About Katy McKay:
Border Girl is my first novel, although I’ve had articles published in newspapers and magazines. I was told from an early age that I’d be a writer, but I switched my major from journalism to geology. No regrets; it led to adventures in Canada and the US, and then to many happy years teaching science in Arizona. As a Navy brat I’ve always loved being near the ocean, so I retired to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula where I wake up to a water view.
I volunteer at an animal rescue where I work with everything from alpacas to emus, but I especially love the horses. My sister and I had horses in California so a barn feels like home to me. I kayak, fix up dollhouses, and I’m always on the lookout for old quilts.
What inspires you to write?
I owe the best parts of myself to reading. Knowing how meaningful it is for me to connect with a book, I want to create that connection with readers. Storytelling is a vital part of the human experience.
Tell us about your writing process.
I write on my laptop, usually with a fat old cat next to me. My story outline is in my head and I usually follow it pretty closely. I love to revise and rewrite, so I slog through the initial stages to get to what I consider the fun part. (Not all writers agree that rewriting is fun.) I think about the story all the time, which makes me frequently miss my turn while driving. On the positive side, I always looked thoughtful and attentive during faculty meetings even though my mind was miles away.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters tend to evolve during writing. They don't hesitate to let me know if I have them doing or saying something that doesn't ring true.
What advice would you give other writers?
As everyone says, WRITE! It can be terrible and not at all what you want it to be, but once you have words on paper you have something to work with.
If you self-publish, if you can possibly afford it, hire an editor and a formatter. A cover artist, too.
Try not to be disappointed if your friends don’t race to buy your book. My editor is a successful, long-established author and she says she has to hound her friends to read and/or review her books.
When you rewrite, focus on taking words out. Your sentences will get better as you pare them down. My goal is to see the word count go down.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
As a first-time author, I figured I had little to no chance of being picked up by a publishing house, and I've been appalled to see numerous typos and grammatical errors in best-sellers. And I know several established authors who tired of dealing with the hassles of traditional publishing and switched to self-publishing.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Traditional publishing needs to reinvent itself if it's going to survive. Self-publishing has become so popular because most publishing houses only serve long-time authors with a string of best-sellers. The public wants new voices, but traditional publishing has little to no interest in unestablished authors.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: historical fiction, historical romance, American West, YA, fiction
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.