Author Spotlight: Katherine Reay

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Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight giveaway of Just One More Thing: Before You Leave Home is Lisa Cowell! Please email info@suzannewoodsfisher.com with your mailing address.

This week we are featuring Katherine Reay!  To win a copy of her new book, Dear Mr. Knightley (Thomas Nelson, 2013) leave a comment on this post.

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Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

Married. Three kids. Write and move full time. Not really . . . but we’ve moved a lot so it feels like a job. ☺

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest?

Contemporary fiction, and I love it. I love looking at how our past translates to our futures—seeking answers and pushing the emotions in our current context.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

I’ve always been a writer. It’s what I write that has changed. I was injured in 2009 and many of the things that filled my mind and days were taken away during recovery. That’s when I started to write seriously. Dear Mr. Knightley came from that time. And yes, getting published was one of those big secret dreams that I never dared believe could happen.

After you started writing seriously—how long was it before you were published?

It took me about a year and a half to write Dear Mr. Knightley. It then sat on my computer for a year while we moved before I brought it out and started to peddle it.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write?

I run. My ideal day would be to work for two to three hours then go for a run to loosen up the muscles and the thoughts—then have the time to get some of those brilliant nuggets into the manuscript before the kids get home.

How many hours a day do you spend writing?

Minimum three, but ideally about five.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Writers’ conferences are so important because they help you learn this business and how to navigate it—and they welcome you into a community. And that’s huge! I love all the friends and colleagues I’ve met and I am so grateful for their generosity in both time and expertise.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

Yes, it really is. I’m a fairly pragmatic person so I knew it was work—and it is! But I love it. I will say all the friendships blossoming within this introverted life have delighted me and surprised me. That’s the icing on the cake.

What are your biggest distractions?

Social media, a messy house, grocery shopping, cooking, my kids, my dog, eating, errands . . .

What was one of the best moments in your career and what was one of the worst?

I expect they are both yet to come. I’m at the beginning . . . But so far, the moment my agent called me and said “I want to work with you” ranks very high. He sounded so sure that I immediately knew a journey had started. That was great moment.

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like?

Everything I know about it, I love . . . but that leads me to what I like least—I know so little. I am constantly surprised by what I don’t know, should have done yesterday, need to do immediately and questions I should have asked. There should be an “app” for all this. ☺

What is the role and importance of an agent?

Hmm . . . I would say an agent is your “in” to publishing houses. But that isn’t always the case. You can get your foot in the door through a conference. Now, that said, if you get a contract, I recommend having an agent read through that tome and guide you. To be honest, I rely upon mine a lot. There are so many details and so much I can muck up without someone in my corner directing me.

What advice would you give to new writers?

Don’t give up. It’s cliché sounding, but it’s true. I almost gave up—was sooo close—and I’m so thrilled that, in the eleventh hour, God brought an agent into my life who believed in the project and in me as a writer.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

You so want to read this book . . .  It’s a book lover’s book. The main character, Samantha Moore, grew up in foster care and to cope with her tough childhood, she “hides” behind the personas of some of literature’s most beloved characters—Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Edmond Dantes . . . But she has to lay down these characters to find her own voice and her own story. And she gets true love too . . . Who wouldn’t want that? (All this is said while waving the fabulous orange cover in front of you.)

What’s on the book horizon for you?

Lizzy and Jane. This is my next book, which will come out next fall and I love this story. It’s got sisters, squabbles, literature, love, food . . . and some wonderful twists and turns.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

Please find me!
Website
Twitter
Facebook

Also Dear Mr. Knightley is available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.

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About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. Julie Smith says:

    I must say, there’s just something about the cover art that intrigues me. I want to read it even more, since I read this interview. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Patty H says:

    Great cover! It’s always fun discovering a first time author. Thanks for the intro Suzanne.

  3. I would love to read this book. Sounds good.
    Blessings
    Diana
    joeym11@frontier.com

  4. Kathleen Berman says:

    Contemporary fiction is a great genre. Oh, I think your book cover is more coral than orange….maybe melon? I will have to look at it in person!

