Sunday, August 28, 2011

Author Interview: Katie S.

I have only known Katie in the writing world, but already I can tell she's a girl to be reckoned with, a marvelous writer, and an original person. :) I am pleased to have her here this morning!

So, Miss Katie S., how do you find yourself on this coolish summer morning?
I'm quite well, allergies aside. The weather here is starting to cool down nicely. Autumn is in the air!
Tell us a little about your latest writing project!
At the moment I'm working on Lara's Story, and hoping to finish the first draft sometime in January. Here's a little snippet I wrote up to tell more about the story:
No longer able to keep her thoughts to herself, yet unwilling to share them with others, young Kate Landess starts a journal. Through her entries, she tells of her sister's life -- her mysterious disappearance -- and slowly unravels the many threads of Lara's secrets.

What is your number one, brilliant piece of advice for other aspiring authors?
Read. Read, read, read. Never, ever, under any circumstances stop reading. Read old, classic books that have stood the test of time. And write incessantly.
Are you seeking to become a published author yourself, or do you write for fun?
Someday over the rainbow, I hope, as I believe most writingly inclined people do, to be published. It's very much a dream of mine, a dream I'm slowly but surely working toward.

How do you get inspiration for your stories?

By reading, by writing whatever pops into my head, by gazing upon glorious stretches of countryside, by observing people and their habits, by looking at pictures of faraway places, by jumping on the trampoline at midnight and gazing at the stars, by asking myself "Why?". In short, I glean inspiration from so many different avenues, so many different strains of thought and imagination, that I can scarcely narrow it down.

Are your characters inspired by real-life people, your imagination, or a little of both?
A little of both. Some characters spring to the page completely uninfluenced by any other human I can place. Some are formed with great resemblance to those I know and love. Others are mixtures of the known and the unknown, the familiar and the unfamiliar, and are quite enjoyable, albeit difficult, to write.

Do you have a favorite spot to write? (If you have to sit at the computer desk you might just skip this question! :D)
By a window. I love writing by windows. There's something so perfect about gazing out a window as one orders thoughts around in one's head, making room for the old unfinished manuscript to open its pages. I love writing outside, writing in the dark of night, and in libraries--anywhere quiet.

Do you work best in peace and quiet or with background noise and action?
COMPLETE peace and quiet. I'm just queer like that; I cannot think clearly when great amounts of noise are blaring through my head, begging me to attend them. And living in a large family, it's pretty needless to say that I do most writing in the very late evening or early morning.

Which area would you say you're strongest in as a writer? Plot, dialog, characterization, action, showing vs. telling, description, etc?
Description. Description is my first love. I can read blocks upon blocks of description and, though devoid of dialogue and rather lengthy in size, still be as happy as a lark. Hence my love of penning my own little descriptions.

Which area is hardest for you?

Plot, above all. "Ooh! Idea! Shiny! But should I plan first? Pfft, no! Must write!" Then I get to about the third chapter, have to stop altogether, and am forced to create some sort of outline.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte for their sweepingly beautiful prose. Charles Dickens for his ingenious use of both plot and character. Jane Austen for her unforgettable -- and hilarious -- characters and stories. C.S. Lewis for his wonderful, simple way of portraying and explaining Truth. And Agatha Christie, the Queen of Mystery, for being ever so much smarter than myself and outwitting me every time.

Do you agree with the old adage, "Write what you know"?
To some extent, yes. I believe a person should write what they know best, but still delve into the very depths of their imagination. The adage, the advice, should not stop one from being as creative and original as possible.

Any tried and true tips as far as technique goes?
Read. Read and your writing and technique will improve steadily, though you may not be aware of it at first. Notice things as you read; study passages of description to better your own, study streams of dialogue further your own. And then write, write, write. Write little stories, write little snippets of Nothing Whatsoever just for the fun of it. Sitting outside in the middle of the day? Get some paper and describe a blade of grass, a flower, a birdsong. Write a short stories. Look up into the clouds after a storm and try to spin your feelings into words. Keep reading, keep writing.
What is your remedy for Writer's Block? :)
Droop, die, fall over, and then pick yourself up and get back to it. Force yourself to write, perhaps not your novel-in-progress, but a short story. Read. Drink tea. Take a walk alone. Interview your characters or write little stories about their past. Keep plugging along until you break the roadblock in two.
And now for your last, and most challenging question: Why is a raven like a writing-desk? :)

I haven't the vaguest idea! I am shamed to say I have never really contemplated the question. Why is a raven like a writing-desk?

Thank you for letting me host this interview on my blog, Katie, and for giving me your precious time and pearls o' wisdom! ~Rachel


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rachel! I'm extremely honored. ^.^

Imogen said...

I love reading Jane Austen and C.S. Lewis! I've never been much of a fan of Charles Dickens before, nor the Bronte sisters, but I've actually just started enjoying them. And of course I love Agatha Christie.

It's funny, but I was just writing about the Brontes on my blog last night. This is so well timed!

Abigail Hartman said...

Oh, an interview with Katie! This promised wonderful things before I even started reading.

Your answers ring true with me, Katie, except for the Brontes and your skill with description. I fear I'm more of a dialogue person myself and have more trouble writing description. And I laughed at your advice for defeating Writer's Block - so sadly true...

Thanks for hosting Katie here, Rachel, because it was a blast to read the interview!

Horse Lover said...

great interview! Very helpful and interesting.