The Philip Coleman Blog
Meet a great friend of mine: YA author Katie L. Carroll
I’m delighted to welcome on this posting someone I’ve never met face to face but whom I consider a dear friend.
Katie L. Carroll began writing at a very sad time in her life after her 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She wrote Elixir Bound and the forthcoming Elixir Saved so Kylene could live on in the pages of a book. Katie is also the author of the picture app The Bedtime Knight and an editor for MuseItUp Publishing. She lives not too far from the beach in a small Connecticut city with her husband and son. For more about Katie, visit her website at www.katielcarroll.com, friend her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter (@KatieLCarroll).
As well as being a talented author in her own right, Katie Carroll took on the Herculean task of editing my novel, which became The Master’s Book. She definitely meets the humorous definition of an editor as “one who turns a mess into an MS”.
I am pleased to host Katie as part of her September blog tour to promote the publication in paperback of her YA fantasy, Elixir Bound.
Katie, thank you for appearing as a guest author on my blog. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m a mom, a writer, and an editor. It’s been about a year since I left my full-time office job (as a puzzle magazine editor) to stay at home with my son and concentrate more on my writing. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, but I love this new life I’m living. Though I find my adult conversation skills have suffered since I’ve started spending my time with a toddler. I do get one night a week out to play soccer and maybe have a beer or two!
Well I’ve interviewed writers with previous unusual occupations but puzzle magazine editor is a new one. So can you say something about your book?
Elixir Bound is the story of Katora Kase, who has just found out she is next in line to take over as guardian of a very powerful, secret healing Elixir. Katora and her companions (including the long-lashed and stoic Hirsten) travel into the dangerous Faway Forest where they face dangerous creatures and enticing temptations. She must decide if she will retrieve the Elixir’s secret ingredient and bind herself to its magic.
I can see the appeal; it’s an exciting premise. What made you take up writing and when?
I started writing seriously after my 16-year-old sister unexpectedly passed away. I was in college at the time, studying to become a physical therapist. But I became a writer instead. Now I write and editor stories for teens and kids and love it!
Your sister’s loss must indeed have been a big shock but you are certainly honouring her memory. What gave you the idea for your new book?
My dad gave me the idea to write an adventure story for Kylene, and out came Elixir Bound. Though, it ended up being more about me than about Kylene. My current WIP is finally the story I had hoped to write after Kylene died and is called Elixir Saved.
Do you plot everything down to the last detail before you start the story? Or do you make it up as you go along? Or is it something in between?
I do a lot of plotting in my head before I write anything down. I think my brain needs to get comfortable with a story before I begin writing it. I don’t have every plot point worked out when I finally start drafting and love when a story goes in an unexpected direction. I’m kind of infamous for saying that all my tricky plot points work themselves out while I’m in the shower. I guess that means I’m in the “something in between” category.
Even as an in-betweener you’re more organised than I am. When do you do most of your writing?
I try to get to a cafe one morning a week (on a day I have a baby-sitter). Those are always my most productive hours. Since I’ve started working from home, though, I try to sneak in at least three good writing sessions a week. I still always feel like I draft too slowly…but I think that’s just part of my process.
You see? I told you that you were more organised than me. Do you like to listen to music as you write? If so, what music?
It depends. When I’m in a real good writing zone, I don’t even notice music even if I’m wearing my ear buds. If I’m having trouble getting started or into a flow, I might pop on some music to get me in a creative frame of mind.
What are your favourite writing snacks or tipples?
Oh, I love the word “tipples”! Tea, tea, and more tea…loose leaf, usually a black leaf tea. When I’m at the cafe, I like to have an egg and cheese sandwich.
Egg is one of my favourite sandwich fillings too. Tell me about the three authors you admire most and which of their books you like best.
Oh my…only three! Well, J.K. Rowling is a definite author I admire. She has proven to be an inspiration to so many writers I know. Harry Potter is truly a masterpiece! My sister loved the Harry Potter books (sadly she only lived to read the first four) and shared with so many people, turning many a reluctant reader into an eager one.
My other two, I’d have to say Melina Marchetta and Maggie Stiefvater, both YA writers. They both write beautiful books with refreshing and unique approaches. I think both of these women get better with each book!
Indeed, J.K. Rowling is an inspiration to us all. It’s not that I anticipate making as much money as she did but achieving success as a single mom was a huge achievement. Finally, Tell me something about yourself that isn’t connected with writing but that my readers might consider surprising.
I can kiss my own elbow, which I once read makes me a princess! J
But we already knew you were a princess!
More about Elixir Bound
Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.
It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240854