How has the start of your week gone? I’m actually writing this in advance because I have a big essay due this week and I didn’t know how much time I would have for blog posts so I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a post. So, I hope my Monday goes well haha!
Anyway! Today we have super exciting post! Recently, I read Soothsayer by Kathryn Amurra after having been very kindly sent a copy, and I adored it! It was such an incredible swoon-worthy romance that put me in an amazing mood. Anywho, I decided to take a chance and reach back out to her and see if she would be interested in doing a interview – if not for you guys then mostly for myself haha – but I bet you will enjoy it just as me. She was so sweet to me and EXTREMELY patient in dealing with me and my intermittent correspondence because of my Uni schedule. So a massive thank you again to her for not only sending me a copy of her book but also for taking time out of her day to answer my questions, so please show her lots of love! Anyway, this has been by far enough rambling from me, I will let Kathryn take over – Enjoy!
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing?
I am a 43-year-old wife and a mother to 3 girls, ages 8, 10, and 12 (almost 13!). I live in North Carolina in the United States currently, but I grew up in New York State. My parents are immigrants from Egypt. I studied Mechanical Engineering in college, worked for almost five years as an engineer (which is where I met my husband), then went to law school. My day job right now is as a patent and trademark attorney. I started writing in grade school, and I have always liked having romance in my stories. With NO experience of any sort on the subject at the time, though, the stories were pretty awful. I wrote on and off until I graduated from law school, but when I started working as a lawyer at a law firm I had too much to do and stopped writing. I had three kids over the next several years, and I didn’t even think about writing again until one day driving home from visiting my in-laws for Christmas. It was late at night, my hubby and children were asleep, and it was starting to snow. Alone on the road, watching the snow in the headlights against the dark pavement was almost magical, and by the time I pulled into our driveway three hours later, I had worked out the plot of a book and resolved to write it that year. It was my New Year’s Resolution for 2016, and by the end of that year I had written what I considered my first decent attempt at a real novel. It is called Undeserving, and I intend to revise and publish it someday soon, but I just haven’t done it yet. Soothsayer is the third novel I’ve written since that 2016 New Year’s Resolution, and the first one that I’ve thought worthy of publication.
What was your favourite book to write (Soothsayer or Admonition) and why?
This is a very difficult question to answer! I really loved writing Soothsayer, and I’m really loving writing my current book, Admonition. Maybe I will be able to answer this question when I’m done with Admonition. Or maybe I still won’t know!
Who is your favourite character you’ve written and why?
So far, I think Cassius is my favorite character. I really enjoyed exploring the idea of having a “shadow of death” hanging over him and how this affected how he experienced life. I think we all have this to some extent in our lives–we believe something about ourselves or our futures, true or not, and it colors how we interact with and experience the world.
I fell in love with Cassius just by reading the blurb! Did he go through a lot of transformation during the writing and editing or was he always so broody and amazing?
Cassius was the reason I wrote the book. I always saw him as someone who was strong and honorable, yet tortured–a man who was capable of great love, but always deprived himself because he couldn’t bear the thought of causing someone, including himself, the pain he thought was inevitable. As you can see, I love Cassius, too!
How do you keep/get inspired when starting something new or are having writer’s block?
This usually happens to me after I’ve been on a writing spree and have just finished a scene. When I don’t know how to start the next part, I take a break, re-read and revise the last two or three chapters, and usually that gets the juices flowing again. Sometimes I just have to take a break from my story all together, read someone else’s book, then go back to mine. I just have to regroup sometimes!
I am personally inspired by my surroundings (especially for me as Scotland is so beautiful) – is it the same for yourself?
Yes, very much so (and I hope I can visit Scotland someday!). Before I started writing Soothsayer, my family took a hike through a piece of land with quite a bit of thorny overgrowth. I picked up my youngest daughter and covered her with my jacket and arms so she wouldn’t get scratched. As we walked, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be so romantic for a man to protect the woman he loved like this? As you might guess, the scene from Soothsayer where Cassius and Aurelia travel through the field of brambles was born from this experience!
Did you always want to be an author or is it a relatively recent discovery?
I’ve always loved to write. I just never made the effort to learn how to actually do it effectively and take the risk of trying to put my work out there until recently. And I’m so glad I did. It has been a wonderful experience.
What did you like and dislike about independently publishing?
What I like about independent publishing is that I have full control of the whole process and am learning how things work. What I don’t like is that no one knows about my book, but these things take time, I think.
What is your favourite food?
I love food in general, so this is a difficult question. But if I had to pick, I would choose cheeseburgers!
Another difficult question. There are a lot of genres out there. As for comedies, I would pick The Wedding Singer and Anchorman, and also The Birdcage with Robin Williams. But over the course of my life, the movie I probably watched the most times is Back to the Future. But I don’t watch that one every day anymore like I used to, though!
Favourite book other than your own?
Outlander (the first book) by Diana Gabaldon–the love scene between Jamie and Claire on their wedding night, and their romance overall, is absolutely perfect.
Other than writing and presumably reading, do you have my other hobbies?
Watching movies is another of my hobbies, but it’s related, I suppose. It’s all about stories and relationships. If sleeping is a hobby, then that is also definitely on my list, too!
As a student myself, what was your favourite subject when you were younger and what do you study now?
Definitely English, and also Social Studies (history). Some of the best stories in the world are true.
Who would you say was your biggest writing (and non-writing) inspiration when you were younger?
The writers who had the biggest impact on me were probably Lois Duncan (when I was young), Dean Koontz (as a teenager/young adult), and Karen Robards (more recently). From a non-writing perspective it is my mother (who passed away in 2011), my father, my brother, my husband, and my three girls.
If you could say anything to your younger self what would it be?
Be confident. How you see yourself affects how the world sees you. I say these things to my girls every day.
Are you working on anything right now?
As you noted above, I am working on my second book set in Ancient Rome involving the soothsayer called Admonition. Although the soothsayer has more foretellings in this second book, the hero and heroine, their romance, and their challenges are new.
And finally can you please tell readers how best to contact you?
Anyone can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org–I would love to hear from them. I am also on Facebook and Twitter, and my website is https://kathrynamurra.wixsite.com/mysite, but I am still learning the social media thing!
So that’s it for today’s post! I hope you all really enjoyed this because I always love doing interviews! It’s so fun to see inside a writer’s head and how they feel about their characters. If you want more author interviews leave some suggestions for people down below and I’ll see what I can do 😉
I hope that your week is magical and I will see you all on Wednesday for my Word of the Week! ❤