Of Angels, Cats and Epic Bingo Battles-Interviewing Katherine Pine + Giveaway!

After Eden by Katherine Pine

Katherine Pine is addicted to shoujo manga and black tea. Though she’s only in her mid-twenties, she lives in a retirement community in the Pacific Northwest. Alright, so maybe it isn’t officially a retirement community, but the age of the average person is about 62. As a result Katherine has grown accustomed to epic, all-night bingo battles and losing terribly at Bridge. When she’s not writing she knits, tries to convince slugs that her compost pile is much tastier than her vegetable garden, and gets bossed around by her cats.

So without further adieu, let’s welcome the lovely Ms. Pine!

1. Your biography is quite impressive…how many of those epic-all night bingo battles have you actually won?

Thank you for saying my bio is impressive! I certainly didn’t think I’d end up in a retirement community in my mid twenties when I was younger. Though it’s a tame life, it suits me. I haven’t won too many bingo battles, but I’m not all that upset about it because the prizes (ancient, funky colored candies, free tickets for the buffet, and dog shampooing coupons) aren’t that impressive. My lack of bridge skills do depress me, though. I’m not good at bidding. For me, the entire process is nerve wracking, and the old ladies I play with love watching me get flustered. I just know could take them at poker or whist, though, which is probably why we never play those games!


2. I noticed you like Shoujo manga. I sensed a mild influence in your story, when I had the pleasure of reading it. Which Shoujo titles are your favorites? I loved Sailor Moon and Vampire Knight, although I admit I was more often drawn to the Shounen titles (Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, etc) and usually preferred the Anime series to the original work. Blasphemous, you say? I challenge anyone to explain to me how the manga version of Revolutionary Girl Utena is better than the anime.

Almost a year ago I read my frist manga, Fruits Basket, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I really like Gakuen Alice, Gentleman’s Alliance Cross, Skip Beat!, and Hana-Kimi. For Shounen, I like School Rumble, Mushi-shi, and Hikaru no Go (as a bonus, those three were made into awesome animes that are available for free on hulu). There are still a lot of good ones I haven’t read yet. I’m always looking for recommendations for new manga series, so if anyone leaves a comment about a manga they like in the comments I will definitely check it out!

I am obsessed with Vampire Knight. Before I started After Eden I actually started a ya pnr vampire series, but then I read Vampire Knight and…well…the idea I’d had was kind of similar to Matsuri Hino’s (a love triangle between a “fated” couple and a vampire slayer that was also secretly a vampire). As if that wasn’t bad enough, she told a much better story than I would’ve. I still want to finish that book at some point, but I can’t right now because I’m too aware of being in VK’s shadow. Due to that, I decided NOT to read any angel stories until I’d finished After Eden.

Hulu, sadly, doesn’t grant access to those of us outside of the U.S of A. Or is it does, it doesn’t grant it to those of us from third world countries.

3. How long have you been writing for? What were some of the first things you wrote?

I wrote a lot of poetry when I was a teenager. Not all of it is that bad, but I don’t think any it will be published soon. When I was 18, I wrote the most clichéd romance novel ever written. It has some of the most unintentionally hilarious descriptions I’ve ever read, and makes an excellent (fruit juice!) drinking game. I sometimes jokingly send it to people as a “friend test,” the idea being that if you can get all the way to the end then you are a true friend who really loves me. So far only two people have ever passed. One is my mom, and the other person doesn’t talk to me anymore.

4. Did you always have being published in mind? When did you decide to go Indie as opposed to the more traditional route?

I’ve always loved reading and have dreamed about being a writer. I wrote two romance novels before After Eden that I tried to get traditionally published, and even received some “good rejections” (for the second one, not the first…for reasons I explained already). Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be.

When I heard about how self-published authors were able to reach a large number of readers through publishing ebooks, I knew I had to try it. The idea for After Eden was one I’d been playing around with for a while, but I hadn’t written it because I didn’t think it a traditional publisher would have considered it marketable. A lot of angel books were already out, and…well, I’m just going to say it: After Eden is a little weird. I really love the book (if I didn’t I would haven’t have put it out there), but I’ll be the first to admit it’s a little different. Still, it is exactly the kind of story I wanted to read when I was a teenager, so I think there’s an audience for it.

5. What was your inspiration for After Eden? Were they purely Biblical references and concepts that you then turned on their heads and weaved together?

The Song of Songs was probably my biggest inspiration for After Eden. For anyone who hasn’t read it yet, it’s a (pretty sexy) love poem in the middle of The Bible that people have interpreted in numerous and fascinating ways. One of my favorite interpretations/translations is St. John the Cross’s The Spiritual Canticle, which he actually wrote part of while in prison.

