INDY AUTHOR TALK WITH KATHERINE WOOD – Full Time Teacher, Full Time Writer

Blood in the Air

Reading is magic, but for the AUTHOR writing the books, we read, is more like juggling.  Katherine Wood is the author of Blood in the Air: The Kari True Chronicles and her Indy Author Talk is centered about juggling a full time job and writing full time! 

I hope you enjoy this week’s installment Nerd Girl Official’s Indy Author Talk, BUT first let’s take a look at her book trailer!  SQUEEEAAAALLLLLL!!!  I can’t wait to read her book!  (Especially since she describes it to be a cross between the Lord of the Rings and Law & Order!)

Gladys #XOXOtheNerdGirl #NerdGirlOfficial

 

Full Time Teacher, Full Time Writer

            It has taken me three years from starting writing my book to having it out in the shops and alongside this I have been peddling uphill to try and get a permanent job in teaching. Everyone needs a day job

 In January of 2011 I was teaching in a job that I hated, it was my first year of teaching and I was really struggling, having very little support from my mentor and head teacher. It was in the evenings that I enjoyed my life, thinking of stories and escaping into my own imagination. It was there that I met Kari and Elathir, the capricious half demon with a mysterious past and an arrogant elf who are thrown together to solve a terrible crime.

            Fortunately, that job came to an end and my love of teaching somewhat returned in my next job and Kari and Elathir continued to grow on the page, in the odd hours I had free. At that time I didn’t take them seriously. It was not the first book I had started over the years, but it was the one that stayed with me. It took a year of dipping in and out of it before I really looked at what I had written, around 20,000 words at that point, and thought “Ok, I am half way through, I know how I want it to end, let’s get this finished.”

            Of course, it took me another year of sneaking away to my room for a few hours a week to write to really get it finished, so by Christmas 2012 it was finished.  It was finished and so I moved on to thinking about another book and also the sequel to Kari True, while the first book I had ever finished sat in my computer, still whispering to me. I sent it to a friend to read, and also gave a copy to my mum, not really expecting a positive response, but boy was I wrong, they actually loved it and Kari and Elathir now had an audience and two more members in the fan club.

            With their encouragement I started to research how to get my book published and my hopes dropped. Big publishers don’t want unsolicited manuscripts, no matter how good they are, they only work through agents. Agents don’t want unsolicited manuscripts from unknown authors, or if they do they want you to fit into a specific genre, chick-lit, crime, thrillers, romance or historical. Sci-fi fantasy barely got a look in, in fact, many explicitly said they didn’t want fantasy. It kicked me when I was already down. My book, especially does not fit into a specific genre, it is set in a fantasy world, yet it is not the size of a door stop, it revolves around crime, investigations and interrogation centring around two main characters who have very different methods to solve the investigation, they also happen to be an elf and a half demon. 

The only hope was with the small, independent publisher.  It was a long shot and it paid off. Steve Rudd (The Kings England Press) offered pretty much on the spot to publish it, this was June 2013, the only proviso was that he was a bit busy then and there and it would probably take six months to a year to actually publish it.

Whilst this had been happening with the book my teaching was going well, I was garnering more experience in a very tough area but still missed out on a permanent job at the school I was at on a temporary contract. It was a blow to my career and my self-esteem, the person who piped me to the post apparently dressed as a pirate.  Who knew that was how to get a job in teaching? (I’m not bitter about this, not at all…) So once again book stuff took a bit of a back seat while I tried to secure another post for September. I actually was a little too successful and got two jobs, both part time for different parts of the week. 

With all of this success I picked up the sequel and wrote half of it during that summer, whilst waiting for my jobs to start and tinkered with it when I found the time. I have now nearly finished it this summer and hope to get it edited and proof read by September ready to start the whole process again.

I won’t lie. It is really hard juggling these things, sometimes school takes over my life, especially when it is reports, or parent’s evenings or assessments, but I do enjoy it and it is a day job that has decent pay and good holidays whilst also being incredibly rewarding.

I would say my long term plan is to become a writer, although I doubt I can give up my day job just yet, my first royalty check was for £30, I was very proud!

So far I have been incredibly lucky, getting the first book I have ever written published and very quickly after I finished it too. It can take some people years for that to happen if it ever happens. My family has supported me the whole time and not just told me to focus on my teaching career and my friends are very tolerant of my hermit like ways when I am trying to get my ideas down on paper.

I often think that if I gave up teaching then I would be able to write three or four books a year, but then I wonder; what I would actually live off? Would these books be any good? Who would publish them and would I ever go outside and talk to people?

The answer is that for the moment, I need teaching, hopefully teaching needs me and the books will keep steadily selling and I will keep writing in my moments that I find to myself.

           

Q&A with Katherine Wood

Katherine Wood

Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?

