Friday, October 30, 2009

Interview with Katherine Gilraine

Today my special guest is Katherine Gilraine, author of the The Index Series a dazzling fantasy novel.

JG) Katherine, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with Paper Cut.

KG) Thanks for having me here.

JG) I'm sure my readers are interested in knowing about your creative process. What's it like?

KG) For the lack of a better word, random. Highly, highly random. I can be walking down the street, or be at work, or knit something and notice that it would be great if I wrote this down and spiced it up a little. Usually, that's exactly what I end up doing. Usually, I end up writing completely at random and baste the scenery together.

JG)Love the way you sneak a choice cooking word in there, baste. Mind if I borrow it?

KG) It's recyclable.

JG)How long did it take you to write the Index Series? How did you come up with the title?

KG) The Index has been named by a friend of mine, actually, and very inadvertently. He was working on a screenplay and had been tossing titles around, so we ended up bantering about what to rename my series as well as his screenplay. The Index seemed to be most fitting.

It took me about the better part of two months to finish out the first draft of Book 1. NaNo 2006 was responsible for about the first twelve chapters, but after I claimed the win, the story was effectively writing itself. I let it write itself to completion. I finished it out about a week before Christmas 2006.

JG)How are book sales going? Marketing? Is anybody helping you with getting the word out there?

KG)Sales are slow, but the word is slowly getting out there. Marketing, though, is going fantastic - also in a huge part thanks to NaNoWriMo. I really have to thank my friends, though, because they were and still are instrumental in story development. A talented journalist I know, Miss Lisa Basile, had crafted a press release and is working on distribution. So only a few people have directed my own marketing efforts - business cards, blogs, website.

JG)Where can I get a copy of your book?

KG) - as well as on Amazon. I am working on the bookstores as well!

JG)I understand that you hold a regular job in addition to your writing and you also manage a jazz band, what's that like?

KG) It's definitely an exercise in time management! My regular job is wonderful as far as letting me have a "writing break" between work-related tasks, so I usually take about 5-10 minutes at a time to quickly type a something up, and write over my lunch break as well. After hours, I generally stay at the office and multitask my writing with booking calls. The band had actually been there from the conception to publication stage, since I wrote and edited during most of their shows...earned me a lot of points from those guys, but they're fantastic and I love booking for them. Overall, I try to do as much as I can and manage my time to the best of my ability.

JG)With all the things you are juggling how do you get things done? What's your game plan?

KG) In a single My game plan is to focus on the here and now and crank as much as I can to the best of my capacity - I can plan the future until the future arrives, but if I don't act, I will still be exactly where I started. Nothing ventured is nothing gained.

JG)What books do you like to read?

KG)I'm a sucker for history - period history had been a recent fascination and I did a lot of Tudor/Elizabethan era reading; learned a lot about society structure of the yesteryear, so to speak. I am also a major, major fan of true crime, and to be specific, unsolved mysteries. I love solving puzzles; which is why I'm pulled to things that people now either don't think about or just can't figure out.

JG)Who are your favorite authors?

KG)Hands down - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You can go far and wide, but you can never compare to the original sleuth, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

JG)How long have you been writing?

KG)Truthfully - all my life. When I was a kid, I would do poetry, short stories, various derivative fiction based on classic adventure books. Mostly, I'd just keep a journal, put my thoughts on paper before I got my own comp. Nearly every day involved some form of words being put together into something.

JG)I know you are active in NANO. How many times have you participated? What's it like? And how has it helped your writing?

KG)This will be my fourth year and I credit NaNo fully in being the catalyst I needed to go forward with publishing. Every writer needs some sort of a deadline and without NaNo, I severely doubt that I would have written Book 1, or its follow-ups. Writing on a deadline pushes the creative capacity to the absolute limit in a way that very few things can replicate and it's a great way to lay out the bare bones of the story. The touch-ups are for the editing phase.

JG)Do you have any upcoming readings? Where?

KG)Not at this moment, but I'm hoping!

JG)Share anything else you'd like to about the craft of writing.

KG)I mentioned a saying, that I actually incorporated as a personal motto: Nothing ventured is nothing gained. I see a myriad of authors for NaNo with some seriously amazing manuscripts who never go forward with getting them out there. And I tell them: venture. Even if it will be tough, next to impossible to garner attention to your work - put it out there. Venture. Because there is always going to be a reader, there is always going to be someone who will love it and be inspired by it. For every author, there is bound to be a reader.

JG)What is your next project? Have you begun a new novel?

KG) The Index is my pet project for life, for all I know! The story and the series really began to write themselves after I wrapped up NaNo 2008 (Book 3). The characters' stories are ever-continuing and this year will be Book 4 - the final book of the first arc. The second arc is going to be another story, for sure.
My next big project, however, involves the band. I want to do well on booking them and I'm working for a few places that may be a good fit for their talent. They're a fantastic bunch, really - and who knows, I may well not be the only person that can edit a book at a jazz show!

JG) Well, I want to thank you once again for visiting my home away from home. You've been a fabulous guest. And I'm sure we all will be hearing a lot more from you and The Index Series in the future.

KG) Thanks again.

Check out Katherine's website for The Index Series


  1. I love this! Thanks for putting out this kind of effort to help inspire us lonely writers in far off places. I will Amazon Katherine today and make a purchase.

    BTW, I think she was using "baste" as a sewing term, no? Either way, it's a great verb that I may have to borrow as well...