Kat's Blog

Kat's Blog

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Summer Bash - Day 6!

Welcome to day 6 of this summer bash. Today I am welcoming K.S. Manning to the party. So please help me welcome K.S. Manning!

1: When did you first begin writing?

I’ve always been engaged in some form of writing. Poems and short stories have erupted from me at intervals since I was a kid (though my parents insist my forte was ‘tall tales’). My senior year in high school was actually my first attempt at anything of real substance and resulted in my English teacher submitting a very tame romantic suspense piece to a local literary contest. I didn’t win the contest but did see the story published with a group of poems and stories written by kids at my high school. After that it was pretty much a given what I wanted to do but took me almost 20 years to actually see it come to fruition.

2: Where do you get your inspiration for writing from?

Wow! Hard question. My inspiration can come from practically anywhere. I’ve written pieces inspired by a television show or a couple I saw at the mall or even a wild dream I had one night. Right now I’m working on a manuscript that came from a post my niece made on Facebook. Inspiration can come from anywhere, anything. You just have to be open to what the voices in your head are telling you.

3: Do you have any rituals that help you get in the mood to sit down and write?

Sweet tea and a spiral notebook. No matter where I am or if I’m typing on my laptop or writing long hand, I’ve got to have my sweet iced tea. For this Yankee born transplant, this is one southern thing I can’t live without. Now the spiral notebook is a different story. It goes with me everywhere. I even carry it to my day job (though I have to be a bit stealthy to make sure I don’t get caught writing in that when I’m supposed to be listening in a meeting or something.) But any time I come up with an idea or think of a line that might work in a story, it goes in the notebook. Later, I transfer it to the appropriate story on my laptop. As far as writing goes, I can pretty much write anywhere but it seems my best work likes to come during the hour commute to and from work. Now if only I could get a chauffeur…

4: Are you a plotter or a pantser when you write? Why does that work for you?

Actually, for me, the story theme ends up dictating whether I plot or whether I just go for it. Sometimes I can get a clear understanding of what I want to happen and the characters seem to just speak to me so the first draft comes out practically without any effort. Of course in those circumstances, the revisions and edits seem to take me a bit longer because I go back looking for holes and inconsistencies that might trip up the final manuscript. With plotting, I’m able to provide a much cleaner first draft so revisions and edits tend to be more for grammar and typos but the first draft ends up taking a lot longer to process. There are times that when I plot the drive for the story might end up fading but because I have the background detailed, I can either come back to it later or use it for another manuscript that develops. Ideally I prefer the pantser side of things because I can always work on another manuscript while I work back through the first manuscript to clean it up. When plotting, I have to devote all my attention to that manuscript so if a plot-bunny ends up showing up, I can’t offer it any of my attention.

5: Who are some of your favorite authors to read when you are not writing?

My absolute favorite author actually doesn’t officially fall in the romance genre. I’ve been a fan of Kathy Reichs long before the introduction of the TV series inspired by her and her books. When I’m looking for a little romance, I’ve got to go with Debra Webb or Julie Miller. Both develop realistic relationships while giving just enough suspense to keep things interesting. When I write I tend to use Reichs, Webb, and Miller as my role models and hope one day to reach even half their level of success.

6: Are you currently reading anything right now?

It’s funny that you ask. My family thinks I’m nuts but I’m currently reading North by Northwestern: A Seafaring Family on Deadly Alaskan Waters by Captain Sig Hansen and Mark Sundeen. It’s actually part of my ‘plotting’ for my next manuscript, a romantic suspense in which an Alaskan fisherman finds love on the icy waters of the Bering Sea, but she just may prove to be his deadliest catch yet. Yes, it’s inspired by the Discovery Channel show “The Deadliest Catch” or at least my niece’s obsession with it. *grin* Anyway, I’m only about half way through the book but I highly recommend this book to any fan of the series to get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the fishing families of the northwest.

7: How do you deal with writer’s block?

Just write. I know that sounds simplistic but if you are having writer’s block the only way around it is to write. You can write anything. Write about how it feels when your alarm clock wakes you out of a fabulous dream. Write about how the grass feels under your feet after a fresh mowing. Take the first paragraph of a famous classic and rewrite the rest of it from memory (or even change the ending so instead of Romeo and Juliet dying in the end, they both live happily ever after.) Heck, I’ve even written out explicit instructions for how to make macaroni and cheese for friend who is blind. The details were enough to give me something to write while the distracting me enough to actually get me writing. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Just write.

8: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not writing?

Well, most of my non-writing time is taken up knitting hats, blankets, and other things for our local children’s hospital and care pregnancy center. A few years ago, I was introduced to loom knitting and love using it as a way to just veg out. The last couple of months I’ve also been painting ceramics. My mother-in-law’s lawn ornaments had faded over the years from the sun so I took them and had a bit of fun. It’s a lot of work but I really enjoy it. I might even take the time to get some new ones from the lawn center and paint some up for family gifts. You never know. *smile*

9: If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

After moving all over the world with my family when my dad was in the military, I’m not one to enjoy traveling much anymore. I’m really a homebody so most of my traveling is done in books.

10: What advice do you have for new authors?

Discipline. Having an idea for a story is awesome, however, putting it on paper takes commitment. Life can get busy. My advice is when you start a story, schedule time for yourself to reach your writing goal. At the same time, learn your craft. Revise, revise, revise!!! No amount of technology will enhance a novel that isn’t ready. Use today’s many avenues (blogs, writer forums, etc.) to connect and learn from other writers.

11: Is there anything you’d like people to know about you?

My biggest passion is studying people, psychology, the mind, law of attraction, power of beliefs/focus, happiness etc. It is amazing how your outer world changes when you change your inner world.

12: Tell us a bit about your book. What’s it about?

I have two published manuscripts (both with Red Rose Publishing) so far with an additional two contracted for publication early next year. My first “A Valentine to Remember” is a contemporary romantic military suspense of Army Ranger fighting to win back his love but that’s easier said than done with a stalker gunning to eliminate the competition. Contemporary suspense novella “The Casino Caper” pits the temporary head of casino security against a suave and sexy thief.

Thank you so much for being here today. It's been a lot of fun.


Roseanne Dowell said...

nice interview

Lin said...

What a pleasure it was for me to read this posting, and it was nice to learn about another author who has dicovered the wonder of knitting looms and charity. The ones Kat and I make are sent to Kat's aunt who is a minister in Montana...super cold weather, who gives them to the needy.

It was also enlightening to find out how you break through the writers block...write anything...what a wonderful idea and one I will use in my future writing career. Thank you for that.

Thoroughly enjoyed your posting.

Christine London said...

It's funny how we writers have a sympatico. It seems as though after you've been at this awhile you learn certain tricks to keep the home fires stoked, so to speak. Love your suggestions for writers block. Nora Roberts says there's no such thing and you have to 'just show up' as you would on a day job. "Muse?, What muse?" she scoffs. Might be a blunt way of putting it, but essentially correct. If an author is to produce she must sometimes force the issue even if it is working on a peripheral project.

No more travel? Awe. Guess even something as wonderful as that can get old, eh? Hasn't happened for me yet. Sure would be kinder on my wallet if it did...lol.

Thanks for the educational and entertaining post.


Christine London

K.S. said...

@ Roseanne Dowell: Thanks for stopping by.

@ Lin: I love my loom and take it just about everywhere with me in case I have time to knit. Living in the south with 90-100 plus degree weather we have some trouble with the donations but its still fun seeing what you can make. Maybe Kat's aunt could use some 'southern knits'? :)

@ Christine London: I totally agree with Ms. Roberts (like this peon could actually disagree...lol). We writers need to take our writing as seriously as if we were going to an employer's workplace. You don't show up to the workplace you don't get paid. The same is true with our writing. If we want to make a success at writing we need to 'just write.' Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Lin said...

I will ask...or Kat can ask since she is planning on talking to her Uncle this evening, and we'll let you know. Montana get very cold and stays very cold a good deal longer than the rest of us.

Angela Kay Austin said...

K.S., great interview. It took 20+ years before I saw my first piece published. I entered every contest as a child. I would have loved to see one of my pieces in print as a teenager ;-)

I love your suggestions for writers block!

Carly Carson said...

I guess I'm weird along with you. The book about the fishermen sounds very interesting. It's the most dangerous job in America, though few people know it.

Your books sound great too. I'm a sucker for things military.