Friday, 25 January 2013

Words with... Kat Yares

I'm pleased to welcome Kat Yares, author, screenwriter, mum and movie maker...

Kat Yares has been writing fiction her entire adult life. She is an author, screenwriter and indie movie maker. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous print publications and online. She was first accepted into the Horror Writers Association in 2001 and is a member today. Her fiction is primarily in the horror/thriller genres. Unlike many, she writes horror not to gross out or startle her readers, but to make them think. Most of her stories are mind games and deal with man’s (or woman's) inhumanity to man (or woman).

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

Day job – chief cook and bottle washer, wife, mom and grandma. I'm lucky in that I get to stay home and do the things I love – reading and writing.

What books have you written so far?

Kats Tales – Journeys in the Velvet Darkness: Revealed Evila collection of 13 short stories that have been previously published over the years.
Vengeance Is Mine – a novella.
Beneath the Tor – a novel.
And several short stories available for the Kindle.

What works in progress do you have?

The XIII – a follow-up (but not a sequel) to Beneath the Tor. I’m working on the final edits and formatting.
Hidden Personas – recently started in my free time.

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

I can knock out a thoroughly crappy first draft in about 30 days (if I participate in National Novel Writing Month). It can take me months, or even years, to get the draft to where it is publishable.

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?

I outline basic plot points and generally write from beginning to end. Sometimes, though, a scene will come to me and I'll write it out of order, or a character will do something that forces me to deviate from the outline.

Why do you write?

I write so that I can get the stories I love out of my head and into a medium where they cannot be forgotten.

How long have you been writing?

Since I first learned to form letters on the page. I wrote my first 'novel' at eleven and have been writing fiction for publication since I was in my twenties.

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?

I write most weekdays, but generally not on the weekends as I prefer to spend that time with my better half. No real set schedule during the week though, and I do count revising and editing as writing. Favourite place to write is on the couch with the laptop in my lap.

Which character from your books do you like most / are most like?

There is a bit of me in all my characters, yet I don't think I'm really like any of them.  My favourite character so far is Miriam in Beneath the Tor – a very strong woman.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

I suppose my initial inspiration to write came from reading as a child. A high-school English teacher encouraged me to write the stories I had in my head. I never really considered myself a writer though, until I had sold a story or two.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?

The Story is King and with that comes great plotting, great characters and good storytelling skills (including spelling and grammar). It's not just a matter of putting garbled words on the page.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?

Just as most characters I write have a bit of me in them, they also have bits of everyone I've ever known – a twitch from this guy, a voice inflection from that guy. Everyone I know becomes a character study.

If you had to pick some actors/actresses to play the characters in your book, who would you hire?

The only book I've written that I did that with was Vengeance Is Mine.  I actually adapted it into a screenplay. Chose Billy Bob Thornton as the male lead, Robert Duvall as the main antagonist. Never quite figured out who would be perfect for the female lead though. I also adapted two of my short stories into movies, which my husband and I shot. Had a lot of fun casting the characters in Truth of Becoming and The Fan.

Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?

Animal:  my two English Mastiffs.
Food:  anything pasta or steak.
Drink:  Jameson Whisky.
Film:  Grapes of Wrath.
Colour: Grey.
Place:  Home.

When you were a kid, what did you want to do/who did you want to be when you grew up?

I always knew I would be a writer, but, as for a profession, I wanted to be an archaeologist.

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?

Absolutely.  I'm doing what I love and will look back in my later years with no regrets.

You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

I'd tell him to get an eReader and load up on freebies in every genre. Why settle for just five?

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?

Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind.  I loved her tenacity.

Who is your hero / heroine?

I don’t have a particular hero – I tend to look up to and admire anyone who is selfless.

Which book do you wish you had written?

Grapes of Wrath.

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemmingway and Harper Lee.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?

Some of my short stories have been published in magazines, both in print and online. My novella and novel have been self-published. My next novel will also be self-published. I really cannot see a reason to go the 'traditional' route of publishing these days.

How do you find the marketing experience?

I hate self-promotion, which is probably why I don't do it often or enough. But, it is something that has to be done; whether you are a self-published author or one published by more traditional means.

What advice would you give other writers just starting out?

Learn the craft. There is no excuse not to these days. Find beta readers for your work and listen to what they have to say, even if you feel it's negative. Have your work edited. If you cannot afford a professional editor to do it, find someone who was great in English class to go over your manuscript. Don't be too quick to hit the 'publish' button. Put the work aside for a week or a month, and then go back through it from the beginning and revise every sentence that doesn't sound right; rewrite every passage that doesn't make sense. Present only your best work – nothing turns a reader off more than misspelled words, words used in the wrong context and bad grammar.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?

I have one that is woefully neglected. Usually only post when I have something to say.

What other hobbies do you have?

Movie making, photography, cooking and reading.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

To have at least five more books out there, and selling enough to support my husband and myself comfortably.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dosh?

Tell my husband to quit work, come home and start playing with wood. We own a saw mill and one of his greatest pleasures is building furniture. I would so love for him to have the freedom to pursue his passions, too.

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less… 1. There was once a wee worm called Fred…
2. In the deep and darkest reaches of the dank forest...
3. One day Charlotte decided she was going to change the world...

One day Charlotte decided she was going to change the world. She began by killing her parents. Sitting alone in the darkened living room, she waited for her grandparents to arrive. Already her world was vastly improved.
(okay, I am a horror writer – this is what came to mind J )

What question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?

Who are my favourite authors in my genre?  Michael McDowell, Robert McCammon and Steven King are the big names. John Paul Allen, Monica O'Rourke, Michael Gleich, Billie Sue Mosiman, Jaime Johnesee and Jeffrey Kosh round out the indies.


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