Today’s question is: How did you build your author platform? Was it by personal effort or did you have professional help?
Last week’s discussion answered this question: If you were given the opportunity to form a book club with your favorite authors of all time, which legends or contemporary writers would you want to become a part of the club?
This week’s discussion is a writer fantasy: If you were given the opportunity to form a book club with your favorite authors of all time, which legends or contemporary writers would you want to become a part of the club?
For my fantasy book club, I would choose Stephen King, Kate Morton, James Long, Felix de Palma, and J.K. Rowling. It is an eclectic group for sure but that’s how I read!
Let’s see who chooses who! Post your selection in the comments.
Last week’s question. Is today’s generation more aware of the literary art or less?How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading? Feel free to comment on last weeks question on that post.
I am a “real book” (paper) only reader. As I don’t have an e-reader, I can’t judge the experience; I’m just not interested right now in giving up paper books. There’s something quite personal about lying in bed with a “real” book, not an electronic device. I guess I’m showing my age. Ecco la vita!
What inspired your latest novel? A few years ago, I worked with a personal growth mentor on a workbook for telling life story as a myth. I gathered the stories I wrote and from them created The Storyteller: Tales of Enchantment which was recently published by Dream Write Publishing. My weary Gypsy traveller is an elder who shares tales of magic and wonder while passing on wisdom in these short, fanciful pieces. I am currently at work on an autobiographical novel.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Maturity and aging are ripe with gifts. Elder tales are to be respected as much as traditional fairy tales, which focus on the courage to venture out into the world and seek their fortunes. Instead, my Gypsy Storyteller elder tales touch on the archetypes common to all of us as we age. I hope readers will grasp the deeper message of the stories, seeing in them the courage to confront the challenges of growing old. Our culture is youth-oriented and so I want the reader to appreciate that elders are heroes too.
How much of the book is realistic? These tales are symbolic of the lessons I’ve learned in life. In that respect, they are realistic. The themes are my own observations of loss, self-confrontation, masks, transcendence and seeing wonder in the world, all timeless insights learned by growing old.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Each story is a fanciful description of values and strengths I’ve come to accept in myself, and a way to reflect using active imagination and reflection.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog? I have an author page and a story page on Facebook, and a website with a blog at www.kathiesutherland.com. My blogs are few and far between lately as other writing projects have taken up space in my mind.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone? Most of my writing is “life writing” in one form or another. My work is Self-centered, soulful and focused on wholeness although some think it is self-centered and ego driven.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? I believe each of us has a story in which we are the protagonist. My Gypsy Storyteller has created these tales to affirm my favorite voices. The Blind Gardener, The Good Wife, Grandmother Spider are all wise characters from my inner world.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? I’ve tried many writing genres, all of them focused on life story. Even as a child, my favourite books were fables, songs, fairy tales and classic stories, such as Heidi and Little Women. As an adult, I’ve embraced journaling for personal growth, become a certified journaling facilitator, written poetry and published it in chapbooks and bound books, gathered personal essays into a memoir collection, submitted articles to magazines, had my short stories published in anthologies; all of these works based on life events and family history. I’m currently working on an autobiographic narrative and two novels. I have recently been assisting elders and others at the end of life to identify the values of a lifetime and leave these insightful stories as a “Letter of the Heart” legacy for family and friends.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer? Definitely seat of the pants but the stories are usually based on true events. Having a structure into which the story falls helps me plan.
What is your best marketing tip? This is not a question I feel comfortable with because I quickly lose interest after completing books and hurry off into new projects without marketing the published ones. Its the writing I love. I could use the help of a marketing assistant!
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? I like social media as a way to reach out to others but I have to limit my time with it. My favourite self-expression methods are stories and poems in book form. I love using the computer to write and edit.
What do you enjoy most about writing? Writing is “the way to me.” Every time I write, I learn something about my values, beliefs and strengths. This lifelong learning is very important to me.
What age did you start writing stories/poems? My mother brought our faraway relatives to life with family stories. As a child, I took on the role of correspondent and wrote letters to friends and family. I surprised myself when I wrote a good short story in 10th grade and later, found poetry could express my feelings as an adult in my early 30s. I became serious about life story writing in 2000 after attending a seminar focused on the lives of girls and women. Once I realized I had a story to tell, I embraced life writing.
