Friday, October 8, 2010
Interview with author Katharina Kolata
Today my guest is author Katharina Kolata. Katharina has done something unusual with her book, The witches of Greenwitch. She is offering it free in a serialized version. Currently, you can access about half of the story.
1) Tell me a little about your book.
Well, The Witches of Greenwitch, http://witchesofgreenwitch.wordpress.com is not a book yet but it will be, soon. It's a free, online, serialized fantasy novel with beautiful pictures by the very talented, sixteen-year old Eszti from Hungary. It is aimed at Fantasy-lovers of all ages. So far, nearly half of the story is available.
In it, a mysterious stone magics book-rat Melissa to the world of Greenwitch where she meets fairy tale creatures that are not at all what she expected. Desperately, she looks for a way home and tries to ignore her past which pops up at the most inappropriate moments. At the same time, dangerous pursuers are at her heels getting closer by the minute.
2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
A few years back a small independent publisher in Germany asked for stories that revolved around a magical stone that takes its wearers to other (fairy tale kind of) worlds. When I read the submission guidelines, Melissa suddenly spoke up, requesting that story as hers. Of course, I obeyed. Unfortunately, the publisher folded before the story was published. So I shelved it for a while. In April 2010, I decided to build a platform so that readers can get to know ( and maybe to like) my writing style.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I am a work-at-home mother of three from Germany and I'm lucky enough to be able to write in the mornings. I sit at my PC 8am every morning and write till noon. The rest of the day, I need for my kids, the house, the husband etc.
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I never consciously decided to be a writer. I wrote and told stories all my life but when a friend of mine discovered her family archive in the attic (dating back to the 16th century), I decided to become more serious. My first novel (historical) is based on facts from this discovery. Later, I turned to my secret love: Fantasy.
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I hope they will be entertained. In my historical novels, I also aim to make them understand the time they are in. I am always satisfied when a reader tells me that (s)he learned something.
6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I love Fantasy and History. Lately, I write more and more stories that combine the two. Although I enjoy writing for grown-ups and teens (generally I write all age), I prefer to write for younger children because they see the world through different eyes. My great-granny once told me that children have a third eye in their foreheads that look for truths, and I was determined never to close mine. I hope that I succeeded.
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
It's the waiting; waiting for agents to get back to you, waiting for the publishers to come to a decision, waiting for the copy-editor to contact you. It's sooooo annoying. The only thing I can do in that case is keep writing.
8) Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Not in this one.
9) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
This is a really difficult question. I do believe that all my characters have traits that resemble me, or I couldn't write them. But they also have their own individualities and it's hard to separate the two. Ask a mother how much her child is like her and she couldn't tell you more. I do believe that being a writer is the only socially acceptable way to be schizophrenic. *grin*
10) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
People often believe that stories set in an imaginary place do not require research but they are wrong. It's just a different kind of research but it has to be just as thorough as for a historical novel. I always do a lot of world-building before I start writing. It just wouldn't do to have - for example - a magic that draws on individual strength in one scene and on Mother Earth's the next. Or a world with two moons and neither of them has any consequences, neither on the ecosystem nor on the social aspects of the story. We've only got one moon and look how many believes/superstitions/religions are connected to it, and how it influences our tides and much more. Inconsistencies or illogical word-building always make me throw a perfectly good story aside.
11) Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
I write whatever the story requires, but sometimes it hurts. It's another plus of writing for children, kid's books are often less violent.
12) What about your book makes it special?
The story has many surprising twists which made it much better suited for serialization that I had anticipated. Also, the illustrations by Eszti are stunning. She is only sixteen but her pictures are absolutely great. It's worth reading the story for the pictures alone.
13) What is your marketing plan?
I am always happy to give an interview or talk or whatever on blogs of interested readers/writers. Also, I keep gaining followers on my own blog. I have a website with a lot of information on the books I have written (many) and those that were published (a lot less).
14) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Read the online story http://witchesofgreenwitch.wordpress.com/ The Witches of Greenwitch, visit http://katharina-gerlach.blogspot.com/ my Blog, and http://www.tapio-de.org/ my Homepage.
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
On one hand, getting published is hard these days, on the other, publishers are always looking for the next great xx (insert author of your choice here). Learn the basics, keep improving, revise, revise, revise, and if you are persistent enough you might hit gold one day.
Here's a little more about Witches of Greenwitch:
A mysterious stone magics book-rat Melissa to the world of Greenwitch where she meets fairy tale creatures that are not at all what she expected. Desperately, she looks for a way home and tries to ignore her past which pops up at the most inappropriate moments. At the same time, dangerous pursuers are at her heels getting closer by the minute.