Monday, March 8, 2010

Interview with author Katie Hines

Today, my guest is Katie Hines, author of the young adult novel, Guardian.

Hi Katie, I’m pleased to have you as my guest today and know you have lots to share. Thank you for be willing to answer some questions.

1. How long have you been writing and what made you decide to become a writer?

I’ve been writing on and off ever since I can remember, but most notably since 8th grade. I had some poetry published in an anthology is high school, and kept extensive journals of my early 20s. The desire to share the story of my turbulent 20s led me to writing. An editor kindly pointed out major flaws in my memoir, and I set out to learn the craft of creative writing, and that process led me to my first published book and several newspaper gigs.

2. What is your writing process?

I begin with a lot of thinking. I decide what kind of book I want to write, what the initial premise should be, and what kind of characters I want to write my story. Once I’ve come up with that information, I do a lot of research into pertinent facts, and then finally begin to craft the story. I do know the beginning, and the ending, and have ideas about the middle, but those are not solidified until I actually get to the middle. Once the story is finished, I go back in and layer in more conflict and adventure. To be honest, I go through several drafts before the story is completely finished.

3. Do you do any other types of writing besides writing for children? If so, what do you prefer to write and why?

I do. I write for an online catholic magazine, and have done a fair amount of newspaper writing. I really don’t like to do the newspaper writing, but it helped me a lot in editing my book because newspaper articles have a set word limit, and you have to know how to cut to get within the word limit. I do have a young adult novel I’m working, which I don’t consider as writing for children. It is about the murder of a girl’s sister and the things the family goes through in coping with that tragedy. I also maintain a blog on which I post three times a week.

4. Are you a full-time or part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?

I am a full-time stay-at-home person. As such, my day is filled with writing related activities, but not always writing itself. I get a lot of emails every day, many of which require action on my part. I find it difficult to switch from organizational mode to creative mode, so I don’t get as much writing done as I would like. Unlike some writers, I have the ability to spend all day writing, but I actually make sure that I take care of myself as a person and wife and mom, all of which are more important to me than writing. If I don’t do those three things, then I can’t write effectively.

5. How and why did you decide to incorporate the quest for the Holy Grail into your story?

When I was doing research for the Oak Island treasure story, I came across quite a bit of speculation about whose treasure it was that was buried on Oak Island. One group thought was that it was pirate treasure, another group thought it was the work of Mason’s, and actually several books put forth the supposition that it was the missing treasure of the Knights Templar. One of the things the Templars were supposed to have was the Holy Grail, so it kind of evolved and was natural that I included the Grail.

6. What kind of research did you do for this tale?

I did quite a bit, actually. I read about 5-6 books about Oak Island and the treasure shaft, about the Templars, and Perceval and the Fisher King. I read books about the armor of that time, and some about pirates in the area. I also contacted the Nova Scotia tourist society and they sent me brochures and pictures of their lovely country. I searched online for pictures of Nova Scotia, Maine and Oak Island. I contacted people who had been to those places and picked their brains regarding small details, like the weather, about boats, and so forth.

7. Do you have an agent, and do you believe children’s authors should have one?

I do not have an agent. In the present publishing climate, children’s authors can directly contact publishers. Not the major ones, but there are many fine smaller publishing houses that take unagented work. 4RV Publishing is one such traditional publisher, and it has been my pleasure to work with them.

8. How did you find your publisher, and how many publishers did you approach before your manuscript was accepted?

While I was writing “Guardian,” I kept my eye out for publishers who published my kind of story. When I would come across one, I would go to their website and check them out. Then I printed out a page with their information and put it in a file. When I was done with “Guardian” I pulled that file out and chose my top three publishers. The first passed on it, but the next publisher, 4RV Publishing, picked it up.

9. What is your marketing strategy for Guardian?

Today’s marketing strategy for writers requires a strong internet presence. While my book was under contract, I developed a marketing plan. Part of that plan resulted in me creating my own website, creating a blog and posting on both Facebook and Twitter. There are more places you can go online, but any online work has to be manageable on a daily basis. I am going on a virtual blog tour the first ten days of March, and I have also hired a publicist to help with some of the large-scale marketing. I also plan to attend some book festivals and do school visits. I also guest post on other’s blogs and try to get my name, the name of my book, and the name of my publisher “out there” as much as possible.

10. What tips do you have for new authors wanting to break into the children’s market?

Believe in yourself, realize you need a critique group, or at least one honest person to look at your work, edit and then submit, not letting rejections depress you. And, of course, write, write, write.

11. Where can people learn more about Katie Hines and your work?

Folks can visit my blog at, my webpage at, order from the publisher at, through Amazon (enter: Guardian by Katie Hines), or order from their local bookseller.

Thank you Katie for visiting with me today.

Thanks for having me Penny!


  1. Great interview, Penny and Katie.

    Katie, your research really paid off with an excellent YA novel. I know one of my grandson's believed in it from the beginning (he's my gauge for fantasy and scifi for YA). Now he wants an autographed copy. We'll have to work that out before his birthday in September. *grin*

  2. My goodness, Katie's new book is everywhere these days. Great job of promoting a new release! Thank you for bring this interview to us, Penny!
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson
    Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick

  3. Hi, Penny and Katie.
    I'm having so much fun following your tour, Katie. Soon, you'll have no secrets from the world. :)
    Another great interview, Penny. Thanks.


  4. Hi Vivian, Carolyn and Bev, thanks for stopping by. It was fun for me to chat with Katie about her book, and I'm glad you all liked the interview.

  5. Great interview Penny.
    Katie, you put lots of work into research. It sure paid off for you. Your book is full of rich details.

  6. Hey, guys. Thanks for stopping by. Didn't Penny do a great job with the interview?

  7. Thanks Kathy for stopping by. I agree with you completely. This is a great read.

  8. Katie, you're popping up all over the place! Penny, I missed the review of The Guardian on Sat., but just read it. I love your reviews, and you did another great job.
    Great interview, ladies!

  9. Thanks, Katie. You were an easy person to work with. It was my pleasure.

  10. Thanks, Jessi. I appreciate your comments.

  11. Great interview! I especially liked your tips for new writers (I'm one!)... and that's so true - getting a critique partner(s) was so important to refining my work.

    Good luck and much success Katie!

  12. Susan, thanks for stopping by. It's always interesting to see what other writers have to say.

  13. I enjoyed learning even more about Katie today. She has the knack to share different information about her in each of her interviews.

    Best wishes for your continud success!

    Children’s Author
    Write What Inspires You Blog
    The Golden Pathway Story book Blog

  14. Donna, Thanks for stopping by. Having done my own VBT for Ghost for Rent, I know how difficult it is to keep the answers fresh and entertaining and not say the same thing on every blog!

  15. Great interview -- thanks!

  16. Wonderful interview for an amazing new book! Great job!

  17. Rena and Janet, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview.

  18. Brigitte, thanks for stopping by. Katie has a winner in Guardian.