Today I have the pleasure of hosting and chit-chating with Kait Nolan, who was nice enough to deal with my odd questions and answer them with more grace than I could have mustered. Kait just released a novella Forsaken by Shadow which, I lured a bit out of her about it here, so if you like what you hear, I implore you to check it out. You can even sample the first three chapters here.
1. You know, Kait. For someone who doesn’t enjoy talking about themselves, you sure had my attention with your Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Spoof on your ‘About Me‘ page. (The scrumptious cupcake helped too) Also, just from that aspect, you’re way cooler than Stephanie Meyer. But I know that you didn’t start out writing in Paranormal Romance. What genre/s did you start out in before you settled there?
Well I’ve always had a love of the paranormal. My early work was paranormal YA (of the ilk I wanted to read, which mostly didn’t exist back in the day–the genre has come so FAR since then!). I really loved to take elements of folklore and weave it into real life. I still do. But then I hit college and discovered forensic psychology. FELL IN LOVE–enough that I got my graduate degree in clinical psych. So for about five years, my focus was on more traditional romantic suspense. Then in 2008 the paranormal bug bit me again after I read J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books.
2. And what drew you to ParaRom? Do you think you might branch out into other genres once you’re published or is it very “been there, done that, prefer where I am now”? ParaRom is still pretty damn hot, after all, and doesn’t seem to be losing it’s charm on readers. I know you’ve got a YA in the works but it’s SUPER SECRET. Don’t suppose you could tease us a little? Not even a hint at a sub genre?
Well the romance was a given, regardless of subgenre. I love reading about relationships and getting my happily ever after. The paranormal–I think that’s born of a distinct desire to be outside of my own life. There is nothing further from worries about bill paying or boring work deadlines than fantastic tales about paranormal critters and races. It also allows me to be free of the “rules” apart from those that I create myself. With the more typical police procedural stuff, I often got hung up on making sure I got it “right”. Didn’t want a cop or FBI agent picking it up and scoffing because I’d written something that wouldn’t ever happen that way. I also have a great love of worldbuilding, and PR gives me a chance to indulge in a big way. I do definitely have LOTS of other genres kicking around in my head for–someday. I’ve got a cuilinary paranormal series about a kitchen witch who lives in Mississippi. And I’ve got a whole line of Mississippi based romantic suspense that I was working on before I jumped back on the paranormal train. Not sure when I’ll come back to those, as right now I’m really happy working on the paranormal. As for the Super Secret New Shiny, it too is paranormal and will appeal to fans of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series or Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon’s Lexicon.
3. Did you always suspect you might like to write a book and get published or was writing something you more or less fell into?
I wrote my first book at age 5. The Adventures of Clumsy and Big Paw. It was a best-seller. My granddaddy gave me a whole $1 for it. 🙂 Seriously though, writing is in my blood, I think. I’m an only child, so whether I put them on paper or not, I was always thinking up stories to entertain myself. I started writing more seriously in the 6th grade, and tried getting my first REAL manuscript published at age 15. I’m sure I would have accrued many more than two rejection letters had I not been led astray by all this talk of having a “sensible career” by my parents (who really wanted me to be an attorney or doctor or businessperson :shudder:). College and grad school was a serious interruption to my plans. Once I finished with my graduate degree, I decided I’d done it their way and by damn, I was going to start doing it mine. Hence the juggling.
3b. Age 15?! I commend your spunk. Were there any other jobs (parental approved or not) besides writing that you thought you might like to give a go at? If you could have any other job in the world, besides Published Author, what would it be? Have you given any of those jobs to your characters?
Originally I thought journalism (given that papers are folding all over the country now, kinda glad I didn’t take that route). I’ve also considered other aspects of the publishing industry–editor and copy editor specifically. I’m good at it and I love books. But I don’t want to live in a big city. I also thought for a while about opening my own bookstore/tea shop (combining two passions), but owning your own business means working 6-7 days a week, longer than your typical 8 hour days in order to make it work, which would leave little time for writing. And along the lines of the cooking thing, I haven’t SERIOUSLY thought about being a caterer, but it was fun to make Lorlei one (she’s the heroine in that culinary paranormal series, Edible Enchantments).
4. Who are the writers that inspire you? Whether they be Authors, Screen Writers, Musicians, published or aspiring.
Oh there are so many! Madeleine L’Engle, Jane Austen, Cassandra Clare, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, J. R. Ward, Nora Roberts, Raymond Feist, Simon Holt, Maggie Steifvater, my crit partner Susan Bischoff, Kerry Allen, Zoe Winters…
5. Do you happen to have a favorite word/s? I’m oddly drawn to asphyxia and noxious and recalcitrant. I’m not sure I want to know what that says about me.
6. You’re quite the juggler. You have a full time job at a University, you teach (to which, I must say brava, as i do not have the patience for that sort of gig, and I imagine it can drain your writing energy if you let it. But as far as I’ve been able to tell, you haven’t.), and have a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. Have these ever influenced your writing? I know that Psych degree must come in handy for characters. Have your students ever been an inspiration (even if for a particularly annoying character 😉 ) whether they knew it or not?
7. I’m always amazed by just how much you have to offer with every blog post, especially when I consider your schedule. I’ve always had a hard time coming up with topics and stretching those out into posts longer than 200 words. Do you write them up and keep a heavy stock in drafts or are they always ‘live’ writing? How do you keep inspired blog-wise?
8. You just released Forsaken by Shadow which is supposed to be a prequel novella to a series of books you’re writing now, as I understand. For awhile now, you’ve been coming to grips with the fact that you’ve got, what I like to call, ‘the series bug’. How did this series start off? What was your initial inspiration? A character? A situation? A concept? Is this typical of your process?
12. If you were writing an autobiography, what would be the title?
Seriously…I suck at titles.
13. What’s your thoughts on the ‘Muse’ business? Are you in the ‘have one, love/hate him/her/it’ camp? Or the “Don’t know/don’t care/never thought about it” one?
I am on the fence about the Muse. To say that my inspiration comes entirely from some mythical place outside myself–really takes me a lot further out of the equation than I like. Writing is freaking hard, and I want the credit! But if we’re talking about coddling the part of my brain that deals in that…well yeah that’s a different story. She likes being fed awesome reads, chocolate, and plenty of sleep.
14. What would be your ultimate writing environment? Mine would include Cat-hair free furniture, a decent laptop that doesn’t lag, EVER, a view of the ocean, art supplies, a bottle of Mystic, and a chocolate fountain or two. Just sayin’.
A cabin in the woods, away from people and other distractions (yes, even including the internet). Comfy chair and my laptop. Endless supply of tea.
15. Can you give us a summary of Forsaken by Shadow?
I had to shorten the original blurb for one of my distributors. The end result wound up being more about Gage. Here’s the original summary.
“When her father is captured by military scientists, firecaster Embry Hollister will do anything, break any rule to free him. Unable to complete her mission alone, she turns to the only Shadow Walker who can help her—her father’s protégé and foster son, Gage Dempsey, whose memory was wiped years ago. Embry and Gage must fight the clock—and their undeniable attraction—praying that his skills return in time to infiltrate a secret military base and rescue the man they both call father.”
16. How heavily does Gage’s being an Ultimate Fighter play into FBS’s plot? I bet that was fun to research, how’d you go about it? Or are you a fan of the sport? I don’t follow it much but I have quite admired Gina Carano.
** Cross-posted at the review blog here.