Katie Robison is the author of the action-packed novel Downburst, which I found on Cheap eBooks.
How did you come up with the idea for Downburst?
I was actively brainstorming ideas for a new book. I knew I wanted a unique paranormal/ fantasy element, and I came up with a concept at the same time that I was reading a book of Maori stories. This prompted me to develop my fantasy element by weaving in various Native mythologies, which has been one of the most rewarding parts of this project.
Who is your favorite character?
This is a hard one. I really admire Kit, especially how she grows as a character over the course of the series. But I have a soft spot in my heart for Rye. (My very favorite character doesn’t appear until book two.)
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
I based the descriptions for my main characters on real people (I write better if I have a picture in mind, which is why I always visit and/or research the places I’m writing about), but in terms of personality, the characters pretty much came to life on their own.
Describe your writing process.
Before I do any writing, I do a lot of brainstorming and outlining so I have a clear picture of the entire book (or series, in this case). If I have any specific scenes or pieces of dialogue in my mind, I’ll jot them down so I don’t forget them. Then I go to work on the first draft. Generally, I write linearly, but sometimes I’ll jump around if I’m stuck. There’s definitely an organic element to this process, where I’ll generate ideas as I’m writing, and this is why the outline is important. I allow myself to incorporate these new ideas (usually, they improve the story), but the outline keeps me from getting off track and losing sight of the big picture. Once I’ve got a draft, I’ll let it sit for a bit then come back to it and note any inconsistencies or other things that need to be fixed. After a little revising, I’ll send the manuscript to my critique partners. What follows is a process of getting feedback, making changes, getting more feedback, and making more changes until I feel like the plot is airtight. I finish by checking for typos and other small errors and polishing things at the sentence-level. Then we’re ready for publication.
Who are some authors who have influenced you?
I have a lot of influences, but I think I can pinpoint my love of beautifully plotted adventure stories to Alexandre Dumas and my fascination with flawed characters to Edith Wharton. For Downburst in particular, I decided to switch to first-person present tense, which I’d never used before, after reading Suzanne Collins. For this type of story, it worked a lot better to have a restricted point of view, and the present tense lent the narrative a kind of urgency that helped to build suspense.
What made you want to become an author?
I don’t think there was any one event that made me want to be an author. I’ve just always known I wanted to write, and I’ve been coming up with stories since I was a kid.
What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
Embrace writing as a process. You won’t get it right with your first draft, but that’s okay! (I threw away my first version of Downburst, killed off my main character, and started over.) The more you revise and rework, the better the story—and your writing—will become.
On a related note, be humble enough to solicit and accept feedback, but don’t feel like you need to submit your work to a committee. Relying on a few trusted and qualified critique partners, who are passionate about your story, is sufficient.
Thank you, Katie!! Readers, I am well on my way in Downburst and I can tell you–this is a high quality book. Stay tuned for my review, coming in a few days!
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