Jen: Let me just start by saying that I had a fan girl moment when Katie MacAlister agreed to guest with us at Romancing the Book. She was one of the first paranormal authors I’d read and she continues to be an auto-buy author for me. So, please help me make Katie welcome.
Katie, please share a short bio with us. Where can you be found online?
Katie: For as long as she can remember, Katie MacAlister has loved reading. Growing up in a family where a weekly visit to the library was a given, Katie spent much of her time with her nose buried in a book. Despite her love for novels, she didn’t think of writing them until she was contracted to write a non-fiction book about software. Since her editor refused to allow her to include either witty dialogue or love scenes in the software book, Katie swiftly resolved to switch to fiction, where she could indulge in world building, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes.
Two years after she started writing novels, Katie sold her first romance, Noble Intentions. More than thirty books later, her novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and are regulars on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. She also writes for the young adult audience as Katie Maxwell.
Jen: Why paranormal romance?
Katie: I’ve always had a love of all things spooky and mysterious, so it seemed natural to blend that love of things other into my writing. Add to that the joy of world-building and lore-building, and you have a heady mix that keeps me fascinated—and writing paranormals.
I think there’s also an element of bad boys and immortality that appeals greatly to my romantic nature. No one does bad so well as a vampire (for example), and when you tie that up with the idea of the bad boy worshiping the ground you walk on forever? Oh yeah, that has me right from the start.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Katie: Not really, although I’ve always been envious of people who do. I have this image of lucky writers who can’t write unless they’ve first sat through an aromatherapy session, followed by a light massage, and possibly a manicure. And meditation. Followed by more massage, and a sumptuous lunch. And finally, all sorts of scented candles lit around the computer, while soft music is piped in to weave an environment of creativity and joy.
The sad reality is that if I’m on contract, I know I have to write each day until the book is done. That’s it. But if I start indulging in special routine habits, like writing at a certain time of the day, or having to go through specific acts (lighting candles, listening to music, etc.) to put myself in the mood, then my inner slacker will rejoice and commence wasting time that I should be using to write.
Thus, I have to be stern with myself, and not give my muse any excuse for not writing. But oh, how I want to be one of those people who don’t have to put their butt in the chair each day. Aromatherapy and massage just sounds so very wonderful when faced with a looming deadline.
Jen: Have you noticed that your writer’s voice has changed over the years? If so, how?
Katie: I think all writers’ voices change over time, and I am no exception. My humor has gotten a little darker and less slapsticky, although I did write a contemporary recently that let me revisit the lighter, non-paranormal voice. That was a lot of fun, even if I noticed that my contemporary voice changed a bit as well.
Katie: Usually I identify most with whatever character I’m writing at the time, probably because I’m pouring so much into that character. As for a favorite? I dearly love Harry from It’s All Greek to Me. She’s the person I wish I was—funny, grounded, very comfortable with herself, and isn’t afraid of anything. The character who I feel is most like me is Aisling Grey. She’s clumsy, tends to be a bit naïve and clueless, and very stubborn.
Jen: What has been the highlight of your career to this point?
Katie: It’s hard to pinpoint any one particular event. I was just looking around my office at the awards and framed copies of the New York Times list (yes, I’m just that shallow that I frame the best NYT list hits) hoping to see something that would give me an easy answer, and although those are moments I cherish, they aren’t really the best of what can come from writing.
I think the best thing about my career has been the fact that now and again my books touch someone’s life in a way that gives them great comfort. I’ve had letters from people who have written to tell me about those times—whether it’s one of my books shared with a dying parent, or people going through really rough physical and emotional situations—and those are the moments that really matter to me. The idea that I can touch the life of someone I don’t know just floors me—and keeps me writing even when I’m tired, and I badly want to do something else.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Katie: Right now I’m starting a new paranormal series. I’m excited to be doing something brand new, featuring a group of people who have not been included in any of my other books, although it’s always a little scary to be forging an unknown path. Beyond that…I don’t really know. I try not to pin myself down much past a couple of books—my muse works better if I give her choices about what she wants to write next, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never cross the muse.
Jen: Katie is graciously offering up a couple gift cards to her favorite Etsy store. To enter you must fill out the Rafflecopter form and answer the question (or leave a meaningful comment / question) in the comments.