Introduction:

Today, we have the pleasure of getting a glimpse of Ophelia Kee, a talented author in the urban fantasy genre who has spent the last few years bringing her imaginative realm to life through The Draoithe Saga.

With a background in education, Kee started her journey as a writer not too long ago as a way to entertain herself. Soon, she discovered she was captivated by the creative process and couldn’t stop.

Ophelia Kee takes pride in her saga, and we understand why. With nearly 70 stories, she provides her readers with a whole new world to explore and feel through the pages. 

In this interview, Kee talks about her background, writing journey, future projects, and more. 

Join us as we learn more about the enthralling world Ophelia Kee has created.

Meet the Author

When I write, what I want from my stories is the escape. When I publish, I hope others who enjoy urban fantasy and paranormal romance will enjoy that escape too. ― Ophelia Kee

Hi Ophelia! We’re grateful to have you here. How are you?

Thank you for having me. I think I’m good. If not, please don’t tell me.

Could you please tell us a little bit about your background and your biography as an author?

Believe it or not, I have no formal training to write genre fiction. My university degrees are in History and Geography and my professional career is in education. 

What is your main genre of writing? Why do you feel that you are drawn to this genre of writing?

I mainly write urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I’ve always loved the mystical, the unexplained, and the truly magical. The suspension of disbelief required of fantasy lends itself to the perfect reading escape.

Can you tell us about your previous work? Is there any notable achievement that you’re very proud of and can you highlight why?

The first miniseries in the Draoithe Saga is now available as a serial, as single narration AI audiobooks, e-books, paperbacks, and hardcovers. It includes a short story prequel and three novels. And I finally released the e-book boxed set last month.

But I’m definitely writing a saga. The next miniseries is currently being published in serial with the first two stories in that miniseries now available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Writing and publishing a novel is seriously difficult. I’ve done it. That is a major noteworthy, celebratory event. I’m not seeking fame, so I’ve never applied to win awards. When I write, what I want from my stories is the escape. When I publish, I hope others who enjoy urban fantasy and paranormal romance will enjoy that escape too.

Writing Journey

What is the earliest memory you have of yourself as a writer? Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I’m not one of those people who dreamed of being an author as a child. I’m positive it was a midlife crisis moment. Only there was no crisis. I was just bored. I was sitting in a training I’d done several times. I had an open laptop. I couldn’t read to escape so I started writing instead. That was August or September of 2016. So, my earliest memory where I viewed myself as a writer was only about seven years ago. I remember that first attempt at storytelling. Let’s just say that delete is a tiger’s friend. But I didn’t give up. I kept at it until I’d written “A Pack Forms.”

Tell us about your motivations. What were your motivations when you first started writing? Do you think that has changed, and why?

I was bored. I needed to entertain myself when I started writing, but as I continued the story, it acted like a drug. I wanted that high, so I chased it and kept writing every day. I haven’t stopped. I still write chasing that amazing feeling which only comes when the characters are real, and the world building is irresistible. I call it the passion for writing, but my friends call it an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I’m sure a therapist would say it’s an addiction. No matter how it’s labeled, that itch to tell the story never gets old.

In your opinion, what would be the most difficult part of urban fantasy writing and why? 

World building and character building are the hardest parts. 

For me, getting those elements right drives that suspension of disbelief and connection to the story that keeps people coming back to read another tale. The world must be compelling so the magic must have rules. Writing that without lecturing it is still hard for an old social science teacher. 

In the end, crafting characters which aren’t flat, the ones readers can love, hate, love to hate, or hate to love is what drives any story. If the characters don’t evoke an emotional response from the reader, no one will remain invested in their tale. Maya Angelou once said that people never forget how another made them feel. So, characters must make readers feel or the story doesn’t work. 

Inspiration and Creative Process

Please tell us about your creative process. What inspires you to write a new book?

The proper term for my writing process is discovery writing. I prefer chaotic pantser. I write the story I see in my mind’s eye as the characters play it out for me on the mental stage. There is no written plot, no outline guide, no preplanning. I sit down and write what the characters tell me to write. 

What’s my inspiration? It’s always been the escape. I chase the thrill of getting lost in the story and making it come to life. 

Why do you think this method works for you?

It’s freedom. I don’t write to the market. I write what I enjoy. I write the stories I want to read. I crafted a world I would love to visit and create characters which I’d like to meet. 

I enjoy writing. It’s not my job. It’s how I choose to relax, to unwind. 

And how does it differ from other methods you’ve heard about or tried?

I’ve heard people outline their stories similar to how your grade schoolteacher taught writing and story elements in grammar school. They want to hit critical points in their story. That is far too confining. I hated dissecting a good story as a child. I wanted to enjoy the suspension of belief. So, I think chaotic pantsing is a rebellion against something that ruined the story immersion for me.

I know some people write that way and it works for them, but it would take the fun out of storytelling for me and turn it into a grind. 

