In case you missed Claire's blog, here's the Q&A I did when Monsoon Season was first released in July:
caught up with Katie - sadly not over coffee, since distance prevented
that - and asked her a little about life as one of that rare and
venerated breed, a Published Writer.
In three words, can you describe...
Yourself? introspective, quirky, optimistic Your book? connection, growth, strength Writing, as an experience? personal, satisfying, vulnerable
You say you've been writing "seriously" for about a decade. What does "seriously" look like to you?
me, ‘seriously’ means with an eye toward publication, a concept of an
audience. I’ve always written, but when I was younger, I kept my writing
private. Writing ‘seriously’ means getting comfortable being read,
throwing yourself into the critique process and developing a thick skin.
How does it feel to finally be published?
doesn’t feel real yet. I don’t know when it will. I had a little book
party to celebrate with friends and I did a reading. I’m loving that
people are finally reading it and I’m getting feedback. I check my
amazon reviews daily. And also, my extended family is reading it and I’m
getting responses trickling in. That’s really rewarding.
Are you able to give us any sneak peaks into the other two novels that are to be published?
The next one is about cousins who reunite as adults after a long
separation during childhood. They were close as children but have lived
very different lives after the divorce of one set of parents and the
ramifications of that. It’s another book that alternates narration and
it includes the perspective of their grandmother. It deals with the
repetition of family history and issues of identity. Like, how much of
who we are is already determined when we’re ten years old? What can a
decade of separation do to change who we are?
The third book has a single narrator. Jenna is a people-pleaser dealing
with the death of a parent when she unearths a family secret.
Are there recurring themes in your fiction - dysfunctional relationships, families, longing for home, something else?
For me, family dynamics are fascinating. Patterns that get repeated
through generations, often unconsciously. I also like strong female
characters who are more interested in finding their path in life than
finding Mr. Right.
What advice would you have for people who are just beginning to write?
comfortable being read. It can take years to figure out which feedback
to take on and when to go with your gut. It’s a tricky balance. To a
certain extent we write for ourselves, but there comes a point when you
have to concern yourself with your reader.
And how about for writers who are discouraged because they can't find a publisher?
think it’s really hard. I think there is no shortage of writing talent,
which makes the competition fierce. Plenty of crap gets published,
promoted and purchased. And good writing that doesn’t get into the right
hands will never see the light of day. It’s discouraging. I think you
have to be really persistent.
The other thing is that you should really examine your motivations. Do
you want the credibility of getting published? Fame and fortune?
Readers? These are actually different things and there are different
routes to get there.
Do you have a writing "routine", a favourite time and place?
I tend to write in the evening with music playing.
What are you working on now?
have a trio of characters percolating in my head. They’re unlikely
friends- like two of them only know each other because of the third
person. I think we all have people like that in our life- people we
might not be friends with if it weren’t for the fact that they’re family
or they married in or they helped us through a really tough time in
life and we’re loyal to that. It broadens our world view. I haven’t
figured out what their story is yet. I’m still getting to know them.