BE MY GUEST: Author Interview: Kimberly Ranee Hicks

She comes out as a frank, down-to-earth and lively person who has an opinion about almost everything she has experienced in her life so far! In my exclusive and detailed interview with her, she talks passionately about her books, her favourite characters, childhood memories and much more! To find out, read on! 
RG= Review Girl 
KRH= Kimberly Ranee Hicks 

RG: Why did you think of becoming a writer? Did some person or incident in life inspire you? Or you thought you had the germs to be a writer?

KRH: I’ve known that I wanted to be a writer since I was five-years old. My mother used to read a lot of Dr. Seuss to me, among many other books, and I loved how the stories always rhymed, and from that point on, I knew I wanted to write words like that and turn them into stories.

RG: What kind of books do you write?

KRH: Whatever storyline plagues my mind the most. I’m the type of writer who likes to do something different each and every time and not stay within a particular genre. My first novel, “Mello & June”, is a romance novel and my current novel, “Silent Knight”, is an urban 70s Mystery/Suspense.

RG: Why did you choose to write in those genres?

KRH: I picked a romance novel first because romance is the most read and the most popular genre than any other. In order to get my name out there, I wanted to build on a female audience, but as a strange turn of events, I ended up getting quite a bit of male readers who enjoyed Mello & June. I’ve always wanted to write a mystery/suspense novel, and Silent Knight turned out that way. I like to choose different genres with each novel I write, to break away from the norm.

RG: What books have you published so far and what are they about?


“Mello & June”, is a musical romance soundtrack novel, which follows their 50 year stormy relationship. The “Soundtrack” comes from my love of music. Each chapter is based on my favorite R&B song, called song chapters.

“Mello is a man who is very controlling, arrogant, and at times downright cruel. On the other hand, June is very passive, loving, and extremely naïve. It has always been said that opposites attract, and that certainly is the case for these two very different characters. But will it be the case forever?” 

  “Silent Knight”  is an urban 70s, mystery/suspense following the life of Clarence Knight, a filmmaker about to do a documentary on his life growing up in the projects, the way it was in the 70s. 

“While visiting with his best friend and catching up on old times, Clarence figured he could make the best of the trip by surprising his friend with a camera crew that is in the process of making a documentary about their lives in Woodland Heights, the way it was in the 70s. But he also has another motive for this documentary; he longs to know what has happened to a kid named Marcus Paige they used to hang with. As the camera starts rolling, secrets—dark and shocking ones—also begin to unravel. Clarence discovers that his old neighbourhood has some extremely harsh realities he will have to face.”

RG: If you could be one character from your books, who would you choose to be and why?

KRH: June Summers of “Mello & June”. June was such a naïve person in the beginning, but she always knew what she wanted out of life. She evolves into this wonderfully gifted writer, based on past hurts, and she went after her dreams in a major way, and I admire June for her guts and strength, and she’s exactly the type of person I am trying hard to be.

RG: Where do you get ideas for your stories and characters?

KRH: My stories and characters come to me in dreams. It’s like I’m sitting in a movie theatre with my favorite popcorn and soft drink, feet propped up on the chair in front of me and up pops on the silver screen characters I’ve never seen before, and they put on a show for me and tell me what they would like me to write. When I choose to ignore them, they haunt my mind until I write their words.

I can see, feel, taste, smell, and hear everything my characters go through, and I write them in detail in my novels. I can even feel how they relate to others they reveal to me. Sounds strange? It scared me to death the first time I realized what was happening to me. I thought I was crazy, so I hid this from my family. I later learned that other artists, especially writers, have their stories come to them in dreams.

RG: List 4 suggestions/writing tips for those who want to venture into writing fiction. 

KRH: My tips would be:

1- Practice makes perfect. The more you write, the better you become. Do your homework/research. If you want your story to be believable, it’s always a great idea to research material on the story you’re writing so you know your manuscript inside and out. You can Google your favourite authors and read their backgrounds and contact them, if possible, to ask them how they do what they do.

2- Perseverance. No matter how frustrating writing gets and it will get like that sometimes, you must never, ever, ever give up, for if you do, you’re not a writer. Real writers stick with it always.

3- Know your characters. As I mentioned before, it’s important to know the people you are writing. As soon as I write something about a character and it feels wrong, it’s because I know that’s something my character would or would not do. You have to have a personal relationship with the characters in your mind, and the more you build on this skill, your characters will entrust you to do the right things. It’s not easy to master this skill, but one every writer must!

