Today we have another author interview featuring the lovely and talented Kate Brauning. If you aren’t following her on social media, make sure you rectify that by the end of this interview. She’s a doll.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My very first novel I wrote in high school, and was basically fan fiction. I read a ton as a kid, and I’d find something I loved about a book and for some reason want to do that myself. I think the creative element of my personality started out wanting to imitate instead of create independently, and that’s how I got into novels. As I gained more experience and confidence, I started writing my own ideas.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I do! I usually write with a lot of detail and specifics, in a POV that’s very close to the character. My manuscripts tend to take place over short timeframes, with the biggest time jumps being a few hours. Atmosphere is also usually a big element, with weather and natural surroundings being a big force on the story.
How did you come up with the title?
HOW WE FALL is the title for the MS that I signed with my agent on, and that title was the result of a lot of very specific brainstorming. It took me a long time to find it, and I didn’t come up with it until after the book was finished. I like it because there are so many ways to fall, and it can be a good thing or a tragic thing.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Oh, wow. So many books have worked their way into who I am. What Alice Forgot, the Harry Potter series, The Velveteen Rabbit, Where The Red Fern Grows, and Jane Eyre all really drove home certain things for me, and because of that, bits of them surface in my writing every now and then.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
John Green and J.K. Rowling, I suppose, partially because I admire their class and consistent participation in the world around them. They’re constantly advocating for things they care about, and are involved in so many wonderful things. They handle their careers so well.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading three. Dangerous Girls, Keeping Safe the Stars, and The Girl Who Played With Fire.
What are your current projects?
I’m finishing up a YA thriller, THE BALLAD OF DINAH CALDWELL, and drafting a NA contemporary. The YA is a revenge story, and the NA is a story about a son’s search for the mother who left him.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My critique partners! Boy, do they have their work cut out for them. J I’m so blessed to have such supportive, enthusiastic writing friends. It makes all the difference.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. Some people like to write on the side, and have other passions and interests, and that’s great for them. Writing is an all-in kind of deal for me, though. I love everything about it.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I think I would have liked to do more in-person research on certain subjects. Book research doesn’t always make for a strong foundation for writing in detail. I was able to ride a motorcycle and use a few handguns as research for this story, but not as much as I’d like.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
With the story I’m drafting right now, a NA contemporary, I’m aiming to take the rosy glow off serious relationships. How much you change for the other person, handling long-distance, finding your place in the other person’s family, etc., can be tough, and love doesn’t always feel like love.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Layering. Always layering. Getting thought, emotion, and action to all come together in a scene is tough, and I constantly have to remind myself that I just need to get it on the page, and then I can go back in and foreshadow, sprinkle in lines that pull on the themes, and develop the atmosphere. Remembering that layering in those things is just part of revising is important for me to not get discouraged and frustrated.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I could never pick just one, but lately I’ve been in love with Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave, and Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. They have a sparse but poetic style, and so much grit and realism that it just sweeps me away. The pacing, too, is brilliantly done and gripping.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I’d love to travel for my books, but right now my travel ends up being for conferences or else family that lives internationally. That travel, though, usually does influence something in my books. I did go to the Ozarks for my YA thriller, which is set there, and that made a huge difference in how the setting impacts the story.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read the kind of books you want to write. When you react, stop and look at how the author made you react. If a moment carries punch or if you hated something, stop to think about why. It’s a great way to learn.
What’s all your social media links to share with readers?
Who is your agent?
Carlie Webber of C.K. Webber Associates.
How did you meet your agent?
I met her through a Twitter pitch contest, and she requested a partial. Then a full. Then she offered me an R&R. I loved her notes, and we had a great conversation on the phone, so by then, I was pretty certain she was the agent for me.
What’s your agent phone call story?
It’s a long one, and this wasn’t the first MS I queried, so you can read the whole story here: