Please welcome Author Caroline Gill to THE KATY today!
Hey, Katy, thanks for having me here. A little about myself: I grew up in Coronado, California for the better part of my childhood, surrounded by the ocean on one side and the San Diego Bay on the other. Half of the peninsula is a navy base, so the military has always been around me. As a Navy kid, I felt like I was a part of something bigger. I spent most of middle school reading a book at the beach. And most of high school, reading a book while walking all over the small island. I graduated from UCLA and then from NIU. I live in the redwoods of northern California with my husband, five kids and two tortoises. My days are full.
I lived in the library after school, spending summers racing through children’s books which led into fantasy novels. I inhaled Anne McCaffery, Robin Hobb, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury. I’ve fallen in love and traveled the world over and over, reading thousands of lives in fantasy and science fiction. I wrote at first in my journals, and then nine years ago, I had a vivid dream. Waking, i wrote for two hours outlining my first novel.
Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?
Certainly, Tolkien, Rowling, CS Lewis inspired me to explore new worlds. So did movies like the Lottery, the Sound of Music, the Hunger Games, and True Grit.
Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?
I am a big believer in quality. The Internet, Apple and Amazon have changed the way we read, and the amount of writers who can now reach an audience. I published indie because we can.
Are you a plotter or a panster?
I generally write a character’s opening based on a dream or a vivid image and then plot the rest of the main points and character intersects.
What draws you to writing in the Dystopian genre?
The chaos of the world around us. I think we all see it, the way our lives are interwoven, the way it could all fall apart. That is part of the fascination, “What would I do…?”
What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?
Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group has been hands down the most supportive and wonderful group of readers and authors. Through my participation in the anthology Prep For Doom, I met so many talented, wise, and generous people. Those authors were the first I really was able to share my writings with, the first to answer questions when publishing confused me, and the first to be my friends.
How did the idea of flies come to you for your debut novel, “Flying Away?”
I was rocking a child to sleep. It was a beautiful afternoon, no sounds anywhere except right above me in the air: a fly hoovered. And he did not stop. Instead of landing and grooming, he flew in the air above me in some kind of invisible pattern. I wondered what the insect could possibly be doing. And then I realized. Hidden Magic.
Your cover is beautiful! You created it yourself, correct? Are you traditionally an artist as well as an author?
Thank you, so much.Yes, I did create it, drawing each element and composing them together. I am self-taught using photoshop and a wacom tablet. I use each layer of photoshop the same way a traditional printer does. I have always loved drawing women and I feel really lucky that Iolani turned out so perfectly.
Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?
There is a great deal of myself as a child in Lani, a sense of stubborness, a brutal honesty. For sure the characters I have in Flying Away are parts of people I know. Many in fact, I have met in the online world. Sometimes a few interactions in text or chat really distills a personality. One character, Ginny, is based on a friend of mine who is currently fighting cancer. She was in the middle of chemo when I wrote her character into the story. Goodness should be remembered.
Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch?
I can’t watch horror. Suspense? Yes. Thrillers? Yes. But not horror. The images, corny though they are, stay in my dreams like black ink on a white sheet.
Do you have an advice for aspiring writers?
Write. Revise. Share. Edit. Cry. Revise. Publish.
Write every day, even a few sentences. Those are yours. No one can take that from you.Even if my kids have made a fort in the front room and spilled popcorn everywhere, I still have my words, safely tucked away. My own personal pile of ideas and characters that I treasure. Little by little, you can move a mountain.
I made the mistake of publishing a novel in 2012 without hiring an editor. And I had to take it down. You need outside eyes on your baby. Trust someone to help you make your words shine.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?
Flying Blind, book two of Malcolm and Lani’s story, is in edits and Flying Free, the final book is finished and is on its way. I am madly working on their covers and preparing for a wild year.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am incredibly grateful Katy, to you for your support and listening ear. You always go above and beyond to help others and it makes a difference. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and for all you have done over the last year.
Thanks for joining me today, Caroline! I enjoyed interviewing you and wish you the best as you continue your journey as an author.