Friday, April 5, 2013

TBG Author Interview: Kate Karyus Quinn!

Kate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would... build character. Another Little Piece is her first novel.

1) How did you first come to the realization that you wanted to be a writer and then later when you decided to pursue publication?
I have been writing stories since 2nd grade, and that’s pretty much how long I wanted to be a writer too. But then in middle school the theater bug bit me, and that sidetracked me for awhile. And then I became interested in film and writing screenplays. Fast-forward to my late twenties – I had a BFA in theatre, an MFA in film, a three month old son, and a job as a stay-at-home mom. I had begun many novels over the years, but had never completed one. At that point in my life, though, the timing was just right. I started writing a romance novel (now under my bed, may it rest in peace) and kept going until I reached “the end”.

2) How did you come up with the idea for ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE? Did it just come to you, or was it more of a gradual progression?
It was definitely a gradual progression. At first I even thought it was going to be a zombie novel (spoiler alert: it is NOT a zombie novel), but as I kept writing the novel as it is today began to take shape.

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from while you are writing? For example, do you listen to music while you write or sit outside?
I do like to listen to music while I write – especially at the beginning of writing ALP, I was listening to a lot of Evanescence. I don’t sit outside to write. The lack of climate control is too distracting and also the glare on the computer screen is not my favorite thing ever either.

4) How do you stay motivated to write? Even though you are a soon-to-be-published author, have you ever wanted to give up? And if so, how did you pull yourself back from the "edge"?
After I finished that first novel that I mentioned in the first question, I did some rewrites on it, and then began to query agents. Amazingly, I got a few bites. One agent even read the first fifty pages and said she loved it and asked for more. That was an amazing moment! Until… she wrote back saying the rest of it wasn’t for her. That’s when I was the closest to the edge and just wanted to give up. I think it was sheer stubbornness that pulled me back from the brink and made me keep writing. Since then I have not seriously considered quitting even once. There are set-backs, of course, but I just use them to motivate me to keep pushing forward.

5) Tell us about your writing habits: where you write, when you write, how much you write, etc.
I am a slow writer, who is constantly writhing with envy when I read about other writers who can slam down 3 or 5K words in a day. My goal when I am drafting is usually 1K a day. I am very happy if I hit this goal. Because of my day job and kids, I don’t really have a set schedule for writing, I just fit it in where I can.

6) How many stories did you start writing before you found a "winner" and how did you know you'd found a keeper?
I wrote two full novels before ALP. I thought they were all winners while I was writing them, I don’t think I could’ve written an entire novel (and revised several times) while thinking it was a loser. In retrospect I learned a lot from those projects and they made me a stronger writer.

7) Do you have any new writing projects in the works? Can you tell us about them?
I have another book that will be published through HarperTeen next year called DON’T YOU (FORGET ABOUT ME). It is another standalone and I hope that readers who enjoy ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE will also find much to enjoy in my next novel.

8) What were the most difficult and best parts of writing ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE?
The most difficult part for me is always just getting through the first draft.

9) What was your reaction and what did you do to celebrate when you found out that you were getting signed by your agent and then later when you found out ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE was going to be published?
I am not a jumping up and down type of person. I tend to internalize big things and just sort of let them sink in before I can really get excited about them. So I think my reaction was mostly to just stare into space and work through what the heck was happening.

10) What did your friends and family think when you told them you were writing ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE?
I tend to be a little cagey about details when I’m writing something new, so I didn’t really discuss it with my family or non-writing friends, until after I found an agent and the book sold. At that point they were, of course, very excited for me.

11) Now that you're a soon-to-be-published author and a more experienced writer, what advice would you give to your unpublished self?
I think I would give my unpublished self the same advice I am still giving my soon-to-be-published self – Keep writing, dude.

12) What was your journey to publication for ANOTHER LITTLE PIECE?
It was pretty typical, I think. I wrote the book, revised it with help from some crit partners, sent out queries to agents, had a few agents offer representation, picked one, and then went out on sub to publishers and eventually got a deal with HarperTeen.

13) What kind of atmosphere do you prefer to write in, calm or chaos?
Well calm is nice, but I can deal with some kid, tv, or dog related background noise within reason.

14) Do you have any odd and unusual habits which help you in regards to writing?
Does eating candy count as an odd habit?

To find out more about Kate and her awesome books, visit her website!

Thanks again, Kate and I can't wait to read ALP! :)

1 comment:

Briane P said...

I just went and read the description for "Another Little Piece." It sounds amazing.

And I went to read the description SOLELY because you said it's NOT a zombie story. So apparently I am so sick of zombie stories that simply telling me something IS NOT a zombie story is enough to make me want to buy it.

This heralds perhaps a huge breakthrough in how to market to me. "Try our burgers! They're not zombie burgers!"

Oh, now I'm grossed out by the idea of zombie burgers. Would they be made from zombies? DISGUSTING. Is eating a zombie cannibalism? I suppose it is. They were human once. It'd be like eating a corpse. Who thinks such things?

(Or would the burgers themselves be zombies -- coming back to [half]life after cooking? Is this an argument for a well-done burger, as opposed to medium or rare? "Cook your burger all the way, people, or it's going to try to eat your brains.")

I would not blame you at all if you got a restraining order against me. Totally see your point.

The book sounds good, and congratulations on getting published!