Name: Katherine Dell
Where are you from:
I was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta. I spend the first 21 years of my life there, before moving to Bragg Creek.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I received certifications in my early twenties for both English and western riding/coaching in Edmonton, Ab. My dream was to become horse trainer and professional riding coach, and for a while, I was. After too many riding accidents, that I’m sure will plague me in my later years, I moved to the big city Calgary, Ab. I spent a few years working my way up the ladder until I settled at a media company as an executive assistant. A few years of that, I got married, had two beautiful boys, and discovered my love obsession for reading and writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m half way done editing my first YA novel! Fingers crossed I’ll have everything completed for a release date this fall.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing this current book (Harmless) about 3 years ago. At times it was frustrating, having taken so long to complete it. But, now that I’m in the editing stages, I’m glad it did. My writing is that much richer for it.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my friends started calling me one. Now I tell people that’s what I do.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I don’t know if there was any one specific thing that inspired me. I remember after having kids, the number of books I’d read went up dramatically. And I started to think… I can do this. I wanted to write my own stories. So, I read about how to write well, and took some courses.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
An Australia friend of mine once told me that my writing style sounds colloquial. I think my Canadian accent comes through in my writing… Eh!
But really… Most of what I read is YA fiction and it’s what I write as well. Despite being much closer to 40 than 30, I’m young at heart and thrive on all the ‘big feelings’ that come along with YA fiction.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I wanted a short title that would attract the attention of a YA fiction reader. The book title, Harmless, is a word taken from a line spoken by the main character, early on in the book.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Things aren’t always as they seem. Or maybe… the solution to your problems might be right in front of you.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Even though the book is fiction I spent a great deal of time researching the details. The town where the story is set is real. It’s in northern BC. I traveled there last summer, even hired a guide to show my graphic artist and I around the area. It was like my book came to life. It was an awesome trip.
Other details in the story, like the spirit bears (also know as Kermode bears) are real to. In fact the highest population of these bears can be found in the area where my story is set.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Nope. My book is a total work of fiction. Each character and their experience took me years to craft.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I have a long list of authors I really like, each one contributing to my writing style. Here’s a few off the top of my head… John Green, Veronica Roth, Tahereh Mafi, Markus Zusak, Cassandra Clair…
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Mosquitoland by David Arnold. So far… 5 stars!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes… Heather Demetrios. I’ve read her book I’ll Meet You There. It was awesome. I’ll definitely be reading more of her work.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Finish the editing my YA novel, Harmless! I’m also working on graphic novel prequels to my novel. I feel in love with some of my minor characters… their story needs to be told.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There have been so many… Who’s gone above and beyond? My graphic artist Bri. She’s read my first draft in its entirety, twice. She’s traveled with me on airplanes to see the place where the story is set. She’s worked with me tirelessly to perfect my book cover and graphic novel images. I’m reeeaally picky.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I hope so. As I said, I’m working on prequels to Harmless, and I plan to write a sequel as well. I write because I love it but… it would be nice to make some money at it too.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not that I can think of.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My oldest son, who at the time was around 18 months old, decided to ‘help’ me clean one day. He grabbed a spay bottle of water and soaked are only TV. Not having money at the time to replace it, we went quite a while without one. Which is when I started to devour a book or two a week. I also started thinking… I want to write stories like these!
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I haven’t perfected my elevator pitch but, here goes…
My novel is about a seventeen-year-old girl, Rachel Barnes, in her last semester of high school. She’s trying to come to terms with her brother’s death, her parent’s divorce, and moving away from Vancouver, the only city she’s ever lived. Leaving the big city also means, no more regular visits to Rachel’s trusted therapist, the ‘Weather Lady’, who has been her rock in troubled times. This is a big blow for her, prompting her to look for other ways of dealing with her problems.
One night… through pure serendipitous chance, Rachel and her friends unwittingly release a spirit so old, the world has all but forgotten it existed. All this – from making wishes on spirit animal carvings no one thought were any more than just decretive trinkets. Wishes made… They were Harmless – right? But, everything comes with price.
The ancient spirit released that night, has taken up residence in… an unexpected friend. Rachel spend the rest of the story trying to ‘cure’ her new friend of this spirit, while dealing with her own problems of so much loss and hurt in her life.
There’s a twist at the end… I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll just have to read the book.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing in general is challenging. I find it difficult to keep to a consistent writing schedule. Usually, it’s life that gets in the way. Other times, I have loads of time to write, and can’t squeeze out a word.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a true favorite, as there are so many good ones out there. One author does come to mind when you ask what strikes me about their work. Teherah Mafi. She wrote the Shatter Me Series. In the first book her main character is a shy girl, so unsure of herself, is constantly taking back the things she thinks. The author portrays this weakness by striking though sentences in the book. As a reader, you can still read what the character thought, but know that she changed her mind.
In the second book the occurrences of these strike through sentences decrease. In the third book they’ve pretty much disappeared. You can see how the character has changed and grown in to be a more sure and confident person. I really liked the strike-through sentence technique that Mafi used in theses books.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I hope to have my book out this fall and plan on doing some out of town book signings. If the book is a real hit, I’d love to travel in regards to furthering my writing career.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Brianna Schretlen designed my cover. She is a graphic designer I worked with years ago. She is also doing all the artwork for my graphic novel prequels to Harmless. I would recommend her to anyone wanting a professional cover.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time to write! I have two young boys and a busy family life. BUT… I make time.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing a book, and successfully publishing a book, are two different things. I could write many blogs on the subject. (Which I have)
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t be afraid to be bad at something, you’re not good at yet.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love to hear your comments on my writings, especially the positive ones. Those one fuel me for days!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Can I Get There by Candlelight. I’m not sure how old I was.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Sad movies make me cry. Laugh… I’m a very sarcastic person. I find people with quick sarcastic whit very funny.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Rick Mercer. He’s just awesome.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Hmmm… See you on the other side… Because I believe theirs more than just this life to be lived.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love to garden. My yard looks like a perfectly manicured golf course. I also like to camp, but not in a tent! I require hard walls, running water and lights.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Favorite TV shows: Vikings, The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black, Hell on Wheels, and Reign.
Favorite Movies: (There are so many) V for Vendetta, Lady in the Water, Mad Max (the new one), Guardians of the galaxy, and Dracula Untold (Mmmm Luke Evans).
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite food: Cheese. Pretty much any cheese, except blue cheese.
Favorite color: Blue and grey
Favorite Song: (right now) I won’t give up – By Jason Mraz
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
So many things in this world interest me! Sometimes I think I may have missed my calling to be a psychologist.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yep, it’s www.katherinedell.com. I post blogs twice a week. On Mondays, I have guest bloggers or I re-post fellow indie/small pub authors. On Fridays, I write a blog. It’s either a book review or my own musing about being an indie author. I’m also planning another blog on Wednesdays where I’ll interview authors… just like this.
The rest of my website has a bit about me, and the works that I’ve done or am working on.
I like to thank Brianna Schretlen for doing my book cover . This is her Twitter handle https://twitter.com/Curly_Bri.