She wrote this awesome book:
Can you tell a little about yourself and your background?
Kate is an author of young adult fiction. She earned her B.A. in English literature, then went on to teach high school English, and intern with a publishing house and a literary agency. She now edits adult and YA fiction for Entangled Publishing. She’s represented by Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates, with her debut YA contemporary HOW WE FALL coming November 2014 from Merit Press, F+W Media. Kate loves high concept suspense, speculative or contemporary, and fresh, quirky contemporary stories. Diversity, messy relationships, and clever, voicey writing will catch her eye. Regardless of genre, she loves fast-paced character-driven stories that make her think and carry her into the pages. She can be found on Twitter at @KateBrauning or on her website at www.katebrauning.com.
Did you always want to be an author? If so, what made you want to become one? If not, what did you want to be instead?
I’ve wanted to be an author since I was twelve. I read a lot, mostly books I checked out from my local library, and I had so much fun browsing through the stacks that I decided I wanted to see one of my books there someday.
What were some of your favorite novels when you were a teen?
I’m a diehard Harry Potter fan, and I grew up, oddly, reading a lot of westerns and mysteries. I didn’t start reading YA until college!
What was the last book that you read?
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. It’s brilliant and funny and so sharply written, and who could resist a zombie falling in love?
When reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I love both—but ownership is important to me, and I don’t feel like I own an e-book. I love e-books for sales and trying new authors and for bringing a ton of reading on vacation, but if I love a book or the author, I buy a physical copy. Just to make it mine.
Where is your favorite writing spot? Your favorite reading spot?
I’ll read anywhere, but it’s hard to beat my couch or my porch swing on a nice day. I write either in my library or in my studio.
Describe your writing spot in detail.
My husband and I run a studio that shares a building with a wine bar/café, and I do a lot of writing there. It’s a subscription-based studio where creative professionals can pay a monthly fee to use the space whenever they need. It has big windows, a hardwood floor, and easy access to wine and coffee. There’s also a high table I use as a standing desk, which is really helpful for someone who tries to avoid sitting all day!
Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
I don’t, actually. I tend to believe writer’s block only happens if I’m not putting enough ideas/stories into my head, or if I push myself to exhaustion. I make a point to sleep enough, even when I’m under tight deadlines, and I’m almost never not reading a book. The issue for me is often sorting through all the ideas for a story that I do have, and paring them down to the ones that are best for that particular book.
What is the hardest thing about writing? The easiest?
Good question. The hardest thing about writing, for me, is not doubting myself. Questioning and challenging myself, of course, but not letting my insecurities or what-ifs limit what I’m willing to do. The easiest thing? Enjoying it. I never thought I’d enjoy my career as much as I do. It’s demanding and consuming, but it’s also thrilling and rewarding and fascinating and just plain fun.
Describe your writing process.
I spend a long time concepting the story–living in the story mentally, churning scenes around, and figuring out the focus– before I actually start drafting it. Once I start drafting, I try to fast-draft the first act so I can see how things work out when I write them into the situation and the environment. Then I go back and heavily revise that first third to get all the layers in place and make any changes to the plot/characters that I thought of along the way. After I have the first act solidly drafted and revised, then I finish drafting the rest of the book.
When you write, do you have an outline or plot or do you like to just see where an idea takes you?
I used to just go with my idea and see where it took me, but I’ve discovered I write in problems that are tough to revise my way out of, and I end up missing a lot of layers and events that really should be part of the story. I’ve settled into spending more time exploring the story first, and at least plotting the major arc, before I write too much of it.
Any advice for those who inspire to be an author?
To study writing fiction, and not just keep writing draft after draft. Practice is definitely important, but there’s so much to storytelling that I’d struggle to pick up just from practicing. How the human attention span works, what makes people curious, what puts them on edge, how to make concepts interesting, the difference between theme and message, identifying and then connecting with your readers, etc. Reading good books on craft and hearing great authors speak has been invaluable to me, so definitely do that.
Also, read. And read more than you think you might need to. At least a book a week, if not two. It will show you what’s out there, help you identify voice, and help you see how others did what you want to do.
Which authors inspire you?
So, so many. Courtney Summers, Carrie Mesrobian, Stieg Larsson, Rick Yancy, Gillian Flynn—there are so many genius authors out there.
Can you give a brief summary of your book?
Sure! Here’s the blurb:
Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus.
Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.
Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?
Where do your ideas for your books come from?
Bits and pieces of things I find interesting, I think. Sometimes several of them will connect, and I’ll think it might make a story. Good books and good TV give me ideas, as do people and their stories.
How did you come up with your cover?
My publishing house designed it, actually! The charm bracelet is something Ellie and Jackie share, and water is important to the story, too. I think they did a great job designing it, and I really love the colors.
Which character, if any, can you personally relate to?
I really loved writing Jackie, because there’s a big piece of me as a teen in her. Self-conscious, wanting to be braver than I was, frequently filtering what I said or saying the opposite of what I meant. Confident, but scared of rejection. Fighting with what I wanted, and not sure which step to take next. She’s not me, of course—we’re different in a lot of ways. But there are definitely elements of her character that are familiar to me. J
What type of research is involved when you are writing?
Depending on the book, I’ve researched everything from state-by-state cousin marriage laws to making moonshine. It’s a lot of fun and one of my favorite things about writing. It can take you just about anywhere.
Are you currently working on anything new?
I’m working on a NA contemporary right now, and both the concept and the characters have just gripped me. How We Fall is single point of view, in first person, and that’s rare for me. This next one is dual POV and third person, which is more my natural style. I’ve got something really fun and different waiting in the wings right now, too (not contemporary!) so we’ll see what happens!
If you could write for any other genre, which would you choose and why?
How We Fall is contemporary romance with a suspense twist, but I don’t see myself writing only that. I love suspense as a genre, and would probably write any genre I could work suspense into. If the story grabs me, I’ll probably write it!
Places you can find out more information about Kate Brauning?