Today I'm very excited to have one of my good friends here with us to talk about her recently released debut, KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH. Please welcome the lovely Katie Hamstead!
Oh, and my good friend Chris has agreed to join us today as well. He's very excited to be here. Chris? This is Katie. Katie? Chris.
DC: So! Katie... Before we start the official interview, I just want to tell everyone how insanely proud I am of you. I remember reading your stories on your blog... maybe a year ago? Was it?
KH: It was just after I'd had the kiddo, so two years ago I think.
DC: Wow. In that time you've come so far in your writing, your career, and your platform. You're an inspiration to me! Thanks for being here. First question, how long have you been writing, and what made you start?
KH: A really long time. My first non-one-page-for-school story I wrote was during our Christmas/summer break between 6th and 7th grades, so I was 12. It was about a girl and brumbies. (Aussie version of mustangs) My mum was the person who, upon listening to me ramble on about things I'd dreamed up, suggested I write my ideas down. So, all through high school during school breaks, and when I got bored during exams, I wrote stories.
|CH: Brumbies you say? I'd like that, I think.|
DC: *rolls eyes at Chris* Tell us a little bit about your amazing soon-to-be-published NA Historical Romance, KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH?
KH: It's about Naomi, an Israelite, who is the direct descendant of Joseph, who trades herself in to protect her younger sisters. Everything else kind of goes from there as she is taken to the palace and becomes a wife. But all through her story her priority is to protect her family and the people she loves, often at her own expense. I love Naomi, and my CP's will attest that I call her my BFF.
|CH: Can I be your BFF?|
DC: Chris, I think she'll be okay with that. Katie, what's been the biggest help to you so far in getting your book into readers' hands?
KH: Oh that's a hard one. I'd say the support of all the people involved. My family, my friends, especially CP's, the team at Curiosity Quills. Everyone has been so excited along with me and helped me share the excitement by spreading it around everywhere. I just love that.
KH: I do have a job too! I really have no idea how I balance everything. I guess I try to keep my days as structured as possible. This time is for this and this time is for that. Obviously, with a two year old, I have to be flexible, but I utilize nap time and post bedtime as much as possible. Also when she's awake and the hubby is at school/work, I use that time to do grocery shopping, visit the gym and library, and other things out and about that I need to do to maintain my home and family. So when we are all home we can be together.
Also, when I do take my kiddo to the store/park/library or when I'm at the gym, I think up ideas for my WiP's so when the time comes when I have a moment to write, it's all ready to go and I just have to type it out. It seems to work pretty well, and my word count is quite high when I do that.
|CH: Ugh, that sounds exhausting...|
DC: Shut-up Chris. You don't know what you're talking about. Katie,where did the inspiration or idea for KIYA come from?
KH: The very first idea of Kiya came to me in high school. I think it was 12th grade, and we were studying Egypt in my Ancient History class. We were talking about Akhenaten for a while, and one day we talked about Kiya. I don't want to give away the story by going into detail, but basically I was fascinated by what little is known about her and who she potentially was. So, while I was studying for exams, I found myself thinking about her and a young Israelite woman popped into my mind because I was also studying the Old Testament through Seminary. The combination of the two drastically different worlds collided and Naomi was born. It took me several years to throw it all together and actually write it, but even back then, her motive was to protect her sisters from being taken. Her courage and love has been there from the very beginning.
|CH: So, she's an Isrealite, but she's Egyptian? How does that work?|
DC: We'll leave you to think about it, Chris. Or just go read the book. Katie, are you working on anything else while KIYA gets ready?
KH: Ah... yes. I wrote Branded for NaNo, then Deceptive Cadence in Dec and Jan, and right now I'm thinking about writing something that Deseret Book (an LDS/Mormon Bookstore) would stock about YSA's (Young Single Adults) in Australia. Should be interesting.
|CH: YES! YES! YES!|
DC: (I think he's excited about that...) How has your life affected your writing? (Vague question, take it however you want.)
KH: Lol. There are definitely pieces of me in all my stories. I know in Deceptive Cadence I even included things that really happened to me. In Kiya, my passion for history and the unwritten history of women really comes through. Women were often forgotten, but played such a crucial role in the background. I really wanted to pay tribute to these women who struggled and suffered and fought for what they believed in and loved but are forgotten by history.
|CH: Such an admirable goal, Katie. You're so brilliant. Do you think --|
DC: It's probably time to wind things down, so let's do some quick questions: Music while writing?
KH: Yes! I'm a huge music nerd, did choir, sang in the Sydney Opera House and all that stuff. Kiya has theme songs for each book in the trilogy, and I listened to the Prince of Egypt soundtrack, the Gladiator Soundtrack and Adiemus. Jolene Haley has a playlist for Kiya up on her blog for her Musical Mondays: http://letsgetnerdy.blogspot.com/2013/04/musical-tuesday-katie-teller-kiya-hope.html
|CH: Ah, I have a question. can I --|
DC: Snacks? Drinks? And how do you eat an Oreo?
KH: I prefer Tim Tam slams. I'm Aussie :-)
|CH: Girl after my own heart. Listen, Katie --|
DC: Calm down Chris.
DC: AAAND last but never least, what advice would you give to our fellow writers out there, whether beginning, querying or otherwise?
KH: "Never give up! Never surrender!" Querying sucks. Rejection really sucks. But, if you believe in it, then keep trying. Take feedback when it comes and use it to improve yourself and your writing. No one knows everything, so you can always learn something from those around you. At the same time, never compromise your voice and your story because someone says it doesn't fit what they want. If they don't want it, look for someone who does. When my Acquisitions Editor at CQ read Kiya, it only took her a few days. No joke! She asked for the full on Thursday, and sent me a contract on the Sunday. You want someone who loves what you've created as much as that because that passion for your work will come through when they come to publishing it.
DC: Wow. I'm still so impressed by your story! I'm excited that KIYA is finally out there!!! Thanks again for being here, Katie! Chris, do you have anything to say for yourself?
Friends, KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH is a NA Historical Romance set in ancient Egypt, with family drama, palace intrigue, love, friendship, and so much more. Go get a copy!!!
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AND, if you've read this far, leave Katie a comment below and I'll choose a winner to receive an Ebook of KIYA!