4- Write what you know! Although you can write about anything whether you have knowledge or not, it’s easier, especially for the first-time author, to stick to guidelines you can follow with the knowledge you may have on a particular subject. You have enough problems trying to get through each chapter, so don’t add that kind of pressure on yourself. You can always get fancy later, as you learn the art of writing. 

RG: Do you think that book blogs play a vital role in getting the books across to readers?
KRH: Book blogs are a great way to meet other authors and converse with readers who enjoy reading, but I find when you’re not known, it’s really hard to get them to check out your books. I use book blogs as a marketing tool, but I do not rely solely on them to sell my books. I find many book bloggers are authors too, and they aren’t interested in purchasing or reviewing my book, because they are pushing their own, as well.

RG: Printed books vs. E-books. What’s your take on this?

KRH: I’m definitely old school and I love a paper book in my hand. There isn’t any electronic device that can give me that great feeling of being curled up with an actual book in my hand. However, I know the new school readers are all about electronics, and therefore, to make all my readers happy, I offer eBooks for those who wish to read in that manner.

RG: Since you are an independent publisher, tell us why you decided to publish your books in this way?

KRH: Because for years, I’ve collected a shoebox filled with rejection letters from traditional publishing houses, and not for reasons you may think either. I’ve had several actually look at my work and tell me I have really great potential and the storylines are strong, but my book wasn’t what they were looking for at that particular time in the market. Since I did receive positive feedback from many of the big publishing houses, I decided that that was good enough for me to do it on my own. And, many of your self-publishers are owned by the traditional houses. You never know, one day maybe they will snatch me up? (One can only hope!) 

RG: List 5 advantages of independent publishing.
KRH: There are many benefits of publishing in this way. Some are as follows:

· In most cases, you have 100% control over your work.

· In most cases, you can set how much to charge for your work.

· You’re free to sign a contract with a traditional publisher, without having to worry about being sued.

· You can negotiate contracts for print-on-demand features instead of housing hundreds of books you may never sell.

· You don’t need approval from a traditional publishing house to tell you whether you’ve got the talent or not. Just about anyone can publish whether they are talented or not. 

RG: List 5 disadvantages of independent publishing.
· Extremely expensive to market yourself

· Not having a literary agent to help push your work.

· Doing all the work (self-promoter, marketer, negotiator, etc.)

· Finding money to continue to market yourself

· Not having an editor to help you with revisions

RG: How much time did it take for you to complete one book? What was your routine for writing?
KRH: “Mello & June” took four months and “Silent Knight” took an entire year. When I embark upon a novel, here is my routine and I never vary from it: I write for four hours every night and eight hours on Saturday and Sunday. I don’t watch TV, and tape all my shows and watch them when the manuscript is complete. I do this until the novel is done. Once it is, I can relax and then start the revision phase.

RG: How do you balance your family life and your writing commitments?
KRH: Everything is timed. My family knows not to disturb me, unless an emergency, when I’m in full writing mode. When my time is up, I spend quality time with them. They have learned to respect my writing time. 

RG: Are you inspired by any particular author? Who is your favourite author?

KRH: My favorite author is “Thomas Harris”, who wrote “Red Dragon”, “Silence of the Lambs”, “Hannibal” and “Hannibal Rising”. To me, he’s the most prolific of them all. I could read him day or not and never get tired. He’s one of the best! And even though his books were in a series, each was different and I loved that!

RG: Among other author’s books, any character which you could relate to and you will always remember? What was the character about and how could you relate to it?

KRH: I would have to say Clarice in Thomas Harris’ series. I identify with her because she’s a strong woman, who knows exactly what she wants and how to go about getting it done, and she is also open minded to the strange and twisted. There isn’t much that gets by her and she’s not one to take things at face value. When something doesn’t make sense, she will investigate it until she has exhausted every lead. Clarice and I are very similar. 

RG: I believe that there are only two categories of books: good books and bad books. In your opinion, what are the qualities of a “good book”?

KRH: My definition of a good book is one that grabs you from the moment you open it up. I’m one of those people who do not judge a book by its cover, although I know many do, but if the writer can grab my attention and keep me focused throughout the book that, to me, is a good book.

