Interview with Katie O’Sullivan

Jen: Today we welcome Katie O’Sullivan to Book Talk. Katie, will you please share a short bio with us?
Katie: I grew up in NJ, and loved summers spent at the Jersey Shore. My parents moved to Vermont when I was a teen and bought an Inn (think Bob Newhart, without all the Daryls.) While the Green Mountains are beautiful, I missed the ocean. Now I live on Cape Cod year-round with my husband and kids, and walk the dogs on the beach every day – even in the snow.

Jen: Tell us about Unfolding the Shadows and where it’s available.
Katie: Unfolding the Shadows is the story of reluctant psychic Jillian Greene, who gave up her gift to embrace a “normal” life. When her great aunt’s car smashes head-on with a commuter train, Jillian finds herself on a collision course with ghosts who refuse to remain in the shadows any longer. It’s a romantic suspense with a psychic twist, currently available as an ebook from Cerridwen Press (http://www.jasminejade.com/pc-7563-92-unfolding-the-shadows.aspx)

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Katie: Like many authors, I discovered my love of books and writing early on. (There are many unfinished stories hiding in a shoebox under my bed!) I’ve had lots of jobs over the years that included writing – in advertising, public relations, and as a small-town reporter. I even had my own movie review column called “Couch Potato Corner” when I was home with my second baby (it’s hard to take two kids with you to cover the high school football game!)

When my last child started full-day Kindergarten, I finally took the plunge and enrolled in a class titled “Finish Your Novel.” Unfolding the Shadows is actually the second manuscript I finished for the class (the first went into that shoebox.)


Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Katie: My younger sister is a voracious reader and an incredible writer but is as yet unpublished. My sixth grader thinks he may want to be an author. Or he might want to be a rock star. He hasn’t decided quite yet, but he has a lot of talent with both his words and his electric guitar.

Jen: How does your family feel about your career?
Katie: My husband and kids are very supportive. I don’t think I’d be able to spend the time writing if they weren’t. My dad is also one of my biggest fans and follows me around cyberspace daily (hi Dad!).

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Katie: LOL. I keep making resolutions about this, but with three busy kids it’s hard to have a permanent schedule. I write mostly while they’re at school and the house is quiet.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Katie: The most challenging part for me is plotting. I’ve taken workshops, but I find my characters don’t listen to me. They take over and go off in new directions. I guess the term for writers like me is “pantser,” but that sounds slightly suggestive to those who aren’t writers.

The easiest part was actually working with my editor at Cerridwen Press to make changes. I found I really enjoy the editing process, and Meghan was wonderful to work with.

Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Katie: Feeling like I finally know what I want to be when I grow up. Wait, does that mean I have to act like a grown up now?

Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Katie: Most of the time they come to me as I’m writing. Other times I’ll go looking through the baby name websites, looking for ones with certain meanings.

Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Katie: I love my heroine, Jillian. She has all the same self-doubt that I struggle with, but during the course of the story she finds out she’s stronger than she thinks.

Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
Katie: Only 5? There are so many authors I feel indebted to, for taking me away from my own world and letting me inhabit theirs. I need to thank my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Doyle, who helped me find books that made me truly want to read. I also need to thank my best friend from 4th grade, Kathy Butler, who introduced me to the wonderous world of J.R.R. Tolkien, showing me that fiction can take us places we’d never imagined on our own. As an English major at Colgate University, I read and studied everything from Chaucer to Mark Twain, and my professors were fabulous at making it all come alive, especially Lynn Johnson and Peter Balakian. And last, I need to thank my mom, who’s always my greatest cheerleader in all my endeavors.

Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Katie: Writing more books!

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Katie: Free time? Did I mention that I have three kids and demanding dogs? When I’m not writing or taxi-ing my kids to lessons, games or events, I’m also the editor of an online magazine – CapeWomenOnline.com, a magazine by and about the amazing and creative women here on Cape Cod.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Katie: I have a middle grade story that I’m currently trying to find an agent for, and I’ve just started on a second romantic suspense about Jillian and the ghosts who whisper to her.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Katie: My website is www.katie-osullivan.com
My blog: http://katieosullivan.blogspot.com
My FaceBook page: http://www.facebook.com/kt.osullivan
My magazine: www.CapeWomenOnline.com

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Katie: What’s your feeling about ebooks and online magazines? Did you get a Kindle for Christmas or a Nook for the New Year? Are ebooks a blip on the publishing radar, or the way of the future? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my ebook, Unfolding the Shadows. And thanks for stopping by!

Jen: Readers, you heard Katie. She’s giving away a download of Unfolding the Shadows to one lucky commenter. To enter, you first need to leave a comment or question for Katie. Then to finish your entry, you must either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to contests.bookblog@gmail.com. The winner will be chosen on Sunday, January 31.