Author Interview – KateMarie Collins (Author of Daughter of Hauk)

Debra: Before KateMarie gets here today, just want to give you some background about her novel.  Stop over to the book review by clicking here: Book Review of Daughter of Hauk and don’t forget that you can find the book on Amazon by clicking this link: Amazon Daughter of Hauk Page, its available in paperback and eBook versions and there are 16 book reviews there for an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars!  Thats exceptional for such a new author!  So, we are just waiting for her to arrive to get started, let me just look through my notes and share some background with you while we wait….oh, I kind of thought this while I was reading the book, she used to play Dungeons and Dragons, pretty cool and, what else…oh, here she is, COME ON IN KATEMARIE <yells to the knock at the double glass doors on the studio entrance>

katecollins-300x200KateMarie: Hi, am I at the right place?  Debra?

Debra: Yep, come on in, was just getting started by sharing some information about the book with our readers…come, sit and get comfortable…want anything, coffee, bottled water, coke in the can?

KateMarie: Nope, I brought my own but thanks.  Wow, this is not what I was expecting at all!

Debra: Good or bad?  What do you mean? <eyebrows are posed in wonder at what KateMarie will say>

KateMarie: It doesn’t look like a radio station at all, its like a huge office, sitting area and you’ve got half of it set up like a bar, pool table and all, lots of biker memorabilia everywhere, cool by the way, just really unique.

Debra: Thanks!  That’s what I was going for!  I hope you realized this would be a blog post and not a radio talk show?

KateMarie: Yes, of course, having read some of the other ones, very cool unique concept by the way, but you know, reading and hearing and then seeing puts the perception pieces together finally, sometimes its just funny how it changes! <is still looking around the room and noticing pictures, posters, etc. and pointing as she smiles occasionally>

Debra: This is actually where I work all day and my husband and I entertain in here sometimes, thus the pool table at the other end.  Are you ready to get started?  I’m dieing to know what the big secret is today!  Please, relax, get comfortable…

KateMarie: Well, let’s do the interview first then and then the announcement?  Its not that big of a deal, just a fun challenge, you’ll see and by the tattoos you are showing off in that short sleeve top, I think you will get a kick out of this!  This is great, ready, set go!

Debra: Alright, you heard her lady’s and gentlemen, we must be patient but I promise to go through these questions as quick as I can so we don’t have to wait too long!  One, so KateMarie, I had this vision of you completely different after I read the book and you just drove up in a minivan…what’s up with that?

KateMarie: I had a completely different image of you too, had no idea you were so, um, “biker chic”! <laughs> I have been reading your blogs and saw your editing site and you are a professional, who would have thought?  So, you can’t judge a book by its cover!

Debra: Of course we all know that old cliche but its neat to have that reality pop up unexpectedly from time to time like it seems to have done for both of us today!

KateMarie: Exactly!  <settles back in her chair and relaxes> Well, here’s the 411, I drive a minivan. And I love it. When I was much younger, I would’ve laughed at you if you said my dream car would be a minivan, but I have no intention of ever driving anything else! Granted, there’s a beaded necklace with a pentacle on it (I’m Wiccan) hanging from the rear view mirror…if it wasn’t for that, it wouldn’t be any different than any other mom with kids.

Debra: Its amazing the creativity behind the person, always is to me when I meet the authors I interview…moving along, next question is, what came first, the idea for your first book or the decision to write a book?

KateMarie: The idea. For both ‘Daughter of Hauk’ and the upcoming ‘Mark of the Successor’, the stories started very small. ‘Daughter of Hauk’ was an email to friends, explaining something that took place in a Dungeons & Dragons game. ‘Mark of the Successor’ began as a challenge story for my online writing group. In both cases, the main character would NOT shut up until I’d written an entire novel. Once my Muse gets loose, she doesn’t like getting boxed up again until the story’s out.

Debra: What influenced or inspired you to write Daughter of Hauk?

KateMarie: I played in a Dungeons & Dragons game for almost two years, and it ended badly. I really didn’t like how it ended (everyone was dead or imprisoned). In a new game, my original character was brought back from the dead one night. I wrote a short email the next day, explaining what happened as we hadn’t been able to cover the details during the game. It scared me. It was the first thing I’d written that I actually liked. Once my muse came out of her cage, though, she went to town and the story really took off. Before I knew it, I had the first draft of a novel and had people encouraging me to try and find a publisher.

Debra: Fantastic, sounds like writing for you is just a natural outpouring?

KateMarie: Definitely, you?