I have been writing books for years, I started when I was in school and would spend my time in lessons dreaming up imaginary worlds rather than actually doing any work in chemistry or biology. I was most inspired to write by mostly not being able to stop myself from doing it. I find that words pour out of me on the page in a way that just doesn’t happen in ‘real’ life. My first official book ‘Blood in the Air: The Kari True Chronicles’ was not actually the first one I started to write, it was probably the fifth or sixth. It just happens to be the first one I finished.

Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

The books and authors that have inspired me fall into three categories, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good would be the eponymous Tolkien, George R R Martin and Robert Jordan, who’s sprawling, complex epic fantasy shaped my teenage years and saw me through into my twenties (even though I will admit to not being able to read past the Council of Elrond in ‘Rings’). Harry Potter would be the very first book that I read and enjoyed on a higher level, I was a true fan and lived in their world for a while.

The bad would be the D&D novels that I nurtured a love for during my teenage years. They were not particularly well written but the adventures and stories gave me a good grounding in how to write action sequences, sword fights and they were very entertaining.

The ugly would be fifty shades of grey (I know! Controversial!). I read it to see what everyone was talking about and it was one of the worst books I have ever read. My thoughts after reading that were, “If she can do it, then I can finish mine and get it published, and mine will be a much better book!”.

Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be?  Have they been in your head for a long time?

Kari and Elathir have now been in my head a long time. Kari was the first one to jump in, a mixed blood demon with secrets to hide. She is fiery passion and barely restrained anger. She just begged to be written about so I sat down and wrote a history for her. When I started to really think about her job as essentially a police officer and also what kind of a person she might fall for, that is when I thought of the elf.

Elathir is the strong silent type, he is calculating and methodical but also cold and a lot of a snob. Some of that is the fact he is an elf, they do consider themselves above most beings, but some is just his personality. My mum said after she read the first book that he reminded her of Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, which made me giggle. That is now all I can picture him as but with longer hair.

Q. What motivates you to write? 

I write because I love it. It is my release and my hobby and as Terry Pratchett said:

 “It’s the most fun thing you can do by yourself”

I am motivated to write because the story is in my head and I have to tell it, I realise I must drive my parents and flat mate mad by drifting off into another world half the time. They frequently ask “are you thinking about your book?” when I have accidently ignored a question from them.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing? 

Doing horrible things to characters you love already, breaking their heart, breaking them in general. Killing them. It is actually quite difficult. It puts me in a bit of mood for the rest of the day.

The other hardest part is finding the time. I am a full time teacher as well as an author and my time is very limited. Actually being able to sit down and write some stuff that isn’t rubbish when I re-read it is quite difficult.

Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

I learnt that it is ok to make the tough choices with characters, sometimes, someone has to die.

I also learnt that you can never proof read enough times!

Q. Where do you get your ideas?

I have no idea. They just appear in my head, sometimes when I’m asleep, sometimes when I’m doing something really boring like driving. Its times like those that I have to stop or find somewhere safe to stop and write down whatever it was. I have a folder on my computer with ideas for books that I always think I will go back to when I have time, but so far Kari and Elathir have kept me pretty busy.

Q. What does your family think of your writing?

My family couldn’t be more supportive of me, they have helped me financially and morally, giving me the support I needed to get started and get published. I have even had my Nana flogging books for me to people she knows. It is amazing how much they care about my hobby and that makes me very happy and lucky.

Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?

Write, write lots then write some more. You can never write enough.

Read lots in the genre that you want to write in and think about the characters. I have read fantasy for many years, epics, short fantasy romances and everything in between. I took the parts I liked; the action and adventure, the characters, the intrigue and put aside the stuff I didn’t; the over description of every tiny detail, the plodding pace and so many characters you can’t remember them without giving them nicknames.

Think about your characters. They are what hook people in, a character they like or possibly don’t like. For me I started with the characters. I wrote entire back stories for their lives up to the first book, so I could really pin down their motivations and round them out as people, with real friends and relationships that still happen even if you don’t really see it in the books loads.

Q. What book are you reading now?

I am currently between books and since I have just moved house and found a load of stuff I never got round to reading on my shelves, hidden away, I am going to try and read some of them if I get time.

I am also open to any suggestions! What have you read recently that really hooked you in?

 

Buy her book:
http://www.kingsengland.com/PBSCCatalog.asp?CatID=1401896
Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Air-Kari-True-Chronicles/dp/1909548308
Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/KariTrueChronicles?fref=photo
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Kari_True
 

STAY TUNED WE WILL HAVE A #NerdGirlOfficial #Spotlight #Giveaway SOON!!!

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The NerdGirl

Blogger, Reviewer, Promoter extraordinaire, I don’t think you will find ANYONE that loves books more than her. Gladys will read anything but prefers paranormal and fantasy. She likes historical and some contemporary ….. as long as its not predictable.
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