Interview with Katrina Kissinger

When did you first start writing?
Like many other writers I know, I started writing stories while in grade school. The difference is, I didn't take it as a serious possible profession until I was in my twenties. And I was really not a good writer then. Nope. Not at all. The ideas were great, the story concept worked, but I didn't understand how to make a story come alive for the reader until I started taking classes and reading how-to-write books. And then I wrote hundreds of practice short stories and four practice novels before I felt ready to become published.
What's the story behind your latest book?
After purchasing many how-to-write books, I thought about all the self-published books I've read over the years written by people who didn't want to bother spending hours reading about how to write. They assumed it came natural. But it doesn't. There are "rules." It's easy to turn a great idea into a boring, difficult to understand book. Because so many writers want to just "write the book" and not take classes or watch a myriad of instructional videos or read the how-to books, I decided to make it quick, easy, and painless to learn the craft. It's not intensely in-depth, but it gives a beginner writer the tools of the trade in a simple format using examples. In less than an hour of reading, the writer can be well on his or her way to writing that first novel. I have taught creative writing classes for ten years, and I understand the needs of fledgling writers.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have a literary agent for my teen books under a different pen name. I know that the traditional publishing process is slow, and that you need more than a well-developed plot, strong characters, and a great concept. You need to be marketable. If you books target only a small segment of the population, you either have to go with small press or self-publish. I discuss the pros and cons of all these methods in my book. Publishing this book on my own gives me more control.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
My favorite part of writing is imagining what happens to the characters in such a way that I get wrapped up in their lives...much like I do when I read a book or watch a movie. I can get so drawn into my story that I am in a dream-like state, and if one of my sons approaches me to say something, I am startled and have to remember where I am. Being immersed in my story is my greatest joy.
What are you working on next?
I am rewriting a novel I wrote ten years ago. It has some great moments, but the writing could be stronger and the plot stronger. So I'm revamping this tale and hoping to have it out this fall or winter. It's a story of a young man grappling with his love for an unattainable woman.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I do so many things! I am a freelance editor for self-published authors (you can find me at, I do freelance writing contract work for companies throughout the U.S., and I contribute to blogs semi-regularly. I also run, draw, paint, play guitar, keyboards, and drums, ride a skateboard, hula hoop, and play with my two young boys.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first "published" story was when I was in third or fourth grade. It made it into the school paper. It was about a kid being babysat by a girl who falls asleep. Which is odd, because I rarely had a babysitter. I wrote other stories, but I don't remember the plot lines.
How do you approach cover design?
Covers are so important. In this case, since my book is meant to be simple and straight-forward, I wanted the cover to deliver that feeling. Plus, it worked so well with the title. Sometimes I come across a gem! Other times, my ex-husband helps me out since he understands graphic design.
Describe your desk
A complete and utter mess. I have my Chicago Manual of Style, my thesaurus, my dictionary...and then pages and pages of notes...most of them To Do lists with only half the items on them crossed out. Still a lot of "clean the bathroom" and "Vacuum the living room" mentions that have not been acknowledged. Snacks and chocolate often make an appearance. It's crazy chaos, but feels like home. Er...which it is.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up lower middle class in an apartment building. I learned early on that hard work and perseverance are the only way to become successful. And even then it may not happen. Luck and timing play a crucial role, and oftentimes people willing to reach out and give you a hand up. So many things coming together at once. I had to be a tough kid at the apartment complex where I lived, and I think it shows with my level of commitment to any task I begin.
Published 2014-08-13.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Bare Bones: A Quick Guide to Writing Your First Novel
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,020. Language: English. Published: June 15, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills, Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing & books
Learn the basics of how to write in less than an hour. Katrina Kissinger, an author, editor, and creative writing instructor, shows you how by touching on character, point-of-view, tenses, goal and motivation, conflict, pacing, revision, publishing, and promotion.