1.) Who are you and what do you do?
Today ML Katz, author of Raft People, is here to talk about her novel, her new work-in-progress and to tell us a story!
Where did you get the idea to write an apocalyptic novel about seal level rises?
I had a lot of sources for inspiration. I read Stephen Baxter’s Flood and Ark which explored this idea. I also endured my share of Gulf Coast storms the past few years. Surviving and enduring the event, and the aftermath, makes you think about things. What if things were even worse, and what if it took even longer to get help? Would neighbors band together and help each other?
When did you first start thinking about writing a novel?
I think I have wanted to write a novel since I was in first grade. I have always been an avid reader, and I tend to get drawn to science fiction, though I read a lot of other genres as well. Amazon, and other e-book distributors actually gave me the tools to live that dream in middle age.
Who helped you get started?
I started out in a very solitary and secretive way. I guess I just wanted to get it done before some random comment discouraged me. But I did have some close friends who unselfishly gave me their time to act as beta readers. In the end, I did engage a professional proofreader and editor, and I wish I had done it sooner, but I cannot turn back the clock.
Who would enjoy Raft People?
I think the book is suitable for most readers who enjoy family adventure stories or apocalyptic fiction. It is not a blood-and-gore book. There are moments of excitement, but most of it is about enduring and rising above the current situation in order to survive a crisis. I have had adult female and male readers tell me they stayed up well past their bedtime to finish it. I have had adolescents tell me it was not too boring. So, you know…..
Hopefully some of you will stop by the ML Katz Author Page on Amazon to learn more about my books.
So, here’s the hot question. Have you ever built a boat?
That is so funny. A lot of people read my descriptions and left reviews and comments that said I must know a lot about boat building. I did research the topic, but most of it came from my imagination. Please do not use my descriptions as your guide.
Where can we find you online? Do you have a blog?
Please visit me! RaftPeople.com is my author blog and it is a fictional website in the story. You can also learn more about my other published book, The Information Thieves, and my current work in progress.
I also run Publishmyself.net and FreeBookBeast.com. These are resources for independent authors and readers. I would like to invite any authors or service providers to stop by and suggest guest posts too.
You’re a storyteller. Tell me a story in 100 words or less.
There was this middle aged, first time author who built a time machine and fixed the mistakes she had made as new author! She also went back in time and purchased some Apple stock in the 1980’s. Now she lives happily ever after.
Do you have any advice for a budding writer?
If you possibly can, spend some money on a decent editor / proof-reader, plus get a nice cover. These things matter so much. I hate to see anybody have their talent and hard work wasted because of some very avoidable mistakes. At the least, get an educated friend to provide a second pair of eyes. It is very difficult to catch mistakes in your own story. In my opinion, getting through the first draft is the hardest part. Take criticism in the spirit that it was intended and try to make the best product you can!
Also, try to avoid taking yourself too seriously. When you do publish, you will become public property. Hopefully most people will have nice things to say about you, but you will not please everybody.
What are your goals for the coming year?
I would like to finish a fairly short horror novel I have been brooding over for quite some time. Then I have had an idea for a historical fiction/romance/fantasy story in my head for years, and I want to see if I can get the strength to begin it! I also need to dedicate more time to promoting Raft People more. I am making steady sales, and have enjoyed decent feedback, but I am not an extremely visible author. I need to change that.
Here’s the trailer for Raft People:
A perfect storm of natural and man name events collude to make the world’s oceans much bigger and dry land a lot smaller. The old Gulf of Mexico turns into the new Sea of Mexico within months. The wealthy and powerful retreat to elaborate, high tech ocean habitats. The military struggles to cope with the rest of the threatened population, but their resources are quickly overwhelmed. Ordinary struggle to evacuate, but most are caught out on clogged roads with too few supplies.
A few thousand eccentric flood victims realize that their only hope is to float out. They become Raft People, hoping to survive on small or home made rafts, boats and other types of water craft. This story centers on the the recollections of Dr. Elizabeth Green, and some other members of her small group, as they can piece their story together fifteen years after the worst of the catastrophe.
Because I like ambiguous characters, I write about criminal protagonists and, since I live in Amsterdam, I decided to make that the setting, which led to the creation of the Amsterdam Assassin Series, about Katla Sieltjes, a female freelance assassin. The Amsterdam Assassin Series currently features two books and two short stories at the moment, available in e-book only.
During a brief sojourn in unemployment and without the financial means to go out on the town, my friends and I told stories to amuse each other. My stories were praised and people told me I should write a book. Although I’m an avid reader, I didn’t really like writing essays at school, so I nixed the idea, but it hovered around in the back of my mind.
A few years later while working long boring night shifts as a security officer, I would often spend six hours out of every eight-hour shift reading and studying. I had an idea for a story and started writing, first in Dutch, later in English. At first I wrote on a typewriter, but when I received my vacationing money, I spend it on an Apple Powerbook 150, which I carried everywhere. From that moment on, I took myself seriously as a writer. As I couldn’t follow classes on writing crime fiction in Amsterdam, I bought self-help books for writers and became an autodidact.
3.) Do you have another author that you model yourself after?
4.) What inspires you to write a story?
5.) When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?
6.) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process? Easiest?
7.) Tell us about your book. Where can readers find it? Do you have a website? Blog?
The Amsterdam Assassin Series revolves around freelance assassin and corporate troubleshooter Katla Sieltjes. Under the name Loki Enterprises, Katla specialises in disguising homicide and providing permanent solutions for both individuals and corporations.
The first novel in the Amsterdam Assassin Series, Reprobate, marks the first time Katla breaks one of her own rules, and how this affects both her personal and business life. The second novel, Peccadillo, shows what happens when you attempt a hostile takeover of an assassin’s legitimate business cover. The third novel, Rogue, is planned for release in 2013. While the novels can be read out of order, reading them in chronological order might be more enjoyable.
Between the publications of the novels, the Amsterdam Assassin Series also features stand-alone short stories, the Katla KillFiles. The Katla KillFiles chronologically precede the novels in the Amsterdam Assassin Series. Each KillFile features Katla executing one of her contracts before the events in Reprobate, and, while not mandatory reading, each KillFile provides insight both in Katla’s work methods and skill, and additional background information in her character and personal history. The KillFiles can be read out of sequence, as the contracts are random samples from her past. Each KillFile also contains a teaser from the novels in the Amsterdam Assassin Series.
The Amsterdam Assassin Series is available in ebook only, through most major ebook retailers, like Amazon, Kobo, iTunes and Barnes and Noble. I have a blog, http://amsterdamassassin.wordpress.com/, and a website, http://tao-of-violence.weebly.com/, with more information and links to the websites where the books are sold, additional material and news about promo and publication dates.