Name: K.R. Conway (Kate)
Where are you from: Cape Cod, Massachusetts USA
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I am a Young Adult novelist, Member of the SCBWI (Society for Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators), a blogger / writer for the Institute for Writers, a faculty member of several writers conferences, a mom of two seriously weird kids (16-year-old daughter, and 8-year-old son), and a mechanic-hubby. I live in an area called Sagamore Beach, on Cape Cod, where the water is freakin’ freezing, but the view is amazing. Oh, yes – and I drive a school bus, because I like the abuse.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am in the process of writing the final book in my Urban Fantasy series, known as Undertow. It will come out in the summer of 2017.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Well . . . technically I hated writing as a teen. I hated reading too (*gasp*). But when I went to college (Mount Holyoke, which is where Emily Dickinson went), I was expected to write 9-million papers because it was an Ivy League school . . . and those schools like to make your fingers bleed. I was also expected to read 20 pounds of books a week, I SWEAR.
Over the course of the four years I was there (I have a B.A. with honors in Forensic Psychology, which is basically the study of crazy people) I was told, repeatedly, by my professors, that I had a knack for writing and that I should think about a career as a writer. I thought two things in regards to this blasphemous idea: A. No way in Hell, and B. My professors were smoking too much weed.
As fate would have it, I was hired as an editor out of college, picked up quickly as a journalist, and wrote Undertow (my first novel) as a dare to myself after having a few too many mixed drinks.
The REALLY insane part, however, was that I won acclaim as a journalist, and Undertow went on to be a repeated bestseller and national award winner. The series is now four books deep and all have won various awards and have been bestsellers. It has inspired FanArt, FanFiction, jewelry, clothing, tattoos (yes – fans get TATTOOS), and even birthday cakes.
I guess, in the end, the moral of the story is fairly simple: Listen to you pot-smoking professors.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Huh . . . I guess when I was handed my first paycheck for a story I wrote. I was 21 years old.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
A combination of Cape Cod life (we are a beach community) and several movies: Jaws, The Breakfast Club, and Goonies.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes – outrageous and sneaky. I am considered a “character” writer, which means people read my books for the characters in the story, plot be damned. Although – the plot and all the twists keep them coming back for more.
I’ve actually been challenged by other authors to write openings for story ideas, and then they write one as well, and we post both versions, and without fail, people can identify mine immediately. I have a very dominant writing voice.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
All the book titles involve the ocean of the tourist cycle here on Cape Cod. “Undertow” is something that happens all the time on the Cape – the water seems to flow in the reverse of what seems possible. The definition, I thought, reflected the struggles of the characters as well – drawn to one another, though they should actually be running from one another. Stormfront (book 2), True North (book 3), Cruel Summer (novella), and Last Light (pending book 4) are all terms used on the Cape.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Determination. Forgiveness. Fearlessness – especially in all the female characters.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The places in the book are REAL to Cape Cod, including the main character, Eila Waker’s, house. I did this so that if a fan read the book and came to the Cape, the could go to all the same places the characters did. Of course, I write Urban Fantasy (think Cassandra Clare and Jennifer Armentrout), so I would PRAY that you don’t get hauled under the water by a hot soul thief who kills you by stealing your life force . . . ‘cause that would really be a bummer and kinda wreck our whole tourist attraction thing.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Books that had a powerful influence were Jennifer Armentrout’s LUX series, Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky, Sara Maas’s Throne of Glass and ACOTAR series, Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, plus the classics – Rebecca, Book of the Dun Cow, Jurassic Park, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, James and the Giant Peach, James Herriot, etc.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Recently I read The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, and thought it was BRILLIANT. Ahdieh is also coming out with a reboot of Mulan – can’t wait!
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My fans, hands down. They are a massive cheering section and I can never thank them enough.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes – I take my craft very seriously.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No – not really. I write a series, so there are already 400,000 + published words between the current four books. At this point, I better know what the heck I’m doing with the characters and the story or fans will shoot me.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Some crazy person asked me to interview an artist, told me they’d pay me, and I said “SURE!” It was supposed to be a simple artist profile. Nothing too fancy. Except when I got to the many’s house, I found out the paper he used to create his art was no longer being made and that the box of paper he had under his desk was the last IN EXISTENCE. So I wrote it as an artist looking at the impending death of his art. That article was so well received, I got offers to write for multiple papers and magazines afterward.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to write. Between being a mom, a wife, a school bus driver, a graphic artist, finding time to write can be a challenge.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not really – I am able to escape in my mind and research through the internet.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Trusting that it was done and ready for the public.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Authors are insane and swear way more than sailors.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I’d like Hailee Steinfeld as Eila Walker, and Matt Lanter as Raef Paris.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes! Read – a ton! Even though I wasn’t much of a reader when I was a teen, I am a voracious reader now, usually reading 3 novels a week.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you, so much, for taking a chance on me and the supernatural crew that lives in my mind.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Veronica Rossi’s Riders
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Miss Suzy, about a squirrel and the little toy soldier that comes to her rescue.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
The current political situation in the United States.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’d like to meet my grandfather, who died before I was born. He was an inventor and people say he was a sweet, humble, funny man.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Well –writing is NOT a hobbie for me, LOL. I’d say going to the movies is a favorite pastime as is walking the beach, hunting for seaglass.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Outlander, Teen Wolf, Victoria for TV (I actually don’t watch a lot of TV). Movies? Oh man – I watch just about everything.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My playlist is on Spotify (KR Conway Undertow) and is a lot of everything. My favorite color is black, because it defines the word for the rest of the rainbow to follow. Favorite food is just about anything chocolate.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Probably been a playwright – like my mom.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I’m also on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (all connected via my website)
Amazon Authors pages