- Does writing energize or exhaust you? That depends on the day I suppose. Some days I need to get the words out at a feverish speed and others I feel I can’t squeeze a drop. I tend to daydream a lot about my stories before I put them to paper. So, when I do sit down to write its more an exercise of getting the information dump out of my head.
- What is your writing Kryptonite? One word: Netflix. Between my other jobs, my kids, and life in general, I have to be very organized to be able to fit in time to write. Sometimes, after a long day I get sucked into the black hole of late-night binge watching. BUT, it can also be my motivation… No more shows until I get that next chapter done!
- Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? In the beginning, yes. I believe people feel freer to express themselves under a pen name. Becoming an author can be a very humbling experience. People are free to read your creations and express their opinions about them in a very public way. This has definitely toughened my skin. Writing under a fake name might have lessened this and put a greater divide between personal me and professional life. But, in the end, I’m glad I write under my real name. I own every moment of it.
- What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I have a long list of writer buddies, but the ones I converse the most with are: Adam Dreece, Kelly Charron, and Chris Rothe. These three have really helped me become a better writer by sharing their industry knowledge and being honest about my work. Two things I’ve learned from these guys: No writer ever improves without criticism, and there is no ‘one-way’ to publish a book.
- Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? My current book, Harmless, is part of a proposed three book series. I enjoy reading series, so that’s what I write. Sometimes one book just isn’t enough to really tell the character’s stories.
- What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? My book trailer. It literally sells books for me. I hope someday it inspires someone to make a movie from my book. You can check it out here. http://bit.ly/2oIDWwL
- What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? This question could fuel an entire thesis paper. Of course language has power. Entire civilizations are built on it. I don’t think I could pick just one experience to tell you about the power of it, but I think we all live it every day.
- What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? I have many books that have held my favour. A lot of which are fairly well know: Saga (graphic novel), I Am The Messenger, The Fifth Wave, I’ll Meet You there.
- As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? Perhaps my spirit animal would be a deer. I wrote so much about it in my book I feel I’ve adopted it as my own. A deer represents intuition, gentleness and is viewed as a guardian or messenger.
- How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Currently, two. I have forty-thousand written on the sequel to Harmless, titled Mavens. And a start to a dystopian novel. I’m a slow, methodical writer. I’m hoping to have the first drafts done soon, but we’ll see what the universe brings.
- What does literary success look like to you? That’s a very different thing for everyone who writes. I consider myself very successful at what I’ve published so far for a number of reasons. Number one: Friends, family, and total strangers have gone out of their way to tell me how my story has moved them. Having strangers do that was the coolest part of all! Second: Sales have been pretty good. Well, sales have been good for a first time, unknown author. Third: Not to toot my own horn, but my first book I’ve ever written, won an international award! Harmless received fourth in the category of Young Adult Thrillers in the International Readers’ Favorite Awards. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/2CfTAsO
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? After I wrote the first draft of Harmless I got on a plane and flew to the town of Hazelton, BC, which is where the story is set. I had researched it thoroughly before I started writing, but felt I really needed to experience the place before I completed my final edits. When I was there I even hired a local guide to give me an authentic tour of all the places I wanted to see. I wanted to make my fiction book seem as non-fiction as possible. I think I succeeded at that.
- How many hours a day/week do you write? Between life, kids, and work I’m not left with much. On a really good week I might get in eight hours. This doesn’t discourage me though. It might take me longer than some to produce a book, but I’m very proud of the writing I do get out.
- How do you select the names of your characters? A few of my characters are named after my friend’s kids. Other than that, they are their own people, purely made-up from the daydreams in my head.
- What was your hardest scene to write? Hands down, the field of totem poles after the dance scene in Harmless. My editor suggested that the character, Mason, needed more reason to act the way he did. And that the reader needed to side with him, even though what he did was deplorable. By far that was the most emotional and real scene I’ve ever written.
- Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them? Right now, I only write Young Adult Thrillers. This first book, and the planned books are all thrillers. I have a YA dystopian idea in the works, but we’ll see where it goes. I like the big feeling and big problems of young adult stories.
- How long have you been writing? I started after I moved back to Calgary, so I guess that would be around eight years.
- What inspires you?Everything! I often say if anyone were to read the notes on my phone they’d think I was crazy. I have so many random ideas in there, mostly short notes that no one but me would understand, but bring me back to the moments I captured them in.
- How do you find or make time to write? Having a to-do-list helps. Put it on there and make it a priority.
- What projects are you working on at the present? Currently, I’m working to get my new website up and running. I’m a very creative person who needs many outlets. My new site incorporates my graphic design work, writing, and a line of natural stone jewelry that I sell. It should be live in the next few days. You can check it out here: katherinedell.com.
Katherine Dell is a young adult fiction author fascinated by the supernatural and the stories that surround them. She began her writing endeavours in 2011 when she wanted to reinvent herself from her previous career as an event planner. When she’s not writing, she can be found in cold hockey arenas sipping coffee, working on her tan at little league games, or trying to keep her dog out of her many gardens. She lives with her husband, two boys, and fur babies, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.