Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.
Publish date:

Greta K. Kelly is (probably) not a witch, death or otherwise, but she can still be summoned with offerings of too-beautiful-to-use journals and Butterfingers candy. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her husband EJ, daughter Lorelei, and a cat who may, or may not, control the weather.

Greta Kelly author photo_pc Holen Photography

In this post, Kelly reveals the biggest surprise of her publication journey, how her novel changed over time, and much more!


Build Your Novel Scene by Scene

Build Your Novel Scene by Scene will offer you the impetus, the guidance, the support, and the deadline you need to finally stop talking, start writing, and, ultimately, complete that novel you always said you wanted to write.

Click to continue.

Name: Greta Kelly
Literary agent: Jennifer Udden
Title: The Frozen Crown
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release date: January 12, 2021
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Elevator pitch for the book: A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.


IndieBound | Bookshop | Amazon
[WD uses affiliate links.]

What prompted you to write this book?

I always find it impossible to trace back the exact root of this story simply because it’s been percolating for so long in my brain. But I think it all comes back to a daydream I once had: a woman sitting atop a horse looking down at a city below, an army arrayed at her back. Who was she? Was she there to conquer? Surrender? What did she want? What were her hopes, her dreams? Answering these questions (and many more) was what brought The Frozen Crown into being.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? 

I first started writing The Frozen Crown back in 2016, and while it seems like everything has changed from those original chapters, the core of the story really hasn’t. My main character, Askia, has always been at its heart. Her drive to save her people—and be worthy of her title—has remained strong over all the years of edits.

(Building Better Worlds: Five Tips to Guide Your Planning Process)

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title? 

This is my debut novel, and the novel that caught the eye of my amazing agent, so it is fair to say that the entire process was a surprise! But if there was one thing that I wasn’t quite prepared for, it was the timeframe. I always read that publishing was a marathon, but I had no real concept of how long. The Frozen Crown sold to Harper Voyager back in 2019 and will be released this January. That’s a long wait, but so, so worth it!

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

Once upon a time, I was a die-hard pantser—that is someone who writes without an outline in mind. And, well… let’s just say that that method was not working for me. This was the first book that I ever sat down and wrote a detailed outline for, and I will never look back. Even though that outline changed many times from the first draft to the last, it was invaluable—not only in helping me write those early drafts quickly but so much more cleanly than the books I had written previously.

(20 Things to Consider When Building Fantasy Worlds)

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I hope that readers will dive into Askia’s story and see a woman capable of wielding many different kinds of power, from martial to political. Askia is someone who, even when she gets knocked down—and she gets knocked down hard—always gets back up. I hope that her perseverance and determination will resonate with readers in a way they can truly identify with.


If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

Finding good critique partners is truly vital. If there aren’t any writing groups in your town, look online. Having your work critiqued by a skilled reader, and learning how to critique, is an invaluable education that will truly help you grow as a writer. 

How to Not Write in the Pandemic, Early Days

How to Not Write in the Pandemic, Early Days

Novelist Rebecca Hardiman gives us an insight into the obstacles that cropped up for writers at the start of the 2020 global pandemic.

7 Tips for Writing Police Procedurals That Readers Love

7 Tips for Writing Police Procedurals That Readers Love

Mystery and crime novelist Russ Thomas explains how best to create a police procedural that will hook your reader and keep them coming back for more.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 560

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an alien poem.

3 Tips for Writing with a Co-Author

3 Tips for Writing with a Co-Author

Shakil Ahmad provides the top 3 things he learned while co-authoring the book Wild Sun with his brother Ehsan.

Viet Thanh Nguyen | The Committed | Writer's Digest Quote

WD Interview: Viet Thanh Nguyen on The Committed

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses the challenges of writing his second novel, The Committed, and why trusting readers can make for a more compelling narrative in this WD interview.

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

In this post, Dinty W. Moore shares what inspired his most recent book To Hell With It, what lesson it taught him, why writers should have fun with their writing, and more!

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

In this post, Arisa White shares how she was able to piece together her past with her present, how some works freed her to write, and more!

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use adapt vs. adept vs. adopt with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.