Tell us about some writers who have inspired you. Why do you think they have been inspirational to you? 

I loved J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, Robin Hobbs etc. I’ve been in love with fantasy since I was a child. I also enjoy contemporary and paranormal romances by LJ Shen, Meagan March, Felicity Heaton, etc. I have long held a passion for original fairy tales, mythology, legends, and the rarely told stories from history. But there is something about the Happily Ever After from children’s tales which carries over into romance that draws me in every time. If I’m writing what I love, then the combining of these elements makes total sense.

Writing Routine and Habits

What is your daily or weekly writing routine?

I don’t have one. I wish I could say “I write 2000 words a day” like Marie Force, or that I write for ‘X’ number of hours a day. But the truth is, I write when I have inspiration and when I have a chance. My full-time career is exhausting. Some weeks I write nothing new. Other weeks, I can’t stop writing every spare minute. I don’t fight with it. I go with the flow.

Why is this routine important to you? And how has it helped you?

Having a full-time career means I must be flexible. I not only give myself permission to work at my own pace, but I also need to do that if any writing will happen. It’s liberating to simply write when I can and write as much as I can. As an indie author, not needing to meet someone else’s deadline has freed me to enjoy my writing.

What do you do in your spare time to keep yourself from getting burned out as a writer? Why do you think that helps you?

I garden. I have two dogs, who love to go for walks. I listen to a lot of music and watch movies and documentaries. I read a lot, and I work a lot. In my career, I write a great deal of nonfiction so when I work on my storytelling, it’s a completely different creative outlet.

Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles

What are some challenges you’ve encountered on your writing journey? 

There’s never enough time to do it all. The learning curve for self-publishing and marketing is serious, and I want to write, but I have other things I must do. I would love to be a full-time author, but even then, I doubt I’d have enough time to do everything.

How did you overcome them? 

I don’t. Since I write for fun, I gave myself permission not to stress about it. No deadlines, no boss. I just keep writing and publishing. I keep sharing the dream. 

Why do you think they were obstacles to you?

I have a creative mind. I enjoy creating and solving problems. Not having enough time to chase all the ideas is always a stumbling block for creatives. There’s always some new way to do things or some new idea to consider, but you can only juggle so much, and you know time to forge all the irons in the fires of your imagination is limited.

Have you ever had writer’s block? Can you share any insights on how you manage to overcome it?

I can’t say I’ve ever had true writer’s block. I have experienced the inability to write. It often results from too much energy being poured out on some other tasks such as my day job, my family, or stress caused by the anxiety over impending events like hurricane preparation. I’ve been ill a few times, so I lacked the energy to write. I needed to focus on healing rather than creative endeavors. 

When that happens, the greatest truth is my writing belongs to me. If I need to wait to write again, it’s okay. The story remains and awaits the moment I can return to it.  And it is such a grand lure there’s no chance I’m not returning to it.

Current Projects and Future Plans

Could you tell us about The Draoithe Saga?

It’s massive. I’ve written over 69 different stories within the Draoithe Saga including spin off miniseries, extra short tales, and more. I’m not simply writing a novel. I’m building the dream. I’m creating a world populated with immortals, humans, gods, monsters, magic, and more. 

I don’t stop at writing the stories, I create video content and write the behind-the-scenes blog as well. All the stories are set in the dream which is eerily similar in many respects to the world we inhabit, but the expanded multidimensional magically realistic version.

Download it for free here!

Where did the inspiration to start writing this series come from?

As you might imagine from what I teach in my career field, I am involved in a lot of research. I teach high school students, but the course work is collegiate, so my students must often choose topics for research and must write essays and papers. Aiding them has often led me down the rabbit hole of research as well. I have always been drawn to myths, legends, folklore, and fairytales and I have the means to research all of it. 

Why did you decide to make The Draoithe Saga about shapeshifters? What attracted you to this concept?

The first books focus on shapeshifters, but other beings with magic appear later in the Draoithe Saga so that the magic is far larger than the traditional werewolf/vampire tales. But I have to give the credit to Tolkien’s elves and dwarves and my general curiosity about myths and folklore from past cultures. 

What kind of research goes into writing about shapeshifters? 

A ton. I want the magic systems and the characters to be as real and as believable as possible so if I can connect them to ancient legends or historical characters, it gives them a basis in shared cultural experience.

How many miniseries are included in The Draoithe Saga? What was the process of writing all of them like so far? 

Currently there are 15 miniseries and some random extra tales. They aren’t all published or even all completed. But I’m working on that. It’s been a wild ride discovering what I’m writing and how it works best for me. But I have settled on publishing the stories serially first as I write, edit, and revise as well as create bonus material. then once the tale is finished collecting all the chapters and publishing the books. This process seems to be the best system for sharing the dream.

Tell us about “The Dream”. What is this project about?