    • You are exactly right — but since orange is my favorite color, I am trying to convince myself that’s what it is. But whatever you call, I truly love it 🙂

  5. rachel plouffe says:

    Love to read

  6. terry petrino says:

    it looks like a great book to curl up and read .I love your introductions to new authors your one of the best thanks

  7. Tea Norman says:

    I am looking forward to reading Mr. Knightly. I enjoyed the interview with the author.

  8. I love the storyline! I have 4 adopted kids who started life at various ages in fostercare…maybe I need to check for alternate personalities!

  9. LaNell Dobyns says:

    Congrats on your first book being published. The story line sounds very interesting. Good luck.

  10. Thanks all for leaving comments and thanks, Suzanne, for inviting me here today. This was great fun and a wonderful way to start the week.

  11. Charlette Bond says:

    The story sounds like one I would enjoy reading. I am so grateful that people share their writing talents so that there are good books for me to read.

  12. Melanie Backus says:

    Thank you for introducing Katherine Reay. She is a new author to me. I would love to read her book. Thank you for the opportunity.

    melback at cebridge dot net

  13. Sheila says:

    I would love to read and win a copy of this book! 🙂

  14. Debbie Carney says:

    Love the cover, sounds great 🙂

  15. MS Barb says:

    I would love to read how the main character in “Dear Mr. Knightly” finds out who she really is, after hiding behind the characters of her “book world!” I enjoy escaping into a good books–and often do not want the book to end!
    It is interesting that the author used the name, “Knightly”–does this have anything to do with a “knight in shining armour?” I’m going to put this down on my reading list!

  16. Dee Cameron says:

    I love to read and can get interested in just about any book. But my true love is Christian Historical Fiction. I look forward to reading your book and would absolutely love to win it.
    Blessings,
    Dee Cameron, Box Elder, SD

  17. Kim R says:

    Katherine’s short promo of her book sold me! I look forward to reading her book

  18. Jan Cason says:

    I love letters…so this novel is on my top titles to read immediately!
    Please enter me to win this great sounding story line!
    Thanks for the chance 🙂

  19. Jackie McNutt says:

    Thank you for featuring Katherine. Her book sounds like an interesting read. So nice to learn of new authors.

  20. Sharyl B. says:

    Thanks for sharing with us Katherine. I love learning about new authors and would love to win your book.

  21. Patty Tolliver says:

    I really like all the advice Katherine gave to up and coming writers. I am a novice writer who has always been telling stories orally and written. I am working on one now that has a total of 53 pages. I love the process and am finding that I am bonding with my characters in a real personal way. I will take the information she has shared and try to apply it to my situation. I also want to check out her book, “Dear Mr. Knightley”.

    Thank you for spotlighting Katherine Reay.

  22. Carmee Ross says:

    I do love this orange cover and enjoyed reading this interview. I would love to win this book and wish the author much success and enjoyment in her writing career.

  23. Leanna Morris says:

    This book sounds great…would love to read it!

  24. Lynda E. says:

    I would love to win this book–I’m a huge Austen fan and this sounds fanatastic (as does your upcoming novel)!

  25. Amber says:

    I’m loving this cover!!

  26. Barbara Thompson says:

    Enjoyed reading the great interview. The cover is eye catching and this book has me so intrigued. Looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the chance to win this giveaway and please enter my name.

  27. Amy says:

    This sounds like such a fantastic read! And I love the cover! Hoping to get a chance to read it soon!

  28. Sonja says:

    My father lived in foster care his entire life till he married my mom. The first 2-3 foster homes were rough and the last one treated him as their son. Then he found out that his real father was “Uncle Karl” and his sister was the cousin who visited him once or twice in his growing years. This book looks like one that I would be able to really put into perspective.

  29. Sylvia M. says:

    This plot sounds a little like Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. Great book! I’m glad to hear that you are writing contemporary fiction. I enjoy a great many historicals, but think we need more contemporary.

