Meet Katie Hines she is the brave author of the urban fantasy novel Guardian. I got the chance to interview Katie, and here's what came of it -
Heather: To start off, tell us a little bit about your background:
Katie: With our last child headed off to college this year, I find my days mostly free (apart from regular cleaning and all) to write and follow other pursuits. My husband and I will have been married 24 years on the 24th of this month. How cool is that? I don't have a college degree (one class short), but was a dual English and psychology major.
My number one love is reading, but as a family, we have been involved in a lot of tent camping (many rainy nights), and play a lot of board games. I am now a grandma, which is cool, and we're looking forward to the birth of our second grandchild.
Heather: How long have you been writing?
Katie: On the one hand, I've been writing since 8th grade, when I wrote a short story of my English class. I wrote and published several poems while I was a senior in high school. Then, with the arrival of children, and home schooling, I didn't write again until I was in my 40s. At that time, I took some diaries I wrote during a time of angst while in my early 20s, and fashioned them into a memoir. It was truly awful, and after a couple of rejections, I took the time to educate myself through a number of excellent resources on the internet. I have since written for a couple of newspapers and have a book under contract.
Heather: What started you writing for publication?
Katie: It never occurred to me to write without an aim for publication.
Heather: Do you have a set time when you write, or just whenever you get the urge?
Katie: I don't very often "get the urge." I try to clear out emails and make responses, visiting blogs, etc., before I write. it usually takes me a couple of hours to do that, then I am free to write.depending on what family things I need to do. As much as I love to write, my family comes first.
Heather: Who is your favorite author?
Katie: Terry Brooks, a wonderful fantasy writer.
Heather: Have you ever had writer's block, and if so how do you get rid of it?
Katie: In retrospect, I have, but more in the line of getting stuck plot-wise. When that happens, I sit down and brainstorm with my husband. This usually works quite well, and I get past the spot. I have to admit that I take brainstorming breaks several times during the course of my writing.
Heather: What do you recommend to aspiring authors?
Katie: I think one of the most important thing an aspiring author can do is to join a critique group. My manuscript was advanced and polished to the degree it was because of my critique group.
Heather: How do you invent your characters?
Katie: I know that a lot of people don't do this, but I create my characters, give them a background, a conflict, personality quirks. The story requires certain characters: a good guy, a villain (usually more than one), and supporting characters in between. I'm always trying to make sure that my characters are not flat, but have living, vibrant personalities.
Heather: I know a few authors who keep records (almost like police records) of height, weight, background, etc. of their characters, do you keep tabs on your characters, and if so, what do you usually make note of?
Katie: Definitely keep records. I create not only physical characteristics and their families, but I also find if I create problems that each person faces, their strengths and weaknesses, then all of those things contribute to what they do, think and say, throughout the course of the novel.
Heather: Some authors say that they feel as though his or her characters are real, do you feel this way, and what do you think about this?
Katie: Well, I fall in love with the my characters, or hate, as the case may be. Of course, it is always interesting to see them take on a life of their own, and dictate some of the plot. The ending of the book is always kinda sad because I want to keep "living" with my characters, and have their adventures in life continue. But I always know they're not real in the way that I or my family is.
Heather: Do you have anything in the works?
Katie: I do. I am writing another middle grade urban fantasy, as well as 3-4 chapter books, and a young adult novel. Am currently concentrating on the middle grade story.
Heather: What would you say is the neatest thing you know?
Katie: That I have a family and they are center in my life.
Heather: What was your favorite part about writing your book?
Katie: Getting the rough draft finished. Sometimes, it's like pulling teeth to get that rough draft out, but I really like editing.
Heather: Has music ever inspired your writing?
Katie: No. If there is music going on in the house, I block it so I can concentrate wholly on my writing.
Heather: Do you like to write in complete silence or does it have to be noisy?
Katie: I have the tv on in the background so that I can keep tabs on what's going on, but only have it going on in a section of my mind. Every now and then, I tune in to see if I've missed something, but most of the time I forget it's on, and continue to write.
Heather: What made you put your characters in the setting that you did?
Katie: Because I write urban fantasy, or in the case of the chapter books, I always start with family and their happenings, and go on from there.
Heather: Keyboard or pen?
Katie: Both, but mostly keyboard. I create my characters on paper.
Heather: What do you think is the hardest part about being an author?
Katie: Marketing and promoting.
Heather: What do you usually do while writing?
Katie: I do a ton of research before I begin to write. I cannot tell you how important that is for my stories. I've found that reading that I've done while researching my stories end up being in the story in one fashion or another. it certainly adds depth to my stories.
Heather: What were the circumstances surrounding your decisions to become an author?
Katie: Well, I've "always" known I would write books, it was a matter of getting to it. Like I said, my first 'real' writing was penning the memoir based on my life in my 20s. At that point, I thought it was "easy" to write a book, and hadn't a clue to what I was doing. I remember talking to another writer, and him asking me if my manuscript was in proper format. Proper format? Slug line.what's that! And so forth. Despite those things, I've concentrated on learning more about writing and got excited when I had a "real" book to write.
Heather: Some people say that you need to live life before you write a book, do you think that it's experience that writes a book or imagination?
Katie: Gotta be a combination of both. I think it is difficult to create characters with depth and meaning and purpose without knowing about other people and what makes them tick. Imagination fuels the story in which the characters find themselves.
I like the colors of: purple and rich blue
The sky is most beautiful when it's: cloudy
My favorite feature of a computer is: keyboard
I think inventors should invent a/an: better voice recognition system for the computer
Thing I love most in the world is: my friends and family
Things I hate most in the world is: war, famine, lack
My favorite type of electronic device is: I don't' like electronic devices!
My favorite thing that has been available before the year 1900: I don't know since I didn't live during that time. Was the cotton gin created by then?
My favorite thing that has been available since the year 1960: computers & the internet
The oddest thing you have ever written on (hand, wall, etc.) is: a piece of wood when I was outdoors and a moment of inspiration came that I simply had to write down.
You can find out more about Katie Hines by heading over to her website - http://www.katiehines.com/ .