Blogger's Note: I'd like to welcome Katherine Owen, author of When I See You (read my review here and an excerpt here), to Change the Word for today's interview.
Change the Word: What was your inspiration for writing this book?
Katherine Owen: This novel came from an exercise I did for one my advanced fiction classes with The Writer’s Studio. I was stuck on Afghanistan and what was happening there. I watched the movie Shooter, which is one of my son’s favorite films. There’s a scene at the beginning with two soldiers. I thought about that scene for a long time and started posing questions. What if something happened to a soldier while in battle that changed everything for the love of his life back home? It started from there and evolved over about two years into the story of When I See You.
CTW: When I See You handles some pretty heavy subject manner. How did you get into the mindset to write the subject manner?
KO: I tend to be in the mindset of dark, emotional angst most of the time, so writing characters that exhibit these deep emotions is sort of a table stake for me. I have a lot of empathy for what happens in real life, which is why I listen to sports radio more than hard news because it’s just easier on my psyche that way. I have enough material built up from years of observation of life to write for years to come. It appears that angst-filled, emotional roller coaster type reads are my wheelhouse as both a writer and a reader.
CTW: There's also a bit of a love triangle to this one. What did you do to make that complicated chemistry?
KO: Well, love is complicated and varies by infinitesimal degrees, in my opinion. I think that more than one person can be right for us, or all wrong for us, and we don’t always see that. Ethan and Jordan seem to have this amazing relationship, but he eclipses her quite often and ignores her angst over his long absences and somewhat dismisses her feelings about her parents’ loss, her lack of trust, and her ultimate fear of being left all alone. Then, along comes Brock, who seems to already understand all of these things about her. It’s a fascinating subtle part of the story that begins to unfold in the first chapters. The complicated chemistry between all three of them was intriguing to write. It was an exacting artistic balance, on my part, because I do think love can be this complicated or, really, in essence, can be this simple.
CTW: Is there one trait you share with Jordan?
KO: Jordan is dark and edgy from an emotional perspective. She feels the loss of her parents deeply. That characteristic was developed from my own perspective and personal experience with the loss of my dad.
KO: As the cliché goes, I have wanted to be a writer for most of my life. I won a poetry contest at the age of fourteen, majored in English and Editorial Journalism in college, and carried the desire and dream to write with me everywhere, until finally, I had the time and the freedom to write novels full-time.
CTW: What is the most read story on your bookshelf?
KO: I have read April & Oliver by Tess Callahan several times. I just love the dark, edgy story line and the angst between April and Oliver in that one. I don’t usually read books more than once, but that novel is one of my absolute favorites. In terms of the ones most read by others? That would be The Time Traveler’s Wife or Gone Girl. I love both those novels, equally, because of the stellar writing and the risks both these writers take with their work. I consider their novels permission slips, every day, for what I write.
CTW: How do you motivate yourself to write on those tough-to-work days?
KO: I don’t have a secret to this one. If I did, I would write the book and sell the solution everywhere. Sometimes, it’s an after-the-fact-kind of realization that although I have the need to write on a daily basis that stepping away (spending money on something self-indulgent or just taking a drive) actually re-energizes my psyche.
CTW: What is one snack you always have on hand while writing?
KO: I’m a huge coffee drinker and I love raw almonds. My absolute favorite thing is Candy Cane kisses. Thank God Christmas is over is all I can say.
CTW: What's up next for you and your writing career?
KO: I’m busy finishing my fourth novel This Much Is True, which my readers are anxiously awaiting.
CTW: Anything else you would like to share?
KO: First of all, thank you for having me here, Laura. Also, thank you to all of your blog readers for considering my work. As a novelist, (a fictionista as one Twitter follower phrased it) as a writer of contemporary fiction, I tend to write stories that are both edgy and dark—about trust, love, and fate—and how relationships are often tested by all of these things in one way or another. My novels are often described as emotional roller coasters. If you’re in search of the easy read romance novel, just know that my novels are not those and will leave you reeling half the time. More than one reader has stipulated their own warning about being in need a box of Kleenex tissues when they read my work. I think my heroines and heroes represent today’s contemporary women and men and their daily life struggles with love and the pursuit of true happiness. I really do believe that relationships are tested in all kinds of ways by love, trust, and fate, which continues to inspire my writing. So, thank you, again, for considering my novels.
About the Author
Katherine Owen graduated with a journalism degree and a minor in English from the University of Washington and promptly went into high tech sales because someone told her it was fun and there would be stock options. For years, she damped down the urge to write and spent money like Evian water. But after a successful, storied career in high tech sales and public relations, she finally made what felt like a necessary, soul-calling leap to writing full-time in April of 2009. Owen has written three novels Seeing Julia (debut novel and Zola Award Winner), Not to Us and When I See You. She lives near Seattle in an old house with a fabulous view with her husband and two children. When she isn't writing, she can be found cheering at her son's football games or her daughter's volleyball games or heating up frozen dinners for the "fam-dam-ily" as she fondly refers to them.
Leave a comment on Katherine's Chick Lit Plus tour page (click here) for your chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.
Connect with Katherine
Website: www.katherineowen.net or bit.ly/KObuymereadme
In all these social media places, she talks about her writing life and what inspires her as well as her novels and, sometimes, her latest work-in-progress.
Buy the Book
Amazon (Paperback & Kindle): http://bit.ly/WISYbuyme
Barnes & Noble (Paperback & Nook ePub): http://bit.ly/WISYbuyBN
Kobo (ebook): http://bit.ly/WISYbuymeKobo
iBooks (ebook): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/when-i-see-you/id588905242?mt=11
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