Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Guest Author - Katie O'Rourke

Fellow Kindle Scout author Katie O’Rourke is a writer of contemporary fiction and women’s fiction. She’s a hybrid author with traditionally published and self-published books. Her latest novel, Finding Charlie, was selected for publication by KindlePress.

[The stars aligned for this long-scheduled post: KindlePress has put the Kindle version of Finding Charlie is on sale today for $0.99!]

What is your most recent excellent read (book, short story or essay) and why?

Celeste Ng's debut, Everything I Never Told You, is a beautiful exploration of family dynamics and the struggle to know and be known in spite of miscommunication, secrets and silence. With an omniscient narrator, the author is able to explore the thoughts and memories of each character so the reader understands everything they knew and everything they never told each other.

Are you a plotter, pantser or something in between and why?

For me, stories are about people. The characters drive it forward and I never know exactly where it’s headed when I start even if I have an idea of the direction. I plot as I go. Right now, I’m about ¾ into my work-in-progress and I’m just starting to figure out how it will end.

When you start reading a book do you always finish it? If not, what causes you to permanently put a book down?

I used to be that reader who has to finish even the most tedious of books, because there’s always that chance that the ending will tie it all together and make it worthwhile. But in the past few years, I’ve decided life’s too short. If I’m dreading picking up my current book, counting the days until I finish it, it’s time to move on. I almost always have another book waiting in the wings and if I’m more excited about the next book than finding out how this one ends, that’s a big sign. But I have to say – this is rare. I do a lot of research before I select a book.

Name three not-well-known authors you would recommend and tell us what you like about their writing.

I read Cass McMain’s first novel, Sunflower. Her dialogue is exquisite. It makes you feel like a fly on the wall. Her stories move a bit slower and are very introspective and make you consider how small moments in our lives become meaningful.

I’ve been lucky enough to form a critique partnership with Mary Vensel White, author of The Qualities of Wood. I’ve been able to read some of her work that hasn’t been published yet, and readers are in for a real treat. She builds such relatable, interesting characters.

I just finished Bradley Wind’s debut, A Whole Lot. His narrator is a thirteen-year-old savant who sees the world in very different ways from the rest of us. The perspective was fascinating and so well written. KindlePress is lucky to have him.

Do you read reviews of your books? Why or why not?

I do. I am flabbergasted by writers who don’t. The audience response is the only point to being published. Otherwise, I’d just keep my stories on my computer. You have to take each review with a grain of salt – you can’t please everyone and I don’t think you should try to. But readers have a right to their opinions and sometimes their feedback can be helpful.

What do you do that you suspect causes your copyeditor to pull her/his hair out?

I have learned a lot about myself as a writer through my copy edits. I have spent so much time figuring out when to use lie or lay. I still get further and farther confused. And I hate commas.

When you compare your first draft to your final draft, do you net add words or subtract words? In general, what is it that you add or subtract between first and final draft?

I think my first run through a scene can be more of an outline of what I want to happen. It may be just the dialogue and I go back to add the meat of the scene: the visuals, the internal monologue.

How did you develop the idea for your most recent work?

It started with Delilah. She’s in a public restroom, having a panic attack and everything flows from that point. Who is she? Why is she having a panic attack? Why should the reader care?

What is a piece of writing advice you think is worth sharing?

There is no one absolute way to write or be a writer. We all do it differently. It can help to hear what works for other people, but ultimately – find your own path!

To find more information about Katie O’Rourke and her writing, check out katieorourke.com or her Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Katie-ORourke/e/B00KLIH4YG/
She’s also a contributor at todaysauthor.com

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