Today I had the opportunity to interview Katie Hamstead, author of The Kiya Trilogy, about her newest release Deceptive Cadence and about being an author, mom, and time-traveler (okay, sort of time-traveler). Check it out!
Briefly, describe what “Deceptive Cadence” is about.
Deceptive Cadence is about a young woman who loses everything, but is given a second chance to change it. It follows her reliving her teen years as she works to mend the broken relationships in her life. But when you change something, you can’t anticipate the results, including for her, James walking into her life and making everything very complicated.
Tell us the story of how you came up with this idea.
I think everyone has regrets and “what ifs” in their lives. I’ve thought about things like that on and off, and wondered where my life would be if things had gone differently. Cadence is an exploration of that, but she can remember the mistakes she made so she doesn’t do them again. I even threw in some scenes from my own life to spice it up! I wonder if anyone can pick them out.
I’ve also read that you were influenced by the ocean and by your upbringing in Australia as you wrote “Deceptive Cadence”. Is that true? What were the other main influences for this novel?
Mostly there are trips to the beach. Like many Aussie kids, I lived on the beach during summer, and if I wasn’t there, I wanted to be there. Cadence is the same, which gives a taste of Aussie culture to the book.
There is also a strong focus on family and true friendship. Cadence learns about these things in more depth with her second chance, and learns how love is more than just romance.
This novel to an extent focuses on a tragedy that makes Cadence re-evaluate her life and her choices. Without compromising your privacy, was there an event in your life that had a similar impact that you drew from while writing?
I haven’t lost my husband and daughter, but on occasion I wonder what I’d do if I did. It’s morbid, but it happens to some people. I do know if an angel came and said “go back and you could change this” I’d snatch it up. I’ve seen people around me lose a child or a spouse through sickness or accidents, and I can only imagine how devastating that would be.
Changing gears a little bit: throughout your career, you have written various genres spanning historical fiction, contemporary romance, and magic realism. What differences, if any, do you see in your own process when you write different genres?
I don’t know. Historical obviously needs some time to research to establish a timeline, period mentality, etc. first, while contemporary can just be drawn from things around me. But I always try to write from the heart, to give my characters a raw, real feeling to who they are.
Before I ask this next question, I wanted to congratulate you on a recent success: your novel “Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh” has sold 10,000 copies worldwide! What do you think has made it so successful? Are there any writing or marketing secrets you can share?
You know, I don’t know! Ha, ha! I know the biggest jumps I’ve seen are through sales promoted by Bookbub. These sales give things a kick start that flows through for several months and to the rest of the trilogy.
Personally, I maintain a blog with a page showing my works and links to them, a Facebook page, and a twitter account. I also work to be supportive of those around me, and those working toward their own publication. It’s amazing what karma can do!
Mostly, I share what I do with people I meet. It can be hard to put myself out there, but in general, people get pretty excited when they find out I’m published. Word of mouth spreads. In fact, I heard recently of a group that are nuts about my trilogy clear on the other side of Phoenix, and I don’t know any of them! That had to happen due to word of mouth.
Being a writer myself, I am always in awe of people who are able to do it full-time. Take us through a typical day for you as a writer.
I don’t know if I’d say it’s full-time. I’m a mommy first, and that is close to a 24 hour gig. Luckily, my kid is very understanding that I need time during the day.
My day changes every day, but usually it starts with me being up first to check emails and work on anything that came through during the night. Then I get ready for the day while the kiddo eats breakfast at a snail’s pace. In the morning, I try to get her out to do something, whether it’s visiting Grandma, preschool, visiting the library, or just running errands, to run off her energy and fend off her boredom.
After lunch, we have “quiet time” where she plays quietly in her room (technically) while I try to get some work done.
Hubs comes home in the evening, and I try to get dinner done, but being pregnant makes that difficult most of the time, and we try to have family time before bed and if we don’t have other commitments. Once the kid is in bed, we try to spend some time as a couple, talking, watching a show or something he discovered on YouTube, before I go into my bubble to try to get some words on the page.
But my days are extremely flexible. I have to be with a kid. I’m just glad I can work from home to help support my husband while raising our kid.
Related to your typical writer lifestyle, how long does it take you to produce a novel, and what does that process look like?
It takes me a lot longer than I used to. With my daughter being older, and more interactive, I have a lot less free time than I did when she was a baby/toddler and still took naps. Back then, I remember pumping out a novel in a month. Now, with her combined with a lot more editing commitments, it takes me quite a while, I don’t know exactly how long.
My process is… a jumble. I get ideas in my head, write a scene here and there to add later, but in general I write from start to finish, adding those scenes in as I go. If my head was laid out on a piece of paper, it would probably look like a giant mess with pictures and images everywhere, but it sorts out eventually.
What advice would you give new authors or prospective authors who are trying to make a successful writing career?
Write it out, review it, then get out and involve with other writers. I had no idea how little I knew until I knew better. Other writers helped me grow and learn in leaps and bounds as long as I stayed open to the constructive criticism. Writing is a game of patience and refinement. You’ll get there eventually.
Fun question (and related to “Deceptive Cadence”): If you could travel back to your high school years, what would you change?
I’d probably smack a few people in the head! Ha, ha, ha! No, but I would be more assertive and way less afraid. Outside of school, I was a pretty fun kid, but the kids at my school were brutal to me. I wouldn’t put up with it if I could change it.