(Image from Amazon.co.uk)
To give my readers and fellow writers an insight into the processes and successes of other like-minded creatives, I'll be featuring some hardworking authors in my journal each week.
Today's author is Katie Masters and she's with Fire and Ice, an imprint of Melange Books.
BIO (from Facebook profile):
'Katie Masters is an author of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, YA, and children's books. She travels the world looking for inspiration and making the perfect cup of tea.'
Where do you get your ideas from?
An excellent question that has way too many answers! At least 30% of my book ideas come from my dreams. The other 80% percent happens when I'm doing or watching random things and then my little Writing Muse appears and says “here you go!” and throws an entire novel into my head. The other 10% is the few times I actually have to THINK and come up with an original idea on my own. I don't like that 10%.
Why do you write?
I write because I've never not written. Besides the fact that I've written since I knew the alphabet made words, I love writing because I love reading so much. But what made me want to become a writer was Tamora Pierce's Alanna Series. When I finished the last book I shut it, looked up at the ceiling full of emotions and said out loud, 'I want to make someone feel like this too.” Since that day I started writing story after story (when I wasn't reading) and never looked back!
What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?
Ah, genres. Genres are a wonderful thing, and because I love reading pretty much every genre, I also write in a lot of genres, such as YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and yes, even romance! But the thing that I think binds them all together, the thing I find equally appealing for each one, is that I get to live in a different world and be a different person for a time. And I love that about ALL genres!
How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?
I'll say this about bad reviews and criticism right here: I grew up on the mean streets of FanFic alley where bad reviews and trolling is pretty much it's life's blood. From the ages of 12 to 16 I got ripped apart, chewed, and spat out. But I also received a lot of help and advice. I learned from them. I came to understand that you had to look for consistency. If I got 'bad reviews' that all pointed out the same mistake—I LEARNED FROM IT. If it was someone shouting “yer stori is crap!” I ignored it because it wasn't helpful. I spent those gruelling tear filled teenage years getting toughened up for rejection, which is literally half of writing.
Rejection. Even the WORD kinda hurts, right? It practically tosses you aside with its tone! But if I gave up because of the number of rejection letters I've gotten, I never would have seen my book picked up and published! Rejection sucks. Always. But thanks to the beat downs I got as a teen, I learned to get back up and try again. I don't take rejection from publishers personally, because they're not rejecting you. Their assistant is. Their quota for the month is. And SOMETIMES if it's a small press, the agent does. And because of that I rarely let it get me down. Knowing SOME ONE will give me a chance keeps me going.
Watch Katie's appearance (2016 - the very first episode!) on my podcast, The White Room!
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What do you find difficult about writing, Katie?
The most difficult thing about writing for me is learning to not use 30 words when 10 will do. It's a real problem if you haven't noticed by now! The writing proccess for me usually isn't too difficult. When I do have difficulties, its because the awesome writers on Twitter have distracted me. And I'm easily distracted! Oops!
Do you ever outsource your work?
I don't! I mean, unless you mean if I hire ad agents and publishing houses. Then yes, yes I do. But my actual writing? Yeah no. I'm too Virgo to let someone else try and write my ideas. My caveat to that (oh look, there's the too many words problem already!) is that I love writing comics but can't draw—so then I'd say I 'outsource' my work. But is a collab considered out sourcing? Let me know!
What is your opinion on indie vs traditional publishing?
Ah yes, the age old battle of old gods and new! Here's the thing (and if any one tells you different they're lying): Deep down every writer wants to be taken in by Trad Publishing. We want that recognition from our lofty peers and sharp-eyed agents that our book is BETTER. I thought that for a long time.....and I still do, I won't lie. But times they're a changing, and indie publishing (either with a small press, a digital press, or self publishing) is giving traditional a run for their money.
Personally I think indie has A LONG WAY TO GO before it can be taken seriously—and that means that writers have to take themselves seriously (and the editors and book cover designers do too!). And I don't think a ton of them do. But the ability to have the freedom to make more money from your books as an indie author is really nice. (honestly, I wrote a huge post on this on my blog.)
Can you talk us through your creative process from start to finish?
