I am super excited to share that I recently got to sit down with Kate Myers, author of The Deranged, and talk shop! Kate is absolutely awesome and a joy to chat with, so I can’t wait for you all to see what she has to share! Let’s jump right it!!!!
Let’s start off with some getting-to-know you questions. Tell us a little about yourself!
Hey there – well, my name is Kate Myers, and I’m a young adult fiction author and overall book fanatic. I’ve been reading books for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been writing for about seven years. You can usually find me over-caffeinated and surrounded by books and cats, or hanging out with my two favorite people (my guy and my mini), probably playing a little Pokémon Go.
Besides writing, what do you enjoy doing with your time?
Reading! I absolutely love reading—getting lost in a good book is my favorite thing. I mostly read young adult fiction, but I love psychological thrillers! I really love binge-watching TV, too. The 100, Office, Dexter, iZombie, That 70’s Show to name a few.
Tell us one completely random, but fun, fact/story about yourself.
I sang “Any Man of Mine” by Shania Twain in my second-grade talent show. Yes, there is video-footage somewhere, but no, I will not beg my mom to find it. *Disclaimer, I am not a singer, I just really liked Shania Twain at the time, haha!
Now on to some writing questions! How old were you when you wrote your first book? Is that book one of your published works/did it inspire one of them?
Let’s see, I’m thirty (!!!) now, and I’ve been writing for about seven years, so I guess I was around 23 when I started writing, but I could be off by a year or so. That book took me nearly that entire time to write (because life) and yes, it is the published work that I recently published in July 2019.
Is writing your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?
Yes and no. Writing is one thing but being self-published is another. Being self-published means that I basically answer only to myself, which also means I handle all of my deadlines, marketing, research, social-media, record-keeping, etc. Holy cow there are a ton of things that go into self-publishing and wow is it time consuming. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m also a mom to a grade-schooler, and help manage a couple small businesses. To say I keep busy is an understatement.
Tell us about your writing process. (what does a day of writing look like? Are you a plotter or a pantser? What program(s) do you use to write? Etc)
I’ve been asked this question a lot and I feel like it’s something I could really go in depth about, but for the sake of keeping this shorter than a novel, I’ll try to be brief. The first book I wrote (The Deranged) was not plotted whatsoever. I had a general idea of what I wanted the story to be, and when I sat down at the computer, the story poured from me. I participated in NaNoWriMo one year for a big push, but other than that, I wrote when “inspired” or when I had free time (which clearly wasn’t enough, considering the seven years it took to write, haha). As for The Deranged’s sequel, I have decided to ‘roughly’ plot it but basically, it’s a one-page bulleted word document of major things to happen in the book. I have a journal for notes, and basically write every little bit of inspiration that comes to mind at random times. Sometimes, I’ll sit with headphones in and just jot out character information, or plot points that come to mind, but nothing is heavily structured at that point. I use Microsoft Word to write—I’ve downloaded Scrivener before because I’ve heard great things, but I never took the time to learn it so it seems a bit overwhelming.
Where do you find inspiration for your books?
Dreams. I would absolutely be lying if I said that the majority of my story ideas didn’t come from dreams. For the characters though, I find inspiration in everyday life – the mannerisms of certain people, their quirks, etc… I pay very close attention to the way people interact.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
Writing sprints. Or, skip ahead. I have some sections in my book (first draft) where I will put in parenthesis stuff like, (insert what her hair looks like), or (what would the weather feel like here). I find if you focus on something you’re stuck on, it will take a great amount of time from your writing. Focus on the things you DO know, and then fill in the blanks later.
Are there any tips you could give for aspiring writers? Any “I wish I knew then what I know now” words of wisdom?
This is another one of those questions that I could discuss in detail. I’ll list a few:
- Don’t be surprised if people don’t “take you serious”. Writing, like any other “job” is that exactly, a job. Don’t let anyone discredit your passion, because it’s a passion. I’m terribly sorry that you’re stuck at your 9-5 Karen, but I still have a job. I provide a good/service in exchange for money, and just because it’s not a ‘steady’ paycheck, doesn’t mean it’s any less real (this one is a very sensitive subject for me, clearly, haha!)
- Don’t be offended if the people YOU think will buy your book don’t. When I hit “publish” on my novel, I really expected my mom to be the only one to buy a copy (she bought two!!). To have random strangers buy a copy of my novel, simply blew my mind. But, there will be friends and family who expect you to give them a copy for free (hi, dad!). I’m not saying that you shouldn’t, but just don’t expect every one of your loved ones to support you monetarily.
- It’s hard. Writing can come easy, but it can also be incredibly challenging. Being creative has its ebbs and flows and there will be times where you will want to pull your hair out instead of writing the next chapter. It’s OK, it happens. If it were easy, more people would do it. It’s OK to be defeated, just make sure to give yourself a little credit and take a break, but then get back to it. It’s easiest to keep writing when you keep writing (we’re creatures of habit).
