Thursday, October 9, 2014

Interview with Katherine Owen

When did you know you wanted to me a writer?
I knew early on I wanted to be a writer. It was a dream of mine (out of reach; it seemed) for a long time. I won a poetry contest at fourteen and majored in editorial journalism in college with a minor in English and took enough psychology classes to major in that too. As it turns out, I went into high tech sales with money and stock options as a draw and did a fair share of public relations and marketing work as well. I had a very successful corporate career in high tech sales and public relations and then seized the dream for writing full-time five years ago. I spent the first three years taking classes with The Writers Studio, (those assignments all wended their way into novels I’ve released) and wrote a few long manuscripts that will never see the light of day. I started out querying traditional publishing for an agent and came close with several after winning the Zola Award for the romance category with Pacific Northwest Writers Association in July of 2010. By then, I decided to self-publish and released my first two books, Seeing Julia and Not To Us in May of 2011.

How long does it take to write one book?
It takes me about a year to write a book. The only exception to that process is Not To Us which I wrote start to finish in about six weeks. (That book is unique for several reasons but there are fans of my work who love that one the best. It is the outlier. The exception. From it, I take the encouragement for myself that I can get her done when the deadline fast approaches.) So I know I can go shorter, but the plotting and character development is what takes the most time. There is a ton of thinking that goes into writing a story. I don’t follow a pattern or normal trope for the storyline. All of that takes time to put together in my head. Writing—when it all comes together, and I finally figure out where it needs to go—comes rather easily when the story is complete in my mind but that’s usually about ten months into the book. For example, The Truth About Air & Water was half done in June of this year. It came together by the first part of August. I wrote the ending two days before it went to a few Beta readers; it was that fresh, but I knew I’d finally nailed as I saw the characters arcs so clearly by then. Yay for KO!

What are the pros and cons of being a writer, a selling author?
Pros: If you’re truly a writer, you cannot not write. It’s a calling. It’s not logical. It just is.

Cons: It’s also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done from the standpoint that you spend a lot of time with yourself and play host to self-doubt to say nothing of the critics of your work when you put it out into the world. You have to overcome all of that that plagues you all of the time it seems.

Cons: Some of the best writers of our time you will never read because it isn’t about writing the best work; it’s about who gets the visibility. In the traditional publishing arena, this is who curries favor and who they believe will be a best seller—commercial grade—if you will.

In the self-publishing arena, it is still all about visibility and who curries favor and who is commercial enough to make those top bloggers and top online retailer sites some cash. I’ll leave it at that.

THAT has been an eye-opener for me. To the point that I do want to give it all up some days because I can land a six-figure job tomorrow and deal with the machinations that exist in high tech sales a whole lot easier.

But alas, I love the writing too much and I intend to navigate the waters of publishing even if it is rough and unsavory and downright disappointing at times.

Still glad you asked? Hope so. I wrote a lot more on this question but decided to just say this much.

Tell us about The Truth About Air &Water. What inspired this story?
KO: The idea of Tally came to me about three years ago during a writing assignment for one of The Writers Studio classes I took. In that assignment, she was an artist—promiscuous, bent on self-destruction—when she comes across a guy, who has everything going for him. Linc didn’t change too much from the initial beginnings, but obviously Tally did. I wanted to write about two characters that had been dealt their fair share of tragedy and show how it shaped their psyches and influenced what they did and ultimately what they wanted out of life. I don’t think of these two as being co-dependent. I see them more as being whole and complete with the other. Enhanced. In reality, these two would be perfectly fine conducting entirely separate lives on their own—away from each other—because they put their all into their chosen careers of perfection. Tally with ballet. Linc with baseball. However, I hope what readers come away with is realizing that ballet and baseball are just a means to an end, part of the fulfillment, but the true dream they long for is being loved for who they are, despite being famous for ballet and baseball.

Did you plan from the start to write a series? You state that these can be read as standalones, can you explain?
KO: No. I never intended to write a series with This Much Is True. I’m not a fan of series. How many series have you read where the books get better and better? They usually don’t. I read The Bronze Horseman and fell in love. I read The Winter Garden and stayed in love, but have yet to finish the series with that one because I just don’t see how she can top the first book. Series are tough, tough, tough. Readers demand more, but it is REALLY hard to make them happy. So, ultimately, as my husband recently counseled, you have to do it for yourself. Ask the question: what do you want to do next, KO? That’s where I am. Guess what that means?

I wrote This Much Is True long. I knew it was long. My one and only beta reader hated Tally. I had to pull myself out of a dark abyss and believe in the book enough to put it out there all by myself and take the heat for making it one long-ass book. I took inspiration from Paulina Simons for that. F*ck it, if you can’t handle the long book. I abhor cliff hangers and I just couldn’t figure out where to cut it that wouldn’t leave readers hanging. I wrote it, released it, and felt like it was done. Received high marks and lots of four and five stars and after a long-ass while, I dealt with the one-star drive by reviews quite admirably.

