Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Interview With Katie M John, Author of THE KNIGHT TRILOGY


Katie lives in Middlesex with an incredibly handsome giant, a two foot fairy (that likes mud puddles and wrestling) and a magic rabbit that can pull conjurers out of hats.
her favourite thing, apart from pistachio macaroons, is writing!
Excerpts from Katie's Blog:
On Writing:
Because writing takes up so many hours of my day, I tend not to write in one place but wherever the family have camped themselves. This is why my notebooks are invaluable because they act like my mobile offices. In someways my notebooks are more important to me than the end novels because it is in my notebooks that I store all my research and initial ideas.
On Reading:
Most people would think that its a given that writers read all the time but writing can be quite exhausting and sometimes it means that I find I havn't read anything for several weeks. When this happens I find I'm a binge reader reading a book a night until I've exhausted my to-read pile.
My Interview:
1) Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
I have always been an avid reader and writer (a consequence of being an only child maybe). When I was eighteen I had pretentions of doing something uber literary; I have a Bachelors' and a Masters' degree in English Literature and part of my soul always wanted to create something of worth - to create a literary legacy. It was terribly prococious of me - then I got real.
I grew to understand that storytelling wasn't necessarily about writing something existential and abstract that might define you as an exceptionally intelligent individual, but it was about connecting with real readers.
I understood the powerful connection that a story can have in an individual; it has the potential to change the way someone looks upon the world, and can provide a beautiful lie in which to spend a daydream or to.
Despite having read literally thousands of Classical and literary theory texts , it was Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series that gave me this ephiany; I became completely fascinated by the mechanics of the saga and the way it worked psychologically on the reader; I needed to understand how she could create characters that readers felt a genuine love or hate for. (Regardless of all the negatives levied at it, nobody seems to feel impartial about it.)
2) If you couldn't have been an author, what would you have been?
What I still do, which is teach English Literature to teenagers; I'm passionate about it - either that or a cocktail waitress; I have a strange desire to work in a cocktail bar in a metropolis like New York or London.
3) Who would you say are your influences, both in life and in writing?
That's quite a complex question. In life, I primarily influence myself - I'm strongly independent and always have been. Due to an interesting teenagehood I had to grow up quickly, learn to make decisions and stick to them. The works of other artistis, painters, musicians and writers have all influenced me massively, as has the Sunday Times in a weird kind of way. I've already explained the Meyer phenomena lol!
4) At what age did you start writing?
I started writing earnestly from the age of fifteen; it was mainly poetry and extended prose. I started writing stories when I was twenty eight.
5) What was the first thing you wrote? If it wasn't The Forest Of Adventures, can you tell us about it?
The first proper thing I wrote was the draft of The Forest of Adventures. I sat down one evening and started writing - inspired by a headon collision with my thirtieth birthday and a near-death experience.
6)What would you say was the reason behind choosing 'Arthurian Legend' as the theme for this trilogy?
The Arthurian legends were the fairytales of my childhood. I was also totally obessed by Tennyson and the Pre-Raphaelite painters during my teenage years and so it all kind of fell into place. I also wanted to write a YA novel that was quintessentially English. A lot of the YA books that are sold in England are American and I felt it important to write a world that British teenagers might relate to.
7) Was there ever a time when you felt it was too difficult a topic to write about? Or did it come easily to you?
It came very easily to me because it was so familiar. The Cornish settings were also very familiar so it was easy to place the story.
8) How long did it take to write each of the first 2 books?
It took three years to draft out the first two books and to edit them; it was a long process and a very steep learning curve. A lot of those years was taken up with detailed research and then editing.
9) How many drafts of each book have the been before your 'Eureka, this is it!' moment?
Oh, my - The Forest of Adventures was rewritten / overwritten at least twenty times and even now I find it difficult to read because there are things that I would now change. The second book was easier, it only took about ten revisions. I found the feedback from Beta-readers incredibly valuable, especially as I was now making decisions about characters that readers felt attached to.
10) What would you say was the inspiration behind each characters individual personality?
Well, the legal statement says that any likeness to real characters is purely coincidental - so of course I have to confirm that this is the case and that none of my characters are actually based on real people I've met along life's journey :)
11) Out of all the characters, who do you find it easiest to relate to?
I'm going to cheat and say part of Mina and part of Delta. There are strong elements of me in both of these characters, despite them being very, very different.
12) Do you find that one or more of their voices appear in your head as you are writing? Or even as you are doing more mundane tasks like taking the kids to school?
My characters are always with me, chattering away in my head, either to me or to each other. It's a little like a radio which I can tune into if one of them was saying something attention grabbing. At first this was weird and I thought I might be losing the plot but I'v got used to it now. If they have a quiet week, I get worried they've gone off to pester another writer.
13) Did you have a playlist whilst you were writing? Are you willing to share it with us?
(I heard you like Florence and The Machine)
Music is hugely influential to me. I probably listen to five or six hours of music a day. When I'm writing it can be all day, so as you can imagine, the ipod has to be pretty loaded to prevent insanity from repetition. My main writing music is; Florence, Evanesence, Adele, Mazzy Star, Paloma Faith, Bright Eyes, Blue Foundation, The Editors, Nerina Pallot, Johny Cash, Nina Simone and a whole eclectic host of other music and bands. I've just rediscovered Alanis Morisette and found Christina Perri. I have very specific tunes that match scenes I have written. I often put one song on repeat whilst I write a whole scene.
14) Is there anything you are willing to share with us about the final installment of the trilogy?
You're going to need a lot of tissues and chocolate to see you through. It's called Starfire, so you could always go and investigate that a little bit. Book Three sees a return to really ancient and dark European fairytales. You're going to have some big shocks along the way. Trust no one!
15) When do you think we will see 'Starfire' published?
It's due for e-book release mid April; just in time for my birthday.
16) Do you ever wish there could be more than 3 books?
Yes, definitely but only because I don't want to let go of the characters and the story - I'm going through a definite form of grief with its impending end. To write more would have been a selfish indulgement and betrayed the natural structure of the story.
17) Do you currently have any plans for the next thing you will write? If so, are you willing to share or do you want to keep it under wraps?
I've sort of cheated on that, and have been writing a novel called 'Beautiful Freaks' which I have actually completed only this week. It will be released in the first week of January and is a stand alone novel. I am VERY excited about it and its characters, Kaspian Blackthorne and Evangeline Valentine; they're amazing (even though I say so myself lol! I have completely fallen for their decadent Victorian charm) Beautiful Freaks is a YA Parnormal, Steampunk, detective, fairytale. *laughs* I know I've kind of swallowed a lot of genres there, but I promise you it works. You can find out more about that at (which is a BETA site until the official site is released in December.)
Thank you Katie for such insight into you and your writing. I appreciate the interview very much. It was truly interesting to discover things about you. I personally have only read The Forest Of Adventures, as you know I am leaving a gap between it and Immortal Beloved. I will be sure to post a review when I am done :)

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