My First Professional Interview
When I took part in the Winter Games on Facebook this past February and March, the authors had the opportunity to be interviewed by Deb, the gal behind www.readingbydeb.blogspot.com. I gratefully took part and had so much fun fleshing out how I got here and now. Deb graciously allowed me to share it on my page. I hope you enjoy the interview.
After reading, head to www.readingbydeb.blogspot.com, and find out what makes other authors tick.
(Deb) I am a book blogger and Instagrammer, and I would like to THANK YOU in advance for taking the time to answer my interview questions !
(Kathleen) Thank you for putting me in your lineup!
I am an avid reader and started a blog to share the books that I have read. Along with my blog, I leave reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, and BookBub, and share links to my blog on Instagram and Twitter. My hope is that my reviews will encourage others to read your books.
You can check out my blog and book reviews at http://www.readingbydeb.blogspot.com. And I will be sharing your interview link when it posts.
(Deb) When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?
(Kathleen) One of my earliest memories is pleading with my mother to read a story repeatedly in one sitting. I’m lucky because my parents were avid readers, so I didn’t have to beg too hard, even though she had four other children and a household to run.
I’d memorize the words, hold onto the book after she left me alone, and “read.” I knew a narrow space separated words, and I’d go through the book with laser focus, one word at a time, and effectively teach myself how letters became words, which turned into sentences that became paragraphs. Using that childhood experience, I came into the world fascinated with language, and writing seemed a guarantee.
Did you have any influencing writers growing up?
Beverly Cleary, Gertrude Chandler Warner, Judy Bloom, V. C. Andrews, and Stephen King.
Are any of your characters based on people in real life?
Likely they’re an amalgam of people I’ve met, seen, and known, and they come out onto paper the way my subconscious brain has shuffled them.
Where do you draw your book inspirations from?
As an intractable introvert, people-watching is innate and helps you get a real sense of how they tick. Bringing the human back into “human being” is something I do with every story, what I coined Romance Rooted in Reality. The culture pushes us to become other than what we are, and I’d like to offer permission to appreciate our authentic selves. Nature has been a friend that gives endlessly. Spending time in the woods, at the beach, and on mountaintops gives me countless ideas. I also travel, granted, less than I’d like, but seeing the world from a different vantage point is an intense way to collect knowledge and information.
Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story, or do you let the characters lead the way?
Both. When I begin, I know the critical parts of the story, but I always leave room for those hard turns the character invariably takes. That’s one of my favorite parts. I’ll be alone, typing away, and blurt, “That’s what you want to do?” or “This is who you are?” Fun.
When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?
No. I don’t want a character from a book, mine or anyone else’s, to be a reflection of a person who exists. My favorite book is The Stand by Stephen King, and though it became a miniseries, I could never look at the trailer, let alone watch the show. But I know what Larry, Stu, Mother Abigail, Frannie, and Harold look like, and I wouldn’t want it to change.
Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation. What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?
I read every night before falling asleep as it’s often the only time available. But, if I had to choose a favorite, it would be a snowy day when I didn’t have to be anywhere with nothing to be done. I’d sit by my wood-burning stove under a fluffy blanket and while away the day with my dogs as my husband brought me hot chocolate and food at regular intervals. I’d get lost in the story and finish the book just in time to fall into a restful night’s sleep.
Who are your favorite current authors to read?
Elizabeth Berg, Tracey Garvis Graves, Joe Hill, and Stephen King.
What are your favorite books by others?
The Stand by Stephen King. I can read that book (and do) over and over. On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves, and The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted by Elizabeth Berg.
Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?
If it’s integral to the plot, like with time travel.
Do you write in single or multiple POV?
Right now, single, but my initial stories were all written in the third person. I may revisit the approach in the future.
What do you find to be your best research tool?
Do you write under a pen name? Also, do you write under more than one name?
What genre do you write in, and why is this your preference?
Contemporary romance. Life is hard, and escaping within the binding of a pleasant HEA helps buffer the blows.
Tell me something about yourself outside of writing. Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?
I lost my parents when I was in my teens. There isn’t much on earth that influences a person more. Life wasn’t linear, making the world quite tricky for a young person to navigate without adult support. Thank God I had my siblings. But I’ve always found satisfaction in a job well done, so I played with professions to discover who I was and where I fit into a world gone wonky. I’ve worked from retail to the food industry, and I was a surgical tech in the OR and the director of an animal rescue shelter. “When you’re going through hell, keep on moving,” and I’d say that’s what I did to escape.
If you are a duo writing team, how do you share the writing process?
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Keep writing and do it because you love it. If you do it for fortune, fame, or another external reason, you will likely fail because the joy will be sucked out of the process.
How do you deal with and process negative book reviews?
First, I examine if there is any truth in the critique; if so, I work to improve in that area. Then I remind myself that it’s impossible to please everyone. Next, I take a few moments to feel the pain of the zing and recall why the book is worthy (Psst: for those who will love it). Finally, I do something kind for myself, brush it off, and move on because life is too short for naysayers.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
Time. Life likes to fill up the agenda, and you must be diligent about prioritizing writing.
What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?
Silence and solitude.
What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?
I find writing an indulgence.
If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose? And why?
Eckhart Tolle. I’d like to absorb his ability to be present and become enlightened. So a casual afternoon. 🙂
What is your schedule like when you are writing? Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?
I edit in the morning and write in the afternoon on a perfect day. A glass of water is always nearby, and I take breaks to eat. Doing one thing at a time makes it more enjoyable.
Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?
I never listen to music as I write, but I love all genres except jazz and blues.
Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?
I’m a pet sitter, so my and other people’s pets are a priority. But my dog walks, in particular, give me time to free-associate and develop new ideas or enhance those I’m working on. It’s a balancing act that some days I don’t perfect.
What is your kryptonite as a writer? What totally puts you off your game?
Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?
How do you celebrate after typing THE END?
Celebrate? With endless editing, a book is never finished at “The End.” 🙂
I hope you enjoyed reading my first professional interview with Deb! Don't forget to check out her website, www.readingbydeb.blogspot.com.