Howdy my lovelies! Welcome again to Interview FoxSeat featuring author Katie Jaros
Katie Jaros is an author with an obsession for the mysterious and beautiful. When she’s not writing, she’s busy chasing after one of her Valkyrie-like children or secret-eating all the Redvines. She lives in Seattle with her family. Lost Souls is her first novel.
Book Blurb: Title: Lost Souls: Book 1 of the Lost Souls Trilogy
Genre: Paranormal fiction, YA
Blurb: As a hard partying senior at Sacred Heart High School, Christa Nichols was used to people telling her she was bad at making choices. But when a car accident awakens her to the secret world of Angels and Demons, she realizes for the first time the weight her decisions truly have. Now caught in the middle of a life-long rivalry between a classic-rock loving Guardian Angel and a Demonic club promoter, Christa won’t just need to use her wits to survive… she’ll need them to save her mother’s soul. Lost Souls takes you on a journey through a world where Guardian Angels masquerade as the homeless and business-savvy Demons trade souls like they’re on the NYSE. Full of romance, horror, and food trucks; Lost Souls is fun at its most Divine.
If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it? N/A… “Katie Jaros” would be the worst pen name ever!
Why do you write? To get the voices out of my head! Ha…kidding…kind of. Writing has been something I’ve done my whole life. I can remember the first word I ever wrote by myself with a pencil, (Hot), and it just sort of took off from there. It’s always felt very natural to express myself on the page, either through dialogue and fiction, or in essay form. I suppose that goes with the territory when you have a big mouth— feeding the need to share, communicate, create. And while I’m not wild about the idea of fame, the impulse to have other people read my work has always been prevalent. My stories were never going to stay hidden in a diary somewhere for my grandchildren to find cleaning out an old trunk or whatever…not my style! I write because I have to—to not would be death and I pride myself on being a survivor.
When did you decide to become a writer? I decided to pursue writing professionally right before my thirtieth birthday…I had just had my third baby and I knew it was something I needed to do for myself. Deciding to become a writer wasn’t the hard part…writing the first draft took that prize. But it was a good choice, one I’m glad I was brave enough to make.
How long does it usually take you to complete a book? Depends… writing a reader-ready version of Lost Souls took 2 years and 3 drafts, but it’s follow up, Hellbound took 6 months. I read through a list of writer tips by Stephen King a while back, and he said it should never take you longer than 1 season, (Autumn, Winter, etc.), to complete a first draft. While that may work for him, I find the idea of completing a first draft in 3 months very daunting and will just say “it takes whatever it takes”…time…blood…a bottle of whiskey and a couple fish hooks…do what you gotta do! We’re not making doughnuts here.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? Me coming home one day and crying over my beautiful newborn while she nursed…and not crying tears of joy. What should have been a very special time in my life had been overshadowed by this raw need to make something of myself…beyond my home, family….which was a truly beautiful life that I never wanted to take for granted again. Writing gave me that balance that I needed. I bought myself a new laptop that day, (I had never bought myself a computer before), and started working. 3 years later, I haven’t stopped.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I try to write every day…(I will take a weekend or vacation every now and again)…I’m at my best when I can sit down in the morning and really hammer it out for a couple hours. If I don’t get that though, I have no problem parking it in the afternoon or evening and getting down to it. I have 3 young children at home!—and for those of you who know what that’s like, you quickly learn to not squander whatever quiet time you can find. I am not someone who needs perfect circumstances to create— my laptop and a cup of coffee do nicely.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I think I am more open to taking risks with my manuscript pages than I was in the beginning. You know, right after you finish that first draft of your first novel ever, you CLING to that thing like a piece of driftwood out in open water. The thought of changing it, in any capacity, is horrifying. Forget moving chapters or cutting characters, the mere suggestion of altering a single line of dialogue is sacrilege! And I get it…you worked so hard on just getting to that point, of having a complete beginning, middle, and end, (God willing)… it’s your baby. But if you’re smart, you have a great group of beta readers, aka, your best friends in the history of the world, who can give it to you straight and give you that feedback all writers desperately need. And maybe you cry a little after that first round of feedback; but you want to be a great writer so here we go. Take the note, leave the note, BE RESPECTFUL and tell your readers thank you!—and at least think about making changes. That’s a tough step for a lot of writers, but one I’ve grown to enjoy. I love feedback now.
Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? Only to the echo of Sesame Street wafting from the living room to the kitchen where I’ve set up shop. Otherwise, no. I prefer not to have other sound going.
What have you written? I have written 2 of the 3 books in my Lost Souls trilogy. The first has been published, the second is on its way. I have written many a short story and essay in my time, and keep a regular blog at katiejaros.com.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I didn’t always outline, but now I do it obsessively! A lot of times, a book will start off as a series of scenes in my head, like watching a movie. But I have to take those few seconds of mental pictures to a 200-400+ page novel. So yes, I outline. I do it for you, readers! No one likes a rambly plot…like listening to your girlfriend talk about the dream she had last night…ugh. You love her, but Snoresville! Save everyone, yourself especially, sometime and type up some notes.
Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? I am not a graphic designer— the only program I know how to use on my computer is Word!—so I found a design firm I am in love with. Damon Za…fantastic work. (damonza.com). Getting the mock ups may be more fun than actually writing the book itself.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? I know a lot of authors hate even muttering the word “marketing”, but I’ve really come around to it. You have to— no matter who your publisher is. I’ve found the best way to boost sales is similar to making friends. Get out there, meet new people, and be open. Don’t lead with your book, if someone is truly interested in getting to know you, it’ll come up on it’s own. And then don’t insist they buy it- yuck! I’ve found most people like to read and are very curious the minute you tell them you’re an author and will probably pick up a copy on their own. I like this approach because it’s casual and low pressure, and I usually make a new friend as well which is awesome. I would be okay if all my readers were people I knew personally…maybe that makes me weird but this world is full of kind, interesting individuals and I love talking and getting to know them. Whether they buy my book or not I feel fortunate to have connected with another human being.
Any advice for aspiring authors? Write every day. I’m not the first person to say it. But that’s what separates the wanna-do-somethings from the do-somethings. Be a do-something. It’s not glamourous. And it’s hard. And we need to come up with a better phrase than “a do-something”. Editor!!
Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special? When creating Christa, I wanted to make someone that everyone could relate to. Particularly in my genre, (paranormal, YA), I feel there is a tendency for female leads to be a bit bookish… pretty, but chaste…unless it’s a post-apocalyptic story and then replace “bookish” with “superhero badass”. I wanted a girl like me— one who’s high school record was less than pristine, does stupid stuff because, oh my God, SHE’S 18 and that’s what you do when you’re 18…and very often you’re smacking your head going “what the Hell, Christa??!!” while reading—but you root for her just the same. She’s still a hero, in a sort of punk rock way. We all make mistakes, and seeing that imperfection in a main character like Christa is endearing.
Where do your ideas come from? All over— other books, songs on the radio, movies, street signs, hiking trips…I’ll hear a funny laugh or see something weird on the news…inspiration is everywhere.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Putting it out there. Feeling enough self-confidence that even if it’s shredded by the public, it’s still yours and you made it and you’re proud of it. Follow the wise words of Willie Nelson and just play for yourself. You always win that way.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Getting it all out on the page. Hellbound (book 2 in the series) is such a BIG story. I knew exactly how I wanted to have it all go down, and the actual writing went very quickly, but I kept wanting to get to the next part—I couldn’t type fast enough! Had to hold back from rushing it and just enjoy the process.
What is your favorite movie or TV show? I don’t watch a lot of TV, (I’m a big fan of World News on BBC), but my two favorite movies are Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and The Big Lebowski. Both are pure gold!
What is the current book you are promoting? Lost Souls is currently out on the shelves and Hellbound: Book 2 in the Lost Souls Trilogy will be released on Nov. 1st, 2016.
