Interview with Kat Simons

Published 2019-02-13.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I kind of feel like I've been training to be an indie author for most of my career--even though I didn't realize it at the time! I have been part of the ebook industry since the late 90s (yes, that's the 1990s; although I suppose if I were one of the paranormal creatures I write about it could be the 1890s... Anyway, late 1990s). Back in those days, ebooks were sold on 3.5" floppy disks when we wanted a hard copy to hand out (remember those?), and buyers had to actually call in to my first publisher with their credit card numbers because easy shopping carts didn't even exist yet. Until the rise of the indie movement, I mainly published with small ebook first presses, which turned out to be a great training ground for going indie. And once I did, I loved it! The control is really fun--especially controlling my cover art. I couldn't do that before and got a few...interesting covers (to be kind to them). Now, I get to choose. And update them whenever I like. Of all the aspects of indie publishing that I love, the control of my time and my books is the thing I love the most.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love when I'm so deep into the story I'm telling that I lose all track of the world around me and I'm "in" the story. My characters are doing things I hadn't consciously thought of, my fingers are flying over the keyboard, but I'm not really seeing the screen anymore. It's like I'm watching a movie, not actually writing. The story is... It's almost like the story is already there and I'm just transcribing it. Writers call that flow and being in flow with the story is The Best! The only thing that tops being in flow for me is when I get that giddy feeling of wanting to share the story I've just written. Some line or some scene will really stick with me, and I can't wait for readers to see those scenes or lines. Writing a story is delightful. Sharing it is wonderous.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
So I love sleeping and I don't get nearly enough of it because I have young kids, one or the other of which tends to wake me up in the middle of the night more nights than I care to consider--my 6 year old more than my 10 year old these days but that's not an absolute. (As I write this, I've been awake since 4:30am thanks to my 6 year old.) So getting up in the morning is sometimes a slog. The easy answer is that my kids inspire me to get out of bed every morning because, well they're fun and I like them. But over the last year I've developed a routine of getting up early (that was some switch since I'm a natural born night owl), doing some mediation, yoga, journaling and then I write for whatever time I might have before my kids wake up--usually only about 10-15 minutes. I adore this period of time because it's peaceful and quiet and all the people I love are well and sleeping. It feels indulgent. It's only about an hour and a bit of time every morning, but it sets me up for the rest of the day really well. I feel like I can be a better mommy, wife, and business person thanks to that hour of alone time. And I stress less about getting writing done because I've done some already. It's only been a habit for about a year now, which means it'd be as easy to break as it is to keep, but the sense of accomplishment I feel when I get my routine in, that's what gets me out of bed even when I'm tired. I know I'll be able to enjoy the time I have with my family better, and that's everything.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend it on all sorts of things. LOL. There's a lot of non-writing related business stuff and a lot of continuing education classes and learning that I love to do. I need to get in some exercise every day (walking and yoga), so I have the energy I need for my life. Obviously taking care of my kids takes up time (oh my god do they give kids too much homework these days! Even in kindergarten!). And I have a few hobbies I like to indulge. I read a lot, of course (my husband and I might be book buying addicts; we live in a library). I also love cross-stitch--mostly bookmarks. Yeah, I know a book person making bookmarks, but I like the size of those projects and how they fit in my hands. I love baking, so I try to do that as often as I can. When I was a kid, I even wanted to own a bakery, but I was afraid I'd eat too much of my product. I love to travel with my family. And because my kids love trains, we've been doing a lot of train adventures lately--traveling to places with trains to ride on, or just taking the subways around the city to new destinations. We also take advantage of the city to visit super cool museums and zoos. Also, I play a shocking amount of puzzle games. (I should never have started Two Dots!)
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I think I might be an oddball at this because I tend to discover a lot of my books via Twitter friends making recommendations. I follow bloggers/reviewers and fellow authors and when they link to something that sounds interesting, I click through. I'm a sucker for the "people who liked this also bought this" recommendations on the various vendor sites. And I will follow a fun cover all the way to its sale page, no matter where I see it. Friends in the industry make a lot of recommendations that I follow up on too. And, really, I buy so many books that if I spot something on sale that looks like my cup of tea, I'll buy it just to try it. I have some old favorite authors, and their books I tend to preorder, but mostly I just follow what friends (or algorithms) recommend for me. OH! I've also been discovering a lot of books on podcasts lately. I'll hear an author and go hunt down their books.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I don't! I remember writing "fiction" as early as fifth grade and being told by the other kids at my desk that my stories were the only ones they listened to when I got up to read them (we were all forced to stand up and read our stories. I'm still shy about doing this!). I can't really remember a time when I wasn't telling stories, though. I'm pretty sure most of the early stories were either spooky--vampires and ghosts because fun and scary!--or dragon stuff. I still love fantasy and dragons and the scary vampires.
