Thursday, 23 April 2015

INTERVIEW



Here is an interview I did with Jen Winters, which was published on her wordpress blog just the other day...

JEN: You all know how much I adored this woman’s book, Grand Theft Life . Her book was utterly fantastic and I am privileged and honored to have her here today for an interview.

You write contemporary fantasy fiction. Do you read it as well?

KATYA: Yes I do. I firmly believe in the importance of taking the time and getting to know your peers. I must admit that when I am intimately involved with my WIP’s, I tend to minimize my exposure to other works. I may be superstitious but I worry about other writing styles leading me off and away from my own process. Lately I have been reading Paul Kater, Dean Koontz, and Steven W. White’s ‘New World: A Frontier Fantasy Novel’.

There are a lot of low cost to free books one can add to one’s kindle every day, and then you get to carry a library in your hands. I recommend people get one if you don’t have one. Yes, it IS a better feeling holding a paperback, for sure. But some Kindles are backlit, so you can read them in the dark! And no, I do not work for Amazon.

JEN: HA! I recommend getting a Kindle too, but that’s because I’m an ebook published author ;)

Is there an author that makes you strive to be a better writer? Who is it and why?

KATYA: There are plenty. Always been a big fan of Anne Rice. She gets me deeply involved with her lead characters and anti-heros. I love her worlds, both ex and interior. I can always turn to the Russians for a spark. Great storytellers. I am reading Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ for the x-teenth time. And Paul Kater is a Dutch writer who I met recently by way of social media. I am blown away by his work ethic and trying to emulate.

JEN: I am always amazed at how many amazing authors are out there just waiting for us to find them.

What do you think you bring to your books that makes you unique?

KATYA: Sensitivity. I have always been a hypersensitive creature, myself. This has worked for and against me. I am single by choice because intimate relationships tend to overstimulate me. I breathe rather shallow because deep breathing breaks up my peace of mind with the fullness of emotions under the surface. Sound strange? Well, I probably am. But honestly, this quality in me lends itself very well to the worlds I create in my books.

Experience. I never write very far away from my internal experience. For sure I code it into my characters.

Style. I like to say I write from the inside out. I have my own fingerprint. Some readers call it poetic. Some describe it as similar to magic realism. Others enjoy my ability to paint an image in the mind. I tend to naturally thread in social commentaries, though I try not to preach. My books are character-driven, and I tend to place the characters in (physically) real yet dystopian urban settings.

JEN: Reading your book was certainly a unique and incredible experience for me. Some books I read and it’s a good book, but yours, I read and it was an experience.

What is that one moment you have had as a writer that made you realize you were actually a real author?

KATYA: When I self-published my first novel, in 2013. Girl Without Borders.

JEN: Now that is the kind of moment I can connect to. I had been touting myself as an aspiring author for long enough when I saw my book online after hitting that publish button, I knew. I was an author.

What started you on the path to becoming an author?

KATYA: I did a ton of reading as a kid. The first novel that totally wrapped its arms around me and wouldn’t let go, was Dickens’ ‘David Copperfield’. I was about eleven or twelve years old. I was enraptured! And it was a big thick paperback, so I was really proud to be reading such a large volume. From then on I aspired to write a book. Around the same time, a classmate and I got notebooks on our own, and tried to write novels in them. My idea. Before then, my grandmother was cutting full page images out of magazines, pasting them on one side of a notebook, and asking me to write stories about the images. That’s how I began to tell stories in ink.

JEN: Your grandmother’s idea was fantastic. I might kype that!

How did you work your advertising and build your following?

KATYA: I have a facebook page which does not generate much interest. Mostly I am building a following through my website (circa 2007), and through the Google Plus community. I offer up something to somebody every day online. I also buy copies of my books, and hand paperbacks out to local bookstores and friends. In the past two years, I have joined Goodreads, WordPress and Twitter. I have linked up my social media to my author profile on Amazon. I may get back out to the coffeehouses and grab an open mic. I try and maximize the points of contact I have, and am willing to create more. But I definitely have a lot to learn about advertising, marketing, promotion.

