Q. When will the sequels of Forever Fifteen come out?
Q. How is the way you release your books different from say, Danielle Steel?
A. I am a 100% indie author, meaning that I do not have a publishing deal. I have chosen to remain independent because I don’t feel that it is worth it to go through traditional distribution methods to reach my fans. I enjoy being able to write what I want to without having to worry that I’m offending general audiences. A publisher would probably cramp my style, but my fans love it when I show my dark side. Also, as an indie, I get to keep far more money from my creative products and nobody “owns” my book. The disadvantage is that my paperbacks are not represented on the shelves of Barnes & Noble or non-indie bookstores, but I can be found in some indie bookstores and all the usual places online, including Amazon.com/Kindle.
Q. How and why did you release your first book, Forever Fifteen, for free?
A. I never expected to write a novel. A series of unfortunate events landed me in a dilapidated country house. I was driven to complete Forever Fifteen within the span of a year. Once the novel was finished, I felt very insecure about it so I released it as one of the first free audiobooks on the internet. I sent it to only one agency, Writers House, and they rejected it. I already possessed recording equipment for my alter-ego as indie recording artist, Queenie, so I thought, hey, why not? The novel was my biggest “hit” to date. Even though I released it around 2005, I still get at least 1-2 emails a week from fans who love it. Fans gave me the idea that I could write, so I have decided to always go directly to the people who appreciate me most.
Q. Are you Queenie?
A. In short yes, though I see Queenie more as a fictional character I occasionally dress up as than a person. I see Queenie as a 19th century courtesan/fantasy geisha who exists in an alternate dimension and haunts the protagonist of one of the novels (still in my head, not written yet) called the Dream of Flight. I also recorded an album called the Dream of Flight and released it digitally through CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon. I record and release most of my original music as Queenie.
Queenie has her own website with lyrics to all the album songs, plus free Queenie songs and collabs at Queeniemusic.com.
A. Eventually I’d like to release a Midwestern home-cooking vegan cookbook and a vegan sushi cookbook. For now, I post vegan recipes here, which I repost on my Facebook/KimberlySteele and Twitter as I invent them.
Q. Why did you go vegan in the first place?
A. I went vegan on July 26, 2010 for the animals and I have never looked back. I will be vegan for the rest of my life. I was inspired to go vegan by people’s Facebook posts and by a couple of good, free vegan podcasts called Our Hen House and the Joyful Vegan podcast.
It took me a very long time to stop eating animals and their secretions. I was ova-lacto vegetarian since about age seventeen, when my high school forced me to dissect a pregnant cat or not graduate. This experience was very nightmarish and horrible and I credit it for changing the way I view animals and the way average people treat them.
My health improved drastically after going vegan. I saw a near-complete reversal of some very frightening, chronic health issues, including insomnia, cystic acne, and uterine polyps. Though I did not go vegan for my health and I would be vegan even if it meant I would die, a ton of research is now showing that animal products are very bad for you.
Being vegan is kind to the animals and the Earth and just happens to give you the longest, best, healthiest life. I’ll take it.