    Looking forward to reading this book!

    • It is an homage to Daddy Long Legs and all Austen in general — but I too love contemporary stories. I like exploring our our past influences our presents and our futures and how we wrestle with all that in the here and now. Wow… that was quite a sentence!

      Thanks also for all the wonderful comments on the story and the cover. Thomas Nelson did a wonderful job capturing the hope and whimsy of the story as well as the idea of an “unfolding.” I’m still in love with the cover 🙂

  30. Thanks for introducing this author to us. The description of the foster children is great and peaks my interest. Thanks. I look forward to reading this book. Judy F

  31. Pam K. says:

    This book has such a happy looking cover! It makes me want to read it. Thanks for your interview with Katherine. It’s nice to know more about her and her book.

  32. Merry says:

    Great interview. I’m so glad there will be another book in this series!

  33. shelia hall says:

    Great interview Kathrine!!Love how you would describe your book to a customer!!! thanks for the chance to win it, Suzanne!!

  34. Angie Carroll says:

    It sounds like a great book!

  35. Lis says:

    I was a foster care worker years ago so I’m interested to read about your main character. Plus, I love Jane Austen. Thanks for the interview!

  36. Sheri says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this interview!! This book sounds so intriguing and I love the cover!!

  37. Natalie says:

    Not sure if this is open to Canadians – but I saw the title and knew I’d love it. 🙂

  38. I loved the promo and the waving of the fabulous orange cover! 🙂
    Can’t wait to read this book!

  39. Charissa says:

    I would love for the chance to read your book! And this blog post is so inspiring, especially knowing you are a mom of three and have still managed to hold on to that dream! You next book sounds like a blast, mostly because my sister and I love reading books together, even if we are states apart, and it being about sisters, squabbles, literature, and so on, sounds like a perfect book for us! 🙂 Thank you for this blog and giveaway!!

    • True… the kids keep me busy. So thrilled you’re excited about the next book. I am too — my sister and I have had great fun chatting about the characters, their motivations and their relationship. They are tough pair — but so endearing!

  40. This book sounds interesting. Want to read.

  41. Vicky D says:

    Glad you didn’t give up!

  42. Jackie Tessnair says:

    Great post.Would love to win and read this book.Thanks for the chance.

  43. Sara Johns says:

    Great post! I want to read this book so much! It’s going to be wonderful! Anything remotely conceited to the Pride and Prejudice era is.

  44. Karen K says:

    This sounds amazing! even if I do not win, I will be sure to buy this book!

  45. Marie Sontag says:

    Thanks for writing up the interview, Suzanne. It helped to introduce me to Katherine and her writing. It also helped introduce me to your writing! Both look intriguing.

  46. Grace Olson says:

    Thanks for the interview, Suzanne! I’ve seen some buzz about this book, and I’m definitely going to add it to my to-be-read list. 🙂

  47. Beth says:

    Yay, glad to hear that you’re continuing with the Austen theme! 🙂

    Dear Mr. Knightley is on my must read list for 2014. Thanks for the interview & the chance to win!

    Beth

  48. Linda LANDRETH says:

    I love reading and would love to read this book! I hope I win!

  49. Natalie J Vandenberghe says:

    I enjoy the author bios you feature and would love to read this book.

  50. Marsha Saenz-Jones says:

    Great interview! If someone walked up to me in a bookstore waving that fabulous cover, I’d probably buy it just based on that alone.

  51. Marie says:

    Would love to win this. Thanks for the opportunity.

  52. sharon miller says:

    Looks interesting- Jane Eyre remake with a foster child. I would love to read your book, and win it, of course. Thanks for the contest.

  53. b walters says:

    The cover of this book has my curiosity up. I would love to win it.

  54. Jackie says:

    I love getting to know authors and these great interviews help me out with that. To get to know a little bit of background of the author whose book you are reading. Thank you!

  55. karenk says:

    thanks for the chance to read this novel 😉

  56. Randi L. says:

    I’m very much looking forward to reading this book! Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!