You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? Have to check out my website in the coming months- one is on it’s way! MF: Take note Lovelies!!
Who is your favorite character in your book and why? Toss-up between Daniel and Alden…depends if I’m in a Betty or Veronica kind of mood.
Who is your least favorite character and why? Mama loves all her children equally!
If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast? People that would be entirely age inappropriate at this time…because I’m old!:) I have K-Stew as Christa, because I’m a major Twihard- (haters gonna hate, but I wear my badge proudly), or someone else in that dark haired, light eyed sexy/surly vein. Daniel is forever Aaron Tveit (Les Miserables, Graceland, Braindead) in my mind, and I picture Thomas Dekker, whom some of you may remember from a little show called The Secret Circle (which should have NEVER been cancelled after 1 season!!!) as Alden, sporting an Irish accent, natch.
What is your next project? Ascension: Book 3 in the Lost Souls Trilogy…third and final! I’m also working on a little side project right now tentatively titled Silence on the Sound: An Emerald City Mystery #1.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Of all time? Tough…Rabo Karabekian from Kurt Vonnegut’s Bluebeard. I found a copy of this book at a garage sale in college and it has been in my top 5 ever since. Rabo is a 71 year old grumpy abstract expressionist, who finally, has decided to let people into his life. It’s a funny and poignant story with great characters, Rabo eating scenery left and right. I’m a huge Vonnegut fan and this book is tops, for sure.
What one person from history would you like to meet and why? This question will make or break my cool factor, I can feel it…hm. My go-to for this was John Lennon for a couple decades, but I don’t know. Still love him, still love the Beatles…but I don’t think there is anyone “famous” from history that I want to meet anymore. I don’t feel the need to meet my dead ancestors, so I’m going to go with the guy who made the best tuna sandwich in the history of ever, and he/she invites me to lunch. That would be great.
Do you have any fur babies to brag about? Ha! I have a sweet little reformed stray tortoiseshell cat named Phoebe Van Halen who took up residence about 9 years ago and, except for a jaunt into the outside world for 3 days last Summer, has been by my side ever since. She has a clipped ear, broken teeth, and is an excellent (silent) writing partner, keeping me company on the kitchen table every day while I work. She’s here now and has requested not to be photographed. Very elusive.
Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? I haven’t read the whole thing through front to back…but the day my hard copy version of Lost Souls showed up was very cool. I still occasionally pick it up and flip to a random page, read a couple paragraphs and put it back smugly…feeling quite proud of myself.
What book are you currently reading or just finished? I am backed up on book club books, (typical), but right now I’m reading Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs…also stuck in the first half of Outlander, and enjoying Rhonda Rousey’s autobiography. I like to have a couple books going at any given time.
Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others? Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me with Apples…it came out in 2001 so it’s not new by any stretch— but I am really into cookbooks that also tell a story. I love Anthony Bourdain’s work— his writing is so funny and peppered with colorful tidbits from his life in the restaurant business- (see what I did there? Alliteration!)—always a fun, quick read. I’m primarily a fiction writer who loves to read non-fiction. I don’t know if that’s normal or not, but it’s just me. And I also love to cook…and eat. So- check these guys out.
Tell us something unique about you. While I have published books and raised a family and climbed mountains in my spare time, my life’s goal is to grow pumpkins— like- in a patch in my garden. Several seasons in, and I have yet to achieve that goal. I don’t know if our climate is right for it- kind of an uphill battle. Had a lot of luck with strawberries this year, so I should probably just give up the ghost and stick with what I know…but- I really, REALLY want like, 20 big gorgeous pumpkins for Halloween, every year, and I always end up having to go to Safeway and raiding their stock. Sad.:)
How can readers discover more about you and you work? You can check out my website, katiejaros.com for news and updates on my upcoming books; all of which are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks. We’ve got links!
Many many thanks Katie! For more about the fabulous Katie and her work, follow the links below: