Interview with Coty Justus

Who are your favorite authors?
Jonathan Kellerman, Nora Roberts, Georgette Heyer, Jonathan Swift, and Plato
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing and the awareness that I am being read.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Gardening, playing with my dogs, reading, and crafts.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I was twelve or thirteen. I had lost my Appaloosa gelding during a snowstorm in the Idaho panhandle. Nuttin was an extremely plain blue-roan, and my father thought he had been mistaken for a moose by hunters and his body dumped in a sluggish creek that ran through his pasture. I told Nuttin's story. I wish I still had it!.
What is your writing process?
I want to outline and then write. However, often the characters assume a life of their own. Such is the case with Alicia in my Birthrights series. She jumped the outline, much as a train jumps the tracks, and I let my fingers do the walking, trying to keep up with the changes she went through. I did not expect the series to end as it did.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
No. Once I learned to read in the first grade, I was unstoppable. I read too many books all at once to isolate any given one.
How do you approach cover design?
I love cover design! I love Photoshop. I love playing with different covers, seeing what happens. Experimentation is key. All of my covers but Range Wars had several different covers at one time. It was difficult to choose which one to go with.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Republic, by Plato, is my favorite book because I love the concept of the perfect society and I love Plato's attention to details like characterization, organization, and dialogue. As for the rest, I reread my Georgette Heyer's more than any other books.
What do you read for pleasure?
Anything by a competent writer.
Describe your desk
Messy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the mountains of Northern Idaho, five miles from the nearest neighbor. My friends were, in this order, horses, dogs, siblings, and chickens. I spent much of my youth on horseback, riding the woods above our home. My books reflect the values instilled in me by family and a rural lifestyle.
When did you first start writing?
As soon as I could read.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I conceived the Birthrights series fifteen years ago. I wrote the first book, A Home on the Range, back then, but I could not find an agent for it, so I gave up, setting it aside as a lost dream. In 2013, a good friend, another writer denied his dream, committed suicide. He did not leave a note. His death haunted me. I picked up the series from where I left off. I did not leave my computer, still haven't left my computer, since. The series is done. It is my homage to Carter.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being read.
Published 2014-03-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.