A writer friend told me that everyone was doing series, and that I should think about it. The drumbeat for more of Linc and Tally was quite evident in many of the glowing reviews I received, so I spent some time on a plausible storyline and began the arduous task of writing The Truth About Air & Water and attempting to top the accolades for This Much Is True. The pressure for doing so was intense. It never let up for me personally until late July when I finally felt like I had nailed the second storyline and saw the character arcs for myself in The Truth About Air & Water. Then, my Beta readers came back after reading it with nothing but raves for the book and I suddenly felt like I achieved the virtually impossible—I topped the first book.

Is The Truth About Air & Water the last time we will see Linc and Tally? It seems like there is room for more story, is there?
KO: The book just came out in late August but there has already been a new drumbeat from readers for more of these two. So. I recently announced to my readers that I've done some thinking around this and have come up with a workable storyline. Yes, there will be a third book for Linc and Tally some time in 2015. I don’t write fluff, and I've put these two through their paces quite enough already but there are some secondary characters around who can make life difficult for these two, and I've come up with a plausible storyline and have an idea where I want  to take it. But alas, I don’t talk about my work-in-progress much more than that.

What are your future book plans? What's in the works?
KO: There is going to be more of Linc and Tally in a third book. Yes, I have committed to fans for a third book (yet to be named) in the Truth In Lies Series. Caution: I’m not a fast writer (or, is that fast thinker?) so it will be a little while. Look for the third book some time in 2015.
I don’t do novellas. I don’t do serials. I have a WIP called Saving Valentines that I really need to get back to and two unnamed WIPs from my writing classes with The Writers Studios that both hold exciting promise. Writing. I am always writing or thinking about writing.

What’s the best thing about being an author?
For me, the best thing about being an author is that I’m doing something I love and am passionate about. I actually believe—as cliché and simple as that sounds—it’s the secret sauce to a happier life. It’s not easy, don’t misunderstand. Being a writer at eight is a lot easier than being a writer as an adult. As soon as you let the doubts and the naysayers past the front gate of your mind, they all take turns, and it gets complex and incredibly hard most of the time to write. You are your own worst critic, but those one-star reviews stay right there with you. It doesn’t matter how many five stars you get, if you let comparison have its way with you, there is always somebody who writes better, sells better, and reaps more rewards than you do. Still? Writing is truly living to me. And I feel lucky every day that I can do it.

What’s the best advice you would give to young, inexperienced authors?
If you truly love writing, in other words, you have the need to write, read a lot and write even more. Study books you love. Study books you didn’t. Embrace what works for your own style. I write in a first-person, present tense not as a gimmick, but because I am actually good at it. I find the third-person, past tense a lot harder to write. Study all of those. Master them. Go with what works for you and listen to your inner critic about what is working and what is not and just keep writing and reading.

Do you have more fun writing villains or more “morally acceptable” characters?
I have way too much fun writing villains. I wish I had more of a villain in The Truth About Air & Water but bringing back Nika Vostrikova for round two seemed too easy, so I went in a different direction. By far, my most memorable and fun-to-write villain was Savannah Bennett in Seeing Julia. Boom. SHE was fun to write. My sister read a draft and said she was too mean even for fiction, but I held to the notion that any woman can get like that when threatened so I kept her as mean as originally written.  Another great choice for fun was writing Carrie in Not To Us. The taker best friend. Carrie impossible to love but man she ran a good game on our heroine, Ellie.

Book & Author Details:
The Truth About Air & Water by Katherine Owen
(Truth in Lies #2)
Publication date: August 25th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

The Truth In Lies Series. READ This Much Is True, book 1 first, although it’s been written as a standalone. Readers say, don’t do that.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” -Ernest Hemingway ~ A Farewell To Arms
They share an epic love but one moment changes everything. A life together that seemed certain is shattered. One learns you never love the same way twice; the other learns what it means to come home. You only think you know how this love story goes, but do you really know how an epic love can end?
“There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
She is living color, and I’ve been in a black-and-white world for far too long without her.
Powerful stuff. It surrounds me. I’ve felt it since I first arrived. The forcefield of her. The magnetism of her. The power she wields over me. I’m alive again because of her, like a dying plant that finally gets some water. I’ve got it bad for this girl.
Reality dawns.
The light comes through the darkness and shines on me.
She’s my water.

-Lincoln Presley
The truth is I breathe with him. He is my air. Raison d’etre.
-Tally Landon

Author’s note: This novel is part of the Truth In Lies series. It can be read as standalone, however, fans of my fiction already are highly recommending that those new to my work, READ This Much Is True book 1 FIRST.
As Lincoln Presley would say, “do as you must, Princess.”


A penchant for angst, serious drama, and the unintentional complications of love began early on when she won a poetry contest at the age of fourteen and appears to be without end. Owen has an avid love of coffee, books, and writing, but not necessarily in that order. She lives in an old house near Seattle with her family where she is working on her next book.  

Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)
·       Paperback copy of The Truth About Air & Water AND This Much Is True (book 1)

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