Please give a warm welcome to Kaitlin Covel. This is the first interview that I have conducted myself, so please bear with me.
Kaitlin Covel released her debut novel on February 14, 2019, Valentine’s Day. To see my review, please click here: https://storiesbygina.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/atoning-for-ashes-a-book-review/
Let’s start at the beginning. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
K: I was homeschooled and part of our homeschool curriculum was Charlotte Masons’ story starters. Each chapter presented you with a predicament several characters found themselves in and you had to solve it by finishing the story on your own. I enjoyed doing these so much that I realized I was born to write.
I was homeschool, too! I think I will check into these story starters. My daughter wants to be a writer as well. I think she would enjoy these.
This leads into my next question. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Some people know they want to be writers right off, others persue other adventures first.
K: I went through my phases as every child does, but one dream that stayed with me to maturity was becoming a published author. I thank God for parents that encouraged and nourished this budding dream in my heart even as a little girl.
That’s wonderful. I’m so glad to hear that your parents were supportive of your dream. I think that’s really important. So, to write Atoning for Ashes, you would have a lot of research to do about the Regency era of English history. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
K: I was really surprised to learn how long it took to travel by carriage on Cornish roads in England back in the Regency era. I’m so accustomed to driving a car that how long it took to travel back then really shocked me!
Lol! I’m really glad we can travel faster than five to ten miles per hour now! It is strange to think how long it would have taken to get anywhere back then. And thinking of time, how long does it take you to write a book?
K: At this point, I would say 6 months or less. My goal is to be able to write a book in half that time, but I know I will reach that goal with practice. The lengthy proofreading and editing process which includes heavy re-writes often feels even more grueling than writing the first draft!
That’s true. Proofreading and editing are some of the most important parts of writing a book. Neglecting these can lead to disaster. But since you mentioned it, can you tell us your favorite part about being a writer? Research? First Draft? Editing?
K: Every part of writing has enjoyable aspects (even editing), but what I enjoy the most is weaving complicated plot twists as I write to keep the reader guessing. I personally don’t enjoy predictable story lines, and it is such fun to be surprised as a writer when your characters begin to speak to you on the page. My final draft is always much different than my first draft because I know my characters even better by then.
Some would say that having characters speak to us is one of the weird quirks that writers possess. Individually, authors can have strange things that help them as they write, so what would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
K: I’m a “soundtrack” writer. I have to listen to specific music for specific scenes as I write, and I build instrumental playlists based on the moods I will need: sad, happy, pensive, etc.
Music can be very inspiring, as well as a variety of other things. Where do you get your inspiration or ideas for your books?
K: I get inspired by historical research. I read a lot of memoirs, biographies, articles, and books about all types of historical eras. I also enjoy watching period drama shows. It doesn’t take much to plant a story seed in my mind!
Historical research is great and of course, very important if you’re going to write a historical fiction. However, if all you have are facts, you have a biography, not a story. What do you think makes a good story?
K: I could answer this question all day because it would be impossible to include everything here, but right off the top of my head I would have to say a well-developed plot, deep, realistic characters with lots of layers that get peeled back, a strong theme, a well-described (but not overly described) setting, solid research, and lots of obstacles that force the characters to face their worst fears and overcome them in order to achieve their goals.
There are so many aspects to writing a good story, it can be a bit overwhelming to someone who wanted to be an author or writer. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer?
K: Keep learning and keep reading! Be open to criticism, but only allow it to shape you and never to crush you. Be consistent in your writing habits and develop a routine. Make your writing time a precious priority or that time will get stolen from you. Allow yourself to make mistakes and to grow from those mistakes. Take notes about what you like in the books you read and what you don’t. Hone your observation skills to a razor-sharp edge. Give yourself permission to be different than other writers. Those are just a few things I have personally learned, and I will continue to learn!
Even the best authors can’t write all the time, so what do you like to do when you’re not writing?
K: When I’m not writing you can usually find me baking something yummy in the kitchen, reading a good book, antiquing, exploring the great outdoors, or decorating.
Well, Kaitlin. That’s all the questions I have for now. Thanks so much for joining me today. And thank you, readers, for taking the time to enjoy this interview. I hope you check out Atoning for Ashes, and keep your eyes open for new books by author Kaitlin Covel.