Katie Hines has been writing snippets here and there as long as she can remember. When in 8th grade, she wrote a short story called, “Underworld.” Then, in high school, she wrote several poems that were published in an anthology.
Marriage and raising two children contributed to putting away writing for a few years, but she came back to it while in her 40s. Since that time, she has been a contributing feature writer and columnist for a local newspaper, has written several features articles for another area newspaper, and wrote religious and humor articles for an online Catholic ezine.
Since the release of “Guardian,” in January 2010, Hines is currently working on another fantasy novel as well as a couple of chapter books, and is extending “My Name is Bib” into a full young adult novel.
VS: Katie, it is so great to have you here today to chat about your love of writing. Now you’ve been writing for a very long time. However, you didn’t get serious about your writing until you decided to write a memoir. Can you share with us a little about what inspired you to write the memoir?
Katie: Actually, I was a stay-at-home mom that was bored with her life. The kids were in high school, could drive themselves. I was looking for something that would add meaning and enrichment to my life. During my 20s, I had journaled extensively, and my husband suggested I make them into a book.
VS: How funny what inspired you to write a memoir is what got me into writing to begin with. I think it is important for stay-at-home moms to have something to do. Now Katie, is your family supportive of your writing?
Katie: Yes, absolutely, my husband especially. We have spent many hours together reading and brainstorming, and he is almost (but not quite, you understand) my co-author.
VS: I totally understand what you mean about almost but now quite. My husband has helped me brainstorm a few of my novels. He helps me see things in a different way. Now you had your first book, Guardian published by 4RV Publishing come out January 2010. Can you share with us a little about your book?
Katie: Be glad to. Drew Newman is ready to tell his friends a secret, but two strangers burst on the scene, demanding an ancient, magical book. He plummets into a world of uncertainty and fear as his home is invaded and he desperately tries to find the book.
Aided by the mysterious Jean-Paul, Drew’s search takes him and friends to Oak Island, Nova Scotia, where he continues his search. Joined with his Grandpa Ian and cousin, Zea, the tension ratchets up when Drew is kidnapped and he encounters the head of a sect that wants the book, a magical talisman and a treasure, for themselves.
Sprinkled with magic, Guardian explores the commitment of a boy determined to fulfill his promise to his mother and claim an uncertain destiny.
VS: Sounds like my type of book. I’ll have to pick up a copy for my own personal reading. Okay, Katie you did a blog tour of your book to help promote it. Can you share what is was like visiting so many blogs in a short time frame? Any special strategies you’d like to share?
Katie: It was a bit hectic, that’s for sure. Networking ahead of time is so important when it comes time to be hosted on others’ blogs! You want to choose blogs where you will get the most exposure, and that target your niche audience.
VS: I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m getting ready to do a tour myself so wish me luck. Now many writers can always share what their favorite part about writing is, but what do you find is the most difficult part of writing?
Katie: Creating the first draft. It’s always work for me, and sometimes I feel like I’m pulling out my soul.
VS: LOL. I was just asked to write not one, but two guest blog posts about writing first drafts. I about had a heart attack because I also find that the hardest part of writing. Katie, do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?
Katie: I do. I’m currently working on another middle grade urban fantasy called, Glassblower, and plan a third. I also have two chapter books I’m working about the hilarious Grandma Helga. Finally, I am working on a young adult novel about a girl whose sister was murdered. A chapter from that book won me a first place award with the Highlights Foundation.
VS: That’s so wonderful. I always feel you can learn a lot about a writer’s style from their writing desk. Katie, please share with us about your writing space?
Katie: It is very organized, and everything has its place. I hear of writers whose desks are heaped with papers and all. I would find that impossible to work with. I’d be busy cleaning right off the bat!
VS: We seem to have more in common beyond writing. I’m the same way when it comes to my writing space. When you sit down to write, what is the first thing you do to help get those creative juices pumping?
Katie: I re-read the last 5-10 pages of what I have written. I also make sure that there are no other possible distractions, like the telephone, or family members coming and going. My office has a French door with 15 panes of glass so I can see them, but when it is closed; my family knows not to bother me.
VS: Katie, can you share with us what you feel are the basic ingredients of a story?
Katie: For me, the first thing I work on is my characters...always assuming I already have an idea about the story and where it is headed. They need to be varied, rich, humorous, have depth and be a person the reader can relate to. There are several ways to accomplish this, but I think that “The First Five Pages” by Noah Lukeman is a great book to give you ideas on how to give your character its own voice.
The plot is, of course, key. For me, I use the hero’s journey “template” for my books since they are plot driven as opposed to character driven. The hero starts out on his journey, encounters many obstacles, overcomes them, faces a final obstacle or crisis and then after the climax of the story, it all wraps up in a satisfying conclusion.
With point of view (POV), you need to decide whether you are going to write from a single person’s POV, or from multiple POVs. This can be tricky for a new author, for if you write from a single person’s POV, then that means the story can only be told from what that person can see, hear, touch, smell, or speak. For example, a scene from a single person’s POV means that if a character turns his back on the POV character and say, moves a ring from the right hand to the left, you can’t talk about it unless the POV character actually sees the move.
The famous old “show don’t tell” rule can be a slippery slope for all writers. For example, the writer could say, “There were horses in the corral.” That’s telling. Showing would be “Horses wheeled about in the corral, seeking to escape the confining rails.” Which is most interesting? The one that shows, of course.
VS: Katie, it has been a blast having you here today. Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?
Katie: I think that if you have a passion for something, you should definitely find some way to funnel that passion, whether it’s writing, or something else. That is a way you will find fulfillment apart from your family. I liken it to having a job that just happens to be at home.
VS: I want to thank you Katie for taking the time to share with my readers about being a writing mama.
You call can pick up a copy of Katie’s book Guardian at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble online and the publishers website. The ISBN is below. Also, make sure to swing by Katie’s sites. She has a lot to share about the writing and her blog always has something new, interesting and unique.
Katie Hines’ Sites