Needless to say, I don't feel so alone now! :-) I sooo appreciated her candor and fun-loving attitude about it all. So please welcome to the blog author Kate Martin.
DAB: Tell us more about growing up in the middle of nowhere and how that spurred on your desire to write.
KM: There really wasn't all that much to do. No cell phones, no internet - though I remember the awesomeness of three-way calling. Haha. If I wanted to get together with friends, it had to be planned in advance since it required getting a parent to drive me 20 minutes into town. Though being alone never bothered me. I was always quite willing to just sit around and daydream. There's quite a bit of open land around my house, with a picturesque river, my father's horses, and the farmers' cows. I used to go out and sit on a giant rock in the middle of the river and just watch the small fish, keep an eye out for Herons, and the occasional dangerous snapping turtle. As for the actual writing - that's something I've just always done. Whether or not it was tied to my need to self-entertaining, I may never be certain. The first time I remember consciously writing for myself (outside of school assignments) was High School, when a friend and I would create fanfiction during study hall. However, I recently ran into the third grade teacher from the classroom next door to mine (I worked as a substitute teacher for a while) and when she saw me she exclaimed, "Little Kate Martin? Who used to write pages and pages? And good writing too!" I was amazed. I don't remember writing so young, and this was a woman who wasn't even my teacher and that's how she remembered me. I guess I need to do some more digging and see what I can find from elementary school.
DAB: What does fan correspondence do for you and your writing?
KM: There's nothing better than hearing how people are effected by what you wrote - especially when they love it. I like to be a fan, so I certainly enjoy having some of my own. Reader responses will get me writing more, faster. It's the absolute best motivation.
DAB: What are some other good writing motivators for you? Music? Driving? Reading?
KM: Music is always good - though oddly enough the last book I wrote I often did so in silence. For Eternal Shadows I had a lot of Paramore, Flyleaf, and other angsty or teen-sounding music. However, there were also a few songs that were more classical or old fashion sounding. I'm planning on getting the playlist up on my website soon.
I get some of my best thinking and brainstorming done while driving. A good ride in the car is a great way to break any slumps or writing blocks. The only downside is then I have to do a lot of furious scribbling in notebooks when I reach my destination.
Reading is a bit of a toss-up. I love to read to get ideas on how to go about different things, or what kind of feelings I want to dredge up, but when I get deep into writing a novel I tend to stop reading so I don't fall into copying, or get influenced in ways I don't intend. It's hard to read something brilliant and not want to do it yourself!
DAB: ETERNAL SHADOWS is a YA paranormal novel - do you write in other genres as well or do you plan to make the YA genre your "go-to" grouping?
KM: Eternal Shadows is actually the only YA I've ever written - and it's the only one currently in my head. I have no immediate plans to write any others, though I do love YA and I wouldn't be surprised if I wrote another somewhere down the line. My main genre is Fantasy, either epic or urban or paranormal. Hopefully soon I'll be able to talk about some of those too.
DAB: Oh, I love reading fantasy! It is my first love. What is your favorite fantasy novel and why?
KM: Gosh, not sure if I have just one favorite. :) Wizard's First Rule, by Terry Goodkind (and all it's siblings) was the book that made me realize I could write a novel myself. Other favorites are The Last Herald Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (along with The Infernal Devices) and The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop. There are so many others - I actually have a list of all my favorites on my website.
DAB: What is your typical writing routine like, and do you write on a daily basis?
KM: Every morning I roll out of bed, change from pajamas to sweats and a tee-shirt (or whatever is weather appropriate) and wander to whatever place in the house has the honor of being the current writing spot. Each series I've written has been done in a different spot - the desk, the bed, the couch, leather recliner, etc. Eternal Shadows was written on the couch, and I'll probably need to plunk myself there again in order to complete it's sequel, Darkest Whispers.
For the most part, I write every day. Lately, I've been taking the weekends off, but that's new. If I go long periods of time (a few days) without writing, I tend to get grumpy...and then no one wants to be around me, so I make sure I get at least something in most days.
DAB: How long did ETERNAL SHADOWS take to write from first draft to final edit?
KM: Hmm, this is a somewhat complicated answer. The first draft took 4 months to complete, after that, I did edits, etc for another 3 months. Somewhere in there I also started playing with Darkest Whispers. After that, I queried it for a while, though I don't know exactly how long, and I don't know when I stopped. Then, this past summer, on a whim, I submitted it to Cool Well Press and they accepted it! They wanted to get it out in time for Valentine's Day (given the romance) and so we did a mad dash to get all the edits done in 3 months.
