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Wordplay is also one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers and I've been following Katie for a while now. Her blog is fantastic, offering great tips for writers so I'm really pleased to speak to her in this interview.
- How Katie started writing and how life is a story. We are surrounded by inspiration all the time. Writing is about celebrating life and about translating life lessons into words. Katie's historical novel, A Man Called Outlaw was inspired by her love of the American West. It was an intense period of history with stark references so there is room for interpretation and stories around the themes. Her medieval epic, Behold the Dawn, was inspired by a children's picture book about William Marshall, the greatest knight who ever lived, in the 12th century. He was a competitor in tourneys, the precursor to jousting. The juxtaposition of the battles and the Crusades where people were seeking redemption made for a fascinating backdrop. Katie is also inspired by a strong sense of character, setting and also by moral conundrums.
- On conquering writer's block and summoning inspiration. Writer's block is not some insurmountable thing. Inspiration isn't something that happens to us, it's something we can go out and find. You need to nurture a lifestyle of creativity and inspiration. Quote from Peter de Vries “I believe I can't write unless I'm inspired but I make sure I'm inspired every day at 9am”. Inspiration doesn't need to be a mystical thing, it's something we need to tap into based on a habit of writing. Katie has had periods of having trouble writing like all of us but it's not Writer's Block. It shouldn't have capital letters – it's just when we don't know what to write. So bottom line, write and the inspiration will come.
- On balancing writing and marketing. The self-promotion thing can become this monster and get out of control. So you need to maintain a sense of balance and remember why we're doing it i.e. writing. It's easy to let the promotion take over because of deadlines. Katie makes two hours of writing time every day sacrosanct. There's no point in marketing unless you're writing. This keeps her from feeling guilty as well because she has done the writing, so twitter and social media can be actioned as well, just later on. As authors we feel like we need to do everything, but you still have to put the writing first. Katie works part-time so she is able to spend two hours every day writing but there are many bestselling authors who have stories of working fulltime and writing so it can be done. It's all about scheduling. Diarize your time for writing.
- On why Katie does video blogging as well as text. Firstly, it's another way to get yourself out there as an author. People have to see your name or brand 7 times before they make a connection with you so video is another way, particularly because YouTube is so popular. YouTube is also owned by Google so you get better search rankings. Katie also likes the interactivity of video where viewers can relate to body language and get a sense of the author as a person and connect more easily. A loyal audience will relate to a person they like as well. Many authors aren't doing video right now because they are uncomfortable with their face or voice. We all feel this way, it's petrifying but you get used to it! You have to put these issues aside if you want to be a successful author as you're going to be in in the public eye. Video is a great way to get past those insecurities in preparation for the big moments that you never know might happen. It's also a way to grow as a person and an author.