I love romantic comedies, characters who “meet cute,” Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order). I reside in northern Virginia with my husband and three parakeets in a rambling old house with uneven floors and a dining room that leaks when it rains.
I’ve been writing since I was eight, and have a box crammed with (mostly unfinished) novels to prove it. With my sons grown and gone, I decided to get serious and write more (and hopefully, better) stories. I even finish most of them.
So if you like a bit of comedy with your romance, please visit my website, http://www.katieoliver.com, and have a look.
1.What got you into writing / what made you sit down and actually start something? It sprang from my love of reading as a child. I read books like A Secret Garden and the Chronicles of Narnia and Nancy Drew mysteries and I thought, I want to do that. I want to write stories, too.
2.What is a usual writing day like for you, how is it structured? If I’m on a deadline, I get up and at my laptop by 6 or 6:30 AM, where I write until 11 or 12 PM, when I grab something quick to eat and take a break. Then I write for a couple more hours, until 2 PM – “General Hospital” time! Then I write again after dinner for an hour or two. If I’m not on deadline, I start by 7 AM and write until noon.
3.Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? Every writer gets stuck at times – on a plot point, a character that isn’t working, or a story element that isn’t right. I deal with those things by taking a walk or watching the Cooking Channel (“Extra Virgin” is my favourite show) for a while.
4.Are you a plotter or panster when it comes to writing a story? I’m a bit of both. I do plot out my story to the extent that I know how it begins, how it ends, and what the primary conflicts and plot points will be. The rest is filled in as I write.
5.What was the publishing process like for you,& any advice to aspiring authors? I decided to get an agent and get serious about my writing (which I’d done for years) after my kids grew up and moved out. It took a few tries but I managed it, and then it took some time to get a publishing contract. But when I did, it was worth the wait – I scored a three-ebook deal with Carina UK and have signed a second three-book contract with them.
My advice? Write the best book you can. Don’t give up. Read other writers, a lot.
6.What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? Hitting the bestseller lists for Women’s Fiction and Women’s Fantasy Fiction on Amazon, on both sides of the Atlantic! That’s been the most exciting accomplishment for me thus far.
7.Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. The first book in the Marrying Mr Darcy series, And the Bride Wore Prada, finds Natalie and Rhys Gordon headed to Scotland to spend the holidays with Tarquin Campell and his wife Wren. A mix-up at the Inverness airport leads Natalie to offer a ride to stranded rock star Dominic Heath and his fiancé, Gemma. A blizzard soon makes the roads impassable, and the foursome barely make it to Draemar Castle.
When tabloid reporter Helen Thomas’s car slides off the road, she seeks shelter at the castle as well. She’s after an exclusive story on Dominic and Gemma’s not-so-secret upcoming wedding. But Helen finds a bigger story when she discovers Tarquin’s brother, Andrew, drowned years before. His body was never found. Is it possible he’s still alive?
Could Colm MacKenzie, the gruff groundskeeper with more than a passing resemblance to the Campbell family, be the missing piece to the puzzle?
Natalie and Rhys are recently married and blissfully happy…until Nat receives unexpected news that changes everything. Hurt by Rhys’s less-than-enthusiastic reaction, she wonders if their sparkling new marriage is over before it’s even begun…
8.What audience is your book targeted for, and what genre does it come under? My books are targeted at women, both young and older, and are marketed as romantic comedy / chick lit. But men read my books, too.
9.Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? Spare time? What’s that?
I like to read my favourite authors when I have time (which, alas, I rarely do). I also play piano (badly), shop, and collect Barbie dolls.
10.What tip would you give to new authors when trying to build a fan-base / get followers and market their books? (What to do and what not to do.) Even if you’re not yet published, or haven’t finished your book, create your platform now. At the very least, you’ll need a website and a Twitter account or a Facebook author/fan page. Make sure your Twitter handle is your author name, not some obscure thing like @rainbow_riter67. Because how will your readers and fans find you online or in a bookstore if you don’t use your name or pen name? The short answer – they won’t.
Engage with your followers. Run giveaways. Post a blog a few times a month. And most importantly, write good books that will generate good word of mouth and will help to SELL those books.
11.What is the hardest thing about writing? The most difficult thing is the constant demands on your time as a writer. You’re not only expected to write a great book; you’re expected to navigate social media, respond to interviews, support and promote your book (and other authors’ books on the publisher’s roster), and maintain and update your website. Sometimes it’s hard to fit the writing bit in!
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/KatieOliverWriter
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/katieoliver