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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Meet the Author: Katie French

We are happy to announce that Katie French, author of The Breeders, will be joining us today.  She is a contributor and co-creator of Underground Book Reviews, a website dedicated to erasing the boundaries between traditional and non-traditional publishing. Katie has taken some time away from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.

How long have you been writing?
Writing has always called to me, so it seems like I've been writing since I could write. However, I didn't get serious until six years ago when my first daughter was born. I'd always dabbled and dreamed, but there's nothing like a complete life change to get your priorities straight. I've been writing almost daily since.

What inspired you to write The Breeders?
A Rihanna song was the inspiration for the idea for Breeders. I was bopping along, listening to the radio when the lyrics sang, "I want you to make me feel like I'm the only girl in the world." I thought, "What a strange concept. What if you really were the only girl in the world? That might not be as fun and sexy as Rihanna makes it seem." My mind rolled from there.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
It sounds cliche, but I relate to the main character Riley. I think authors always puts pieces of themselves in their characters for good or ill. I admire her spunk, her love of family and her drive to do what's right no matter the consequences. She's more badass than I am, unfortunately.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
Getting right to the juicy stuff, I see. Well, that's a hard question since my husband probably knows everything there is to know about me. Also, I'm pretty boring. I don't have a secret life though sometimes I wish I did. I think that is why I write, to live vicariously through exciting stories. Anyway, I know I am dodging the question, so I guess I'll say that no one knows how much I worry that my writing will never be good enough and I'll die never having reached Best Seller status.

If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main character, be like?
The main character would be self-conscious and way too concerned with what other people thought of her. She would try to please everyone else and come out frustrated. Luckily, she would grow up okay.

What book have you read too many times to count?
There's an old series by Lloyd Alexander that I have read over and over, The Prydain Chronicles. They made one of the books into a cartoon movie The Black Cauldron. The series is fantastic and I wish it received more attention. Recently I saw someone reading that book at a writer's conference and decided instantly she should be my friend. Now we are writing partners and email buddies.

If you could hop into the life of any book character for a day, who would it be, and why?
Most of these characters get shot at too much for me to want to hop into their lives. I guess I would pick Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. I have always related to her as the girl in the front row with her hand to the sky. But I'd like to be her in the later books when she has her hair under control.

What is the best piece of writing advice you have ever received?
Write everyday, even when you don't feel like it. I think most of being a writer is mental. I use my counseling training to overcome my fears of rejection and to put myself in front of the keyboard everyday. I remind myself to get words on paper, whether they are good or not and scold myself for wasting time on Facebook or email when I should be pounding out a draft. It's too easy to make excuses, so don't. Make your word count goals each day. After a few years you'll see a difference. 

Also, I loved Stephen King's On Writing. That whole book is full of gems that really made a difference for me early on.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That people could relate to and enjoy what I write. I'm weird. I love really dark stories, with twisted characters and stripped and brutal societies. I could never write chic lit or cozy mystery. It seems there are people out there as weird as I am. That is a good thing. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have a three year old and a five year old, so you can imagine where my time goes. I spend a lot of time playing super heroes and Barbies. I also work full time as a school counselor for at-risk teens. I love my job and I love helping students. Other than family, work and writing there's basically no time left, hence why I'm so boring. The last half hour of the day I reserve for my husband so we can watch hilarious and ridiculous comedies like Archer and Workaholics.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I love beginnings. There is always immense possibility in writing the first scene of a book. The hard comes later. The beginning is like uncovering a dinosaur skeleton, brushing away the dirt to find the beautiful shape beneath.

Check out my review of The Breeders by Katie French!

To learn more about Katie French, check out her website and visit her on Facebook.

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