treasure Island for Wise Fool Theater. She is passionate about female representation in all media and particularly the horror genre. She is the co-author of The Science of Monsters, The Science of Women in Horror, The Science of Stephen King, The Science of Serial Killers, and The Science of Witchcraft with Meg Hafdahl. They co-host the Horror Rewind podcast and write and produce horror projects together. Kelly is repped by Stacey Kondla (Literary Agent) at The Rights Factory and Karmen Wells (TV/Film Agent) at The Rights Factory.

Could You Tell Us About Yourself ? 

I’m Kelly Florence, co-author of six books in The Science of Horror book series! My best friend and I have been writing together for five years and our titles include The Science of Monsters, The Science of Women in Horror (which was nominated for a Bram Stoker award!), The Science of Stephen King, The Science of Serial Killers, The Science of Witchcraft, and the forthcoming The Science of Agatha Christie. Our next book will be released in 2024 and will focus on spooky travel destinations!

What made you write your book (s) ? 

Every week on our podcast, Horror Rewind, we were discussing the true science, history, and psychology behind our favorite horror movies and TV shows. We realized that truth can be scarier than fiction, so we researched all the lore and real stories that the fiction was based on. We’ve been delving in deeper ever since!

What is the first book you remember reading ? 

I always loved reading and my favorite books were spooky ones from the library! The first book I vividly remember was about a teddy bear having a Halloween party and I read it so much I had it memorized cover to cover.

What’s your favourite book ? 

This is like choosing a favorite child! If I had to choose a favorite, I would say Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Not only do I love the story, but I’m also forever impressed how a nineteen-year-old woman wrote that book and essentially created the horror genre!

Who is your favourite author and why? 

I have so many favorite authors but again, if I had to choose, I would say Stephen King. I’ve read and reread his books the most of any author and have one of the Grady girls from The Shining tattooed on my arm!

How many hours a day do you write? 

I try to write a little bit every day and other days I could write for more than six hours. It all depends what else is going on in my life at the time, how inspired I’m feeling in the moment, and if I have a deadline looming!

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer? 

I should give up social media, like TikTok, so I could spend more free time in the day writing. Sacrificing twenty minutes of scrolling would be a happy exchange to become a better writer.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? 

The most difficult part of the process for me is having an idea in mind, going down a rabbit hole of research, and then not finding the nugget of a story I was hoping for. Sometimes, a path of research will look intriguing and promising but ends up being not as interesting as initially thought.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose and why ? 

I would choose to spend the day with Caroline Kepnes, author of the You series of books, to find out about her process for writing and discuss the series with her. I’m currently obsessed with the television adaptation and I’m fascinated to know how seeing characters come to life in other writers’ interpretations affects future books!

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? What’s your favourite writing snack or drink?

While writing, I like to have some background noise on, whether it be a familiar TV show, radio talk show, or music, to set the tone. I’m a coffee drinker so having a cup of coffee handy is a must.

How do you celebrate when you finish your book?

Meg, my co-author and I, have started the tradition of opening a bottle of champagne when we send the finished manuscript off to our publisher! The editing process just begins at that point but sending off the first draft is always a time for celebration.

Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s) ? 

More often I have TV shows or movies on in the background that I’ve seen before. For some reason, it’s less distracting to me than music.

Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s) ? 

We always begin with a topic or theme for the books we’re writing, like focusing on different types of monsters in horror movies, then pick our favorite ones to write about. A simple start on research usually reveals a variety of paths to go down and we end up narrowing down the topics and focusing on the ones we find most unique and fascinating.

What is / was your writing process like? 

I am a planner and I like to outline thoroughly before I begin writing. I also like to bounce around and write about things I’m excited about in that moment so I won’t necessarily write things in order.

Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want? 

We always try to find topics and stories that haven’t been thoroughly explored before. Our goal is to lift up female identifying and diverse voices so we can all expand our knowledge of the world around us.

How did publishing your (first) book ? 

It was a thrill to have our first book, The Science of Monsters, published in 2019! We had such an incredible response and enjoyed going to events around the country to meet readers and promote our book.

What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 

Because of the nature of our non-fiction series, we are constantly researching and making notes for future books! We’ll be writing about one topic and discover a new one we hadn’t thought of before so it ends up being a constant process.

