Where do you get your inspiration?
So many sources. I can read a reference book or magazine, watch a documentary or see a billboard. Most of the time it’s the ‘what if’ questions that grab me. My most recent story ideas spawned from seeing a premade cover and I decided I had to buy it and start a YA/NA line. I just never really know where and when they’re going to hit me.
Can you tell me a little about each book?
I’ve written and published over 30, so that’s going to be hard to do in the space provided. I will sum them up to say, I always like some kind of twist, whether it’s churning a known myth or piece of folklore for my use, or leading readers on a merry dance suspecting one character of wrong doing when it’s in fact another. I like mysteries in my books, and find it hard to write when there isn’t one. These rules apply no matter the genre or name I’m writing under.
What inspires you to write?
I don’t think it’s as much inspiration as it is compulsion. I’m an author, I have to write. It’s who I am. I don’t know how to not write. However, there are days when the words simply don’t come. On those I do something different; make jewelry, read a book, play with art, anything to take my mind away from it and refill the well.
Tell me about how you got started as a writer.
I’ve been a storyteller all my life. As a child I had horrible nightmares and it was so bad my mother asked the pediatrician what to do about them. He suggested that I have a story time before bed each night to put a good suggestion in my mind before sleeping. Well, the fight ensued. My mother only wanted sweet stories, and I insisted on the unadulterated Brothers Grimm and the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Needless to say, she hid my books on me and refused to read after to me after a few espisodes where I’d find the hidden books and pull them out again. This left me to tell my own stories to myself after going to bed. I’ve been doing that same thing for almost 50 years!
When did you first publish? How did publishing make you feel?
First published a short story in a magazine in the early 2000s. After that, I was published an erotic romance in one Red Sage’s Secrets editions. Getting that first call is like everything you’d imagine. Euphoria, disbelief, the fulfillment of a dream. It’s incredible.
What advice can you give future authors?
Keep at it. Don’t give up, but don’t sell your soul either. There are so many more avenues available to authors now than there were when I started writing.
What was the easiest book for you to write?
It’s really a tossup between two of them. Solarion Heat (the version that was published by Samhain, not the one I’m re-releasing soon) and High Octane. Both of those books were written in probably a month’s time and really wrote themselves. It was an amazing experience for the words to pour out so fast and actually make sense. I don’t know if it was because both of them are space opera and my voice seems strongest in that genre, or I was just in a groove at the time.
What was the hardest?
Emotionally, it was the 3rd book in my Alchemist and Elemetals series under the name Cassie Sweet, Kiss of Death. That was a redemption story where the main character had done something especially heinous in the previous book. Trying to make him a sympathetic character, show his growth, his redemption, and the ways in which he was as big a victim as the people he’d wronged was a delicate balance. That damned character made me cry more than once writing him.
Physically, I’m having a really hard time with the 2nd Pine Barrens book, Corpesetti. The first half of the book that I wrote back in 2007 went very quickly. Even with the outline in front of me, the second half isn’t going so well. I have to drag every single word from my brain and down to my fingers. I’ve gone off the tracks so many times that the rewrite is going to be even more painful.
What is your biggest challenge as you’re writing?
- Finding the time to write. – I work full time outside the home, so that’s always a challenge to balance my work schedule with writing time. Then there’s time I need to edit, rewrite, revisions, plot new books, and it goes on.
- Having so many projects I’ve lost count.
What do you think of promoting your work? Do you find it easy or hard?
I’m terrible at it. I need others to do that for me, but I’m poor so I can’t afford to pay someone to get on the social media and scream my name into the void. I hope my writing speaks for itself and my readers tell their friends how great they think my books are.
How would you describe your writing style to people who have never read your work?
Depends. I can do very dark, or I can do light and fun. However, no matter what it is there is a stream of sarcasm that runs through it that comes straight from me. One of my coworkers read my book, Hattie’s Spirit, and said she heard my voice all the way through as if I was telling her the story. Since that was a book I’d written in 1st person I did pour a lot of my own feelings into the text.
Have you ever participated in Nano? If so, did you make the goal?
The year I participated I wrote both Hattie’s Spirit and the second in the Doran Witch series, Rewind, during that month. (well, a good bit of Rewind.) I ended the month with over 70K in words and made NANO my bitch.
How supportive is your family of your books?
Very. My hubby is my biggest cheerleader. My mother has read a lot of my books. (She doesn’t read so much anymore at her age) – My biggest regret is that my father never lived to see me published. I know he’d have read ALL of them too. So many times, when I still lived at home and spent my summers banging away on an old electric typewriter, he’d ask “When are you getting those published?” I think he’d have gotten a thrill out of knowing it happened.
Have you ever had anybody in your life ever try to discourage you from writing? How did you cope?
No, but I did have an agent once tell me they wished I had the death penalty placed on me for spelling his name wrong, though the way I spelled it was wrong in 3 of the 4 places I’d found it. Yeah, so there is that. Jackwagon.
Do you have a team that helps with your writing process and promotions?
The writing part is all me. The promotions…what I do are all me. However, I can’t take any credit for my awesome covers, or the edits on my books. (Well, you know the edits do need my participation, but it’s more a collaboration.) My covers are done by the magic of Victoria Miller, Fiona Jayde, Stella Price, and now Cheryllynn Dyness.
How many drafts do you write before you are pleased enough to publish?
Some I have been lucky enough to get correct the first go: Dragon Tamer, Solarion Heat, High Octane, Immorati, Bad Religion, Sacred Sacrifices, Echoes in Stone…this list is going to be long, so I’ll stop there. Others have taken me try after try to get right.
Are any of your books in audio? If not, is it something you eventually want?
None in audio as of yet. I do want to try. My husband is a VO actor who has his own studio, so realistically I could do them here myself. Which I might try one day. I used to do radio in college, but it’s been a long time. At the moment, I’d have to do a royalty share scheme and I’m not sure all the pros and cons of that arrangement.
What are some of your favorite books and authors?
I have so many, but the short list is: Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaimen, Robyn Carr, Anne Renwick, Tal Bauer, Michael Creighton, JAK, Nora Roberts, Tami Hoag, Kate Elliot, Jennifer Roberson.
Can you tell us about some of your upcoming books?
Right now, I’m working on a YA called Into the Pink. It’s about a fae girl adopted by human parents and she’s coming into her own. I’m also working on Corpesetti, the second in my Pine Barrens series. Malice in Wonderland, is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a steampunk bent and those magic mirrors can take you more places than just our world and theirs. Then there is Amplified. This is under my Cassie Sweet name and takes place on a space station where magic and tech meet. It’s the first in my Mage Corp. Inc. series. – As for releases, I have a lot pending in the next few months. Stay tuned.
Where can we find you on social media?
Facebook at MK Mancos or my reader group there Mystic Kat Readers