Today I’d like to welcome urban fantasy author Katherine Gilraine to the blog. Pull up a chair, grab a cuppa, and let’s chat!
I don’t think I ever had a moment where I didn’t want to pursue it seriously. I remember writing
ever since I learned how, just various bits and pieces. I always knew that I was going to take it to
a professional level, but it took me a while to understand when the right time was to do so. That
decision was made right around my senior year of college, and a friend of mine convinced me to try
NaNoWriMo for the first time. That’s when I knew: time to make it happen.
How did you choose what genre to write – or did it choose you?
It definitely chose me! I always wanted to write something that was set in characters, and have them,
and their adventures, drive my plot. The more I tinkered with the concept, the more I realized that
doing it all in fantasy was the only genre in which I could write my story without constraints and keep
the plot evolving as I go. I just went with it.
Tell us a little about your writing process. How do you get from idea to completed draft?
First things first, I re-read my prior installments and notes, and by that time, I have a feel for where my
characters left off. I ask, how are they feeling? How have their adventures shaped them? And then, I
turn on the TV and watch some of my choice shows, and then ask, “So if this happened on X world, to Y
person, how would my team rally together?” That’s when I start laying out the plotline, and then I call
my friends, who know the story well, and are able to bounce some ideas back to me.
And then, I set all of that aside until November, attack it at NaNoWriMo, and continue writing until
completion! NaNo is fantastic for motivation.
Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
I’ve always been a Stephen King fan, but I don’t particularly focus on an author. I’m a fair bit of a
history buff and lately have been reading nonfiction – Civil War history, Tudor history, all really
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love jazz music, and when I’m not writing, I love going to concerts. Since I’ve written longhand at
many of these shows, it also adds to my writing muse. I also have a graphic design and promo business
which is geared towards jazz/contemporary jazz musicians, and what time I do not devote to my day
job and my writing goes towards the business.
How do you balance writing with other aspects of your life?
Writing is actually very central to my life. On my blog, I tend to write a lot about music, and various
things that I come across. It has actually changed my outlook; when I encounter something, I think of
how I can put the way I feel about it in words. It keeps me grounded as well; when I start to lay my
opinions out on paper, or on screen as the case may be, I often go back and question myself rigorously
about what I have just written.
Who is your favorite literary character or couple?
It’s going back to my mid-teens, but on this question, I initially thought of Janie Johnson/Jennie Spring
as portrayed by Caroline B. Cooney. She discovered that she was a kidnapping victim by looking at
her childhood picture on a milk carton, and the rest of the series revolved around how she absorbed
the information as to how she came to the Johnson family. It stood out to me back then for how Cooney
delivers a shock early on to the reader, and continues to evolve the character. It’s a dark piece of YA
writing, and it’s 10 years since I first read it, but the character and its evolution stands out.
Another favorite is Scarlett O’Hara, from Gone With The Wind, and one who is masterfully evolved
from the belle of the South to a hardened woman who will do whatever it takes to survive. It strikes two
of my penchants: history, and strong female characters.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
To my fellow writers – whatever you do, don’t put down the pen. Keep at your work, keep at your craft.
For every story, there is a reader, but there needs to be a story first!
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