So in total, Eternal Shadows was begun in April of 2008, and was completed for publication in December of 2011.
DAB: Endless querying played with my mind alot and made me wonder at times if I should just give up. Was the query process a bit of a roller coaster for you?
KM: At times, yes. But I always remember one of the first things I was ever told: That you'll probably have enough rejection letters to wallpaper your office before you finally get that magical acceptance. Knowing that, each rejection was just one step closer, rather than a depressing setback. ^_^
DAB: Do you ever encounter dreaded stumbling blocks to your writing?
KM: Of course, I think everyone does, though it can be different for everyone, and for different books. For me, I tend to start off knowing how the book begins, and how it ends, so even when I get "stuck" it's usually just that I don't know what happens immediately next, or that a certain scene is just giving me trouble. When that happens, I consider a different POV (if possible), or I simply work on the scene even if I have to fight for every word. Oddly enough, the scenes I think are coming out awful are often some of the best. If none of that works, naps and walks do the trick.
DAB: Where do you come up with ideas for your short stories and novels like ETERNAL SHADOWS?
KM: Short stories are a different breed for me, because I tend to find anthologies looking for stories, then write something that will fit their needs - at the whim of my imagination. If a topic doesn't spark something, then I don't write. My biggest problem here is that I'm really no good at doing things short...and I often end up with another novel on my hands. Haha.
Novels come from a number of places, I suppose. Sometimes from an attempt at a short story, sometimes from something I've watched or read recently. I don't know if I can pinpoint the spark that inspired each of them, most of the time it feels like characters just walk into my head, introduce themselves and then start chattering away. I know the most recent novel I just finished drafting came from watching and reading two different animes, and then just the desire to read something dark and different - I couldn't find anything, so I started writing.
DAB: I know what you mean. I've started short stories from time to time and end up writing a novella - more if I let myself go. So what are you reading right now?
KM: Right now? ::stares at piles of books threatening to fall over on her:: Well, I just finished City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare, which was wonderful and deliciously evil. Just what I like in a book. Next, I think The Broken Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin will win my attentions. I loved her first book, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and I can't wait to get back to that world.
DAB: Okay, one of my favorite questions to ask my victims - I mean my interviewees - do you outline your stories and novels or do you not outline?
KM: I am a pantser to the end! No outlines for me, no siree. The second Eternal Shadows novel had the unfortunate luck of being the first book I tried outlining and writing out of order with - as a result, it is an unfinished mess. There has been no deviating from the non-plan since then. I start at the beginning and just enjoy the ride. ^_^
DAB: Me too! Me too! I know the purists preach outlines, but I find them too constricting. Have you ever tried working from an outline? If so, what was it like?
KM: Nope. No outlines for me. I did a sort of storyboard thing with Darkest Whispers, and it was just a mess, as I said. Now I like to storyboard when I'm finished - it's a great way to see everything in one spot, and a great way to jump start the synopsis - but I won't do it before again, and I don't think outlines will ever be able to capture my attention. I think if I planned the book out beforehand, my brain would consider it written, the adventure lived, and the book would never get done. For me, the whole fun is living the events as if they were happening first hand.
DAB: What are you currently working on for your next release?
KM: My next release will most likely be Darkest Whispers (pending the go-ahead from my editor), which will pick up where Eternal Shadows left off. It needs a bit of work, and a few more scenes to be a finished draft, but it shouldn't take me too long. I hope.
DAB: Well here's to hoping! Thank you for visiting the blog - please give us the final plug for ETERNAL SHADOWS.
KM: Thanks so much for having me! And for giving Kass and Rhys the chance to reach more readers! Anyone who enjoys vampires, adventure, romance, blood, and a little twist on a beloved old myth won't be sorry they spent some time with Eternal Shadows. Besides, who hasn't wondered what it would be like to wake up one morning, immortal and with a taste for blood?
And that's a wrap, dear readers! I look forward to having Kate back to celebrate the release of Darkest Whispers when that time comes. In the meantime, check out ETERNAL SHADOWS from Cool Well Press http://www.coolwellpress.com/ , Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Since school is out, Kate also has a little more time on her hands, so feel free to contact her at her website, Facebook fan page, or tweet her at her Twitter account below.