How do you develop your plot and characters?

We will often plan out sections of our books, like “ghosts,” then “vampires,” and split up the research and writing from there. Having a co-author, it’s important to be in touch and make sure you’re not doubling up on topics.

What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing your book (s) ? 

My favorite part of publishing our books has been connecting with readers! It’s always fun to meet people in person or via online events and hear how our books have had an impact on them. My least favorite part of publishing would be the thought of deadlines! I have never turned in anything late but just the thought of getting something in late give me some anxiety.

What part of the book was the most fun to write? How did you come up with the title for your book (s) ? 

I really enjoy the interviews that we conduct to include in our books because we are always meeting incredible people in a variety of fields. Interviews allow us to explore a plethora of avenues and ask follow-up questions we didn’t realize we’d have until the moment. We always learn a lot!

Would you and your main character get along? 

Many times, in our books we focus on the monster or villain of the horror movie we’re writing about. I would guess we wouldn’t get along but maybe the monster would have respect for how much research we’ve done on them and spare us!

If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them? 

I would congratulate the “final girls” and other final characters for being so clever! Some use physical prowess while others use wit. Either way, horror teaches us empathy and lets us imagine ourselves in extreme circumstances.

Which of the characters in your book (s) do you relate to the most and why? 

Of the characters we’ve written about, I would say the complicated women are my favorite. Women have been portrayed in the horror genre in a number of ways and it’s always fun to see a bit of yourself reflected in a character. Does she have glasses like me? Is she a mother like me? Is she also terrified by water? Little things go a long way!

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft? 

We have learned to write about the movies, TV shows, and books that we love instead of writing about ones that may be more mainstream and popular. This decision has allowed us freedom in our writing and given us the opportunity to introduce hidden gems to others!

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader? 

We have found a wide range of readers from avid horror fans to curious spectators! Many times, we’ve been told non-horror fans enjoy our books because it feels like a safe way to enter the genre.

What did you edit out of your book (s) ? 

Most times interviews need to be edited down because we can talk for hours with our interviewees! Learning about their specific expertise shines a light on so many topics but for page count, we can’t possibly include all the information.

What was your hardest scene to write? 

The hardest thing to write in our books are those based in true crime with real victims. Many times, I’d find myself having to step away from the research and writing because details were so sad or brutal it was hard to take. I learned to focus on the positive aspects of those stories, like the survivors, the families, or those who solved cases.

How long did it take for you to write a book ? 

We have been writing a book every six months for the past few years! My co-author and I both tend to write quickly so it’s been nice to pair up.

What do you hope your readers take away from your book (s) ? 

We hope readers go away with a better sense of everything that goes into the horror genre and a new fascination with the sciences we discuss. We learn so much every single time we write a book and we love sharing that with the world!

What was the hardest part of writing your book (s) ? 

As I mentioned, sad stories are difficult to write and sometimes it’s hard to find an expert in an obscure area that we’re researching. We’ve learned to talk to others, put out a call on social media, and see what happens with responses! 

Did you get some negative feedback on your book ? and if so how do you deal with that ? 

Some people are afraid to even read our books because they think we will ruin the horror genre for them by disproving stories and tropes. What we reassure them, though, is that truth and science are often scarier than fiction so our books will enhance their experience within the genre.

How did you feel when you first published your book (s) ? Scared ? Excited ? Nervous ? 

My initial feeling was scared but it quickly turned to excitement after we started meeting readers and getting such positive feedback.

Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book ? 

The Science of Horror series is available wherever books are sold.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about? 

The Science of Agatha Christie will be out in September of 2023 and Goth Girls Guide to Travel will be released in September of 2024.

After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers? 

Write about the things you’re passionate about! Surround yourself with people who believe in you and will give you honest feedback.

What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them ? Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? 

People will often talk themselves out of writing because they believe “it’s all been done.” What do YOU have to say about the story, though? How does your unique perspective and life experience change what the story is? Perhaps it has all been done but if you haven’t done it, there’s still time and room for your voice! I read some book reviews but not all. It can be distracting to focus on them instead of writing and continuing to write the things we’re passionate about.

Is it something more you want to tell us which I forgot to ask about? 

Thank you!

Kelly Florence Media Links





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