Interview with Author KateMarie Collins
My guest today is KateMarie Collins. Hello, KateMarie! Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s such a pleasure to have you.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
My new book is titled Mark of the Successor. It's about a young woman, Lily, who finds out her entire life was a lie. She has to find her inner strength to break free of how she was raised and be who she wants to be, over what others demand of her. It hasn't released yet, but we're hoping for sometime in May or June of 2013. Once it's out, you can get it via Solstice Publishing's website (www.solsticepublishing.com), and it should also be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble's websites.
Is there anything that prompted your latest book? Something that inspired you?
I belonged to an online writing group where we did challenges every week. Someone would put a topic out, and we'd write whatever our take on it was. This particular week, the challenge was a known unknown. I wrote a small story about a small child seeing a school bus for the first time. But then Lily would not shut up! I had to keep writing about her until the story was complete. The challenge part is actually the prologue in the book.
Great! So, when did you know you wanted to write? Or has it always been a pastime of yours?
I've always been creative, even though I can't draw a straight stick figure without a ruler. Where I grew up, though, things like being published were reserved for 'other people', not me. By the time I finished high school, I saw my talent as little more than being able to bs my way through the essay portion of a test. Five years ago, something inside me unlocked the muse I'd kept caged for all those years. I started to write, and it scared me. For the first time I could recall, I liked what I wrote. Once the muse was out, though, she refused to go back inside.
Do you have any favorite authors?
Nick Pollotta, Stephen Boyett, David Eddings, and Patricia Kennelly-Morrison are people I will always read. Mr. Pollotta is the only author that'll make me laugh aloud while I'm reading. The others have this sense of realness to their writing.
Do you write in a specific place? Time of day?
I've got an office space in our house. I've got to get the right music in the stereo first. Normally, I do a lot of my writing when my kids are at school and the hubby's at work. I can crank the stereo, ignore the telemarketers (yeah for caller i.d.!), and let things flow.
Are there any words you'd like to impart to fellow writers. Any advice?
Don't give up. Yes, you're going to get rejections. We all do. It's part of the business. If you get any feedback from a publisher or agent, take it to heart. It's not a good feeling to be told no, but be open to analyzing the story if something's brought to your attention. None of us ever start with the perfect manuscript after one draft.
Here is the blurb for Mark of the Successor.
Dominated and controlled by an abusive mother, Lily does what she can to enjoy fleeting moments of normality. When a break from school only provides the opportunity for more abuse at home, the sudden appearance of a stranger turns her world even bleaker. Disappearing without a trace, he has left a lingering fear in Lily. His parting words to her mother, “Have her ready to travel tomorrow,” is something her mind refuses to accept.
Running away is the only answer. But before Lily can execute her plan, a shimmering portal appears in her room. Along with two strangers who promise to help keep her safe. With time running out, she accepts their offer for escape and accompanies them into a brand new world. A world in which she is the kidnapped daughter of a Queen, and the heir to the throne of Tanisal.
Can she find her own strength to overcome both an abusive past and avoid those who would use her as a means to power?
Here is an excerpt from Mark of the Succesor.
"But why do I have ta go, Mama?" Tears streamed down Lily's cheeks.
Mama bent down, enfolding her in a tight embrace. "It not my choice, Lily. Them folk down the road, the ones that keep tryin’ to talk us into going to church with them, they did call important folk. Them think they knows more than I do."
"No one knows more than you do, Mama!" Lily pulled back a little, wiping at the tears.
"You just remember that, Lily, when them teachers tell you something different!" Mama straightened up. "Now, you go down to the end of the driveway. There goin’ to be someone come pick you up. You be brave, now. I be here when you come back."
Lily knew better than to try and kick up rocks or dirt on the walk to the main road. Mama didn’t like that. She got mad at the delivery man one day, even got the shotgun down when he drove too fast. Told him to go slow and stop making the dust kick up or she'd shoot him.
The end of the drive loomed ahead. A small wooden shed with a bench, open on one side, shone bright in the morning sun. It was newly built, the yellow pine still had the fresh cut look to it.
Lily waited next to it, not knowing what it was for.
A low rumble reached her ears, slowly growing in volume. Lily quickly checked her
raven black hair, making sure it was arranged in the way Mama liked. Mama didn't like the back of her neck showing for some reason. If anyone else saw it, Lily would go to hell, Mama told her.
A strange thing came rolling down the road. It was huge! Lily's green eyes bulged in
terror as it lumbered toward her. It was yellow, with bright glowing eyes below a dark forehead. Or was that a mouth? Black smoke bellowed from behind, reeking like sulfur and coal. She swallowed hard as the great beast pulled up, screeching to a halt in front of her.
A door opened at the side. Lily glanced up, and saw a long row of windows revealing other young folk trapped inside. A set of black stairs led up. A man sat at the top of them. He was looking at her, expectantly. One huge hand rested on a large black wheel. The other held the handle of some shiny device. Mama said the reason men had such big hands was so they could hit girls harder when they didn't obey their Mamas.
"C'mon, sweetheart. I haven't got all morning. Got more kids to pick up."
Lily took a deep breath and slowly mounted the steps. The creature was full of seats. Lots of other kids stared at her like she was a freak. She stopped, panic rising in her.
"Find a seat, sweetheart. I can't move until you do." The voice made her jump.
Remembering what Mama had said about making men happy or they beat you, she slid into the closest empty seat. The black material felt hot.
The creature lurched as it moved forward, making her slam into the back of the seat.
Born in the late 60's, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she's always been creative, she didn't turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two daughters, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she's not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and three cats in what she likes to refer to as "Seattle Suburbia".