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L.T. Suzuki

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

An Interview with Kathleen Bolton
8/25/2009 6:37:32 AM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

A fascinating interview with debut novelist Kathleen Bolton.


Today, I am pleased to have accomplished writer and a professional editor, Kathleen Bolton as my guest. I was first introduced to this talented author through the Writer Unboxed website. Here, Kathleen is one of the co-contributors of this website that has the wonderful distinction of being rated as one of the top 101 writers website three years in a row by Writers Digest.
On September 1, 2009, Kathleen will be sharing with the world her highly anticipated debut novel CONFESSIONS OF A FIRST DAUGHTER published by HarperCollins under the HarperTeens Imprint.

LS: First, what would you like to share about yourself with our readers?

KB: Iím a working mom and wife. Trying to juggle it all: day job, writing fiction, the blog. Sanity. Sometimes I can do it; sometimes it's a big FAIL. But I keep trying.

LS: How long had you been working as a writer/editor before you embarked on your own novel?

KB: My path is different from most other novelists. I'd been kicking on the fringes of publishing for a few years now. I have an agent; I'd gotten encouraging words from editors at conferences, etc. My first novel didn't sell (a historical romance), and I just kept at it, learning my craft, submitting work. Getting rejected.
So I've developed a thick skin about my work, which has stood me in good stead.
One of our contributors for Writer Unboxed, Victoria Holmes, was a YA novelist in her own right. She also happened to be an editor at Working Partners LTD.; a book packager based in the UK and was the brains behind the insanely successful WARRIORS line of YA adventure books. Through her I learned about writer-for-hire and how it's a huge part of the YA/series market. I applied to be put on their roster of writers to consider and filled out a questionnaire. Then I went on with my life as a writer, getting rejected, blogging, exploring different genres and voices.
Couple years later, I was contacted by one of the editors at Working Partners to try out for a YA project. It was to be a humorous story about the misadventures of the President of the United States teenaged daughter. Basically, they audition writers to find the right fit for them voice-wise, and in implementing the high-concept storyline the editorial team creates. Luckily, they loved my sample and I landed the job. I feel very fortunate, because it was a blast to write and I've learned so much.

LS: Your talent and tenacity served you well, and youíve have certainly paid your dues, Kathleen! Iím confident your debut novel will be well received after all, what teenaged girl has not experienced her fair share of misadventures? But the U.S. Presidentís daughter? I can only imagine life can be more complicated when subjected to this kind of celebrity. And knowing your creative nature and fecund imagination, I can only anticipate some high-spirited hilarity as well as touching moments as you share in the life of this special teenaged girl. Can you please tell the readers a bit more about CONFESSIONS OF A FIRST DAUGHTER?

KB: It's a hoot. Morgan Abbott is the seventeen-year-old daughter of the President of the United States, who also happens to be her mother. Morgan's trying to live a normal life, but she's thwarted by strict Secret Service security, her mother's high political position and living in a celebrity bubble. She's got a boyfriend more interested in dating the President's daughter than finding out about who Morgan is, a jealous classmate who sabotages her at school, and mother-daughter conflict. Most importantly, Morgan is a dead ringer for her mother. When the President has to engage in secret high-level diplomacy, Morgan saves the day by impersonating her mom. Sure it's an implausible situation. But it's also fun.

LS: I love the concept and because Iím a fan of strong, independent female characters, I especially love the fact you chose to make Morganís mother the President! And this takes us to the creative process. I'm curious about your writing style. Are you a disciplined writer or more relaxed?

KB: Disciplined. I basically get up each morning before work and put in an hour. So I'm a tortoise in that sense; I'll write a little at a time instead of one big glob in a marathon. I seem to reach the destination at the same time though. I have a lot of faults, but I'm not a procrastinator. Except when it comes to the blog. Plus writing steadily keeps my head in the story.

LS: Plotter or panster?

KB: I'm a plotter who ends up pantsing it. I mean, I try to plot. I lay it all out before I start to write: characters, plot points, etc. Then I start writing and it all changes.
Working with the editorial team at Working Partners has opened my eyes to the efficiency of having a detailed storyline in place before the writing ever begins. I'm going to give plotting my own stuff another go; maybe now I'll have the discipline not to deviate from the storyline. Or at least, try not to chase random plot points that seemed okay at the time, but were just distractions from the subconscious.

LS: Some authors meditate; others go for a run or fill up on java before tackling the business of writing. Do you have any rituals that you partake in before you hunker down to a writing session?

KB: I do have a morning routine, and it involves getting coffee inside me quickly. I can't seem to get going without a cup right by the mouse pad.

LS: What is the most profound discovery you've made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?

KB: I think it's important to pay it forward. Helping your fellow artist improve their work, or make a contact, or get published, is good karma. I truly believe if you put positive energy out there, that's what you'll get back. Some people think that's New Age bullshit, and maybe it is, but whatever. I guess you can take the California girl out of Cali, but you can't take the Cali out of the girl.

LS: What is the most important lesson you've learned on the road to publications?

KB: Be prepared to work your ass off. There are no shortcuts in this industry.

LS: What are you reading now?

KB: I am reading Anna Elliott's THE DARK MOON OF AVALON. I interviewed Anna for Writer Unboxed when her debut came out, and I fell in love with her work. She has a deep simplicity to her writing that's simply gorgeous. She kindly sent me an ARC of her forthcoming book, and it is awesome.

LS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years? Do you hope to branch out into other genres?

KB: I do. I'm a fan of all genres. I'm hopeful that Cassidy Calloway will open some doors to me that were closed before. The goal is to keep writing. If you keep at it, eventually something will break through.

Thank you so much from taking time from your busy schedule to share in your writing, Kathleen and congratulations on the release of your debut novel, CONFESSIONS OF A FIRST DAUGHTER. For more information about Kathleen Bolton or her novel, check out:
www.writerunboxed.com or follow her on Twitter: .KathleenBolton
And donít forget to pre-order your copy of her novel!


Comments (1)

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