Tuesday, July 8, 2014
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Katie Keller-Nieman
1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I think I’ve always been a writer, only it took a long time for me to realize it. I’ve always had stories in my head and characters that I think about on a daily basis, as if they are real people. I started writing scripts for comic books in high school. And during college, my writing shifted to novels. It wasn’t until years after that I decided to share my novels by publishing them.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I’ve read a wide variety of books and authors, many of which I’ve unfortunately forgotten the names of. When I was younger, I was addicted to the library. Every summer, I would raid the young adult and fantasy shelves. I loved horror and read nearly every R.L. Stein Fear Street book. There were tons of them in my library. I found inspiration in Andre Norton, Agatha Christie, and Sheryl Jordan. Winter of Fire was so good that I bought it and still love to re-read it. I also read manga series like Peach Girl and Sailor Moon. With time I branched out to books about personal struggle, and fiction that opened my eyes to the lives of others. Today, I seek out books with strong female characters. I enjoy reading indie authors, those like me who are breaking into the industry.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel Envious?
Envious happened so spontaneously, it was like magic. I can’t say precisely what inspired me, but one day, I just started to write it. I had no outline, no ending planned, no character bios. All that I had was a title, a “what if” statement, and an overactive muse. I had a very loose idea of what it was going to be, and the book grew from there as I wrote. I was just as surprised by the course it takes as anyone who reads it.
4. Why decide to mix fantasy and psychology? That's an unusual mix.
I have a deep love of and interest in psychology. The human mind is full of twists, turns and mystery. It’s like a puzzle. And fantasy amazes me. It’s a world without limits, where anything is possible. Whenever I reach for a book, it’s either fantasy or psychological. I love both genres, so it just seemed natural to combine them.
5. Were any of the characters or situations based on real life?
No. Not directly, though there are influences from my life and the lives of those around me. One thing in the book that is incredibly close to real life is my depiction of the library. In Envious, Sandy finds comfort in a green sofa in a quiet section her college library. It is her safe haven. When I was new to college, I didn’t know many people. Between classes, I would buy a cappuccino and head to the third floor of the library where I would settle into a big green chair, grab a book, and read.
6. Will we see these characters any more in future stories?
Absolutely. Sandy’s story is far from over. The next book, Envious Obsession, will be released in late fall.
7. What do you hope for your characters' futures?
To grow, discover themselves, and to learn from their mistakes.
8. What do you want young readers to take from the story?
Life is about change, making mistakes and learning from them. We all do it. Sandy does it too.
9. What would you do if you were in Sandy's position?
Sandy is very aggressive, impulsive, and naive about the world around her. The story would have gone much differently if she were anything like me. I think if I were her, I would have taken a step back much sooner. I would have walked out of Aurora’s shadow. Sandy relies on her visions for escape. She gets caught up in them. I’d have investigated them, looked into the past and researched what I was seeing.
10. Was college a good or bad time for you?
For me, it was an exciting time of learning and exploration. It’s where I met my husband, lost my best friend, found new ones, learned that all-nighters are terrible on the skin, and that muggers with guns are sometimes as scared as you are. Really, I loved college, though I was a bit of a workaholic. I took extra classes, excited about too many to fit into each semester.
11. What genres would you like to take on one day?
I have many ideas in the works right now. Some leaning more toward fantasy, others not so much.
12. Would you like to see Envious as a movie or TV series? If yes, what actors would you like to see play your characters?
Of course I would! Envious would be a great TV show. As far as the actors who would play the characters…they haven’t been discovered yet. The characters in Envious have very real faces in my mind, and it’s difficult for me to look at an actor and see my character. But I’m sure they’re out there!
13. What author (dead or alive) would you love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with whoever wrote Beowulf. For one, I would get to find that out, and also, Beowulf is my all-time favorite story. Its epic nature is so inspirational and I love the poetic translations I’ve read. Whenever I read from it, I feel the need to write.
14. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
I see myself continuing to write like a mad-woman. I have high hopes and big plans. By then I’ll have a number of titles published, and hopefully be on a beach, with my toes in the sand, and a laptop on my lap. Something about ocean waves pumps up my creativity level.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview! Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
I went to college for art. My degrees are in Illustration and Sequential Art. I’ve published short comic stories in anthology books. I still paint, draw and sculpt, but my focus is (and has been for years) on my novels.
You could never tell from my name, but I’m half Italian. My spaghetti sauce does not come from a jar. Second generation Italian-American, and proud of it!
Written word once intimidated me, but clearly, I’ve gotten over that. It took most of my life to understand that self-doubt is crippling and if you don’t embrace it as a tool for improvement, it will only stop you from achieving your dreams.
Find Katie Keller-Nieman online via:
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Katie will be holding an Envious, signed paperback giveaway through July 21st!