What genre are you currently reading? Memoir and autobiography mostly. I love a good novel and love to encourage other writers in their efforts to create with words and enjoy acting as first reader for them.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both? Both. I love to learn more about my current interests, and this strength serves me well in my research. For example, I am reading books about building on my innate strengths, accepting my dark side, aging with wisdom and dying with dignity.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? Other writers and writing groups. My mother is my biggest fan and has read all my books. I have worked with personal coaches and other “balcony” people, including my psychologist.
Where is your favorite writing space? In my office/sanctuary. One of my favourite activities is taking a writers’ retreat whether with others or alone. Solitary time is essential to my writing.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one? Two, one in Sherwood Park and one in Fort Saskatchewan. I like to feel I belong, and writers groups are definitely the place I find community.
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why? I am in awe of all writing efforts, because as I said earlier, we all have a story of some sort within us and I’m interested in how we express them.
Do you see writing as a career? I believe my life purpose is to grow into myself. Writing is a way to give my life meaning. Success in a career is simply loving what I do.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food? When I write, my tea gets cold, and the ice in my drink melts. I’m not a snacker at any time!
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? I am working on giving myself credit for completing projects and enjoying the fruits of my labour because I don’t do that often enough. I’m usually off on the next bit of writing. My greatest reward is hearing someone say, “I can relate to this character and your writing.”
Other books by Kathie:
Kathie Sutherland has recently published a collection of Elder Tales “The Storyteller: True Tales of Enchantment.” She is also the author of Things We Keep: A Memoir, and poetry books balancing Act; Shadow Girls in the Spotlight;Wind in the Trees; and Seeking Asylum. She has several large writing projects in the works including three novels.
Kathie is a well-travelled and observant student of life with 30 years of writing experience. In the past, she has facilitated journal writing workshops and is active in her local writing group. Currently, she encourages others as a story listener and writing companion to elders and those at the end of life as they articulate their values stories to share as a legacy in “Letters of the Heart.”
Death and Cupcakes is a combination of cozy mystery, with a touch of romance, humour and yep, baking.
How did you come up with the title?
Death and Cupcakes just came to me when I was writing Jane Westcott’s background.
Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, don’t wait for happiness to come to you. No one is going to give it to you, so take charge of your life, and find it. And, don’t let your past haunt you.
How much of the book is realistic?
There really is a Musgrave Landing on Salt Spring Island. However, the place only has a handful of homes and a boat dock, but no ferry. The geography is correct, and we do have many small towns and villages serviced by ferries which also have a cafe located close to the wharf.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, my characters are made up, although I will use a name from a friend or family member. In this novel, the female RCMP officer in Death and Cupcakes is a composite of several officers I’ve met in Duncan, at Coffee with a Cop and my great aunt, who passed away a short while ago. Auntie Lea rode a Honda Gold Wing, could handle a snow machine. She ran the farm, raised a family, and had a big heart. I always told her I wanted to grow up to be just like her.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
I have a Facebook Author and website, and am active on social media.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
Certainly, Death and Cupcakes is book one of the Musgrave Landing Mysteries. Book two is my work in progress, Fun with Funerals.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Arlie Birch is my favorite character in this novel. He is over sixty-five and says and does exactly as he pleases, so he adds humor to the book. He also has a heart of gold.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I write another series, VIC Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance set on Vancouver Island. These books also have a mystery element as well as magic and romance. Hell Cat is book two of this series and was just released in December too, just after Death and Cupcakes. It starts out in Edmonton and ends up on Vancouver Island.
Trusting the Wolf, book three is set to release in summer of 2019.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I am a planner/pantser. Once I have the outline completed and broken down into the chapters, I am off and running. Sometimes a better idea will come along and I will go back to the beginning of the novel to incorporate it.
What is your best marketing tip?
Youtube book trailers. I made one for each new book which was released in December.
Not only were these fun to create, but now I have a succinct method of sharing the gist of the stories on different platforms.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Social media can be both. I don’t blog more than once or twice a month. I don’t seem to find the time. Snippets from the books, release dates, and fun stuff are found mostly on my Facebook Author page.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
The puzzle solving. Characters and plot, making all the pieces fit together.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I wrote my first fan fiction short stories when I was eleven. Star Trek was a favourite.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I keep adding new ones. I started writing romance, then paranormal and urban fantasy. Later, romantic suspense and now cozy mysteries.
What genre are you currently reading?
Tanya Huff, A Peace Divided
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Both, I love learning new things, especially history or the origin of a subject. If it’s wrapped in a good story, all the better.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My biggest supporters are my husband and children and their spouses. My daughter, her husband, and my son have provided background detail in a number of books with regard to their expertise. My daughter-in-law actually painted the cover for Hell Cat. My sister is the creator of the cozy art in the book trailers. The rest of my family is always supportive too.