A really good storyline helps, and interesting characters. Example: One of my favourite books is “The Secret Life of Bees”, by “Sue Monk Kidd”. In the first paragraph of this book, there is a four years old character that is shot by her mother. Now who wouldn’t want to find out what happens next in the story? I read that book in one day, which is another way I judge a good book. The faster I read it, lets me know this book is good. Most good books I can finish within two days, three at the most, but if it takes me longer, then it’s an okay book, but not one I would consider great. 

This is an awesome book I read in one day: “Waiting to Exhale”, by “Terry McMillan”. I paid for it when I went to work the next day, but it was worth staying up all night. I could not put it down.

Now, time for some fun questions:

RG: Share with us your favourite childhood memory.

KRH: During the summer months, when school was out, my mom would take my brother and me to the local library and we’d spend the day reading and taking out bags of books to read.

RG: Tell us about the craziest thing you ever did in your life.

KRH: I’m not one for doing things out of the ordinary, so for me, as crazy as this will appear to your readers, I wrote a soap opera for four years straight. It never made it to television, but I learned a lot. (Smiles) That’s as crazy I get!

RG: How do you relax when you have free time?
KRH: I meditate a lot and do yoga. I also enjoy reading, just as much as writing, so when I’m not writing my own novel, I’m reading a great one. I love to read biographies of famous people because I like to know why people chose the paths they did. I love movies too.

RG: Complete these sentences: 
Love is...
Life is...
Sex is...
Marriage is...

· Love is what I have for myself, so I may share with others.

· Life is what I make it to be, which is great!

· Sex is a great way to release your tensions.

· Marriage is a wonderful institution, when you’re paired with the right partner, which I am blessed to be!

RG: Thank you for having a candid chat with me. It was a pleasure having you on my blog. Wish you all the best for your upcoming books as well as your current books. 

About the Author:

Kimberly Ranee (pronounced “Ronnie”) Hicks is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the Hill District (an area where the popular 80s TV police show, Hill Street Blues, was loosely based), and currently resides in New Kensington, Pennsylvania with her husband, Wesley, and her stepdaughter, Nicole. She is a graduate of Schenley High School and majored in Business Administration and Journalism. She is the author of two books, “Mello & June” and “Silent Knight”.

Visit her blog: http://mellojune.blogspot.com/

Visit her website: http://www.kimberlyraneehicks.biz/

To buy her books, go to these links:


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Guest Post By Author

Note: The pictures and illustrations seen in BE MY GUEST are compiled by Review Girl.


  1. Great interview! I enjoyed the questions and felt that there was a lot of thought put into each reply.

    Keep up the good work, it's VERY enjoyable!!


  2. @BookBagLady: Thanks *bows down*!!! :) You can't imagine how much your positive feedback means to me. It took me lots of hours to draft questions, then format and edit (re-edit for so many times!) and then finally put it up. My very first interview, so very nervous and excited at the same time. Keeping my fingers crossed for more lovely comments!

  3. Great interview. Very interesting! :)

    Rebecca @ kindle fever

  4. @bex: Welcome to my blog! Thanks for enjoying the interview!:)

  5. Great interview, really enjoyable.

  6. Komal, this is really nice, and I thank you. I added an author Interview section to my blog, and just shared the links on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks again, and I look forward to working with you in the near future!


  7. Great interview, Komal! (and Kimberly!) Eager to see more!:)

  8. Dear Komal! I love d new segmants u added to ur blog, d interviews. D way u take a look into d lifes of ur celebrities is v interesting.
    KRH seems to hv an interesting personality. I wud definitely like to read her novel especially
    Mello n June as I really like d idea of musical romantic soundtrack novel.Its unique n I hope this new experiment works well.
    All d questions asked were great, providing much information. Keep reviewing Komal.

  9. Thanks so much ladies! Yes, more interviews are in the pipeline! So, keep reading!:)
    I would like to mention here that there were lot more comments from BOOKBAGLADY, BEX and RHI, which got removed due to blogger repair problem and I can't seem to find them to publish them again. So, Thanks to all u of you too for congratulating and enjoying my interview segment as well as taking time to comment.
    Have a nice weekend, everyone!:)

  10. Awesome interview. I'm loving these. I really like writers who are willing to try writing different things. So fun.

  11. @Elisabeth: Couldn't agree more, dear! :)

  12. @Elisabeth: p.s. dun forget to read my comment on ur latest post! :)


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