Welcome, Katie, from half way across the world. How long have you been writing and what got you started?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I always loved story writing time at school. I didn’t really start writing seriously though, until after we adopted our second son. After three years of jumping through bureaucratic hoops, I missed the pressure of deadlines, so I took a writing course. I never actually finished it, but it did encourage me to start writing novels.
Your writing instincts go back a long way, then.
You’re known for your stories for Young Adults. I’ve read and loved them. Have you considered an adult novel?
I’ve always considered Treespeaker to be an adult novel, but apparently my writing style leads everyone to think that my stories are for younger people. That, and the fact that I don’t put in any ‘naughty bits’, not even swear words. I just write the way that feels natural to me, so my books will probably always be considered young adult…or kids’, if that’s what I’ve actually set out to write.
I’m an adult (I was going to say obviously but it maybe isn’t) and I love that series.
You’re also an illustrator and your work appears on some of my favourite authors’ book covers. How do you work? Paint? Something electronic?
Most of my work these days is done digitally. I have a nifty drawing tablet called a Cintiq 13HD, which allows me to draw straight onto it, just like drawing onto a piece of paper except that the eraser doesn’t make smudge marks and I don’t need white-out for mistakes. I usually use Photoshop, but I also have another great program called ‘Mischief’ which lets you do natural-looking pencil sketches (amongst other things) and I recently downloaded ‘Rebelle’ which does watercolour and oils quite convincingly. I’m still playing with that.
Wow! I think many of us wouldn't know where to begin with programs like that.
This new book is a departure in that the pictures are not just on the cover, but are an integral part of the book. How did you go about getting it printed?
Yes, this one is quite different from my usual work, although of course I’ve illustrated other people’s books – Rosen Trevethick’s Smelly Troll books for example. The printing part has been quite a learning curve. I didn’t want to go with CreateSpace for two reasons. Firstly, I’d tried to set up my own novels for print through CreateSpace and nearly went mad. In the end, a friend in England took pity on me and we came to a deal where she sets my books for print and I do her covers. The other reason I didn’t want to go through CreateSpace though, was that I wanted this book to be really well-printed with good quality ink on good quality paper. IngramSpark offered that, so I went with them. Unfortunately, they didn’t tell me that doing that meant that I could only get the books printed in the US, meaning slower dispatch times. From what I can gather though, the postage is not higher. The books are shipped to Melbourne and postage charged from there, so it’s not such a big deal.
To set a book for printing with IngramSpark, you need to know how to use InDesign. I didn’t. I had the programme through Creative Cloud, but I didn’t even know how to set up a document. Fortunately, my eldest son does and during his university holidays he very patiently led me through setting up the pages and bleeds and how to place pictures and text. He even found my ‘toolbox’ for me when I managed to lose it completely. (Thanks, Michael!)
And where can people buy this? Have you got a link we can use?
The book should be available just about everywhere, online and in the real world. I’ve even seen it on sale on a Dubai site! It’s print-on-demand which means it will only get printed as it’s ordered, but it’s available through all the major distributors and if it’s not in your local bookshop, they should be able to order it for you. Watch out for the price though. I’ve seen some pretty huge mark-ups.
If you prefer to go to go to Amazon, (where the price is what I set it as), the link is here. The price is slightly higher at Book Depository, but the postage is free from there.
Thanks for letting me ‘talk’ to you, Kath!
My pleasure, Katie. I've got two copies of your Famous Animals books because it's too lovely only to give to children. There's one here for me!
If you'd like to look at Katie's Amazon page it's here.