I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Katy Haye to talk with me a little about her writing. Kate spends as much time as possible in either her own or someone else’s imaginary worlds. She has a fearsome green tea habit, a partiality for dark chocolate brazils and a fascination with the science of storytelling.
When not lost in a good book, Katy may be found on her allotment growing veg and keeping hens in order to maximise her chances of survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse or similar catastrophe (well, she does have a very vivid imagination).
Why do you write?
I write because I can’t not write. I have tried to give up, several times, and I just can’t do it. I have no idea what I would do with myself if I didn’t write – there would be simply acres of hours to fill (of course, I could at least get more reading done…). According to my mother, I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was four years old. I’ve had lots of jobs since then, but the one consistent thing I’ve spent my life doing is writing. I think I’d go mad (or at least be miserable to the point of medication) if I couldn’t scribble down my stories.
How has writing impacted your life?
Oh, enormously. Writing is my absolute focus. I’m a writer and I’m a mother. Those are the two things that define me and everything else really is loose change. If I’m not actually putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, characters and scenes and plots are running through my head, refining the stories I’ll write another day.
When do your best ideas come to you for a story?
Having said I’m always either writing or thinking about writing, down time is actually a vital part of the process for me. I love gardening and have an allotment that’s really a bit too big to keep in order, and I find a lot of good ideas come to me while I’m pulling weeds or watering. A walk or a spot of gardening are great ways to resolve plot problems and figure out what to do when my characters won’t behave as they should.
How do you respond to positive and negative reviews?
Well, I know I’m setting myself up for a fall here, but so far I’ve been really fortunate that everyone who has left a review of The Last Gatekeeper has enjoyed it – I’ve had all 4 and 5-star reviews so far and of course I’m thrilled about that. My worst feedback, actually, came from my dad. He doesn’t read YA or fantasy at all and when he said he was going to read The Last Gatekeeper I said, “Oh, it’s not your sort of thing, don’t feel like you have to,” but because he’s my dad of course he wanted to (and I love him for that). Well, afterwards he came out with a bizarre suggestion of what I “should” have done with my main character, which would have made it a different book entirely! I think I just responded with, “Hm, yeah, that’s an idea,” and changed the topic.
What advice would you give to beginner writers?
Have patience and keep going. Everything will take longer than you think it will. For example, as mentioned above I decided to be a writer at the age of 4, but it wasn’t until the age of 42 that I published my first novel. And that’s not a bad thing. When I look back at the books I wrote years ago I shudder because they were dreadful. It took me a long time to learn my craft (and I’m still learning), but it was time well spent. Those dreadful books were necessary steps to get where I am now. Be impatient to get better, but don’t be impatient to get published (which I guess is another way of saying make your mistakes in private rather than in front of everyone else).
Katy’s blog about reading and writing.
Make friends on Goodreads
Katy’s video How to Become a Writer.