Today I welcome an author from Crete, Illinois, USA - Erika Kathryn. Welcome, Erika. Give us more information about you ...
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I have been writing and dreaming of getting published for as long as I can remember. I am one of those people that put my career (and paying the bills) first for many years and waited to have a family until now. I have been in the corporate world for a little shy of a decade and am proud of the accomplishments I have made there but now with the birth of my daughter about a year and a half ago, and self-publishing Audie the Angel, I feel like my life is really just taking off and it’s the happiest I have ever been!
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I feel like I was born to write, although after being in the slush piles for years it definitely makes you second guess that. It started at a young age but writing became a true passion for me in college. I have written four total novels now and working on a fifth as well completed two picture books and countless poems. The first novel I wrote all by hand and I still have yet to go back and type that up…hope to someday!
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I love being able to travel and explore a new world, set out on a new adventure, and getting to know new characters. Writing for me really takes me somewhere else. I am also an idea junkie. My passion is in coming up with new ideas that people will gravitate to.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
The Query Letter because no matter how great your work is it will usually never even be read if your Query Letter doesn’t catch someone’s eye. I have always felt that writing is the easy part; it comes really naturally to me. It’s the editing, redrafting, creating a query, submission tracking, and marketing that gets difficult.
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I must have worked in some aspect of making movies because for some reason I have collected over 500 DVD’s and I can’t get enough of them!
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
So far, self-publishing Audie the Angel. It is still a work in progress but I feel it has made the biggest impact in my life and a step closer to achieving my dreams.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I just finished a Chick Lit book that I am now sending out to agents. I am currently working on Audie the Angel: Volume 2! Personally I think it will be better than the first instalment. It starts off right where the 1st Volume left off; it is very fast paced. In the book, there is a plague that gets spread by Dare Demons and it essentially creates accelerated aging and Zombies on Earth. Audie and the Angel Army have to find a way to stop the infected. This book will dive into more of the relationship with Audie’s mother and also bring to light the crush-triangle between Audie, Cave, and Luce. It should be juicy!
Easiest question to answer hands down! My amazing little daughter! She is unbelievably smart and so beautiful. I’m sure all parents say this, but she is pure perfection. Now that she is in my life, everything I do is for her.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Fiction in Young Adult and Chick Lit.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Network with other writers! I was sort of a “Closet-Writer” for years, so let others in on your journey, you may be surprised. There is so much support out there and you meet so many good people who really want to see you succeed by doing this, it is unbelievable.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
I really have never run into that problem. I am constantly thinking of ideas when I’m driving in the car, eating, and even in the shower, so what to write comes easily. For me, the block is finding the time to do it.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
I get in front of my laptop every single night when I’m in the midst of writing a novel. After a long day of work, then playing with my daughter, feeding, bathing, and getting her to bed, no matter how exhausted I am I try to write what I can. And then on the weekends, as soon as she hits a nap I am jumping into my book. I don’t give myself many breaks!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Absolutely! Curled up in bed with my laptop is ideal for me—jammies included.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Pretty much the whole package. From creating the concept, to the outline, from the first chapter, to the last chapter and then getting to go back and re-read what I have worked on. The whole process is a joy to me!
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I’d probably have to say Nia Vardalos because she is so incredibly talented and versatile and I would give my left arm to be able to do what she has accomplished.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
I’d probably have to say the best compliments I have received are from my mother. Big surprise there, right? But honestly, making her and others in my family proud is an accomplishment in itself.
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I haven’t received any negativity yet, but I am open to it. I have a surprisingly thick skin and I use criticism to make myself better.
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Absolutely! I always write about places I know, base characters on people I know, and even on events that have happened to me.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
I also love watching movies, decorating has always been a passion, scrapbooking, photography, and pretty much anything that allows me to be creative.
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
I did not. I spent so many years working on this book and going over it probably three thousand times that I didn’t feel I needed to. For my newest project that I wrote much quicker and haven’t edited myself enough I will probably get an editor if I self-publish.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
In no particular order it would be eating sushi, watching a zombie movie, reading and playing with my daughter, Kathryn Kay, and then curling up with my laptop to write to my heart’s content.
This is a tough one—Maybe Ryan Reynolds because he is nice to look at, hilarious so he could entertain me, and he’s very strong, so he should be able to hunt for food!
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Your kids would love Audie the Angel!
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To make my lifelong dream come true and have one or more of my books published by a big house.
WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
For this I would want a surprise and some diversity to keep me entertained. So I would say surprise me with any five (make sure at least one has Zombies in it!)
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
My most recent Chick Lit novel I just finished, I can’t reveal too much but let’s just say she’s the most like me.
DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
It’s a love-hate relationship! When you get denial after denial you definitely feel like your head is hitting pavement, but then again…it only takes one. One request for a partial or a full and you are up on cloud 9.
DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
It truly has never crossed my mind and if that thought even thinks about coming around, I will chase it away.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
Definitely Audie the Angel because of all of the adventure and fun it is. Also, it is an ensemble cast of characters, so it was a blast to create their personality quirks and humanity flaws.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
To have an agent sign you on and have others (besides your mother) believe in your talent and ability to write.
WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I always try to add humour to my writing, so no if nothing else I hope they walk away with a smile.
HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
A lot! So much of the book’s sales depend on an enticing cover. I was blessed enough to have met the sweetest, kindest, illustrator a girl could ask for that has a deep talent for art, named Bobby Hammer. He created the cover for me within three weeks’ time and really created the concept for it. I wish you could see it in-person because the copy of it does NOT do it justice!!!
WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To be picked up by an agent who believes in me and get published by a larger publishing house.
ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Just a huge THANK YOU to you, Clancy, for having me here! Your blog is fantastic and I am honoured to be a part of it! Thank you and Happy New Year to all!
Clancy's comment: Great to have you with us, Erika. Also, best wishes to Bobby Hammer, your illustrator. Fingers crossed that you crack it for an agent and a publishing house.