As for mentors, I have many wonderful people in my writing and author groups who are generous with their time and advice. I’ve also learned a lot from some great editors.
Where is your favorite writing space?
In winter, I have a wicker rocking chair and ottoman in the dining room facing a big window which overlooks the mountains. In summer, my backyard patio is my favourite.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
Yes, VIRA on Vancouver Island, we have over sixty members and meet monthly. Each September we put on a full day workshop with an invited facilitator. We’ve had Shannon Mayer, Susan Wiggs, this year, Eileen Cook. I am also a member of several groups on Facebook. I also help out at the Cowichan Valley Writers, for new writers, by sharing my experience and teach a workshop or two.
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Linwood Barclay, I love his sense of humor. I’ve used GoodReads Ask the Author, to ask him questions and permission to use his name in Death and Cupcakes. He agreed and was very supportive.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Right where I am.
Do you see writing as a career?
I’ve been full time at it since 2015, written six books in that time. Four are published, two more coming this year.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
Nope, even my coffee gets cold when I’m writing. Now when I’m editing, that is a whole other thing. Cookies, I am a sucker for homemade cookies.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
Dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants, like The Shipyard, Friday night, because there is live music and dancing after dinner.
Yep it’s me today due to an author having to postpone her interview. I thought I should try my own interview to see how it felt!
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It certainly energizes me, once I am into a story it embraces me in such a way I forget the world around me. My characters carry me along showing me what comes next.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Knowing which story to write…with so many ideas bouncing around my head it is difficult to pick one and stick to it. If an idea comes to me during another project I have to jot down notes, a paragraph or two to enable me to go back to the current WIP.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
To date I have not felt the need to be anonymous. I love to share my stories regardless of which genre I am writing.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I count myself lucky to have many author friends, whether virtual or local. My writing mentor is Linda Pedley, without her encouragement and support I would not be writing or indeed published. My writing group friends are very important to me as their feedback and fellowship are worth its weight in gold.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I write in multiple genres and go where the story takes me so mainly each book is a stand alone, however I was asked by readers of my fantasy novella, The Rython Kingdom to write a sequel and have written the first draft as part of NaNoWriMo this year.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Most certainly getting my books published with Dream Write Publishing. I was an integral part of the process and my vision for each book has been created.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I was lucky to have parents who encouraged reading from a young age and allowed my imagination to flourish through the portals of magic – books.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
I may sound like an old record with this one – Ferney by James Long – is the ultimate reincarnation novel for me. I re-read it on a regular basis.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I have an affinity with tigers – solitary when they want but will protect their young with their life.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Goodness, let’s see a novella sequel, a steampunk novel, a western romance, a suspense/thriller and a possible short story collection.
What does literary success look like to you?
To have readers respond to me after reading one of my novels to say they enjoyed the story. Of course I would like one made into a movie but knowing my words are out in the world forever gives me a kick.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It depends on the genre, for example for my thriller I had to research how a body could dry up. While for my western romance I had to delve into barrel racing. Both of these took some time during the writing of each book.
How many hours a day/week do you write?
This depends on how many events, writers and board meetings I have as well as if there is a deadline but I try to write for several hours each week. My constant writing is creating three blog posts per week.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I look at the genre, geographical location and era of the narrative and the characteristics of the particular personality.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
The stories pick the genre, I follow the narrative and the genre becomes clear the deeper we go into the characters personalities.
How long have you been writing?
I began writing later in life so only around eight years. I have been making up for lost time ever since!
What inspires you?
A sentence heard or read, a picture, a writing prompt, a vista or an article on a fascinating subject. Inspiration comes from many avenues and I grasp them with both hands.
How do you find or make time to write?
I am quite structured in regard to my writing blog as I need to post three times a week so will write all three most commonly on Sundays. When it comes to fiction I tend to go in bursts so will hide myself away at my writing desk and let the words flow. If an idea hits me I will write until I feel I have the narrative captured.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I participated in NaNoWriMo this year and my plan was to write two novellas, however although one concluded nicely the other has grown beyond novella length already so will be a novel. Both of these will require editing and revision during 2019, which means my other two novels will get pushed back.
What do your plans for future projects include?
As above I have two NaNoWriMo projects to conclude but also have two other novels on the backburner. I am also considering a short story collection at come point.