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Creative Spotlight on Author Katie Marie
This article contains extra questions for the Creative Spotlight on Author Katie Marie, that may not have been covered in the live show of The Chapter Goddess Chat. Links to the podcast and YouTube version are found above and at the end of this article.
Tell our readers briefly about yourself.
My name is Katie Marie. I’m a horror enthusiast and author. I’ve been writing since I was in my teens and have been published in several award-winning anthologies and magazines, and Brigids Gate Press recently released my Novella A Man in Winter.
Can you tell us about your most recent release? Album? Song? Art piece? Etc.?
A Man in Winter tells the story of Arthur, whose life was devastated by the brutal murder of his wife, must come to terms with his diagnosis of dementia. He moves into a new home in a retirement community, and shortly after, has his life turned upside down again when his wife’s ghost visits him and sends him on a quest to find her killer so her spirit can move on. With his family and his doctor concerned that his dementia is advancing, will he be able to solve the murder before his independence is permanently restricted? A Man in Winter examines the horrors of isolation, dementia, loss, and the ghosts that come back to haunt us.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in so many places; I find it when out walking, wandering around museums, reading interesting articles, watching YouTube videos, and listening to music. Anything that mentally stimulates I will use as inspiration. Recently I was at the theatre watching a musical, one song explored not being able to see when we the audience knew danger was coming. That image resonated with me and by the time the interval had finished, I’d scribbled an outline into my phone’s notebook.
What is your creative work routine like? Do you balance it with another job?
I balance my creative routine around my day job; I work full-time for the national health service. It’s the kind of job where I need to be focused. So I make time each morning before work, usually an hour/hour and a half to do some writing. I then squeeze a half-hour walk into my afternoon, a lunchtime walk where I listen to some music or an audiobook, and that can be a good time to let my mind wander around whatever project I’ve been working on that morning.
Do you plan out your creations? What is your creative process like?
I’m a big planner. I plan out my creations in a lot of detail. I love the planning process, it’s where I always feel my most inspired. However, I try not to be rigid with my plans. If something needs to change while I’m writing, then I’ll change it. Oddly enough, despite being such a diligent planner, some of my best ideas pop up during the writing process.
Do you have a self-care routine or want to have one? What do you do or wish that you did to take care of your mental health?
I am a big advocate for self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I think my physical and mental health are very intertwined, so by looking after one; I benefit the other. I take time every day to get outside and walk. I attempt to buy healthy food during the weekly shop; I have a gym membership that I do my best to use every week. Though sometimes my schedule can be pretty brutal and the gym is always the first thing to suffer because of that. Every Sunday afternoon is my ‘me’ time. I start the day making sure everything’s ready for the week ahead, then take the afternoon to myself, which can mean reading or playing video games. Something relaxing to reset my brain a bit.
What is your favorite creation thus far?
My favorite creation is my novella, A Man in Winter. It inspired me to explore unusual / less-represented protagonists further.
Do you have a character that is your favorite over others you've written into creation?
Arthur is my favorite. He is an amalgamation of many people I had the pleasure of talking to and he’s my most grounded character.
Are there any recurring themes in your work?
Unreliable narration, not trusting your own perception of what's happening around you, loneliness, and fear.
What does success look like to you considering your creative passion?
For me, success is in two formats. Success right now is when I get good feedback. When someone picks up my book, reads it, and feels strongly enough about it to reach out to me either on my website, by leaving an Amazon review, or by finding me at a convention to tell me their thoughts. If I can affect someone strongly enough to motivate them to do that, then I’ve done what I set out to do. In the future, success will be if I can subsidize myself in part by writing. So I can work part-time in the day job and support myself the rest of the time with my writing. I’m also starting my Ph.D. in October and would very much consider it a success if one day, many years in the future I could actively teach. I love the idea of running the odd workshop.
What has been one of the biggest lessons you've learned since starting this journey? I collect old, outdated encyclopedias. I love looking back and seeing how our collective knowledge changes over the years. things we thought were true might not be, and things we thought were made up turn out to be true. I find it fascinating how we grow and change.
What advice would you share with new or aspiring authors/singers/artists/etc?
Invest in yourself. Always be reading, always be writing. You should never stop learning. Invest doesn't always mean money, books on writing can come from your local library, advice blogs, or YouTube. That being said, when you've got your manuscript as good as you can make it invest in an editor, they don't come cheap but there's a reason for that, they are worth the money.
Where do you get your ideas for world-building?
I set my stories in our world, so I don’t have t do a lot of world-building. But I do like to visit places either similar to or the actual place I intend to set a story. I did this when I had a story set in Highgate Cemetery in London. My partner and I did a day trip out to the cemetery.
What genre do you prefer to read?
Horror and non-fiction
What hobbies do you have?
I’m a huge nerd, I love learning about most things, so my hobbies would be reading, fiction and non, exploring museums, galleries, etc, I also have a love of stories, particularly horror stories and I love the medium in all its forms, so I was a lot of films, read a lot of books and play a lot of video games.
Do you have any outside experiences that influenced your work?
I used to work in the legal profession for just under a decade. During that time, I was fortunate enough to assist and talk to many people who were recently diagnosed with dementia. They were a fascinating and nuanced group of people and they strongly influenced Arthur as a character and the direction his story went in.
Where can our viewers/readers/listeners find you and your work?
You can connect with me on Facebook at facebook.com/katiemariewriter or on Twitter @KatieMarieWrite. You can also visit my website, katiemariewriter.com to sign up for emails about new releases, short stories, and blogs gushing about the horror genre.