I just love doing interviews with writers at every stage of their writing career. Last time, I interviewed the amazing Michelle Zink. This time, I am talking to up and coming author, Katie Anderson.
CF: Why did you begin writing?
KA: I have always been a movie fanatic and frequently could be heard saying (when referring to whatever I was doing at the time), “This should be in a movie.” Or, “I’m gonna write this scene down.” And then one night while at a cocktail party with some friends, I announced that I was going to do it. I was going to write a movie. Of course no one believed it would stick – that I would actually do it. But, Sarah Frances Hardy loved the idea and wanted to do it with me. So, I went home, bought a “how to write a screenplay” book on Amazon and started writing on a yellow legal pad. SF and I met for coffee at least once a week and laughed about our screenplay. That was the start. Novels came much later.
CF: How long have you been writing?
KA: Six years. First came the movie, then came books. I started with a few pic books, then a graphic novel and finally, my masterpiece… a novel. The novel is the only thing besides the movie that has been able to hold my attention.
CF: Tell me a little about your personal writing process?
KA: Since I had never attempted a novel before KISS & MAKE UP, I didn’t have a “process” but now I can say that by God’s grace, I come up with a killer premise first. From there, I usually envision scenes like in a movie. I write whatever I wake up and feel like exploring. It might be my MC in a class at school. Or, it might be some emotion I want my MC to feel. It’s sometimes out of order and all over the place. The next day I wake up and revise what I wrote the day before, and then, attempt to add to it. I constantly revise as I write and then after I get a good draft, my mother reads it. She’s incredible. She finds anything I’ve missed. She’s great at continuity editing and grammar. I fix her comments and then finally send to my agent. This obviously takes many, many, many, months.
CF: What is the hardest part aspect of being a writer?
KA: For me, it’s trusting the process. I don’t outline – I can’t. So I always get a little panicky when I don’t know where the story is going. But, if I commit to working on it every day, it eventually works out.
CF: How do you manage to balance writing with other real-life things (like children, etc)?
KA: I should have said that this is the hardest part of being a writer because it’s true. THIS is the hardest part. Writing can be addictive and you really have to watch it. I am still trying to figure this out. I try to write during the day when the kids are gone. But, sometimes I have to write late at night.
CF: Where do you find your inspiration?
KA: Everywhere. I am always inspired by other artists, chefs, writers, singers. And I know I’m on the right track with a project when I start waking up with ideas in the middle of the night. I take notes frequently in a half-asleep coma.
CF: How did you find your agent?
KA: In the midst of my querying for my novel, an adult agent heard about my premise and referred me to her friend – who referred me to my agent. I had never heard of her so I didn’t think much about her but as soon as we talked on the phone, I knew. She was “the one.” I was talking with several others at the time and she was the only one who really energized me. I adore her. Also, I think the query HAS to be short and sweet and have a killer hook. THAT is what ultimately got me noticed. I wasn’t getting any bites and my friend suggested that my query wasn’t strong. She was right. As soon as I changed it, I had an almost 100% request rate. So my advice is to make sure you have a really strong query as well. I highly recommend Elana Johnson’s From the Query to the Call. It has great advice for how to pitch your project to an agent.
CF: Now that you have an agent, has anything changed?
KA: Yes. I feel validated. And strangely, it gave me a HUGE jolt of creativity. I rocked my coolest revision EVER right after she signed me. Her confidence in me really made me blossom creatively.
CF: Tell us one random fact about you.
KA: I used to want to be a Laker Girl.
CF: Is there anything else you would like my readers to know about you or your books?
KA: I can’t WAIT until they can read KISS & MAKE UP! I am so proud of this book! It took 2 1/2 years to write and looking back I am so thankful it took that long. Don’t despair if it’s taking a long time. You will get there. I promise.