- A big piece of advice for anyone starting out, write what you know. Do you know a lot about trains? Find a way to incorporate that into a story. Know a lot about beetles or bugs or rainbows, work that in. Writing comes ‘natural’ when it’s something you’re either passionate about or somehow knowledgeable about. Did I know about zombies? No, but I’ve always been fascinated with a lot of key elements in my story (trying not to be spoilery, haha!) Even if it’s emotional, have you suffered a great heartbreak, or suffering of some kind? Work it into a story. I resonate with the characters in my book because they all have a little piece of ME in them. It’s what I know, and it’s what comes naturally to write. Hopefully that makes sense.
What is your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite?
My favorite part about writing is just doing it. Getting to sit down, uninterrupted, and just put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard). I love the brainstorming process and sitting down and just talking yourself (or a friend) through the plot and sub-plots. It’s so interesting sitting down with a general idea and having your characters basically run away with the idea and the story really come to life (that’s why I’m more of a panster than a plotter).
My least favorite part might be the editing process. Actually, no, marketing the book is the worst. And you may be like, what does that have to do with writing—well, writing the blurb was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done as a writer. Condensing a 60,000+ word novel into a few short, catchy paragraphs is incredibly difficult!
And now for the book-specific questions! What can you tell us about The Deranged?
The Deranged is a young adult dystopian romance. There is tons of action, adventure, thrills and teenage angst. I have been told that it’s nearly impossible to put down. It’s super fast-paced, and you’ll probably hate me at the end, as there is a massive cliff-hanger but, you will fall in love with the characters and want to know what happens next. The book follows the story of a high-school senior, Max, as a deadly virus spreads across his town. He, his dad, neighbor, and a girl from his past, flee the city to their cabin in the middle of nowhere to escape the virus, and those who are responsible for the outbreak. Max is forced to make decisions about who lives and who dies, while doing his best to protect those around him, and the one he didn’t mean to fall for.
Where did you find the inspiration for this story?
Like I said before, I actually dreamt the main plot idea. At the time, I had just finished a book that gave me a massive book hangover. I legit cried for days on and off about the loss of a character, and it hit me one day, I pretty much had an epiphany in the shower and was like holy cow, someone wrote a fictional character that I am so heartbroken over, I want to do that! I’ve always been fascinated with storytelling and the spoken word, so this wasn’t outlandish for me to “want to write”. That very night, I awoke from a very vivid dream and from that moment forward, I knew I had to bring this story to life.
Who was your favorite character to write? Your least favorite?
This is sort of a hard question to answer, I really enjoyed writing all of the characters in the book. I relate to all of them in a way, somehow, but, I think I’d have to go with Max, the main character. He’s such a complex character, and his teenage confusion about life, and love, was (and is) so interesting to write and watch as his character evolves. I don’t think I have a character I disliked writing at all, but one I ended up writing more of in a late draft of the first book that I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy was Wiley. He doesn’t get much story time (read the book and you’ll understand why) but the little bits that I added for his story, I enjoyed his character so much, he’s hilarious! (He doesn’t get this trait from me, haha!)
Which character is the most like you? The least like you?
I gave Skylar my anxiety, and Max and Skylar both have my trust issues. So, I’d have to say either of them. They are both like me in other ways, but this stands out the most. Keith has some of my qualities, but the guy is a genius in all things. He’s super well rounded and can be counted on to fix any problem. I’d say Keith is least like me, although I’d like to be most like him.
Without being too spoilery, can you tell us what your favorite part of this book is?
Watching the character development unfold is probably my favorite. And I say that very generically as to not give anything away. I really enjoy watching them be human, feel things and process, and even have an inability to process, it’s incredibly interesting.
Will we see a second book to follow The Deranged?
YES! I can assure you, the second book is in the works right now and will be available (hopefully) by the spring of 2020. Expect a LOTTTTT of questions to be answered. It’s on pre-order on Amazon right now, actually!
Do you have any other books on the planning board? If so, what can you share about them?
I have a notebook full of other books I would love to write, and plan to! One, very specifically, keeps grabbing my attention and calling me to it. I don’t want to give too much away, but I am so pulled to write this story. I can tell you it will be another YA novel, but it will be from a female POV and it’s possible it will be a little witchy!
About The Deranged
Max has graduation on the brain, not a deadly plague.
All was going according to plan, when an unknown virus hits his hometown and symptoms quickly change from “flu-like” to erratic and violent.
With only minimal belongings, a gun, and his untested conscience, Max and his dad leave the city with their neighbor Wiley, and Wiley’s niece Skylar—the girl who, as of yesterday, hasn’t spoken to him since the third grade.
Max embarks on a harrowing journey where he will be forced to decide who lives and who dies in his attempt to stay alive and save those he loves.
Unputdownable, The Deranged is an action-packed, bio-weapon gone wrong, teenage romance and incredible debut.