Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Words with... Kathleen Eakins

Thanks to Kathleen Eakins for this interview

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?
I am teacher, mother and wife. I teach elementary age children, but I love the middle and high school kids too. I get paid for teaching, but I do it because I love it. Like being a wife and mom, and unknown author, teaching is done from the heart. 
What books have you written so far?
I’ve written and published The Family Web. I’ve also written several other stories, which are being read by my close friends until I can find a new publisher.
What works in progress do you have?
I’ve complete a story called Harliquin Doll and another entitled Lost Truth, both are YA. I’m in the process of working through a new story, but it hasn’t been titled yet. I have a few others also, but they aren’t up to par yet.
How long did it take you to write your book/s?
The Family Web took several years. I began the idea in college and worked through it slowly, off and on. Lost Truth was the same way. The idea came to me just after I graduated and it took me some time to finish. Harliquin Doll came through very easily and quickly. I finished it in just a few months. If I have time to write, I can write one in just a couple of months, but usually my life is so busy it takes me much longer.  
Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?
I usually just write from the seat of my pants. An idea will come to me and I go with it. Typically, it’s a character or an event and I will write that down; then the story comes to life from that. I hardly ever sit down to write a book – I’m just trying to get the ideas out of my head, and what happens from there always amazes me.  
Why do you write?
I write because if I didn’t I think I would go crazy. My characters are like voices in my head. If I don’t write out what they are saying, they become more and more vocal until I don’t have a choice.
How long have you been writing?
I remember first wanting to write sometime in middle school. It was a good way to say all the things I wasn’t allowed to. But I didn’t start writing stories until I was in high school. That was the first time I remember using my imagination to create a character.
Where and when do you write? ­ Do you have set times?
I write whenever and where ever I have the time. Being a teacher, wife, and mother, I don’t have much time to and for myself, so I write whenever I can. I usually write a lot during the summers since I am not busy with school work. I don’t have set times or places. LOL... I wrote most of Harliquin Doll at McDonald’s and Chuck E Cheese!

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?
Most of my main characters have a little piece of me in them. But I think I am most like Harliquin from Harliquin Doll. I wish I was more like Justice from The Family Web though. She’s tough and spirited, and most days I want to be like her.  
What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?
The first author that I read and was moved by was SE Hinton. I was 12 when I read The Outsiders and I remember just being overwhelmed by the story. When I found out it was written by a woman, a girl no less, I remember wondering if I could write too. I am still amazed at her ability to tell stories from the view of the opposite sex.
What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?
For me, I think I enjoy stories with great characters. As a reader, I can forgive a rocky plot if I love the characters. After all, it’s the characters that we relate to as people, so if you can’t relate to the characters then the story means nothing. I try really hard when I write to make the characters believable and ‘real’.
Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?
All the time! I use people from my own life as a mental picture for the characters I write. Usually, over time, they take a turn and wind up being nothing like the real person, but it helps me understand the characters until I get to know them more. I did tell the person who was my muse for one of the characters in The Family Web. He was surprised and said he was flattered.

Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?
Animal: cats
Film: Star Wars
Book: The Outsiders
Colour: black, red
Band: Queensryche, Foo Fighters
Song: Walk by the Foo Fighters, Fire and Rain by James Taylor
Place: the beach
Clothing: pajamas
Drink: sweet tea 
When you were a kid, what did you want to do/who did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a teacher. I had some very influential teachers in my life when I was young, so I always knew that was where I wanted to be. I did dream of being an author in college, but knew that wasn’t a reality. I’ve also always wanted to be a bartender. Think of all the stories you could hear doing that job! 
Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?
I have been very blessed in my life. I know and am loved by some amazing people, I’ve seen and experienced incredible things, and I have everything that I wanted. I really can’t complain. But have my dreams come true? Not really. But I am very happy with what I have.
You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…
The Outsiders, Wuthering Heights, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Canterbury Tales and Star Wars. 
Who is your favourite character from any book and why?
Umm, this is tough. I have two. Johnny Cade from The Outsiders, because even though he had been through a lot and he knew the reality of things, he still saw the best in those around him. He was loyal and I always saw him as a caring character. The other would be Leah from the Star Wars series. She is written as a very smart woman who loves deeply. She is also very politically correct, but don’t piss her off because she’ll kick your ass! I love characters that are sweet, but tough.
Who is your hero / heroine?
My hero is Luke Skywalker. LOL... stupid, I know. But he’s naturally a good guy. He’s been tempted by evil and even did wrong, but still managed to come back to the ‘light’ side. He’s wise enough to look past himself and the immediate moment to see the bigger picture, and he keeps that in mind when making decisions. He handles pressure well, but can react in a big way when it’s needed. It doesn’t hurt that he’s cute either (I know, I’m a dork!).
Which book do you wish you had written?
Honestly, Twilight or Harry Potter. They have had such a cultural impact that I wish I could write that well. I wish I could write with the ability to touch so many.
Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?
Given no limitations:
1. Hemmingway. I want to know if he’s as big of an ass as he seems now. And I would love to hear how he feels about what English teachers are doing, making students pick apart his works. Did he really think about all those things when he wrote or did he just write to tell a story?
2. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). I’m a distant relative and I want to know about the family back then. I also think he had a great since of humour, so I would love to spend some time with him.
3. SE Hinton.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?
I am in a publisher/self-publisher nightmare. I thought I was signing with a publisher, but it’s more of a self-publishing company. I am being required to pay for everything. It been a nightmare, and has caused me to rethink writing.
How do you find the marketing experience?
Since I am being required to self-market, it’s not going so well. I work full-time and have the family to think about. I’m also struggling with a chronic illness that makes it difficult to do more than I am already doing.
What advice would you give other writers just starting out?
Grow a thick skin and a big bank account. Also, be realistic in your dreams.
Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?
I don’t have a blog. I wouldn’t know what to write about.
What other hobbies do you have?
I used to love to dance and sing, but now I just read. I still love to dance and sing, but I can’t physically any more, so I read a lot and enjoy watching movies at home.
What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
I would like to be able to write more. I would love to be able to sell enough books to get out of my contract with my publisher. I have a few personal goals too, but nothing too exciting.  
If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that cash?
LOL, it would depend how much. I’d pay off my bills first. Set some back for my son’s college fund. If it was big enough, I’d pay off my house. Dreaming big, I’d quite work to write full-time. Maybe spend some to fix up my truck – it sure could use it!
Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less…
2. In the deep and darkest reaches of the dank forest... sat a small girl. She was huddled under a low-hanging limb of a tall, evergreen tree, shivering in the waning evening light. Her face was dirty, and her long locks tangled and matted with debris from the woods. Her tattered clothing hung on her skinny body like moss from the trees that protected her. She couldn’t remember how she had come to be here, and she wasn’t even sure she knew where here was. The only thing she did know was that she was cold, hungry and scared. She also knew that what she was scared of was close; close enough that she could feel its presence. As another wave of fear rolled through her, she grabbed the branch above her and pulled her trembling body up. Standing on wobbly legs, this waif of a girl gathered what little courage she had left. And she ran...
What question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?
What is your chronic illness and how has it impacted your writing.
I suffer from an illness called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which is a form of Dysautonomia. Basically, my autonomic nervous system doesn’t work properly and it causes major problems in my body. Since becoming sick, I write more. Writing offers me a chance to sit and still do something, since being on my feet and moving isn’t always an option. I find that I look at the world just a little different now. I have a big understanding of hospitals that I use in my books more, LOL. I also enjoy spending more time in my head with my characters, allowing them to do the things I can’t. It has been one of the hardest things to handle in my life, but when it gets to be too much, writing allows me an escape.


  1. Thank you so much for allowing me the chance to do this. :) I'm very excited to see it. :)

    1. Hi! Did you not get my message at the time?


Thanks for commenting - have a kitty cool day! :)