Today my guest is the Distinguished Writer Katherine Gilraine whose first book of The Index Series was Runner-up at the Nashville Book Festival in the YA Category. Book 1 of her The Index Series made it into the 2nd Round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards back in March 2010. In addition to her amazing skill as an author, she is a talented graphic designer and music photographer.
JG: Katherine, thanks for agreeing to come back to my humble cyber abode. The last time you visited Paper Cut, you were putting out your first book of your series. Now you’re on Book 4. What’s that feel like to plow so far ahead?
KG: It still feels like I felt in college, when I was working on Book 1, that I had bitten off more than I could chew, in a certain sense. It’s just unbelievably huge to think that, in the past years, I’ve released a book a year, made some modest royalties, and had a very hands-on crash course in everything having to do with the publishing business. This series had changed my life in many, many ways, both as an individual and as a growing author, but every time I am wrapping up a manuscript, it feels just like the first time, every time.
JG: You’ve also recently launched your own company KG Creative Enterprises. What was the impetus behind that? Does running your own business cut into your writing time?
KG: I have a great number of creative skills, and everyone was always telling me, “Why not make money off it?” You know what – they’re right. And it doesn’t cut into my writing any more than my day job does; I offer writing/ghostwriting/editing services under the umbrella of KG Creative Enterprises, and I don’t see running my business as work. It’s something that feels very natural and right to me, like it’s what I’m meant to be doing.
JG: Where do you see The Index Series going? Do you plan on launching other projects?
KG: To film! I want it to go to the silver screen, and have started researching the nuances of screenwriting in order to re-template Book 1 into that form. In the meanwhile, I want to flex my short-story writing muscle. My editor, Gayle F. Moffet, had released an anthology of her short stories, and I got the idea of doing something similar, but encompassing my love of jazz.
JG: What have you been reading lately?
KG: I’ve really started digging into other indie authors. I meet and network with fellow self-pubs every day, and 9 times out of 10, I would click “Buy” on their Kindle links. Of course, this means that I have a very, very lengthy reading list, and I’ve been plowing through it on my daily commute. Some of these authors, like Rachel Cotterill, S.R. Torris, Taylor Wilmering, Jessica Elliott, and many many more, are extraordinarily talented. I cannot tell you just how much talent is out there, waiting to get tapped by a reader.
JG: Through the grapevine, I’ve heard you have a coffee habit. Me too. Balzac was said to have drank ten cups a day.
KG: I’m with Monsieur Balzac on this one. I drink about 6 myself, and vary with tea for good measure. I love a good English tea.
JG: What’s your experience been like with Goodreads?
KG: Frankly? I like it. It’s a much more reliable review system than Amazon. With Amazon and the deluge of 5-star reviews, I have grown to ask, “What won’t I like, then?” and that’s not a good way to start off a new read. Goodreads is much more honest, and there’s a lot to gain from recommendations.
JG: Besides Amazon, Barnes & Noble.com, where else can we get copies of The Index Series? Do you have any readings coming up?
KG: Unfortunately, no readings yet. I am also available in print via CreateSpace. As far as other e-distributors are concerned, I will be honest in the fact that after Smashwords had its recent debacle, I would much rather not host my work through them. I’m working on finding alternate means to get my books to the iBook and Diesel markets.
JG: Do you go to any readings? What are your thoughts on them? It seems there is so much attention on video and Social Media. Has the paradigm shifted for building a readership?
KG: I would love to go, but it’s just been insane lately, as far as time is concerned. And while the options for readership-buildings had expanded, I am hard-pressed to say that in-person marketing isn’t the way to go. I have great success in getting new readers when I go out to social events…whenever that is.
JG: If you could pick one book, story, or thesis paper to have written which would you choose?
KG: That is a very good question. I would love to write a thesis on the mentality of people in the Gilded Age of America (industrial revolution, turn of the 20th Century), because my inner historian would be happy. And I think I would have to do just that; grad school is back on the table.
JG: I really enjoy your Improvisations on Reality blog. You cover some great topics like writing about what you fear. You also wrote a recent post about reviewer’s etiquette. It takes a lot of guts for a writer to put their stuff out there and then listen to the praise and potshots. What’s your initial response to a review? 1) A “good” review 2) A “bad” review?
KG: Thanks, JG. In both cases, I have to thank the reviewer for their opinion, and if I get a bad one, I try to address their questions – sometimes, anyway. The thing is this: every time you put your work out into a public medium, you become fair game. Anyone can read it, anyone can dislike it, but one way or the next, it’s your work.
As I said in the blog post, there is such a thing as a “good bad review”. If I get one of those, I take it as a valid critique and put myself into the reviewer’s shoes. If their point is valid, I file it away, and improve on it. If it is a not-so-good bad review, I file it away and don’t think about it. In the end it’s my story vs. other people’s opinion. I hadn’t given a whit of a care for other people’s opinions of me in some time and hardly intend to start; if I would, I doubt that I’d write another word, and that simply wouldn’t do.
JG: Last time you were on Paper Cut you said Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was your favorite author. Has that changed? Who else do you dig?
KG: Still a Sir Arthur fan, and have gotten heavily into reviewing self-published authors. I mentioned some names above, and stand by them. Those are some awesome authors, and I look forward to their next installments.
JG: Do you write every day?
KG: I try, but it doesn’t always work. I make sure to write at least 3-4 times a week, under any circumstances, even if it means just a blog post or a scribble in a journal. Life has a funny way of interfering with the best-laid plans.
JG: What are you reading now?
KG: Right now, I’m digging into Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith. I’ve read the entire Leo Demidov series so far (Child 44, The Secret Speech) and I find his writing very engrossing.
JG: Any parting words, wisdom for aspiring writers?
KG: Research, research, and research. When I had first started out with self-publishing, which was just as it was beginning to catch on but good, I had a crash course in how important it is to research absolutely everything about the various publication options before you decide to go with one or the next. You need to know writing on the business side if you want to get ahead, because no matter how much writing is a calling or an art form, first and foremost, it is an industry and functions as such. It is very, very important to build yourself as a businessperson as well as a writer, because you will invariably find that one is lost without the other.
JG: Please feel free to share anything else I may have missed out on.
Well, you haven’t missed out on much. I’m still busy as hell, still work in accounting, still chase jazz, and have picked up a penchant for buffalo wings. Life is good, thinks I.
Release date for Book 4 is tentatively slated for May 13th, 2012.