Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Award-winning Author K.M. Hodge. She is the author of The Syndicate-Born Trilogy and the Book Cellar Series. Kelly writes Suspense, Mystery, and Thriller novels.
Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
The Land of Hodge
The Land of Hodge - Author K.M. Hodge
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K.M. Hodge grew up in Detroit, where she spent most of her free time weaving wild tales to spook her friends and family. These days, she lives in Texas with her husband and two energetic boys and once again enjoys writing tales of suspense and intrigue that keep her readers up all night. Her stories, which focus on women's issues, friendship, addiction, regrets and second chances, will stay with you long after you finish them. When she isn't writing or being an agent of social change, she reads Independent graphic novels, watches old X-files episodes, streams Detroit Tigers games and binges on Netflix with her husband. She enjoys hearing from her readers, so don't be shy about dropping her a line.
* K.M. Hodge was awarded the winter of 2016 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for her Red on the Run.
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: Save the Date. Can you tell us the timeline for your next release and give us a little tease?
Thank you! I’m really pleased with Save the Date (My one and only romance), which is a part of the Wedding Dreams 21 book box set that is on pre-order for .99 cents.
True Blue Son is the third book in the Syndicate-Born Trilogy and will be launching on April 24th. It’s by far the most thrilling of the three books. My editor said the final scene was so tense that when her printer made an odd noise, she jumped a mile high. It’s been a blast hanging out with these characters. I’m working on the prequel for the series right now.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
Social media addiction is real! I spend a lot of time on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I built up my following slowly by engaging with people who like the same things I do and of course people who are interested in reading suspenseful stories. On Twitter I spend most of my time chatting with people about TV shows. My Syndicate-Born Trilogy was inspired by The X-Files so I chat about the show with other fans. A few times these relationships have translated into sales, but not always.
A fun side note: all of my stories have red heads in them as a nod to Gillian Anderson’s character Scully.
I utilize Facebook the most. Besides my author page, I have a secret review team. The group gets to find out everything before the general public and they get to participate in group only giveaways and Facebook Live events. They also get ARC copies of my books in exchange for honest reviews. These people are my biggest fans and my biggest critics. I love them!
I have just started to play around with Instagram, but I can see how easily it will become just as addicting as the other social media spots.
Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?
I do regular interviews on-line and have links to them all on my website. I also do in person readings at a local feminist bookstore in Austin called, Book Woman. They and another book store called, Half-Priced Books carry my paperbacks. A few of my readers even mail me cards and letters, which is always a awesome surprise.For the most part, readers interact with me online. I do Facebook Live events and videos pretty regularly, especially for my review team. There are only 50 slots left for my secret readers group.
You have great covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
The majority of my covers are done by Mallory Rock. She is AMAZING. She and I talk about the basic concepts of the book and she does her thing. I don’t ask for reader feedback because I trust Mallory to know what readers want and to stay in touch with what is in vogue for my genre.
I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called Wedding Dreams: 20 Delicious Nuptial Romances. What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other romance authors? How did you put something like that together
I was invited by the marketing person for the Wedding Dreams box set to be a part of the collection. The goal of the project is to make the USA Today Best Seller list. The ladies in the group are super talented and a lot of fun to work with. I wrote Save the Date, my 9/11 wedding romance, specifically for this set and I am really pleased with how it turned out. The set is still in the pre-order stage, so we don’t know how successful we will be just yet. The launch date is April 18th.
Right now we are running a deal where if you pre-order the box set you can get 21 additional books FREE, but the offer expires April 17th.
Pre-order deal: https://www.weddingdreamsboxset.com/
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?
Giving away free books is one of many different roads to take to increase readership. I do giveaway my first in series to all of my subscribers. An e-mail address is a valuable thing and I want my readers to feel like they are getting something in exchange for allowing me into their inbox on a regular basis. If done correctly, it can boost sales and readership. I do give out ARC copies for my review team, but not to my whole list. It’s all a balancing act of exposure and sales.
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
I maintain a list of about 8k readers right now. I acquired them through various avenues: Instafreebie, sign-up links on the back of my book, promotion events, and my website. I have also shared my sign-up with other authors on their lists and vice versa. This way we grow our list with minimal cost.
You have published one of your books in Portuguese. How is your audience abroad? Does marketing online help in this situation?
We were lucky to have a reader who was able to help us with this. We currently aren’t making much headway with that edition, but are always looking for ways to grow that audience. We even have two Brazillian characters in the Book Cellar Series. Melissa and I wanted to be sure and highlight a lot of diverse characters and I think we did a good job of representing lots of different groups, including a character with autism.
Tell us about the Indie Authors Care March Fundraiser and the Graham’s Foundation? How did your Syndicate-Born Trilogy fit into this fundraiser? How can other authors get involved in this charity
I started off my career as a social worker and fundraiser so I am always up for helping support a good cause. The Indie Author Care event for March benefited the Graham Foundation and the Global Autism Project and raised over $800. My oldest child was diagnosed with Autism so it’s an issue that’s close to heart.As part of the event I promoted my Syndicate-Born Trilogy and gave away copies of the first book in my Book Cellar Mystery Series as an incentive for readers to sign-up for my mailing list. My Book Cellar Series, which I co-write with author Melissa Storm, has an autistic character in the book. It is currently being highlighted by another group because of this and because of the diverse nature of the cast of characters. The giveaway for that is really exciting:
I also write regularly for the Autism Awareness webzine. You can check out my articles here:
You wrote The Book Cellar Mysteries with Melissa Storm. How did that process work? Whose idea was it and how did you come together? Do you plan on writing more with Melissa?