What is your writing process?
A constantly changing hodge podge of adaptability. LOL. The only really consistent part of my process is that I'm an organic writer. I don't outline or plan things ahead. I sit down and write and delight myself with my story. But how that gets done keeps changing. I used to write only at night. Then I wrote at a convenient day job I had, which meant switching to writing in the afternoons. Once I had kids, I had to squeeze writing in whenever I got a few minutes or the babies were napping. Now, I write in the mornings more often than not. I used to write in sprints, getting a story done quickly, then taking time off to do all the stuff I ignored while I was writing (like laundry and dishes). Over the last year, I've been learning how to be more of a drip writer, writing a little bit every day. I mostly write from start to finish in a book, but even that changes sometimes and the story comes to me in scenes that are out of order--having to organize that after the fact is always fun (<--sarcasm). Mainly, I sit down at my writing laptop and start typing. How often, when, and in what order...all that's flexible. So long as I get the words down.
What do you read for pleasure?
Just about everything. Seriously. I read a lot of different things. My primary catnip in fiction reading is Romance novels, particularly Regency and Paranormal/SF/Fantasy romances. But I also love fantasy and science fiction, I read the occasional mystery or thriller. I love some history books--mostly history of science lately. And I love popular science books, particularly stuff on genetics, cosmology, astrophysics, and astrobiology (aliens, you know!). I read a lot of business books, self-help stuff, philosophy books, and lots of mythology. Because my husband is also a book addict (and we live in a library), I've even read some sports non-fiction books because that's one of his favorite things to read. So, yeah, a lot of stuff.
Describe your desk
I just got a new desk last year and I'm delight with it! I live in an apartment and I don't have an actual room for my office, I just have this little nook area that serves as an office. But I found a desk that has a very slight L shape that fits just perfectly. It's dark wood, which I find cozy. There's a hutch over the desk with books and supplies on the shelves. The top of the hutch has one holder for files and then some pictures of my kids, a couple of candles, some Funko Pop statues (Han Solo, Batman and Bat Girl), and one of the awards I got from my RWA writing chapter a few years ago. On my desk itself, I have a drawing of Wonder Woman (my husband bought that for me). And four different computers--three laptops that are mine for various work related things and then the big desktop that is mostly for family use. There's a pile of calendars and papers to one side of the desk--where there's room around the computers. And there's a filing drawer and a couple of shelves with supplies and stuff that I'm currently working on. Oh and there's also two boxes on my desk with a Yeti microphone and a pop shield that I haven't opened yet but mean to try out for possible audio stuff at some point. At the moment, my iPad and my cellphone are on my desk too. It sounds cluttered when I describe it, but this is the most organized and functional desk I've had in years! There's space for everything and I can find what I need when I need it. It makes "going to work" fun.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Las Vegas, NV. I know people who love Vegas. I am not one of them. I had a great childhood--we had horses and a swimming pool and lived kind of in the middle of nowhere just outside of town--but I didn't like the desert at all. I was a misplaced surfer girl and longed to move closer to the ocean. I even wanted to study dolphins and whales. A little hard to do in the middle of the desert. I think the biggest influence this had on my writing was that I tended to spend a lot of time in my head telling myself stories that did not take place in hot, dry, dusty places. I'd be mucking out horse stalls, pretending to be in some fantasy realm with trees and grass, or I'd be swimming in the pool and inventing mermaid adventures. I wrote about castles and mountains and rain and thick, lush, green gardens. I'd say it was growing up in an environment that didn't really call to me that drove me to make up my own worlds. Given that I write fantasy and paranormal stories now, I'd say that was a huge influence.
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Just when Cary Redmond thinks she might survive her seventh year as a magical Protector, Faery comes calling with whispers of curses and destruction. And all of it ties back to Cary’s mentor. Another world-ending disaster, another day in the life of a Protector.
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Cary Redmond’s second attempt at a first date with her leopard shifter boyfriend has to go better than the first. It couldn’t possibly go worse. Could it? Unfortunately for Portland’s resident Protector, things can always get worse.
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Going on an ordinary date shouldn’t be this complicated. But for Cary Redmond, Portland’s resident magical Protector, nothing in life is simple, not even a first date with her shapeshifter boyfriend.
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