Debra: Yes, I totally shut everything else out and can’t stop until that inner Muse as you put it, let’s me.  Sometimes for too long and my hands are cramped from typing long before I stop, that part, not so good! <laughs>

KateMarie: My biggest problem is that I have Athena, my 15 year old cat, she weighs 5lbs, and just HAS to nap on me when I’m on my computer. It took us some time, but she’s finally figured out a place where she’s happy and I can still type!

Debra: Awesome!  As you can see by my foot warmer, I have a similar problem but with a 75 lb pitbull… <laughs> Ok, you are too much fun to talk to and we are not getting this interview done!

KateMarie: I know, right?!  Well get on with it then!  Let’s go! <rolling imaginary dough in the air and smiling all the while…>

Debra: Ok, ok, focus, here we go…What was the hardest part for you working on your book?

KateMarie: Coming to grips with the idea that what I wrote was worth reading. I grew up in a time when bullies only threw fists, not words. It took me a while to realize that my writing wasn’t nearly as terrible as I thought it was.

Debra: That’s a natural reaction when you finish your first book, remind me to tell you about the AHA site and you can read similar stuff from other authors.  So, next question….

KateMarie: <interrupts Debra> Real quick before you go on, I probably understated that, its a whole mental conflict that goes on and its scary and overwhelming and you just don’t know what to do, is it really like that for so many others?

Debra: Oh yea, you’d be surprised!  I’ll give you the link, there some great authors writing on this site and sharing those kinds of experiences, you’ll see.  Next question, what would you say is your biggest strength as a writer?

KateMarie: Being detailed but not overly so. There’s a huge gap between giving enough information so the reader can get a feel for the environment the characters are in and being so detailed that you could count the stitches in the hem of their shirt.

Debra: Absolutely and well said.  I particularly enjoyed your skill in that area with Daughter of Hauk.  Being a stickler on that aspect in what I read, you are now one of my favorite writers for that talent, well done!

KateMarie: Awww, thanks!  I appreciate that!

Debra:  Its all about the imagery and you have it nailed down!  So, what do you think makes a great story?

KateMarie: Anything that’s intelligently written. By that, I mean a story that’s not repetitive with facts and gives the reader credit to remember that something the author mentioned on page 9 will be remembered when it becomes relevant on page 89. I’ve read far too many books where the author constantly reminds the reader of the character’s faith, occupation, or such. Give me credit for being able to remember those things.

Debra: My editor just nailed me on that point actually, that’s probably my weakest point, thanks for reminding me, I have so much rewrite work to do this week! <dripping with sarcasm and laughing it off>

KateMarie: Glad I could help! <laughs>

Debra: Say, if you could go back to the moment when you completed your first book and were at the stage where you were ready to release it to the world, is there anything you would do differently this time with regard to promotion?

KateMarie: I would’ve started my blog, Facebook author page, etc much earlier on. The more promotion you can do BEFORE it comes out, the better. I’ve got everything in place now, so it’s been much easier to get the word out about ‘Mark of the Successor’. I really feel like I was stumbling in the dark to some extent when my first book released.

Debra: Well your promo site work does look great!  I’m curious KateMarie, what do you think stimulates sales the most; positive reviews or advertising?

KateMarie: Reviews, as long as they’re honest. Bookmarks, postcards, etc are nice to hand out but the majority of people won’t take that item and go buy your book unless the reviews are positive.

Debra: I read a book review on amazon once where the reviewer described the book as a page-turner and had clearly enjoyed the book, and yet only gave it three stars out of five. Have you had any similar experiences with reviews yourself and if so did you take pleasure in the positive comments or frustration from the rating?

KateMarie: I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve only received 4 and 5 star reviews thus far. My rule with reviews I write is pretty simple. If I can’t give at least a 3 star review, I won’t. But, I will try to contact the author directly and let them know why I can’t. I’m also very open to discussing my opinion in depth with the author later on via email. I grew up with the ‘if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything’ mindset. Every author wants to see something positive about their work. Not all of them can take even constructive criticism.

Debra: I am doing that with my book reviews too….publicly hurting someone’s feelings terrifies me and yet I want to help them and I want to be honst in my reviews.  I totally know what you mean!  Ok, that’s all I have for questions today KateMarie, your turn!

KateMarie: Really?  I thought it would be longer?

Debra: I hope you’re not disappointed, outside of asking and answering specific questions I think we, myself and the readers, learned alot about you today and that’s the whole point. <sounding hopeful that she is not disappointed and leaving a question hanging in the air>

KateMarie: No, you’re right, I’m just so used to long questionairres and structured, well you know…this was way more fun!

