Katy Newton Naas is the author of the Visitors (see my review soon!), and Healing Rain, being released later this month! She kindly gave her book out for free, and then I got the chance to interview her! Here’s what she said…
How long have you been writing for? Basically, I’ve been writing since the day I learned how to do it! I used to write stories for my friends when I was little, and I just never stopped. I wrote a lot of short stories and dabbled in poetry. I didn’t attempt my first full-length novel until I was about twenty-four.
Where do the ideas for your story and characters come from? Are any of them based of people you know? My stories come from things I see in the world. For example, I got the idea for THE VISITORS one day when I was bored, reading articles on Yahoo! News. It was one of those days when every news story was depressing and scary and just makes you question the world. I thought to myself, what if there were others looking in on our planet? What would they think about the way we treat our planet, and each other? That thought just kind of stuck with me, which developed into the story line for the novel. As far as my characters, I wouldn’t say that I base any of them on specific people, but I take character traits from real people. I work in a middle school and a high school every day – my students are a huge inspiration for the way my characters talk and think.
What’s your favourite part of writing/publishing? I LOVE the way my characters come to life for me as I’m writing the story. It sounds weird, but I get attached to them as their stories develop. They become almost like family for that time.
What’s your least favourite part of writing/publishing? I guess I would have to say the business side of it all. Contracts, marketing…that sort of thing. I mean, I know it’s also an important part of all of this, but I would love to just be able to concentrate on the actual writing part and let the rest take care of itself. 🙂
About how long does it take you to complete a book? On average, I would estimate about four months. It depends. Middle grade novels, which are typically a little shorter, can take anywhere from a month to three months. Young adult novels have taken me anywhere from two months to six or seven. I used to be able to write much faster than I do now…but trying to write while balancing a full-time job and a family is not always easy! I do most of my writing after my son has gone to bed at night, which means I sacrifice a lot of sleep!
If you could bring one of your characters to life (from either of your books), who would you choose and why? This is a tough one! I think I would probably choose Rain, the main character from my upcoming release, HEALING RAIN. I became particularly attached to her while writing her story, and she became so strong after going through such a difficult time in her life. I would love the chance to meet her in real life!
Do you plan on writing more books set in Verdant, or was The Visitors the only one? Well, I am actually writing the sequel as we speak! However, it’s not set on Verdant – it’s set back here on Earth, but it features many of the characters from THE VISITORS. I am really hoping to have it completed and submitted to my publisher by the summer so that it can be out by the end of the year.
How much detail did you plan Verdant in before you started writing? Is there anything only you know about the planet, that you couldn’t fit into the book? I really took time to visualize Verdant before I ever began the novel. I know that writing science fiction takes a lot of planning in order to make it believable, and I wanted it to be a place that my readers could picture right along with me. There are some things that I know about the planet that my readers don’t know just yet, but more will be revealed in the sequel, so I can’t say too much on that topic just yet! 🙂
Okay, THAT ENDING. Was that the plan from the start, or did you decide to rip out our hearts later while in the middle of the book? Haha! You know, most writers say they create some sort of outline before they ever begin the actual story. I’ve tried that, but it just doesn’t work for me. I always have a rough idea of where I want the story to go, but I’ve found that trying to follow an outline makes me feel trapped. I would rather just write and see where the story takes me. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to end the story exactly when I began, but I was happy with the way things turned out for the characters. It left it open for me to continue their story.
Healing Rain is set in our world. Why did you choose to do that instead of another fantasy?
Honestly, I write more realistic fiction than I do science fiction/fantasy, typically. As I mentioned earlier, I work with middle and high schoolers every day, and I like to write contemporary stories that I hope they can relate to. However, I can’t really categorize myself by one genre. I write whatever story comes to mind. THE VISITORS is science fiction/romance, while HEALING RAIN is contemporary fiction/romance/inspirational. I actually have a middle grade release coming out this summer as well, called GUARDIAN, about a seventh grade girl with epilepsy and her seizure assistance dog. The last novel I completed is a young adult paranormal/suspense that I’m hoping will be released later this year – ideally around Halloween! My point is, I dabble in a little bit of everything.
What’s your favourite part of Healing Rain, that you especially can’t wait for your readers to read? Well, I hope that my readers fall in love with Rain the way I did. She had this perfect life that was ripped apart by one horrible tragedy, and her whole world was flipped upside down. I think that anyone who has ever been through anything difficult will be able to relate to her struggles. She has trouble trying to decide where she fits in, and I think we’ve all been there at one point or another.
Which was harder to write; Healing Rain or The Visitors? What a hard question! The stories are so different from each other, and each one presented its own set of challenges. For THE VISITORS, it was the research that was involved. I spent a lot of time researching NASA and our solar system in order to make the story as believable as possible. HEALING RAIN was more difficult to write emotionally. She relives some really horrific moments in the story, and some of them were exhausting to write. But I enjoy the challenge!
If there’s anything else you want to ask Katy, about her books or writing in general, just let me know. She’s SO NICE, I’m sure she won’t say no to another interview 😛 (right, Katy..?). She’s also giving out copies of both the Visitors and Healing Rain. To get one of these awesome books, enter through the Rafflecopter! I’ll be choosing two random winners two weeks from now, one for each book
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This is my first time doing a giveaway, so if anything goes wrong, please let me know so I can fix it ASAP!