This month I will be featuring New Adult Author, Kate Mary, who like myself dabbles in both New Adult and Young Adult. I also met Kate Mary through #NAlitchat. We were talking about clean romance novels, and one thing led to another! Kate specializes in speculative fiction, which hits on anything from zombies to the apocalypse–but there is one thing that ties all of her novels together, ROMANCE! Sounds familiar, huh? This month you will get to learn more about her, get to see teasers of her available novels AND learn about her upcoming ones!
1) You’re an Air Force wife, which always brings to mind lots of moving. How have the moves involved in this affected your writing?
I actually turned to writing as a way to pass time after we moved to California in 2012. I hadn’t written anything since high school, really. But we had just moved from Charleston, SC where I’d had the most amazing friends imaginable, and living in California wasn’t going well. I hadn’t met anyone I really connected with and my husband was never home, so I found myself in a place where I needed a way to occupy my time. The three years we spent there were lonely and hard, but it gave me time to focus on the craft and work out the bugs in my writing.
2) You’re published by Etopia Press, how did you find them?
I participated in PitchMas last December, and was lucky enough to get two of the three pitches I submitted through to the next round. I had nine requests, mostly from editors at small presses. Etopia offered me a contract on Collision less than a month later, along with another small press. I did some research about both the companies and ultimately decided on Etopia simply because they had been around longer and were better established. I got very lucky, because the other press has since gone under. They were new, which was my major objection to them.
So far, I’ve been satisfied with Etopia. There have been a few minor bumps along the way, but nothing major. I’ve found everyone I’ve worked with to be friendly and helpful. My emails and questions have been answered and my editor has been great. And I love my cover for Collision.
3) Etopia is a smaller publishing house. What kind of marketing do they do for you, and what kind of marketing are you required to do?
They have a list of review sites they send the ARC out to, as well as a website, Facebook page and Twitter account. As an author, I’m not required to do anything. I did submit to a few other small presses who made a big deal about having a social media presence, but Etopia did not. However, the success of my book is going to depend on me marketing myself. I’ve been working on getting author spotlights and interviews on blogs, Tweeting consistently and even have a book blog tour scheduled for the end of this month.
4) Why did you choose the smaller independent publishing house route?
I spent a lot of time querying this and a few other novels to agents. I had plenty of full requests along the way, but it always came to the same result: Like it, didn’t love it. The no responses were piling up and it was just getting more and more difficult to stay positive. Ultimately, my goal was to get published. Would I love to walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelf? Yes! But I didn’t need it, and I don’t need to make millions of dollars. I just wanted to share my stories with other people, so when I got the offer from Etopia, I decided to go for it.
I haven’t totally given up on the idea of an agent, and I even have a manuscript out with an agent right now. But I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere and I just wanted to move forward in the meantime. There’s nothing wrong with starting out small.
5) Your debut novel, Collision, is a New Adult mystery novel. The New Adult genre needs more variety like this! What inspired the novel?
I love the age range of New Adult. I’m older, married, and have four kids, but I like reading about people who are still trying to find their way in life. But I often found it hard to connect to the characters in young adult. When they were seventeen or eighteen years old it wasn’t bad, but I can’t really identify with a fifteen year old!
New Adult is a great alternative, but right now it’s mostly contemporary and paranormal romance, which aren’t my favorite. So, I decided to write something New Adult that I would love to read. I always want a strong romantic element in the stories I read, but I need more plot than that to keep me interested.
6) Mystery novels can have leans towards sci-fi or the paranormal—does this novel have one of these leans or is it more real-life related?
I am not a paranormal fan, and even though I love sci-fi, there isn’t any of that in the story. Unless you count the main character watching a cheesy movie on the Syfy channel, that is.
7) What would you classify the ‘heat’ level of your novels and your writing?
Compared to the new adult romances out there, mild. There’s some sex, but it isn’t as graphic as most new adult readers are probably used to.
8) Your next book, Broken World, is about zombies in a post-apocalyptic America. What inspired this novel?
I’ve always loved zombies and any post-apocalyptic stories, and they are so popular right now! Of course, The Walking Dead is my favorite show. I wanted to write a zombie story, and I loved the dynamic of the Dixon brothers on the show. Sadly, there wasn’t much interaction between them. I really wanted to explore that kind of sibling bond and how something like the end of the world would affect it. So, I just went with it. Yes, the brothers in my story are inspired by those characters, but everything else comes from my own imagination.
9) Broken World is a part of a series. How many novels will be in the series? Where do you see it going?
I have three books in this series written already and the fourth one started. I love reading (and writing) a series. It’s so hard letting go of characters you’ve falling in love with, and I love these characters! I probably shouldn’t say this because it might make my other books jealous, but this series is my favorite. Which means, I don’t have a set number of books. I’m just going to keep writing and see where the story goes.
10) What advice would you give someone who is looking to publish?
Be sure to get beta readers, join writing groups, get feedback and get to know other writers on Twitter. The writing community can be very supportive if you look in the right places, and without feedback from other people, it’s going to be hard to break into the industry. And it can make all the difference in the quality of your writing.
Also, do your homework. I love the #tenqueries hashtag on Twitter, and it blows my mind how much agent time is wasted by people who just didn’t follow guidelines. Know what agents or editors want, follow their submission guidelines, and don’t submit until your manuscript is complete.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. Every morning or I don’t function.
Candles or Fragrance Plug-Ins?
Either one. Whatever helps keep the little kid stink at bay.
Dogs or Cats?
Cats. I’m one of those rare people who doesn’t really love dogs.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate. It’s one of my addictions.
Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?
Sweet or Salty?
Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She spent most of her life in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California.
Kate enjoys any post-apocalyptic story – especially if zombies are involved – as long as there is a romantic twist to give the story hope. Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes that can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat, and her love of wine and chocolate is legendary among her friends and family. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children.
Find out more about Kate: