I love sharing information for writers. I have found some very interesting bits and pieces that will help you in your writing process. What I love most is talking with authors and learning about them and their path to publication. Please help me welcome author Cat Michaels. She has some awesome information to share with you!
Check out her awesome video.
How long have you been writing?
Seems like forever! My first ‘novel’ was handwritten in fourth grade — a western about two sisters, Nikki and Vikki, traveling west in a wagon train. I co-wrote it with a girlfriend: she penned the Nikki character, and I did the Vikki parts. I also kept journals from middle school through adulthood. On the other side of the pencil, I taught writing to elementary and middle school students who had a learning disability. Plus, I supported that population and those with Asperger’s syndrome as their writing coach at a community college.
Have you always written for children?
My children’s stories began about 20 years ago when I wanted to find unique birthday gifts for my nieces and nephews. I started writing stories for them, and it just evolved from there. A few years ago, I decided to polish off the stories, take advantage of new digital publishing technology, and publish.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
- Dr. Suess: His creative characters and drawings; language all his own
- Charles Dickens: Characters, characters, characters!
- Recently: JK Rowling: Created a whole world of characters, conventions, and setting
What drives and motivates your writing?
Some days, I sit in my writer’s nest, stare at my laptop, and wonder why I write. It’s certainly not to find fame or fortune! A writerly life is hard work, and it takes years to see results from all that effort. It can also be lonely for someone like me, who likes being around people. Having said that, I enjoy writing and the challenges that come with it. I love experimenting with new technology. I hope readers will smile over something they read in my books. I also want to nudge young readers to look at the world in different ways and use their imagination and creativity.
Do you feel it’s important for writers to use social media? How?
I’m over the moon finding visuals for my Pinterest boards, meeting folk on Goodreads, and posting on my blog and Facebook page. Social media is a gotta-have for connecting with readers and other writers and staying on top of publishing trends. However as much as I love it, social media can be overwhelming. I limit myself to an hour or two daily, but sometimes (especially when I’m launching a new book), I can be on social media for days and don’t have time for writing.
What books for writers would you recommend?
One book attracted me because it contains advise from so many writers all in one place:
Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do, editor Meredith Maran
What advice do you have for new Indie writers?
- Write what you know, then edit, polish, re-write, and repeat.
- Think of yourself as a writer *and* (gasp) an entrepreneur.
- Invest quality time with social media to make your book discoverable.
- Find the best team you can afford (editor, graphic designer, cover artist, etc.), and go slow to get it right.
- Stay in it for the long haul: writing (and all the editing, book formatting, marketing, etc., that go with it) is a journey, but worth the effort if you have tenacity, talent, and optimism.
- Support other writers and pay it forward because success is best when shared.
- Step away from the keyboard every once in awhile.
What is the goal for yourself in the next 5 years?
I want to be 5 pounds lighter and 2-3 books heavier!
Seriously, I’m converting my print books into e-readers and then will notch it up by finding a robust digital technology that supports high-quality, interactive books and reading apps. Think appeal of a video game but with educational value. I want to keep expanding my network of readers, parents, teachers, and writers. And travel some place very cool — like places in the UK I pinned on my Pinterest board — to experience different cultures and get story ideas.
Thanks so much Cat for stopping by and sharing your story. Everyone please be sure to stop by Kristi’s Book Nook where I am hosting another interview with Cat and a book giveaway of her interactive story Finding Fuzzy.
CAT MICHAELS started writing stories in fourth grade and hasn’t stopped since. After earning an M.S. degree in special education from the University of Kansas, she spent two decades helping students from kindergarten to college reach their potential.
She also managed communication and resource development programs for an international high-tech company that included writing press releases and articles for trade journals. After recession and downsizings, she returned to her education roots, serving at a community college as a writing coach and learning specialist for students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities.
Cat spins tales of everyday life, with a twist of magic or twinge of mystery, that open young minds to new ways of thinking and looking at the world. Illustrations by watercolor artist Irene A. Jahns help bring that world to life.
Cat and her family live in North Carolina where she designs playful gardens, dabbles in all things digital, and writes.
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