This week, I’d like to introduce to you one determined young lady. She’s been all over the web with a blog tour to promote her first book, so I’m glad she had time to squeeze us into her busy schedule. Kourtney responded to my call for interviewees a few months ago and while I was looking into her story and checking out some of the other blogs she’s been on, I was fascinated by her story. She has come up with some of the most interesting characters and unique plot line that I’m sure you will be as intrigued as me.
Have you ever thought it would be fun to read people’s minds? Kourtney explores this in her story The Six Train to Wisconsin. As it turns out, telepathy isn’t all fun and games! Please give Kourtney a great, big HELLO! 🙂
Hi, Kourtney! Welcome to my blog!
Hi Susan! Thanks for having me here as a guest!
Writers can be divided into several categories: pantsers, plotters and those who do a little of both. What do you consider yourself to be and why?
Great question! I actually devoted an entire guest post to it. I’m a plantser and you can find out why at: http://petedenton.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/guest-post-plantser-the-hybrid-model/
‘Plantser’ – I love that term! 🙂
Writers often have favourite times at which they write. What does your writing schedule look like?
To start my day, I check email, Facebook, my blog comments, and Twitter. I have a to-do list next to my laptop (I write it at midnight the night before) and that pretty much lays out my day. Except for the email or phone call that might change the course of things.
When I’m drafting, it’s 1000 words a day for 5 days a week. There is no set time of day that I prefer to draft at. Can be afternoon or evening. When I’m revising, it’s a certain number of chapters or pages to be worked on. When I’m promoting, it’s contacting venues, responding to requests for information, and social media.
I work until most of the list is completed, exhaustion sets in, or it’s bedtime. Most days are 8-10 hours of work. Around the book launch, they went a lot longer.
That’s a longer work schedule than most people with ‘day jobs’!
Beta readers, critique partners, writing groups and feedback from rejection letters all give writers insight into how to improve their writing. What have you most relied on to help you perfect your own writing?
I think it’s important to try them all. It’s the only way you can learn what works best for you. I’ve received feedback from all these methods with my YA manuscript. That’s where I tried everything out.
As for what I relied on most, it’s differed for each manuscript. For Six Train, it was feedback from rejection letters, charity auctions, and beta readers that really shaped the novel. For my YA novel, it was my critique partner, Kat Bender, and agent rejection letters.
What is some advice you could give other authors who want to self-publish or take the indie route?
Make sure you are ready to make the time and monetary commitment.
You have to be your own publishing house, your own marketing team, and your own assistant. You have to manage the entire publication process from editing to layout to cover design. Even if you hire freelancers, you are the final check on everything. You have to create a marketing plan. You have to set up signings and blog tour events. It’s all on your shoulders.
You definitely have to have confidence in your work and determination, in order to make it all work!
Since I’ve been married, I’ve had an aversion to romance novels, but your story, The Six Train to Wisconsin has really intrigued me. What makes its romance different than most other romances out there?
I wrote this story for women who don’t like traditional romances. They want a love story that fits their lifestyle. They don’t believe in happily ever after. They do believe in the peaks and valleys that come with any relationship. And they like reading about the journey of love and don’t think of it as a destination.
Your stories seem to be mostly character-driven. I think that’s why I really like speculative fiction. Please tell us how you develop your characters? Are they based on people you know?
I take the emotions or situations I’ve experienced and filter them into my fiction. My characters are completely fictional. I might steal some aspects from my real life, but they get blended together to form each character. I once had a boss who talked in percentages. I thought that was the perfect quirk for Oliver and incorporated that into his character.
I develop my characters over time. I do something I call storystorming to bring them to life before I start writing. Then I deepen them as I go.
Your description of how you ‘storystorm’ was fascinating. I find a do a version of this, but not always in the beginning. (Click on the red highlighted word above to read all about how Kourtney ‘storystorms’) Thanks for sharing that bit of insight, Kourtney! 🙂
Varying points of view in a story can be complicated. I have one on the back burner that I’m still struggling with in this regard. How did you solve the problem of your two characters’ perspectives in The Six Train To Wisconsin?
I actually intended to write the whole story from the husband’s perspective. Then the story took a turn that required the wife’s POV half way through. Then another turn where it alternated POV to the end. That was my original version.
Agents told me it was unsellable and I had to alternate the POV from the start. So I went back and did massive revisions. By that time, I’d already spent a couple years with the story and I knew my characters so well, it was a challenge but one I was up to.
I’m not sure how people start out alternating point of view from the get-go. It’s hard enough to develop one voice at a time, let alone two simultaneously.
It sure is! Glad you managed to work out the kinks. 🙂
One last question, please tell us about your ‘warrior lapdog, Emerson’. I’m sure the dog-lovers out there would love to ‘meet’ him. 🙂
Emerson is my bubby–my baby boy and my puppy. He’s half Shih-tzu, half Lhasa Apso, and looks like an Ewok. The Shih-tzu in him is the lapdog that lays in my lap for hours while I type. The Lhasa Apso is the guard dog who sleeps facing my door to protect me. His cuddling got me over many rejections.
He’s adorable! I love Ewoks! 🙂
Where in cyberspace can my readers connect with you?
They can find me here:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/kourtneyheintzwriter
Thanks for dropping by and talking to us, today, Kourtney. Best of luck with the rest of your blog tour and book sales. Oh, and congratulations on being a semifinalist for Amazon’s 2012 Breakthrough Novel Award! 🙂
I hope you, my readers, will check out the blog posts Kourtney mentioned above, as well as the social media sites so you can keep apprised of her successes – and definitely check out her book! 🙂
Six Train to Wisconsin – book blurb:
Sometimes saving the person you love can cost you everything.
There is one person that ties Oliver Richter to this world: his wife Kai. For Kai, Oliver is the keeper of her secrets.
When her telepathy spirals out of control and inundates her mind with the thoughts and emotions of everyone within a half-mile radius, the life they built together in Manhattan is threatened.
To save her, Oliver brings her to the hometown he abandoned—Butternut, Wisconsin—where the secrets of his past remain buried. But the past has a way of refusing to stay dead. Can Kai save Oliver before his secrets claim their future?
Kourtney’s Bio on Amazon:
Kourtney Heintz writes emotionally evocative speculative fiction that captures the deepest truths of being human. For her characters, love is a journey never a destination.
She resides in Connecticut with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working in financial services provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, imagining a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.
Her debut novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist.
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