Monday, March 15, 2010

Ten Questions with Katie Hines

I'd like to welcome Katie Hines to my blog today.  She is the author of Guardian, a fantastic middle grade urban fantasy.  

1. Hi Katie.  Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I'm a wife, a mom, and a grandma who also is a writer.  Although I had some poetry published in an anthology back when I was in high school, the only writing I did in my 20s was in my diary, which was my confidant and friend.  When my husband suggested that I turn it into a memoir, I was hesitant, but thought, "What the heck."  I did, and the result was truly awful.  After a few kind and well-meaning words about the memoir, I decided that if I wanted to write anything worth publishing, I was going to have to learn more about creative writing.  So, I embarked on a journey of learning which eventually lead to Guardian.

2. What was your inspiration for writing Guardian?
While I was thinking about what to write, I was doing some internet research, and so was my husband, Bill.  He is actually the one who came across the Oak Island (Nova Scotia) treasure story.  When he shared it with me, I realized this was the storyline I was looking for, did my research and began writing, while never looking back.

3. What were the challenges in bringing your book to completion?
Obviously the very first is getting a whole draft written.  I kept adding layers as I was writing that changed previous chapters and impacted future chapters.  As such, it took me several "goings through" to finish the whole rough draft.  I actually have a total of nine editing manuscripts, and a whole file of deleted scenes, which I definitely didn't want to delete in case I wanted to use them again.
After doing the editing, it was a challenge to get it through my online critique group simply because there were anywhere from four to six of us, and we could only submit 2,000 words at a time every four to six weeks.  I was finally able to partner up with another children's writer who needed her entire manuscript critiqued, too, so that took care of that.

4. What were your experiences with your blog tour for Guardian?
I tried to make sure I publicized it as much as possible on the groups that I'm a part of, but of course the idea of the blog tour is to gain exposure for the book with readership that I don't normally touch.  The results have been mixed.
I think readers and commenter presence has depended on the audience size of the host and their willingness to publicize the interview on their blog, too.  For the most part, the hosts have been awesome, and I'm thankful for their willingness to help promote Guardian.
I've tried to mix up the content of the interviews for the readership, too, and I think that has helped.  Book reviews, interviews, guest posting.  I've got a few fine folks who have followed the tour everyday, which has been cool.
The thing I'm looking for, and I don't know whether I've achieved it or not, is to get exposure for the book outside my sphere of influence.  I do know I've heard comments from people that I've never heard of before, so that is good.  I have hired a publicity firm to help gain exposure for Guardian, so hopefully, I'll see some results from that.

5. What are your marketing strategies for Guardian?
Many strategies were in place by the time Guardian was published and rolling off the printing press.  Most of it involved online name recognition: blog, guest blogging, interviews, blog talk radio, web site creation and such.
Since the time the book has come out, I am still doing all the previous, but am adding book signings, library and school visits.  Recognizing I only have a limited reach, I have also hired a publicist to do some of the online marketing for me.

6. Can you share about any current writing projects?
I am writing another middle grade urban fantasy, and am excited about it.  It is being a little stubborn as it wants to go in directions I don't want it to go, so I'm having to rethink some of the plot and characters.  Additionally, I am slowly working on a young adult novel and two chapter books which figure the intrepid Grandma Helga. 

7. What are your top five favorite books and why? 
Any and all of Terry Brooks' books (all of which I have read several times), and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I also like the long series of Terry Goodkind and books by Madeleine L. 'Engle and Cornelia Funke, a German children's author.  Why?  Because they're all fantasy (not to be confused with science fiction), and I'm an avid lover of fantasy.

8. If you could be a character in any book you've ever read, who would you be and why?
I don't know.  In most of the fantasy books I read, the heroines get killed off, so that's not good.  I think there is a lady mage in one of Terry Brooks' books that I like, 'cause I think it would be cool to command and be proficient with magic while also accepting the responsibilities inherent with the same.

9. What would be the best way for readers to contact you?   
I have a contact button on my website at

10. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would encourage other writers and aspiring authors to dare to dream and reach for the stars.  Perhaps the stars aren't available, but a trip to the moon is.  If you don't dream, then you'll never succeed because dreaming means you're envisioning your book as a success, which it will never be if you don't dream and don't submit.  There comes a point where you must say, "I've polished it as much as I can; it's time to submit."

Well, our time has come to an end.  Thank you Katie for taking the time to answer my questions today.  
If anyone has questions for Katie, please feel free to leave them in a comment and she will stop by to answer them for you.    


Katie Hines said...

Hey, Susanne, thanks for interviewing me today. I look forward to reading your guests post and questions.

Amber Stults said...

What a nice interview, Susanne!

Katie - your marketing strategy seems sound. You might want to see what Jim C. Hines has to say about marketing. He's got a neat spreadsheet that shows when his sales peak and sometimes he knows what caused it. (Like a new book coming out.)

I like the cover for The Guardian. Did you have any input for the final look of it?

Margaret Fieland said...

Susanne, thanks for the great interview. Katie, I've read and loved many fantasy novels, starting with Lewis Carroll's Alice books and James Barrie's Peter Pan. I love the Tolkien Ring books, and have read all of the Harry Potter novels. At first I claimed I was getting them for my kids but finally admitted they were for me {grin}.


Susanne Drazic said...

Hi Amber and Margaret. I'm glad you both liked the interview. It's always fun getting to know authors through the interviews because you learn things about them that you might not learn from their blogs or websites.

Interviews, books, and music said...

Great interview, Susanne! I really enjoyed it.

Katie, I work with a person who once told me that they didn't have any dreams. Since they are usually unhappy, I don't really believe them - they have dreams they never pursued. Dreaming, and following them, is really very important and it's never too late to start.

Oops! Didn't mean to be a blabber mouth. Thanks for sharing. Julie

Katie Hines said...

Julie, peggy and Amber, thanks for your comments. You know, it always seems like I learn something new about myself, too, when I do these interviews. Thanks for stopping by.

Stephen Tremp said...

I haven't read too many fantasy novels recently. I am going to the library to take out Asimov's series this week. His work is sci-fi, but its also fantasy. I remember reading some of his stuff when I was a kid.

Stephen Tremp


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