Q & A with Katherine
Is Gilt your first book?
A: No. I wrote an 800 page travelogue of my trip around the world. I included every insignificant detail and I never revised it. It’s a good thing I didn’t try to get it published. I then wrote a middle grade time travel adventure about a boy who uncovers the truth about the English King Richard III, and that’s where I fell in love.
Do you only write historical fiction?
A: No, but I do love history. Revise that. I love the characters who populated history. I struggle to remember dates, the names of battles and the vagaries of politics. I like to imagine the people as they really were—not like actors on a stage, but like someone I might meet one day in the grocery store. The Real Housewives of the Tudor Court. I’ve carried this love of characters into writing more contemporary novels.
Did you major in history in college? Or English?
A: I designed my own major at Humboldt State University (now Cal Poly Humboldt) using a combination of classes from the Journalism, Anthropology, Geography, Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies and Creative Writing curricula. Notice the distinct absence of history and English. This was after two years of theater—emphasis on acting and costume design. I was a long-term university student.
So what did you do with a major like that?
A: Traveled around the world. Twice. Wrote an 800-page doorstop. Met an Englishman, moved to England, and discovered the English monarchy. The rest is history.
Do you do a lot of research?
A: Every day. I read books, study travel guides, double check information in encyclopedias. I read the letters and papers of Henry VIII online. I search Google Earth and Mapquest. And I travel.
Do you ever get writer's block?
A: All the time!
How do you get over it?
A: I try write every day. Sometimes I can write a thousand words, even though I don’t know where to start. Sometimes I can’t write fifty. Sometimes, all I can do is read a few chapters of a new research book and write down snippets of information on 3×5 cards. A change of scenery can help—a café, a walk, exercise, cooking. And when all else fails, I clean the house. It’s enough to inspire me to get back to the page.
What inspires you?
A: The characters and their travel through history. The characters as they become in my own imagination. My own life experiences. Snippets of news and history that I read in magazines and newspapers or hear on the radio. And music.
What kind of music?
A: Pretty much everything! I listen to the radio and sometimes come across a modern song that practically writes a scene or paints a character for me. That’s when I add it to my playlist. I wrote an entire scene in Brazen listening to Rumor Has It by Adele.
What are you working on now?
A: I’m still writing, but am inspired to write for adults, now. I read a lot of mysteries, suspense, and women’s fiction (I love Tana French, Belinda Bauer, Liane Moriarty, and Katherine Center), and believe the adage that you should write the book you want to read.
When will your next book be published?
A: That, I don’t know. Time will tell, but you can be assured I will make some noise about it when I find out!
Do you have an agent?
A: Yes. My agent is Catherine Drayton at InkWell Management.
How did you get your agent?
A: Query. And luck. A friend suggested I query Catherine, and she turned out to be a perfect fit for me and for my writing.