Debra: Oh, cool, had me worried for a second there! <laughs> So stop stalling and let’s hear it!

KateMarie: Ok, ok, but first I have to ask you, did that hurt? <points to the wrap around tattoo on my left upper arm>

Debra: Not really, just this part <lifts left arm and shows her the underside where the tattoo wraps completely around and across the fleshy soft part of my arm>  This one <turns to show her skull and cross bones on the back of my neck> didn’t hurt at all but everybody said it would because it’s on the bone there and none of the ones on my legs particularly hurt at all, except this one <shows her bar and shield and feathers on left lower leg> but only near the end because of all the graying, he was going over it again and again….why?

KateMarie: Weeellllll….I’ve wanted to get a tattoo, but I’ve either chickened out or haven’t had the sales to afford it.  I want a small tattoo on my left shoulder that would look like the Mark that Arwenna has in my book.  Listen to the author whimper as she literally goes through pain for her art! <rolls her eyes and chuckles>  I’m an absolute wimp with pain, so there would be a small bit of whimpering or mild cursing involved, but I’d do it if enough fans were there to encourage me and if I could afford it.  What do you think? <shows a cute timid side, biting her bottom lip and wide eyed with an element of fear present>

Debra: I think that’s awesome!  I love tattoos, obviously, so I may not be the right one to ask if you are trying to get out of this?

KateMarie: No, I want to do it and I already worked out the details with my publisher, who thinks I’m crazy but well, we already knew that so what the hell?! <laughs>  I figure why not take the two elements that have stopped me out and throw them on the table to share with my fans and see if its meant to be!

Debra: I’m intrigued, go on! <is sitting forward listening closely now, excited>

KateMarie: If I can get 200 units sold, be it ebooks, paperback, or audio books…via the Solstice Publishing website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Audible.com….between today (March 11, 2013) and this time next month (April 11, 2013) that are verified sales by my publisher, I’ll suck it up, bite my lip and get the tat.  My publisher is on board with this, and will be watching my sales carefully during this time frame so she can let me know when I hit the 200 mark.  And I’ll send you pictures to post here, both of it in progress AND finished, so you know it wasn’t just drawn on with a magic marker! <laughs>

Debra: Oh cool!  What fun!  We can do a follow up interview about how it all went and put up the pictures to share with your readers and I’m sure you have something in mind for your own sites?

KateMarie: Of course!  It’ll be a publicity stunt but more for fun and just to share something with my readers.

Debra:  Well its out there now, you have to do this!  So awesome!  Call me and let me know when you set up the appointment, if I can, I’ll come by and sit with you…I love tattoo parlors!

KateMarie:  Ok, so there it is, I’m nervous already!

Debra: Its going to be fun, don’t sweat it!  So that’s all the time we have today but thanks so much for coming and sharing with all of us.  I’m going to close by providing some links for your readers to find you and so on, you can hang out if you want while I do that or if you have stuff you need to go do….

KateMarie: Actually, I have to get going, I just realized how long I’ve been sitting here with you and I have a long drive back.  I wish I could stay though, I’d kick your butt in some pool before I go! <laughs>

Debra: You probably would too, I never play anymore, no time!  You be safe KateMarie and best of luck, we’ll talk to you soon!

KateMarie:  Bye then, and hey, thanks to all my readers and fans and I look forward to hearing from you all!  <blows kisses to fans on her way out the door>

Debra: She was so cool!  Ok, here’s some links so you can check out KateMarie Collins sites and book pages and such and lastly a link to that AHA site I mentioned to her also since I forgot to write it down for her before she left!

Solstice – my book:  http://www.solsticepublishing.com/downloads.aspx?categoryid=123

Amazon – Kindle:  http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Hauk-Raven-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B007KDWYP4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1331798695&sr=1-1

Amazon – Paperback:  http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Of-Hauk-KateMarie-Collins/dp/1475230338/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335468615&sr=8-1

B&N – Nook:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/daughter-of-hauk-katemarie-collins/1109546429?ean=2940014343886&itm=1&usri=daughter+of+hauk

Twitter:  @DaughterHauk

FB:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492

Blog:  http://www.katemariecollins.wordpress.com

I dug up this link too…don’t be mad KateMarie!  This is another interview done a month or so ago and very informative: http://jessicatornese.com/author-katemarie-collins/

AHA Site: http://authorshelpingauthors.wordpress.com

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