MW:So one of my favorite yoga teachers often ends the class with a quote from Truman Capote that goes, "Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." I think there's a common misconception about you as a writer that one day you sat down, wrote REAL and became an overnight sensation. But, you have always been a writer and just like all of us you've struggled with rejection and failure--can you tell us about your journey?
KE:First of all, I love your yoga teacher. And I agree, they say every success has been years in the making, and I think it's pretty true in my case as well. Most of us labor in silence and in the shadows for many years before we step into the 'limelight'. Stepping into the limelight doesn't mean we're purposely putting ourselves up for scrutiny, but when you're a writer and you share your work, it sometimes does feel like you're allowing yourself to be "seen" -or at least your creation!
I started writing a little after I was 12. I never shared my writing with anyone but I tried poems, short stories, anything, really. I just liked putting my hand to paper. I knew I had "some" talent because the school newspaper would always choose some of my essays as material, but I never dreamed someone would want to read any creation of mine for more than a couple of minutes. Strangely, my lack of belief in myself didn't dissuade me. I simply wanted to be a writer and I consoled myself with a particularly bad romance novel I'd read when I was 15. One where I read and read and read and there was only ONE teensy kiss at the end of the book, and being the passionate person that I am, having no long kisses, no long make out sessions, and no sex, was very annoying. So I decided that if that book could make it to print then I could do just as badly, but at least my book would have more sexy in it. So, fueled by a bad book, I sent submissions to agents and publishers, entered contests, the works. Sometimes I got notes of encouragement, I even finaled in a few contests, but my every submission ended up being declined and for the next 15 years, almost, I really perfected the art of failing. I simply kept failing, but the great part about failing was that I never stopped wanting to make it. Sure, I'd lock myself in my room and weep after a particularly harsh letter. I'd stop writing for a day, or a week, or a month, but writing is almost a compulsion of mine. I can't not do it for long. So I kept returning, and I figured out that I was not writing the unique stories that I had to share. I was writing what I "thought" should be a romance. The kind of stories that I read and thought everyone wanted. It wasn't until I realized I was not really saying what was in me to say that I found success - REAL is the first book I wrote for myself, without preconceived notions of what it should be about, or what it should be like, and I'm still amazed by the doors it has opened, and the energy and the people this book has brought into my life. I truly cracked open my mind and my heart and wrote, and hundreds of thousands of people cracked open their minds and hearts and read.
MW:After the release of REAL, you skyrocketed, and I mean skyrocketed to everyone's kindle, to best-selling lists, to extreme visibility. What was that like for you? We're you able to enjoy it?
KE:Because I wasn't seeking the "limelight". . .I guess you could say I was seeking a connection. A connection between my reader and myself. But because skyrocketing to the top was never really my goal, I actually had a very tough time adjusting to feeling so, shall we say, exposed? While REAL climbed the ranks of the bestselling lists, I would cry in my husband's arms wondering if people would GET this book like I did, if they would UNDERSTAND my beloved hero like I did? And they did, and they have, and it's been wonderful, and I wouldn't change it for the world. But it was still frightening, humbling, and amazing, all at once.
MW:When REAL released, it seemed that Remington Tate as a romance, alpha-male really resonated with readers, do you think it was Remy's imperfections that made him the perfect hero for so many readers?
KE:I think it was Remy's imperfections that made him real and human to readers, and made him so much more relatable than a hero who is completely perfect. Here you have an amazing, strong, incredible guy who is also sometimes a little bit vulnerable, and feels a little bit off, and what's not to love about someone who's trying his damnedest to be worthy of love?
MW:In the book world you have a reputation for being a compassionate person, a quality that shows through, even into your characters. A lot of people don't know that you mentored me through publishing my first book right at the height of the REAL insanity. And despite your success you've remained very grounded. Can you tell us where that quality comes from? Did you have humble beginnings; was it something your parents instilled in you?
KE:Oh that's very lovely to hear. And for the record, how could I not mentor an incredible, passionate lady with a talent like yours? I'm so glad we met during those "crazy" times because I'm keeping you.
I can't say really what helps me stay grounded, but I definitely think it's a combination of my upbringing (thanks mom and dad! For saying: "Always say please, thank you. . . etc. . .") along with my personality. As a person, success doesn't make me any better than I was five years ago, when I was a 'failure' - neither does it have this effect on anyone else.
MW:The anticipation for REAL #6, LEGEND is already huge. You're excited about this book too, can you tell us why?
KE:Oh goodness, I can hardly express my excitement for this book. LEGEND is the kind of rare book (like REAL) that took me by the throat and had me typing 24/7 for three weeks, until I typed: The End. When you're a writer and you start a book that explodes with a life of it's own, so fast and so bright that you can hardly type fast enough, you know there's some sort of miracle in that....a little bit of alchemy or magic. Because, let's face it, the usual writing process is that we sit down, have some good inspired days, and some not-so-good days, and that's okay. But when a book is so alive that there's never a moment's hesitation in any scene, no rest in the writing process for weeks, then you know that the story you are telling is as real as can be. And that's what I LOVE about this book. It's just the story that I was meant to tell, a story that was meant to be told. I just can't wait to share it!
Katy's books can be found at all major retailers. You can learn more about the author and her work at http://www.katyevans.net