I think it was all the reading I did as a kid. Lots of hours at the local library in Orange City, Iowa. Plus the fact that I always liked to create. I think that naturally led to me wanting to write my own stories, which I started doing in college.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
Unlike a lot of authors who apparently get up at five to write, I tend to write late mornings and early afternoons, but any other time I can get at least a stretch of an hour while do. I need time to get into the story.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
I use Scrivener on a desktop computer, but I also just started learning dictation with Dragon software, which means I can “write” in the car while I’m waiting for my daughter to finish basketball practice. It’s worked out well, so far. I also use good-old pen and paper when working out the notes for a story.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part is writing the dialogue – that always seems to flow easily, and it’s fun when you have two characters battling back and forth. My least favorite is planning out the story. I usually have too many ideas and it’s hard to narrow them down to a tight plot. My editor helps a lot with that!
The idea for the first book “Driving Miss Crazy” came from a mixture of ideas. We had taken our family vacation in Washington DC that year, so that area was fresh in my mind. And I liked the idea of the international flavor of the area. I also had come up with the title first and so I obviously needed a driver (and a “Miss Crazy”), so a chauffeur was the natural outcome.
It took about two months to write the draft that I eventually sent to my publisher, then about four months of editing and re-writing. Although it took a long time, I learned a lot from that process.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
I like to work with Instafreebie, which provides a free book to readers in exchange for their email address. I’m focusing (like many independent authors) on a mailing list so I can keep in touch with readers who like sweet romances. I’ve enjoyed getting to know some of them that way. I’ll also do book launch promotions, and I plan on trying for the elusive BookBub promotion once the third book is out.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
My third book “Write By Your Side” is currently with my editor, who hopefully isn’t shredding it too much. I’m hoping it’s out by the time you read this – sometime this summer. It all depends on how well I did with that second draft. :)
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I’ve got another book planned for the Golden Grove small town series which I hope to publish this winter. It will explore one of the characters introduced in the first book “Call It Chemistry”. And I’m working on a thriller side project just for fun.
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
Keep writing, learn what story is, and find a good editor. Writing will help you find your voice. Learning about story will help you understand how to connect with readers – my creative writing classes didn’t teach me this, by the way. And a good editor is invaluable in fixing and polishing your story.
D. J. Van Oss
Sweet & Sunny Romantic Comedies
A Question for Kathryn:
How much time (or books) do you think it takes before you feel established (financially or otherwise) as an author?
I was told once that the lucky number was 7. Once the author had reached 7, they would see themselves taking off and selling more books than ever before. But I've since rethought that number - primarily because I'm at 11, and am still working on ways to get my own work out there.
Perhaps some authors never make it - in the sense that they feel as if they can rely on their writing income full-time, but I'd like to think that my day is coming. If not, I know that I'm having a tremendous time writing and reaching other readers and authors with my words. If I didn't love writing, I wouldn't do it.