There’s a cool website I found for Independents, called http://www.theindieview.com . Self-published authors can query a list of reviewers who will review your work for free. I stand behind all my published work, but I am still mostly unknown. None of it matters so long as I am excited about what I am writing, and dedicated.

JEN: Cool. Thank you for the referral! And indie’s first few years are a hard time full of expenses!

As an author, what is that one memory that will always stick with you?

KATYA: Being in Palm Springs earlier this year (on vacation) and waking up predawn to write to the full moon over the mountains, just outside my hotel window. Going to the lobby to get the free coffee and granola bars, and spending most of my week-long vacation inside my hotel room, feverishly completing my novella. I was clocking twelve hour days with my kitten by my side, and I had no hesitation working across my entire ‘vacation’! I was inside a tractor beam of energy. A true labor of love <3 br="">
JEN: Oh wow! That is inspiring! I’m not sure I could type for that long on any given day, but it certainly shows your dedication to your craft.

How have your aspirations as a writer changed over time?

KATYA: I suppose I always harbored a desire to be widely read, or published. Ten years ago I shopped a manuscript around to some of the majors, and found the process tedious and discouraging. The conventions were slightly less discouraging. I mostly enjoyed sharing my work with friends and doing spoken word. When I started blogging in 2007, I found I had access to anyone online. This brought some adrenaline back. But writing has remained mostly a healing process. My life has at times been in chaos. Fractured relationships and jobs, unemployment and relocations. Now I am a little older and found a simpler way of life. A calmer environment. A less stressful job. I still aspire to have my work read far and wide. But I feel fortunate I have this ritual and healing process to turn to when times get rough. Writing is good medicine.

JEN: It certainly is! I wrote my first after a rather harsh implosion of my life and it was the best therapy I could afford. Also, Kissing Demons was rewritten so that it wasn’t so much puke on a page. Haha.

Have you quit your day job yet or are you planning to anytime in the future?

KATYA: Wouldn’t that be nice? Haha – sure! I’m okay with my career, in fact I really like it. I’m a social worker and I meet and work with wonderful people every day. I work the nightshift, which is usually less stressful than the other shifts. I feel I can be helpful to people struggling with mental illness.

I enjoy coming home when the sun rises and keep a simple routine, making a clearing every day to write. Enjoy the process of writing and sharing and reading. Quit my job? Maybe. But I like my life right now and feel fortunate to have something else that excites me besides writing.

JEN: That is beautiful. I’m glad you have two things in your life that make it good right now.

What drives a fantasy for you and makes it something you want to read/write?

KATYA: Trying to put into words impossible things. Magical things. Superhuman potentials. Spirit life. Extraordinary abilities. Subtle sense possibilities. Things our five senses do not pick up! Energetics. But regardless of genre, a book is driven by its characters. You gotta have real characters who you care about. Yes, world-building is a critical part of fantasy fiction. I try and have fun with it, get creative.

JEN: You certainly manage! I thought your characters drove your story into this functionality I couldn’t see until I read it the second time around. It was one of those masterpieces of fiction that is like a good painting: no matter how many times you look at it, you see something new.

What are you working on now?

KATYA: I am working on Book Two of ‘Daughter of Darkness’. I have about 50,000 words, first draft, to play with. This will condense down to about half of that, or another novella. I expect to release Book Two this year.

JEN: Woot! I’ll be looking for that release day!

Tell us a little about your previous works and how we can get our hands on them.

KATYA: They are all published on Amazon, so you can find them by a single link to my Author page…

http://www.amazon.com/Katya-Mills/e/B00F5DWHGC

JEN: Thank you Katya for coming and spending time with me today! As always, it was a pleasure to hear from you. And thank you, Reader. We appreciate your likes, shares, and comments.