Author Interview - Katie Dunn
Welcome back to another author interview! Today's featured author is Katie Dunn, YA author and high school teacher.
When did you begin writing? What inspired you to start?
I have been writing since I was in fifth grade. My school used to have creative writing centers and I loved writing fun stories for the teacher to read. As I got older, I started writing in journals, but I never finished a story. I always stopped a couple chapters in because I kept getting inspired and distracted with other story ideas. I stopped writing when I was in high school, but I still had ideas that would come to mind. It was only a year ago, 2019, that I had someone motivate me and push me to finish a book and then publish it. That was when I published Ancient Elements.
What author inspired you the most?
Rick Riordan will always have a place in my bookish heart. Growing up reading all his books probably had a part in why I choose magic and myths to mainly write about. Riordan also inspires me because he started out as an author and now has his own branch in a publishing company. He decided he did not just want to write but he also wanted to share works from writers in other cultures/backgrounds.
What book inspired you the most?
The Percy Jackson series got me to love reading and love mythology. I have read hundreds of books since then, but it will always be the start of my interest in the subject of fantasy fiction. Most books with magic, romance, humor, and adventure are quite inspiring to me as well. My favorite book series now is the Guild Codex/Spellbound for its story, magic, humor and spunky heroine.
What was your first book/short story/other? What was it about, and when did you write it?
Ancient Elements was my first published book. I started it in the summer of 2018 right after I graduated college and published it in March 2019. At the time I did not have much money (I still don’t, I’m a teacher), so my boyfriend and I had to make my book cover. In the book, Skye Dunbar and her best friend thought they were the only ones who had special abilities. However, new neighbors move in across the street and prove them wrong. Skye and her friend accompany them to their facility after an attack where they train their powers and skills. Skye finds out she is one of the missing elementals they have been looking for, but she isn’t sure she wants to join them, especially since a rogue group of gifted individuals is hunting their kind.
Share a 'turning point' in your life as a writer.
I would say my turning point as a writer came in the summer of 2018. I had just graduated NAU with a teaching degree. I had a job lined up but it didn’t start until August, so I had a couple months of nothing to do. I had a great story idea, so I started writing but I didn’t have much hope of finishing it because I had never finished a story in my life. However, I was lucky to have a good support system. I was pushed to finish my story by my boyfriend and mom, and they encouraged me even further by helping me self-publish it. After that accomplishment, I realized writing was my passion and now I can actually write and finish stories so I have been doing that ever since in addition to teaching.
What projects are you working on now?
I have two projects going on right now. I just published the second book in the Skor Stone Trilogy so now I have to finish the third book (well, I have to start it first). It involves pirates, royalty, and an antagonist who uses skor stones to control people. The first book was from the antagonist’s niece’s POV and the second was from the pirate captain’s POV. I was wanting to give readers a feel for each of those characters by letting them see the story from their perspective. The other project I am working on will be called Sapphire Sparks. It is a story about superheroes, monsters, sects/organizations of the supernatural world, and a protagonist who has an unreliable power and a mystery. The progress for both books can be found on my website.
What character (from any project) was the most fun to write, and why?
The character that was the most fun to write about was probably Serena from Myth Blessed. Every time she started to get the hang of things in her new life, something else came up that she had to deal with. It was fun writing about her discovery of her powers and familiar and her thoughts and feeling about the people around her.
What character (from any project) was the most relatable to you, and why?
The character that is most relatable to me is Skye from Ancient Elements. Probably because much of Skye’s characteristics are also mine. It was my first book, so I stuck to what was familiar: her choice of school, hair color, favorite foods.
Do you have any tips for your fellow writers?
I know this is an obvious bit of advice, but it is something that cannot be said enough: write, write, write, and when you’re done writing, read, then write some more. What I have learned is that a skill cannot be improved unless it is done over and over again. Another piece of advice is to not worry as much about how other authors write because every author has their own unique way of doing things: what they write, how they format, and their processes that lead to writing their stories. Just do what makes you comfortable.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer?
I have two big challenges I have to face and still have trouble with. One is finishing a story before moving on to another idea. I have gotten better it, but I still sometimes start a new project while I am still working on another one. Writing my ideas in a journal has helped tremendously. Another challenge that I am facing is writing a series. My mind thinks it is done with that story once the book is published and tries to move on to other ideas, so I am having trouble focusing on the trilogy I am writing. I don’t know how authors write so many books in a series. I commend those who do it.
Thanks for interviewing with me today! Is there anything else you'd like to share?
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