The dream is the world in which the Draoithe Saga is set. It has 9 realms on three levels with places between levels and outside of the dream as well. An interdimensional fantasy multiverse. A thousand years ago, a devil wrote a spell disguised as a prophecy all to get revenge for the death of his beloved. He set chaos loose in the dream and things have become progressively more unbalanced ever since. The stories of the Draoithe Saga all focus on how different characters in the dream, work toward saving the magic and restoring balance to their world.

Get the rest of the Kingdom Rising Miniseries here!

What’s the best part about writing and publishing The Draoithe Saga chapter by chapter? Do you prefer it to the traditional way? 

I do prefer to publish it that way. So, after I’ve done the research and written the second or third draft, I believe the story is “done” (what story is ever done?) I begin what I call the polishing stage. Publishing the story at that point serially, means I can share the stories faster, but also, it’s part of the polishing process. 

The stories go up one chapter at a time as a WIP. I’m reviewing the story and making sure it all works within the broader framework of stories. I can’t have the magic working one way in one story and working differently in another without a good reason. Because it’s a saga and old characters are constantly interacting with new characters, as the readers move deeper into the world, I have to be sure the characters act, walk, and talk as they have in other stories, and that I don’t have them impossibly in two different places at the same time. 

I often catch little mistakes or realize I’ve failed to add a necessary detail here or there. I warn my readers the stories could change at any time while I’m publishing it as a serial. But it takes a lot of work to get a high quality, edited, polished and AI audio chapter finished. (I listen to the work as part of the editing process).

The best part is that once I have all the chapters posted to the miniseries, the only thing left to do before publishing as a book is formatting. But I still think the serial is the best way to enjoy the story because I can add things like videos and music links to the serial. Those are hard to put into a paperback.

Tell us about your current work in progress within this saga. How’s the writing going?

So, I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. But at the moment, the big focus is the Royal Council Miniseries. I’ve rereleased “Arctic Fox” and just published “Vampire Knight”. It’s not live everywhere as I’m typing this, but I’m hoping it goes wide soon without any glitches. As always, it’s live at OpheliaKee.com first. That miniseries is still publishing as the serial, and I’m three chapters deep into “Dream Walker” with “Vampire Panther” and “Angry King” waiting their turn next. These manuscripts are complete, so I’m polishing and publishing as I go. 

With so many books planned, I’m sure there’s an upcoming project you’re most excited about. Can you give us some details about it?

You know me well. I’m miniseries hopping from Mystic Dark to Kings Wilde at the moment. 

Mystic Dark has seven complete novellas all set in the dream version of Chicago and focused on the last Vampire King’s efforts to right the balance of magic. It’s a dark fantasy vampire miniseries. I’m working on writing the ending. It’s one of the rare ones that has gone in linear order for me.

Kings Wilde has jumped all over the place. Its set in the dream version of Juneau Alaska focuses on shifters and the criminal underground. It’s so rough I don’t share anything but random bits as teasers at the moment, but it has at least 5 stories planned with none of them finished.

I randomly visit the Gods of the Dream stories which I write and publish only for my Newsletter friends. These tales are free, but if you don’t get the newsletter, you won’t find them. This miniseries has two finished tales. “Unlikely Kings” and “Lost One”. I’m writing two more. 

Final Thoughts and Closing Remarks

Reading in the dream is more than discovering a new story; it’s an experience. ― Ophelia Kee

 

Do you have any additional advice you would like to share with other indie authors who may be reading this? Any valuable insights? And if so, why these specific insights? 

Take the time to celebrate your accomplishments. Writing is hard and takes a lot of time, but the pursuit of that passion is extremely rewarding to the creative mind. So when you achieve your goals take the time to revel. 

Give yourself permission to enjoy the stories you craft knowing they aren’t meant for everyone, but rather only for those who enjoy your particular brand of escape. 

Slow down and breathe. Write what you love at your own pace. Write your stories from your heart. Share them knowing someone will love them as much as you do and need to read the same way you needed to write. Writing is more about storytelling and connecting with other people than it is about typing letters and punctuation. It’s the feeling people remember, not the words.

Finally, what message would you like to convey to your readers?

I can’t begin to convey with mere words how incredibly humbling it is to me that other people read my stories and enjoy them. That they continue reading, buying books, and supporting my efforts fills me with a greater desire to continue writing and publishing. Please forgive me for never writing as fast as I know you would prefer to read, and I hope you will continue to visit the dream as often as possible and read more of my stories as time marches on. Reading in the dream is more than discovering a new story; it’s an experience. Keep writing reviews. They help more than you know. I love all my readers, and I promise to keep writing until the story ends. Welcome to the dream…

Conclusion:

With so many books planned, Ophelia takes it easy and advises new authors to enjoy the process and write for those who will appreciate it.

Thank you, Ophelia, for letting us get to know you better than we did before. Your passion for your stories inspires us to write about what we love and how we want our readers to feel in the process. We’re sure your readers value every chapter you give them and are happy they get to enjoy them.

Stay tuned to Ophelia Kee’s future works and follow her on her writing journey here. Happy writing!