Client Spotlight: Katherine Longshore - Writing the Book of Her Heart

Katherine Longshore is the author of four published Yound Adult novels, GILT, TARNISHED, BRAZEN, and MANOR OF SECRETS. She has been a writer since she first learned how to hold a pencil. After graduating college, her plan was to travel the world and write. Forever.

Four years, six continents and countless pairs of shoes later, she went to England for two weeks, stayed five years in a little town in the county of Kent within spitting distance of Hever Castle -- the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. She lives and writes in California with her husband, two children and a sun-worshiping dog.

As a successful author of multiple novels, what does it feel like when you send a book out into the world? Have the feelings changed from when your first book was published?

I think I’m probably a little more jaded—my excitement is now tempered more by the knowledge that the industry is fickle and subjective and for a person like me, almost impossible to track. But I do still get that feeling that’s like a cross between jumping off a roof and starting to fly. There’s a great rush of fear, but also a wonderful sense of possibility to it.


Has your writing process changed between books? What do you do now as a writer that you didn’t or wouldn’t have done before?

My writing process has changed with every single book!  

When I started out, I just sat down with an idea and wrote. That book taught me how to revise. After that, I tried to plan a little more, but I struggle with outlines and structure, and sometimes get in my own way when I start to think I need to know everything before I start Chapter One.

Sometimes, I do character exercises, but sometimes the characters just leap onto the page fully-formed. Sometimes, I make a SAVE THE CAT! beat sheet and sometimes I outline by drawing a baseball diamond illustrating the points of the Hero’s Journey.

The one thing I do now that I never did before is to listen to whatever process feels right for this book. I used to think I had to follow one type of outline or follow one (or all) given advice. I realize more now that books are like kids—very individual.

 

"I realize more now that books are like kids—very individual."

 

You wrote an article on your blog about writing a logline for your new project. For all your fans eagerly awaiting the release of your next novel, what project are you currently working on?

Ah, the logline! It used to be my biggest bête noir. But now I see it as a great tool for distilling an idea before I even start to write. 

At the moment, I’m developing an idea for something very new to me—a novel for adults. It will be dual storylines, set in the past and present and linked by a distinctive setting. Perhaps I’m being overly ambitious, but I want to explore themes of faith and loneliness and what it means to belong.


What do you consider your biggest writing success right now, at this very moment?

Honestly? The book that never sold.

After writing four historical novels about girls and royalty, I decided I wanted to do something completely different. So I wrote a contemporary novel about a boy with a murky past who tries to escape it by jumping on a freight train heading out of town. Dirt and dumpster diving and finding friends where you least expect them.

This book took me so far out of myself and into such wonderfully creative waters. It stretched me and challenged me as a person and an artist.  It gave me insight and strengthened my compassion. So even though it isn’t likely ever to be on a bookstore shelf, I think of it as my greatest success to date.   


What are the highlights of working with Lorin on book editing? How would you describe its overall effect on your professional/creative trajectory? 

I find it difficult even to try to condense my thoughts into a few bullet points.

To say that Lorin has helped me comprehensively and transcendentally would be an understatement. I can see her fingerprints even on the books she hasn’t read because she gets me thinking about those essential questions and searching for the surprising answers. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of “this is the way this book is supposed to be”. 

Working with Lorin shows you that there are many more possibilities.

 

"Rejection sucks. For me, the indifferent “no, thanks” can be so much more painful and creatively disabling than the crazy crackers Goodreads diatribe review."

 

You wrote intimately on your blog about having written the Book of Your Heart and how it wasn’t picked up for publication. What advice would you give new writers about rejection?

Rejection sucks. For me, the indifferent “no, thanks” can be so much more painful and creatively disabling than the crazy crackers Goodreads diatribe review.

I think the best advice I can give is this: Feel it.

Let that grief wash over you and even knock you down. For a day. Sometimes, you may need more time. Sometimes less. But let yourself feel it. Then get back to work.

We are creative people, my friends. We are artists. This is what we do.  A big fat resoundingly indifferent no from the industry can’t change that.  One book—even the Book of Your Heart—is just one book. There are many more where that came from.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given that's helped you as a writer?

Just write.


What outside hobbies or interests feed your writing?

History. Travel. Music. Dancing. People watching. A great cappuccino.

FAST FACTS

  • Currently reading:
    FIRST IMPRESSIONS by Charlie Lovett.
     
  • If you could enter the world of any novel, which would it be?Harry Potter’s Hogwarts—but only Book 1.
     
  • Do you write to music, or do you prefer silence?
    Silence.  I even find instrumental music distracting.
     
  • Are you a coffee, tea, or booze-fueled writer?
    Dark chocolate and coffee.  Sometimes mixed together.  And if a revision is going really, really badly, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Red Vines.  But never mixed together.

You can follow Katherine on her Facebook page and on Twitter as @KALongshore. You can also read her blog and contact her through her website, katherinelongshore.com. Links to purchasing all of her books can be found on her website