The author hot seat

To kick off my foray into the world of the author interview, I’m pleased to invite an old friend and fellow sufferer of Authonomy, Kate Jack. We swapped notes about fantasy writing before we ever tried to get published. Then we swapped rejection letters. Now we swap notes about promotion.
J: Kate, we know you write fantasy, and very good fantasy too. Could you tell us a bit about your work, its setting, and what provides your inspiration.
K: The first book in The Silver Flute Trilogy is called Land of Midnight Days. It’s a dystopian urban fantasy, set in a city not unlike my home town of Liverpool. The main protagonist is called Jeremiah Tully, who is a half Elwyn, half human musician, and to top it all, mute. The story takes the reader on a whirlwind journey, as Jeremiah tries to find out who he really is, and what purpose his musical gift holds.
The inspiration for the book came from staring out the window at work, at the famous art deco Littlewoods building. I remember thinking it would make a good scene for a story. I mulled the idea over for a while, gathering together other locations, such as Allerton Hall, a local mansion house, now converted into a pub/restaurant, and bombed out church, St Luke’s, in Liverpool city centre.

J: I was always struck by the originality of Jeremiah, your main character.
K: When I first thought up the character of Jeremiah, I wanted to make him a musician, but wasn’t sure what instrument he would play. Then one day I was listening to 70’s rock band Jethro Tull – and wham! That, and the Littlewoods building, gave me the impetuous to write the book.

J: Did you try to get agents/publishers interested? I’m told they can be very useful when it comes to marketing and promotion.
K: I did the usual rounds of agents and publishers, and came close to a publisher wanting to take the book on, but they pulled out. As for agents, it’s easier to get an interview with God than it is to interest them in your work. Regarding marketing, well unless you’re a best seller, publishers don’t really get involved. However, they’re quite a few eBook sites that will promote your book free of charge, or for a small fee.

J: Have you found any consumer resistance to your chosen genre?
K: Not really. Urban fantasy is now becoming a recognised genre.

J: I’m glad to hear you’re not tearing your hair out and asking: what am I? like some of us. You say that the burden of promotion almost always falls on the author. How do you get the word out?
K: I follow any links I find on Facebook for promotional sites such as: eBook soda, Awesome Gang, and so on

J: If you were to direct the public towards your novels, whose fans would you solicit?
K: Probably Jim Butcher, author of The Dresden Files. He also writes urban fantasy, with a touch of mythology thrown in for good measure.

J: Finally, is there any advice or experiences you’d like to pass on?
K: Don’t give up. It’s very easy to become disheartened, because writing is so competitive. Also, don’t rush your work, polish it until it shines. Nothing irritates me more than misspelling, bad grammar, and most of all the incorrect use of the words, “your” and “you’re. “ My experience as a writer has ranged from extreme highs, to the utter depths of despair. That said, if you’re not prepared to weather these storms, don’t become a writer.

I think we’d all agree with those words of common sense. Thank you, Kate for introducing us to your writing. You can find Kate’s books here: (Land of Midnight Days)

gloaming cover (Through the Gloaming)

read my review of Land of Midnight Days here

and catch up with Kate here: (Facebook page) (Website)


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

16 thoughts on “The author hot seat”

  1. It is easy to get discouraged. The writing process is long and the publishing process is not much different, if you every get a publisher.
    I’m glad that self-publishing is no longer a taboo, but it is still typically a last resort.

    1. You’re right there, on all counts! Too many small publishers just chuck their books out onto Amazon ans shrug their shoulders if nothing happens. On with the next one! Self-published authors are fighting a battle for credibility, as if having a publisher is a quality guarantee.

  2. Wonderful interview! Kate, I agree with your advice. Writing can be such a lonely, frustrating occupation. My emotions range from elation when I get a scene just right to despair when I see my book languishing on Amazon. Don’t ever give up!

  3. Very interesting read – I especially liked the “polish it until it shines” advice. I have been encountering publishers in the United States that will not publish poetry first appearing on a blog, unless it is partial or written in draft form.. a real conundrum.

    1. I suspect poetry is a hard enough sell when the publisher has the exclusivity. But since a poet can’t really have a web presence without sharing their poetry, and publishers don’t want complete unknowns, it ‘s like squaring the circle. Maybe best self-publish and post what you like 🙂

      1. True, recently I’ve learned Walt Whitman, T.S. Elliot, Alexander Pope, Edgar Allen Poe, Percy B Shelley, Elizabeth B Browning, e.e. Cummings, Carl Sandburg, and Oscar Wilde all self published poetry (long before the internet). They’re pretty good company – I think.

      2. That’s the way to go then! I just flinch at the idea of formatting a book of poetry. Until I find a step by step tutorial I’m not going to even think about it.

  4. It’s great to know there are so many others trudging the lonely road to self publishing Jane. One day. Sigh.

      1. Lonely in regards to how you feel in the huge crowd. 🙂 Yet crowded with a huge pulsing mob of frustrated writers. 😉

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