Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I remember wanting to write after reading Tom Sawyer in Grade 9. I wanted to be able to convey that sense of time and place, that humour that’s funny on different levels. I can’t tell exactly when it happened, but I also remember that the wanting to write had turned somehow, at some time into a need to write.
I’m the author of five books and I teach Grade 3. It’s busy, but I get to do two jobs that are very fulfilling, and not everyone is that lucky.
How and where do you write?
I write in my office at a stand-alone computer.
Do you prefer a lap top or do you prefer writing freehand?
I do bring a thick notepad and pens with me whenever traveling. Then I jot down ideas for books, blog posts and even write some poetry. But writing by hand seem tortuously slow now and it doesn't have the spell-check features on which I've come to rely. Heavily. When writing by hand I now catch myself watching for the red squiggly line to appear under my messy script. It never does.
What's your favorite part about writing?
The best thing is the creative process, and working alone and independently. I kind of enjoy the business end of it, as well.
Your least favorite part about writing?
Editing a bazillion times and grammar rules. Ugh.
How do you come up with your characters?
I write and they come to me. I wish I could be more profound about this process, but that’s what it is for me.
Why would readers want to get to know them?
My characters are authentic. They don’t do anything that their character wouldn't do. Also, they are relatable and fallible – like the rest of us! The reader can empathize with my characters’ thoughts and actions.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I attend farmers’ markets here and there. I advertise in local newspapers and on Facebook prior to attending and always have a great time and a great turn out. I enjoy bringing my work directly to people and having the opportunity to meet my readers.
Online marketing has been very successful for me, as well. It’s a great way to connect with people and get them interested in what I write. Old-fashioned newspaper coverage is still very effective, if you can get it.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I write and promote my books whenever I’m not vacationing or teaching school. During the fall of 2013, my school board granted me a sabbatical. During that time I completed two manuscripts, a young adult novel and Denby Jullsen, Hughenden.
What are you currently working on?
Right at this moment, most of my energy and time is spent developing my online presence. I have a blog on my website and Google+, and I’m working to market my writing online.
Do you have a new book out?
My latest book is called More Simplicities. It was published in December of 2014 and is a sequel to my first collection of inspirational anecdotes, Sacred Simplicities (Path Books, 2004). Sacred Simplicities won an award for best in a Life Stories category.
My first novel for a general audience (not young adults, that is) is Denby Jullsen, Hughenden, also published in 2014. It would be considered literary fiction, and revolves around the murder of Denby Jullsen in 1935. Denby is now available as an e-publication – my first one. All my other books will follow Denby into ebook form soon.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I have two projects on the back burner(s). Likely, the first to come into print will be the story of how I came to live where I do – in my Grandma Knutson’s former house in rural Alberta, Canada. About nine years after she passed, Grandma’s house stood empty for a long while after being a drug house for a couple of years. The dealer was hauled off to jail and the house was repossessed by a mortgage company and put up for sale. The book will tell the story of how, over many months and obstacles, I got the house, and how living in Grandma’s house has changed my life. I’ll also incorporate past stories of the house before its near demise and slow resurrection.
There’s another murder-type mystery I want to write based in a seed of truth, as Denby Jullsen is and set in this area of Alberta in the 1930s. Our old newspaper, The Hughenden Record, tells of a so-called murder-suicide that took place in 1935. In reading the strangely and obviously biased account of the incident, it was clear to me that the man held responsible for the murders was framed. He lies in an untended paupers’ grave outside the fence of a local cemetery. I want to write his story.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
I would tell them that writing is a long game. I wanted badly to be a writer for a long time, and I wrote badly for a very long time. The great thing about the craft of writing is that it does seem to inevitably improve with practice. Be patient and keep writing. And give up hope of fruition, as the Buddhists say. You’d better be writing for the experience of writing because, honestly, that may be all you get, just the experience. Be sure you can accept that.
Kathryn, how long have you been marketing your work through social media and how long have you been blogging? In your experience and opinion, is social media one of the best marketing tools or just a different tool that does a different job? (i.e. targets a different market?)
Are you traditionally or independently published? I am both, but have just had the rights of my last publisher-owned book reverted to me. I now own all my books.
First, I have been marketing my work through social media for a few years now, although when my first book was released in 2002, I was doing very little social media. Through the years, however, I have learned that social media is up there at the top. Reviews, interviews like this one, places to post for free advertising, as well as other online sources, gets the word out easier and cheaper than ever.
I have been blogging for less time, but enjoy the opportunity to share what I am learning with writing, publishing and marketing, even as I experience the journey. I have readers who return to hear what I have to say next, and authors like yourself who graciously interview for my blog.
I also do quite a few author signings through the year at various locations (other than bookstores). I find that getting out there is just as important as sitting behind my desk and working on social media.
I was first traditionally published, but later bought the rights back to my first book. I am now strictly on my own and love the freedom it gives me to design my own covers, choose my own interior layout, my own price, etc.
Thank you, Lori!
Links to Lori's websites and books:
Author Website: www.loriknutson.com
To Purchase Denby Jullsen, Hughenden as an Ebook:
Primedia Elaunch Author Page:
In personal anecdotes written over the last decade, Lori Knutson shares with readers her observations of the world. Inspired by both rural and city living, by joyful and painful events, by rainy and sunshiny weather, these stories serve as a reminder to slow down and notice the lives we live. The miracles we yearn to experience are here, in the moments that we pause to savour. This book offers a larger perspective on the smaller things in life.
Lori Knutson is an author and elementary school teacher living, teaching and writing in east-central
Alberta. You can visit Lori at