Guys! I’m so excited to interview author Kristen Martin on the blog today. Not only is she a talented indie author, she also has a YouTube Channel where she talks about writing and publishing and life. Her Self-Publishing 101 Series was incredibly helpful to me. So if you’re interested in indie publishing, I highly recommend her channel. 🙂
A little bit about Kristen: She lives in Southeast Texas, and she’s the author of THE ALPHA DRIVE Trilogy (YA Dystopian) and the forthcoming SHADOW CROWN Series (YA Dark Fantasy). Information on where to find her on social media and where to find her books are linked below. ^_^
What inspired you to start your YouTube channel?
KRISTEN: When I decided I was going to get serious about finishing my novel in 2014, I, like every other writer, had certain questions that needed answering surrounding the writing process. I stumbled upon YouTube, and while the videos I found were helpful, they didn’t quite break down the topics I was searching for in an easy-to-digest, how-to format. Frankly, I felt like the videos were all over the place, leaving me even more confused than before I’d started researching. I figured if I felt this way, other aspiring authors probably did too. And that’s how my YouTube channel was born. 🙂
You recently went to BookCon. What was it like meeting readers and signing books?
KRISTEN: It was like a dream. I was absolutely blown away by how many people actually knew who I was and watched my YouTube videos! I left each day feeling super inspired and grateful. Responding to comments online is one thing, but meeting the people who make this community so great face-to-face was something I will never forget. It was such a phenomenal experience, and I plan to attend as a vendor every year from here on out!
Hopefully, I’ll get out as a vendor soon! About your first published book, was THE ALPHA DRIVE also your first finished full-length novel or do you have an embarrassing pile of early novel skeletons in your writer’s closet? ^_^
KRISTEN: I only have 1 early novel skeleton – and it was actually THE ALPHA DRIVE in its original form, which was a new adult contemporary novel. That novel will never see the light of day, haha! I hear quite often that many writers have an embarrassing piles of earlier works, but I suppose I’m an anomaly. I just have the one!
A lot of writers have confidence issues. How do you snap out of unproductive spirals of the “I suck” blues?
KRISTEN: It doesn’t happen to me all that often, but I do have spells where I seriously lack motivation. I usually take time to journal and get all of my feelings out on paper. I’ll then pick up a motivational book, like You Are A BadAss by Jen Sincero, and read a few chapters. It’s a great pick-me-up, and gets my motivation to write back up and running quickly! I would also suggest surrounding yourself (either online or in-person) with other positive-minded writers to help support and encourage you when you’re feeling down.
A support system is very helpful! In your forthcoming dark fantasy, SHADOW CROWN, your main character Arden is an assassin! It sounds like such a fun, dark novel. I can’t wait to pick it up! I love dark novels, and everything I write is dark, as well. I’m curious, what’s your favorite aspect of writing about a darker character?
KRISTEN: Thank you! SHADOW CROWN, by far, has been the most fun (and the most challenging) book for me to write. Because I am such a positive, smiley, and happy person, it felt strangely exhilarating to write for a darker character’s point of view. My favorite aspect of writing about a darker character is that I really had to get into Arden’s headspace and write from a much more sinister place than I’m used to. It’s been a huge challenge, but one I enjoy because I feel that it really stretches my abilities as a writer. I’ve actually come out of my office before with my head down after writing a scene from Arden’s point-of-view, and my fiance will look at me and go, “How bad was it this time? Do I need to run to the store to get ice cream?” Let’s just say I’ve eaten a lot of ice cream over the past year during the writing and editing phases of this book!
I tend to talk to my characters in the car. How did you find Arden’s voice? Did you interview her? Take her on a coffee date? Or did she just come to you like that?
KRISTEN: It just sort of came to me. I didn’t interview her or do anything specific – I remember brainstorming the plot and subplots for the book and her voice just sort of appeared in my head – what she’d do in certain situations, how she’d react, how she’d speak. I think we all struggle with balancing lightness and darkness sometimes, so it’s been really interesting getting to know both sides of Arden.
I know you’re an outliner, but do your characters ever hijack your stories and take them somewhere completely unexpected?
KRISTEN: Yes, all the time! I always say that outlines are a great guide, but they’re just that – a guide. It’s completely normal to be pulled in another direction by your characters. I actually quite enjoy it – I feel it adds unexpected twists to my story that I obviously didn’t have planned!
I absolutely love it when the characters take over! In all honesty, the amount of work you get done is incredible. What advice would you give to writers who struggle to sit down and write?
KRISTEN: I truly believe that in order for a writer to sit down and get through writing their book, they have to truly be in love with their story idea. If your idea doesn’t excite you, if it doesn’t make you want to jump out of the bed in the morning to start working on it or continue where you’ve left off, then it may not be the idea for you – or at least, it may not be fully marinated just yet. If I’m struggling to try to write a certain scene (or dreading writing it), I take out a pen and paper and try to pin down why I’m struggling or dreading it. Is it because I don’t feel familiar enough with the character? Is it because the scene feels flat? Does it need more action, more tension? If you can pinpoint why you’re struggling, it becomes a whole lot easier to make an actionable plan to get over that hurdle and get back to writing.
Great advice! I 100% agree! What drew you to indie publishing?
KRISTEN: I was originally very drawn to traditional publishing and wanted to go that route, but after a few rounds of the querying process, and starting a couple of conversations with literary agents, I realized that maybe it wasn’t the right path for what I had envisioned for The Alpha Drive series. I was really drawn to indie publishing because I could essentially be my own boss, set my own deadlines, and have full creative control. I’m still open to traditional publishing (given the right timing and the right agent/publisher), but for now, I am extremely proud of what I’ve accomplished and everything I’ve learned as an indie author.
Completely random question time: You meet an all powerful genie who’s going to give you a superpower but for only 24 hours. What do you pick and what do you with it?
KRISTEN: To time travel! I’d love to go back in time and nudge myself to take my writing more seriously earlier in the game, as well as get a visit from my future self assuring me that everything will work out exactly as I’ve imagined and to keep moving forward, no matter what. 🙂
Thank you so much for having me!
Anytime! I have to say, your superpower of choice is far more noble than mine would be. 😀
And speaking of interviews, I had a mini interview on Saturday over at Book Club Mom. ^_^
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