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Author Interview - K.C. Karr

Let’s start off easy, tell me about yourself.

Ironically, I answered every other question before coming back to this one. If there is anything an author hates, it’s talking about themselves!

Hi, I’m K.C. I write books!

I hate snow and love hot, sandy beaches. I’m a cat person, but am known to cuddle dogs, lizards, and various rodents. I live in Michigan (ugh), with three cats and two humans.

What can you tell me about your work?

I write books for young adults. I tend to lean more to the contemporary genre which is realistic fiction. I hope one day to branch back into fantasy or contemporary with spec-fic elements.

How long have you been writing?

About ten years.

I’d love to hear about your writing environment. Do you listen to music or have silence? Are there people around or are you alone? Do you write at a desk or where ever?

I’m pretty flexible about the environment, as long as I have enough distractions to keep my brain engaged. It sounds backwards, but I do my best work when there is noise in the background, preferably music or voices of some kind. I usually write at a desk or table and I prefer to be alone or in the company of strangers who aren’t going to bother me. I don’t do well writing around people I know.

What’s your weapon of choice? Computer or pen and paper?

Computer. I do a lot of outlining and planning with pen and paper, but the bulk of my writing is done on my laptop. Writing with a pen makes my hand hurt.

What are the difficulties of being an indie writer?

The difficulties of being an indie writer are exactly why I pushed so hard to find an agent for myself. As an indie you’re expected to do everything: writing, formatting, finding a cover, organizing the marketing, booking events, finding reviewers, building a mailing list, managing your online presence. I found myself so disenchanted with the busyness and absolute time suck that was involved that I knew traditional publishing was for me. I can’t write and do all of that other stuff at the same time, well, at least without feeling miserable.

Tell me about the experience of getting an agent?

Finding an agent was such a long, involved process that involved many years and many manuscripts. You can read the whole story here.

How has your writing life changed since getting an agent?

Honestly, not that much…yet. I’m currently on sub with editors at major publishing houses, so I’m stuck in a holding pattern until we hear back from them. Aside from that, I’ve since written a new novel and am currently working on another. I find the best way to keep my mind off worrying about editors is to keep busy. The best part of having an agent is knowing there is someone in my corner who loves my writing as much as I do. The support is fantastic.

Tell me about the stuff you do for the writing community?

Giving back to the writing community is just about my favorite thing to do! I’m currently taking book coaching classes through Author Accelerator in the hopes of becoming a certified book coach. I’m also mentoring three stellar writers through the #WriteMentor program which is a new writing program that helps MG and YA writers prepare their work for agents. It’s rewarding to see them find confidence in their writing.

What is the most memorable thing you heard from a reader/fan?

A fan once wrote a song about one my characters and the performed it for me. It was certainly unique.

What is the most memorable thing you’re heard from a mentor/editor/publishing company?

I’ve had several people tell me they stayed up all night reading my manuscript. Ali offered representation the day after I sent her my full manuscript. Nothing feels quite as good as knowing you wrote an “unputdownable” book.

What do you love most about writing?

The emotional factor. I love being so drawn in that I forget everything else. I know if I can make myself feel as a writer then my work will affect readers, too.

What is a common trap for aspiring writers?

Believing you are ready to submit to agents and/or publish WAY too soon. Odds are your first book isn’t the one that will get you an agent, and definitely your first draft won’t be ready to publish. To avoid that make sure you get beta readers who have more experience in writing than you do. I think a lot of writers tend to seek help from those who have similar experience levels, but you can’t grow unless someone points out what you’re doing wrong. Be brutal in your search for critique partners who will be honest. I’d rather have someone tear my work apart than give me a generic, I like it.

The other trap is not letting other people read your work or not accepting criticism. Later in this interview, I list all the people who helped me finish my manuscript and find my agent. The list is LONG. It takes a village to write a book. Don’t do it alone.

Do you try to be more original or deliver what the reader wants?

I write what I’m interested in, not what necessarily what a reader demands of me. A person won’t like every book ever written, so I try to write the best book for the reader who needs it, while staying true to my own interests and emotional needs.

What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?

I think this question wants me to name drop! Authors are some of my favorite people, and I’m friends with authors at all levels, published, unpublished, indie, traditional, agented, unagented, and just starting out. I encourage you to BUY BOOKS by all these authors.

My friends at Flint Area Writers are a great group of writers who have been there for me from the beginning. I learned the ins and outs of technical writing from them.

Katherine Fleet was my Pitch Wars mentor and she’s now my friend. She gave me the confidence to pitch to agents and the tweaks my story needed to go from good to great. (You should preorder her next book by clicking her name. It’s phenomenal!)

Christine Webb was my Pitch Wars mentee sister, and she kept me sane throughout the entire process. We’ve become great friends and critique partners since then. She keeps me on track because I tend to spiral into self-doubt pretty regularly.

Julie Artz was my Author Accelerator book coach. She was truly instrumental in bringing Life Expectancy May Vary to life. She was there in the beginning when it was nothing more than an idea with some potential characters. (She offers super editing services!)

Lisa Cron is possibly my favorite person ever. Her book, Story Genius, and accompanying classes showed me how to write a story. Without her, I’d still be writing 300 pages that go nowhere. (You can take her Story Genius class in 2019!)

Jennie Nash is my writing idol. If ever I’d like to grow up to be someone, it’s her. She’s the most positive and encouraging person I’ve met in the writing world. Without her business, Author Accelerator, I wouldn’t have had the confidence or knowledge to finish my draft. I’ve taken many of Jennie’s classes, including the book coaching classes, and my dream is to work for her!

Hannah Goodman and Stephanie Keyes are my sisters in writing! Hannah was one of the first people to publish my writing and Stephanie and I go way back to the days of small press publishing. They’ve always had my back and are willing to critique a page or a query.

Some beta readers / critique partners who’ve helped along the way include: Dana Mele and Chelsea Ichaso.

What advice would you give to yourself when you first started writing?

Wait until you get it right. Take classes; read books about writing. Don’t publish before you know what you’re doing.

How many hours a day do you write?

I don’t write every day, and I don’t write for a certain amount of time. I’m sure this will change once I’m on deadline, but I don’t force my creativity or believe the “to be a writer, you must write every day” rule. I write. Books get written. Those are the things that matter to me.

What can we look forward to in the future for you?

Traditionally published books available at your local bookstore! Also, I plan to keep mentoring for #WriteMentor and hopefully #PitchWars in the future. Once I complete my book coaching certification, I’ll take on clients, as well.

Where can we find more information about you? Learn about up-coming books?

I’m most active on Twitter, but you can also find me on Facebook and my blog.

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