Boston-based author Kathryn Marie has agreed to be interviewed by Bookstr for this week’s Indie Author Spot!
Katie independently published her debut novel Midnight Maiden (Book #1 in the Midnight Duology) in August of 2020 and has recently released the second and final installment in May of 2021! To celebrate the release of Midnight Revenge, and the end of our time with our favorite Marchioness, Katie will be answering some of our questions, telling us more about her journey as an indie author and her future writing plans, and sharing some beautiful quotes and book art!
Let’s start with the basics so everyone can get to know you: tell us a bit about yourself (you can talk about anything you’d like people to know about you!)
– Name, Age, Where you’re from…
29 years old
– Favorite city?
Gotta give that to Boston!
– Favorite book?
I have to pick just one? I’ll go with my most recent favorite read and that has to go to Heartless by Marissa Meyer
– Favorite dessert?
Again, just one? Well, I do eat a lot of ice cream.
– Favorite song?
Devil Inside Me by Halocene
Have you always known you wanted to be a writer, or did life put you on this path?
I think a little bit of both to be honest! When I was thirteen, I had spinal surgery that limited my activity for a couple of months. After reading far too many books during that time, my sister suggested I take a pass at trying to write. I started with fan-fiction, short stories just for fun, but by the time I was fifteen, I had started to attempt writing my first book with the intention of trying to get published. So, I’ve known for almost fifteen years that I’ve wanted to be a published author, but I don’t know if I would have discovered my love for it as soon as I did without that surgery. Guess there is a silver lining in anything!
What do you think is the hardest part of writing a book? How did you overcome it?
For me personally, I struggle with not letting self-doubt, second guessing, and imposter syndrome trying to talk me out of moving forward with changes or publishing in general. I struggle with comparing myself to others or second guessing the choices I make with different parts of the publishing process, from editing, to cover designs, to marketing tactics.
I’m still learning the best way to overcome it some days, but I do try my best to block out all the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. To reframe my thought process so hopefully one day, the doubts are no longer such a loud voice in the back of my mind but a whisper easily ignored. It’s going to be a long journey to get to that place, but I know it will be worth it in the end.
Tell us more about Midnight Maiden and your main girl Christiana: how did the idea for the book come to you and why did you choose to pursue it?
My lovely Christiana came to me randomly and at full force. I had actually just finished drafting another project when the idea popped into my mind for the first time.
The really nerdy story behind concepting Ana and her journey all comes down to cosplaying. My friend and I were discussing the possibility of her creating an original cosplay character for me. So, I started brainstorming and came up with the idea of an assassin. Of course, being the writer I am, I had to give the character a name and a backstory. I thought it would be fun to write a short story about her to hand to people at a con when they asked who I was. But it seemed that Christiana wasn’t settling for just a short story and proceeded to bombard my mind with ideas. Next thing I knew, I was writing the whole first book. She’s a hard lady to ignore.
In the end, I decided to move forward with drafting Maiden and leave that other project behind because I could just tell that my heart was in it more. So much about Ana and her world drew me in and I wanted to tell the story, so I did.
If I had never heard of Midnight Maiden before, how would you convince me to read it? Pitch the book to me in as few words as possible!
Alright, let’s see…
If you are looking for a badass female lead with a relatable twist, assassins, and plenty of heart-pounding romance, mixed with court intrigue, strong character bonds, and honest mental health talks, then the Midnight Duology is for you.
Do you have a favorite quote from the Midnight Duology?
Plenty! But the one that holds a special place in my heart is Christiana’s mantra from book two, “I am not broken. I survived.”
I think it is a reminder that many people need to hear some days and I adore watching Ana use it as a way to refocus herself when she is struggling with a panic attack or anxiety.
What’s your favorite piece of Midnight Maiden artwork?
I can’t get too specific, because the artwork has some spoilers built into it, but I adore the artwork I commissioned for Midnight Revenge’s release of my main OTP. Amelia (IG: @sakuraartist), the artist that I hired, did a spectacular job capturing their romance and bond. A print of it now sits on my shelf next to the copies of my books and my heart still gets fluttery when I look at it.
You’re very active on Instagram and fans love all your interactive stories and book aesthetics. What’s the secret to making such gorgeous aesthetics?
I have such an obsession with making those aesthetic layouts. I not only make them for my characters, but after I’ve read my friends’ books, I’ll gift them a few as well.
