YA Author Kate Brauning is my companion this week as we sit back and have a chat about her upcoming novel How We Fall.
How long have you been a writer?
I’ve been writing fiction since I was a teen, but I wrote the first novel I queried to agents the year after college. I was quite dedicated in high school, but other things (Grades! Jobs! Dating!) took over in college. I got back to it after that and have been seriously writing again for about five years now.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My debut novel, How We Fall, was percolating for a long time before I realized it, I think. I love the show Arrested Development (an odd family with a cousins romance element), and I think that was part of my inspiration, but I also love dark edgy YA (which is nothing like Arrested Development). I’m also a big fan of How I Live Now and Forbidden, which are other dark taboo romances. My novel is also a story of bravery and not letting the world tell you who to be, which are things I’ve been dealing with myself post-college. It all came together in this one idea about two cousins who are dealing with their secret relationship and the loss of their missing friend.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was pretty young. I had this idea for writing a book about a duck and a goat who couldn’t get along, and I replaced some of the words with stickers. It was a bit of a magical moment for me, that I could make up these ideas and put them on paper and have them really BE something. (The story wasn’t that great. I’m not publishing it.) 🙂
Tell us a bit about your latest book:
It’s releasing November 11 from Merit Press/F+W Media in hardcover and ebook. It’s a bit unusual both because of the cousins element and the dual conflict, so it’s not for everyone, but I loved challenging myself with the concept and I really love the book so much. Here’s the blurb:
Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle’s sleepy farming town, she’s been flirting way too much–and with her own cousin, Marcus. Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus–and deepens Jackie’s despair. Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?
What type of genre do you write in and why do you enjoy writing in this genre?
I tend to write genre-bending dark or edgy YA. I love taking everything away from my characters and watching them react, and I love the grit and depth in survival stories. My debut is contemporary, but I have a few coming that aren’t strictly contemporary. I also really love keeping some humor and romance going; that’s the blend I like to read myself, and so that’s what I like to write.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
I bake and decorate three-tier cakes, help my husband with his videography business, listen to a ton of music and devotedly follow my favorite TV shows, stay on the look-out for awesome concerts, volunteer with a Liberian non-profit that focuses on community redevelopment, and read, of course!
When you write, do you have a routine?
When I’m drafting, I like to listen to music I’ve chosen for the manuscript or scene to help me tap into the story, and re-read what I’ve written recently, making minor changes but not allowing myself to edit too deeply. Once I am focusing and writing new material, I like to limit every distraction I can, so the music goes off, and it’s best if no one is in the house. I usually also have coffee or a good whiskey on ice with me while writing.
What I do during revisions depends far more on what issue I’m trying to solve. I might listen to music, drink three cups of coffee, scratch questions on notepads, or write all over my whiteboard wall. Sometimes it’s just about getting myself to think deeply and apply what my gut already knows.
Tell us about the cover. What do you like best about it?
I really love the colors. They’re bright and youthful and still a bit ominous. The unnatural tinge in the water suits the story so well. I also love the use of water and the charm bracelet; they’re both significant elements in the story and end up guiding it quite a bit. Plus, it’s just so pretty! I love what Merit’s design team came up with and am so pleased I got to work with them.
Where and how are your books sold?
It is releasing from most retailers in November, and is available for pre-order right now from:
Do you have any advice for other authors?
Read recent books that are selling right now, read far more than you think you need to (a book or two a week is great) and don’t rely on classics for what “good” books ought to be. Listen to what’s going on in the community. Train yourself by reading craft books and processing what worked, what didn’t, and why, when you read. Get feedback from writers who know what they’re doing, and have the confidence to know that if you wrote something good once, you can do it again, and you can do it better.
If you want to learn more about Kate and her novel How We Fall, you can visit:
Her Website: http://katebrauning.com/