Um. This is going to very quick. Probably. You know problem with word count now! Basically I have a dream or idea fully dropped into my brain. I then go and begin writing it. I get distracted by Twitter. I write some more. I complain to my friends that my short story is becoming much more than it was supposed to be. I keep writing. Twitter distracts me, then I have tea. More tea. MORE TEA. Finish a novel instead of a sort story and cry. Drink more tea and then wine. Then MORE wine. You know, to celebrate. …...This wasn't quick. I'm sorry.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers, Katie?
Write because you love it. Write because you love reading. Write because you've realized you've ALWAYS written or made up stories. Write because you love making worlds and living through your characters. Never, EVER give up. It's cliché, I know, but it's true. You don't want to be 80 rocking a Hawaiian shirt wondering what life would have been like if you'd just kept pushing. KEEP PUSHING and learn from those who are offering you SOLID ADVICE (aka, they're not telling you that everything you write is wrong or horrible. People ask you the hard questions? THOSE are keepers!). And just know that you get what you put in. Seriously. You want a good book? Get a good editor. Don't cut corners, your characters and world deserve better than that.
If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?
Oh god. Um. Firstly, 1 year ago me, YOU DID IT. You're getting published because you didn't listen to the 4th glass of wine and give up! So here's my advice to my 1 year ago self: Just when you think you've hit rock bottom—some one will throw you a rope. You're feeling hopeless and worthless right now because your book isn't getting noticed by agents. It's gonna be okay. It will. Make friends with not just writers (every one always says make friends with other writers!), but with other artists in different fields. They're going to teach you a LOT. A LOT that will relate to the writing world in ways that you didn't even KNOW. So go learn. And don't give up.
….Also maybe don't drink 4 glasses of wine in 1 hour again. Okay?
Would you agree a good book must withstand more than one read?
YES. All of the books on my shelves have been read at LEAST 5 times and I keep going back to them because I want to relive them over and over! A good book is one you want to read and not give to your friends (you tell them to get their own!)
Who is your favourite author?
You know what, I'm gonna do you a favor! I'm splitting this into genres! YA: Tamora Pierce because she's a master story teller Literature: Jane Austen because she wrote Northanger Abby, which was a spoof book on all the gothic novels becoming popular and it's BRILLIANT. Fantasy: Terry Pratchett because he created Discworld. Romance: Julia Quinn (for historical) and Katie McAllister (for modern day paranormal). Both women are HILARIOUS and witty and excellent at ther fields! History: Lady Augusta Gregory (for her work on collecting and translating Gaelic to make sure the mythology and folklore of Ireland was preserved)
Do you shop for indie books online? If not, why?
I do! Well, I'll look up a genre and if a book cover/ title grabs my attention and the writing is good, I'll buy it! I don't care if you're from a publishing house—I care if you did a good job with all aspects of your book!
What would it take for you to leave a review on Amazon/ Goodreads?
Just be a good book. Which is subjective, I know. But if I enjoyed the book, I'll leave a review. Simple as that! (of note: I tend not to leave them on ones that already have like...60 reviews!)
After downloading book one for free/ 99p or 99c on Amazon, do you ever return and pay more for book two? If not, why?
Sure, if it's good!
Do you ever visit an author's website and if so, why?
I do! To see if they talk about their life, or write short stories I can view for free, or have fun spoilers for their book!
What would it take for you to sign up to a mailing list?
Really good writing content or useful info.
Do you ever enter giveaways and/ or order signed copies?
I do! I would LOVE to own a signed copy of SO MANY writers...and don't have them! Boo! I entered to win a signed copy of Rebels of the Sands, but didn't win. It was a day that will be remembered as the day I shouldn't have had tequila to drown sadness....
What would it take for you to recommend a book to a friend?
For it to be good! If I close a book and go “OMG I NEED SOMEONE TO BE GEEKED OUT OVER THIS WITH ME!”, then I will scream it to all my reader friends so we can geek out together. I'm a bit picky, and so my friends trust my picks. Wow. That sounded suuuuper condescending. But I can't take back the truth! …...drink anyone?
Thank you so much to author Katie Masters for sharing her insights on writing and publishing books. If you would like to support Katie and her work, please consider purchasing a copy of the book, Brenna Morgan & the Iron Key, available on Amazon now. Check out the handy link below: