It’s been a while since I did an author interview, so I was excited to get the chance to post this new interview with Katie Stewart. Katie is a children’s and young adult author from Northam, Western Australia. Katie’s preferred genre is fantasy, which shows clearly in her latest release, “The Dragon Box”, an ebook that is currently available on Amazon.
Now, on to the interview questions:
1. When did you first decide that you wanted to be an author? What made you want to choose this career path?
I’ve always loved writing, but I loved art, too. As a young child I wanted to be the next Beatrix Potter and spent hours copying her illustrations. As I got older I moved away from the writing and more towards the illustrating, but I still had stories in my head and actually wrote a ‘novel’ when I was sixteen – which I disposed of when I reread it years later! I didn’t start writing seriously until about 12 years ago when I took a writing course as ‘something to do’.
2. Who are some of the authors that greatly influenced your writing style? What were some of your favorite books as a kid?
My favourite authors are Paulo Coelho, Ursula Le Guin, CS Lewis and Juliet Marillier. I’d like to be able to say I write like any one of them, but I can’t. I love the magical way Coelho uses words, the fantastic world-building of Le Guin, the imagination of CS Lewis and the brilliant characterisation of Marillier.
As a child I read everything I could lay my hands on. I had a book called ‘The Sam Pig Story Book’ which I adored, partly because it had been given to me by a favourite aunt and partly because it involved fantasy and nature, still two of my favourite things. I also loved ‘Peter Pan’ (JM Barrie) and all the ‘Katy’ books (Susan Coolidge). In my teenage years I loved books by Hester Burton and Australian author, HF Brinsmead, as well as devouring every Charles Dickens book I could find. So quite a mix really.
3. Did you have a hard time getting your first book published?
Yes, which is why I finally decided to epublish. There are not many publishers in Australia who publish fantasy anyway, but I just didn’t seem to be able to quite fit anyone’s list. The feedback I’d had, though, suggested that my writing was good enough, so I took the plunge and ventured out on my own.
4. Assuming that you write for children or young adults, what made you decide to write for those age groups? Do you still feel connected to your “inner child”?
I was originally a teacher. Literacy and art were my favourite areas to teach. I firmly believe that a lively imagination is the greatest gift anyone can have. My own childhood was very happy, with a large family and a life filled with books, laughter and music. So yes, I’m still very much in touch with my inner child. In fact, some people might think I never grew up!
5. What are some of your hobbies, other than writing?
As I’ve said, I love art, especially working with pastels. I’ve done a lot of pet portraits and paintings of wildlife. I’ve illustrated a few books. Apart from that, I love reading and listening to music as well as playing my celtic harp.
6. Do you have any sage advice for new authors who are just entering the field?
Read, read, read. Anything and everything, especially in the genre you want to write. Also, if you’re writing for children, you need a sense of humour (that’s Aussie spelling). Kid’s love humour even in a serious story.
7. Do you hold any other jobs outside of your writing? If so, do you find that this helps your writing or gets in the way?
I work three days a week as a school library officer and IT support. Being around children and children’s books all day does give me a good idea of what works as a writer, but there are times, I must admit, when I’d rather just be home writing those books.
8. If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
I’d love to meet CS Lewis. As I said earlier, his imagination was just wonderful and I’d love to talk with him about how he got his ideas and how he so carefully weaved his philosophy into his stories without preaching.
9. Do you have any other information you would like to share, such as a website, author page, awards won, etc.?