 Each character in After Eden has a different relationship to God, and a different idea of what God is. I’ve loosely based their opinions on God on various Christian mystics, and, in some cases, drew inspiration from alchemical theories and chivalry. There are a few characters that are based on ideas that fall outside of the Christian/Western tradition, but I can’t say anything more because it would be a huge spoiler.

6. My favorite characters from After Eden were Onoskelis and Princess. Without spoiling anything, will Onoskelis make cameos in later novels or is her story pretty much over? Will Princess play a larger role in the plot or is she mainly there to “boss” Oz around?

Onoskelis is one of my favorite characters in the series. While I don’t plan on her playing a major role in the next books, I do have some “spin off” story ideas for her. Whether or not I write them will probably depend on how popular the series is. Princess (also one of my favorite characters), is slowly getting (or maybe I should say demanding) a larger role in Book 2, which I guess isn’t surprising since she is a cat.

7. You have pretty bossy cats yourself. Ok, so, every cat owner knows ALL cats are bossy. What are their names? Do they ever decide to sleep on your paper/notebook RIGHT when you sit down to work? Mine used to…I miss being owned by cats.

I have two psychotic and bossy cats. Fiona loves to jump/sit on my keyboard when I’m typing. She’s not as sociable as Princess. Whenever someone comes over or she hears a noise, she hides under the bed. However, like Princess she constantly demands pets whenever you sit down. I’m not totally convinced that my other cat, Popeye, is actually a cat. He wags his tail when he’s happy, goes crazy for vegetables, and likes to burrow (as in, under the sheets, in closed cupboards, or “digging” little holes in furniture or in the ground for him to climb into). However, he does jump on you when you’re about to get up or when you’re doing something important, so I’m pretty sure he’s a cat.

8. Your novel sort of drove home a concept for me. In After Eden, Devi, the protagonist, views God as a very distant and apathetic being, not an uncommon opinion these days. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is the same attitude a character might hold towards their writer? Did writing After Eden make you question any core beliefs you may or may not have? Whether they be religious in origin or not?

I’ve tried to distance myself from my work as much as possible, so the characters in After Eden do not necessarily reflect my opinions on Christianity or my ideas about God. For me (as a reader and a writer), it’s far more interesting to let the characters explore the world on their own, interpret events in their own way, and speak for themselves. Still, many of the ideas in the book are either taken directly from, or heavily influenced by, some of my favorite Christian mystics and Western thinkers/schools of thought, which I think that’s kind of inescapable. In my opinion, there aren’t really any “new” ideas, so I feel like everything I’ve written is a continuation of something I’ve been exposed to in the past.
To answer your other question—yes, I do think that the God portrayed in the novels has some similarities to myself as an author. However, though we both do some really cruel things to our characters, neither of us are as apathetic or distant as we seem. For example, I’m already getting upset about some of the scenes I will be writing in books 2 & 3, and…well let’s just say that God’s opinions and motives will become clearer as the series progresses.

9. Which authors inspire you most? Be they Indie, Trad, or Mangaka.

Amanda Hocking’s name gets mentioned in almost anything that talks about self-publishing, and there’s a good reason for that. Regardless of what you think of her novels (which, as an aside, I think are fun and absolutely addicting), her gutsiness, unwillingness to give up, and ability to keep writing and improving her craft despite getting repeatedly rejected is pretty inspirational. All writers get rejected at some point, either by publishers, other writers, or (worst of all) readers. As a writer you can’t get upset when you fail. You just have to keep on writing and improving. Amanda did just that and found success. How could she not inspire me?

10. What’s your “process” like? Are you a pantster or plotter or a bit of both?

I guess both? I usually have an idea of the major scenes that will be in the book before I start writing, but I never know what will come in between those scenes. After making a bullet point list of those scenes (in chronological order), I start writing. I’m pretty flexible, though. I always skip/abandon/change the bullet points if my writing takes me in a different direction. Still, I rarely abandon the major scenes, probably because those are the scenes that inspired me to write the book in the first place, and I always look forward to writing them. And for anyone who’s interested, I do already know how the “Fallen Angels” series is going to end.

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11. Do you intend to explore other genres as a writer, if so, which ones?

Yes. I have way more ideas than I’d ever be able to write, and I love horror, fantasy, drama, melodrama, dystopian scifi, comedy, historical and contemporary stories. My most recent ideas have almost all been for young adult books (probably because that’s what I’m currently writing), but at some point I may branch out and write a novel for adults or younger teens/kids. However, right now I really love ya and will continue to write it until ya readers get sick of me!

I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing romance, because it can be so much fun and heartbreaking. Still, I really, really, really want to write a “buddy story” (like Tommy Boy or Pineapple Express) at some point, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull it off.

12. Is there something you absolutely couldn’t write?

Even though I love mangas, there are a lot of tropes in mangas that I despise. One of the big ones is when there’s a character who just exists to be everyone’s punching bag…and that I’m supposed to think this is funny. Whenever that happens, I always hope the story will turn into Carrie.

13. Do you pursue other creative endeavors besides writing? (feel free to mention your garden, if you’d like! I wish I had a green thumb)

I love painting. In a lot of ways it’s a lot more satisfying to me than writing because I can look at my work all at once. Unfortunately, I tend to have “tunnel vision” when I’m writing (I’ll look at a specific scene as if it were its own separate thing instead of part of the novel), which can lead to pacing issues. Not so with painting. It never frustrates me to the point where I want to quit, and when something isn’t working I never lose faith that things will turn out alright. Everyone reading this is probably wondering why I didn’t just become a painter then, and I have no good answer for that.

I also love gardening and knitting. My dream is to someday grow at least 75% of the vegetables and fruits I consume. I’m definitely not sharing how close I am to achieving that dream because, currently, my progress is a little depressing. Still, the rosemary, strawberries, blueberries, turnips, parsley, beets, marjoram, cress, chervil, arugula, (one tomato plant), and borage are all doing great! Oh, and so are the weeds. Unfortunately, the beans and lettuce plants have been pretty much decimated by the slugs.

14.  Do you have favorite words? Most of mine tend to be censored on Television and the others make me question my sanity.
I think I know what you mean. I am really partial to the names “Charlemagne” and “Bonaparte.” But those guys in real life? No. Thank. You. “Silence” is a really beautiful word. I also like “soil,” “church,” “cedar,” and “sorrow.” I like a lot of simple, single-syllable words, and yes, a few of them are censored on TV!

 What I find kind of funny is that my favorite words are often not the words I used most in my own writing (with the exception of “silence”). In my book, I’m constantly talking about characters in the dark, breathing, and biting their lips…and I just realized that I probably shouldn’t have brought that up because it makes my book sound horrible. Still, it’s true.

15. If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

“The girl who wanted to be named after a star.” Which is completely true! I called myself Vega when I was a kid and wrote the name on all my school papers (which my teachers found…charming I hope?)

16. Do you have a muse? Do you even believe in a Muse and if so, what do you believe about them?

I think caffeine is my muse. While that may sound funny (or at least it sounds funny to me), I’m being serious. My writing is always faster and better after a cup of tea or coffee—a lot faster and a lot better. Maybe I should make a shrine to the Camellia sinensis and coffee plant.

17. 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 Sprite, and a chocolate fountain or two. Just sayin’…

Your ultimate writing environment sounds wonderful, and is a lot more romantic than mine. I get distracted really easily, so a window wouldn’t be a good idea. I find I work best at a table pushed against the wall, which just sounds horrible (and I guess it kind of is), but it’s true. Though I love the cats, I hate it when they jump on the keyboard while I’m working, so a room without them (unless they want to sit quietly in my lap, ha!) is best. As for “fun stuff,” a bottomless cup of coffee or tea would be nice too, especially if it is always the perfect temperature. I really like your idea of a new laptop. Mine is a family hand-me-down that I fear is on its last legs. Also, chocolate fountain? Brilliant.

18. Do you have a WIP on the backburner or any ideas for future books you wouldn’t mind sharing?

I have way more ideas for books than I’ll ever be able to write, and all of those ideas seem so much better than the book I’m currently working on. Right now I’m really excited about an idea for a ya paranormal romance involving selkies, and a speculative fiction “gender bender” series. Oh, and that vampire pnr always haunts me. I think I will need to get (at least) book 3 written in the “Fallen Angels” series before I start any of them, though.


19. How many books do you have planned for the After Eden series?

At this point I think there will be 4 books. For those of you who have read After Eden, Book 2 focuses on Devi’s relationship with her brother, Oz’s relationship with Forneus, and the issues that arise from having a guardian angel. Book 1 raised a lot of questions, and Book 2 provides a lot of answers.


20. Tell us about Kindle Independence Day.

It’s me and 16 other authors who are giving away a kindle and free copies of all our books to one lucky winner. However, since participants get the most “tickets” for reading and reviewing our books honestly, I’m letting all the contestants download my book for free to review. Here is the free download code for Smashwords: RP47Q . You can download the book from this site: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54896 . It will be available until July 4th, 2011. If you’re interested, please visit http://kindleindiependence.webs.com/ to sign up. You have my permission to share the link and the download code for my book with anyone you want.

That’s very kind of you. Thank you so much for agreeing, and taking the time out, to answer my questions, Katherine.

Does anybody have any Manga or Anime recommendations for Katherine? Share some of your favorite titles in the comments!

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