Melissa and I have been on-line friends for quite a while. When she read my work she said our writing styles would go well together and asked if I might light to co-write a series with her. I said yes and we hit the ground running. The idea for the series was born from a lengthy phone conversation. We both get a little manic in our planning stages, but it’s hard not to get excited. It’s so much fun to toss ideas back-and-forth. Her bitter sweet inspirational voice mixes with my dark suspense to create the perfect storm of creativity. Our process has evolved over time. Currently, I outline the entire book, which is broken down into three alternating points of view. Melissa writes the chapters with the Brooke POV and I write the chapters for Vi and Annabeth. It’s a fun game to ask our readers who they think wrote, which chapters. I’ve written a few articles on the subject of co-writing.
1) On Co-Writing, Books By Women, March 2016
2) The Top Five Things Every Co-Writing Contract Should Include, Winsome Media Group, May 2016
Author's Book List
Save the Date
- A 9/11 Wedding Romance
Their wedding day should have been the happiest of their lives. Instead it left a nation shattered and their marriage in jeopardy.
When Navy medic, Jolene, becomes engaged to long-time boyfriend, Bennett, they decide to marry before she ships out on the USNS Mercy. They knew that a Tuesday ceremony would be a challenge, but they had no way of knowing how devastatingly memorable September 11 would turn out to be. Amidst the chaos, shocking secrets are revealed. Relationships are challenged. Trust is broken. And the strength of their foundation is put to the test. Click to find out if they crumble under the pressure or if the strength of their love for each other pulls them through.
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Black and White Truth
- The Syndicate-Born Trilogy Book 2
In a world of varying shades of gray, the truth is always in black and white.
Seventeen years after The Syndicate trial, Jason Knettle sets out to write the shocking true crime novel on the group that ruined so many lives. With the help of a new source, he uncovers a frightening truth—The Syndicate is back... and more dangerous than ever with a new leader at the helm. The group will stop at nothing to prevent Jason from letting the world know the truth.
As the dead bodies of people connected to the trial start to pop up, Jason is called upon to do battle with his own person demons and be the hero. Can he save the day, or will The Syndicate succeed in burying the truth once and for all?
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Barnes and Noble
Red on the Run
- The Syndicate-Born Trilogy Book 1
It begins with Red. Run, Red. Run!
In search of redemption from his sordid past, FBI Special Agent Alex Bailey takes on a new partner, Katherine Mitchel… and a new secret mission.
Before being assigned their first joint case, Katherine uncovers damning evidence against a major crime ring known as The Syndicate. The group controls key members of the D.C. Metropolitan Area Police, the U.S. Congress, even the FBI, and they will stop at nothing to protect their interests. With her life on the line, Katherine is forced to put her faith in Alex as she flees from Washington D.C. and enters the Witness Protection Program.
Yet there’s no hiding from The Syndicate.
In the most dangerous investigation of his career, Alex must decide how far he is willing to go to keep Katherine safe, and to stop The Syndicate.
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Barnes and Noble
Texas and Tiaras
- The Book Cellar Mysteries 2
Nobody in Herald Springs can believe that their small town served as the scene for a major criminal showdown. With the events of the annual gala behind them, they just want to get back to their normal lives, but the members of the local “drink and gossip club” know the drama is far from over.
Brooke’s got a stalker, Annabeth has a criminal mastermind bent on her destruction, and even Vi is being taken for a ride by someone she thought was her friend. If only they could turn to each other for help, things might not be so bad—but with the women at odds with one another and only Jesse in good graces with the rest of the group, that isn’t likely to happen any time soon.
Their world is going to hell in a hand basket, so why not throw a party to brighten everyone’s mood? With Ligia’s help, Brooke arranges a charity beauty pageant the town won’t soon forget, especially when the bad guys show up and attempt to finish what they started earlier that year…
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Barnes and Noble
Walker Texas Wife
- The Book Cellar Mysteries 1
Their lives are perfect… if only from the outside.
At first glance, the residents of Herald Springs lead charmed lives. But behind the dazzling smiles and inside the large brick homes, they all have their secrets. Most are harmless, but then again Annabeth King never did quite fit in.
This newest neighbor is harboring a special secret of her own, one that could prove deadly. Will the members of the “drink and gossip” club figure out what Annabeth’s working so hard to hide before disaster comes knocking?
With Storm’s signature bitter-sweetness and Hodge’s thrilling intensity, Walker Texas Wife offers a fast-paced, addictive romp that fans of Desperate Housewives and Pretty Little Liars will find themselves falling hard and fast for. This debut in the new Book Cellar Mystery series will leave you wondering: just how well do we know our neighbors after all?
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Barnes and Noble
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