I’m not sure if there is a secret per se, because truth be told there are so many different aspects that go into creating them. For me, I always make sure there is a specific theme I am trying to convey with it, whether it’s a character, a relationship or a plotline that I want to give a sneak peek into. I usually always include either a quote from the book or a music lyric within the center of the layout as well, which gives a little more insight into what the layout is about. I just have a fun time creating them, and I think it’s a visual way to give enticing sneak peeks into the characters and their journeys.
What made you decide to go the indie route for Midnight Maiden? Would you consider traditional publishing or a hybrid format in the future?
A few reasons exist that made me choose indie. First off, the Midnight Duology, along with some other projects I’m working on, are technically New Adult and that isn’t the most recognized age genre in traditional publishing right now.
The other big reason for me was wanting to keep control over the books, especially for the Midnight Duology. Mental health and trauma healing are a big theme in Maiden and Revenge, and I didn’t want to risk having to tone it down or adjust it in some way that I felt would be unauthentic. I’m not saying that it would have happened if I had gone the traditional route, but I was guaranteed that it wouldn’t if I went indie. Plus, it’s a lot of fun being so involved in the cover designing and other fun moments like that!
In the end, becoming an indie author just allowed me to reach this dream and goal a lot sooner than if I had tried the traditional route, which was the ultimate reason I chose it. However, I wouldn’t be closed off at the idea of pursuing traditional or hybrid publishing in the future. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where this journey takes me!
Any advice you’d like to give to writers who hope to have their work published one day as well?
Don’t give up. Whether you go indie or traditional, there are going to be moments where you feel doubt or you may struggle to believe you are worthy of being published. Try your best not to let yourself succumb to the doubt. I know it’s hard, I mentioned before I’m terrible at it most days, but I still try my best to not let it stop me from achieving what I want out of this journey.
For those considering indie publishing, do your research. Make sure to look into other indie authors, learn about their journeys, learn about the dos and don’ts and try to get a better understanding of everything that goes into self-publishing your own work. I love being an indie author, but I also accept that it isn’t for everyone. So just make sure you learn about the pros and cons so you can decide if it is the best route for you and your work!
I know you recently started your own book release planning service, @sapphire_ink_press_
Tell us more about that! How does it work? How can authors looking to plan their book releases get in touch with you?
Oh, goodness, thanks for asking about this! Sapphire Ink was just launched in January of this year. I saw so many other indie authors starting side jobs within the industry to help others and I wanted to try and find a way to be helpful within the community as well.
I have a history with professional event planning, giving me experience with customer service and admin work. So, I thought starting a service for indie authors that helps relieve some of the stress of planning all of these events but still makes it fun and epic would be a great addition. It’s been a wonderful way to combine my past professional experience with the passion I have for books, writing and publishing. I’ve partnered with some amazing “bookstagrammers” who help me host an array of events including book cover reveals, release day blasts, book tours, arc tours, and many others!
If you’re an indie author looking for some help with some of these events, don’t be afraid to reach out! You can head on over to my website, authorkathrynmarie.com and fill out a request form or just head on over to my Instagram page, @sapphire_ink_press_, and DM me with any questions you may have. I’m here to help!
Now that this first chapter of your writing journey has come to an end, what are your plans for the future? Any other works in progress? We’re dying to know more!
It’s still so weird to think that my first duology/series is officially published. I don’t know if it has completely set in yet.
Luckily, just because the series is done, doesn’t mean there aren’t exciting things being planned. Now that the duology is finished, I can just have fun with some other formats and events to help with marketing and what not! Let’s just say, my summer is going to be filled with starting the planning and execution of some of these ideas and I can’t wait to start announcing them in the coming weeks.
As for other works in progress, I have a few that I’m playing around with. I have a trilogy, that I have come to nickname Project Dreamcatcher, that I began drafting last year and the first two books are just waiting for me to jump in and begin editing. Now that Ana has had her moment, it seems my other leading lady is starting to get ready to take center stage in my creative mind. I had a blast drafting the books and I adore my characters in that project, so I could see myself starting to move forward with it now.
Also, remember that other first draft I mentioned I had finished right before Ana stepped into my life? I’ve been playing around with rewriting and reworking that whole story and world as well. So maybe that project, Project Hybrids, will also get a little love again this year. Who knows!
So many exciting future projects for Katie! Be sure to give her a follow here @author_kathrynmarie so you don’t miss out on any upcoming news and announcements!