Thursday, January 17, 2013

Katherine Owen - HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Award-winning and best-selling Author Katherine Owen. She writes Contemporary Romance and Women's Contemporary Fiction. She is a member of the Indie Chicks author's group.

Author Genre: Contemporary Romance,Women's Contemporary Fiction

Website: Katherine Owen
Author's Blog: Katherine Owen - Writer
Twitter: @KatherineOwen01
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: I am a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with a major in Editorial Journalism and a minor in English Literature.

Described as an award-winning fiction writer, I’ve written Seeing Julia, Not To Us, and When I See You. My debut novel, Seeing Julia, won the Zola Award and First Place with the Pacific Northwest Writers Association in 2010. I live near Seattle with my husband and two children. I am working on my next novel, This Much Is True.

Anointed a female fictionista by an overzealous Georgia Bulldog football fan on Twitter, I immediately took it for my job description.

I write. I write a lot. And, when I’m not writing, I think about writing “a lot“. You may think we’re having a conversation, but invariably I’m stealing your name, asking how to spell it, or describing the look on your face in five words or less. I write dark, moody stuff with the sometimes funny. I write lyrical, fantastical, amazing stuff. My readers complain they can’t put the book down because just when they think they’ve figured the story out, it changes and becomes something else.

I spend hours on photo sites looking for the right look for my book covers. I know the models and photographers by name. It’s part of my over-controlling tendencies. I like controlling everything to do with my books.

I am married and have two children and they all like having me home, but complain that I write too much. Add to that the twittering and the facebooking and the wordpressing and now google plus-ing and checking Amazon. It’s a full-time gig. And, I take classes with The Writers Studio, so I’m “literary” besides.

When I’m not writing, I like to drink good wine or champagne and look at my awesome view which I rarely see from my basement refuge.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Let’s start with what’s next. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease.

I am hard at work on my fourth novel which I hope to release early this year (2013). It’s called This Much Is True. Here’s the premise:

For seventeen-year-old Talia Landon, it’s supposed to be a night of reckless fun—to be among strangers at a college party who don’t know her tragic story and to serve as her best friend Marla’s wingman. Talia deftly puts aside the sadness and has a little fun at the expense of a stranger, when she tells him her name is Amy and that she’s almost twenty.

One night with this amazing guy further complicates things and reveals this inexplicable connection that she’s not quite able to explain away. She feels guilty about the lies she’s told and tells him that she doesn’t do relationships and her sole focus is ballet because this much is true.

At 23, Lincoln Presley understands her commitment to ballet and admits to his own with baseball. As a rising star well on his way to pitch for the major leagues, he's willing to accept the complications to be with her, until he learns the truth—she's only seventeen. The likely fallout or their being together threatens his career and his allegiance to his father's baseball legacy.

Fate. Allegiance. Fame. All of it swiftly tears them apart.

Yet. One unexpected truth between them still remains.

This Much Is True, more often than only sometimes

You have a great twitter following. (Over 17k followers) How important are the social media relationships that you’ve formed to your writing success?

Twitter has taken on a life of its own; yet, some of my most loyal readers find me there. They’re the ones who check in with me, tell me to keep writing, have read all three of my novels, and do blog posts about my novels without me even asking. So, for me, the social world (however virtual) that Twitter and Facebook provide are helpful to my writing process and my life, in general.

Do you do book signing, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when is your next place where your readers can see you?

I’ve attended a few book club meetings in the local area where I live, but most of my social networking is done online. Readers reach out to me via my website, Facebook, and Twitter to tell me what they enjoyed most about my books and usually ask when the next one is coming out.

Writing is a full-time gig for me and I put the majority of my time, energy, and focus into my craft. That is where I put the majority of my time, energy, and focus.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment about the book covers! I’m completely hands-on, probably to a fault. I choose the photographs, the fonts, and the branding effect of dark, edgy contemporary fiction that I have going across the entire line. I do the book cover designs myself, so your praise gives me great confidence. Thank you!

Have you created a book trailer for any of your books to promote your books online?

I’ve contemplated the book trailer element, but I haven’t had time to spend more than a few minutes pondering how that might work. I’m fairly technical, so that might be something that I consider down the road when I have more time. My goal is to have five novels out by the end of 2013, so I’ll be busy writing this year.

We have had several of the Indie Chicks in the Author’s Spotlight. What a group of outstanding people. I feel so strongly about the group, I added their book in the list of your credits below (You are a co-author). What is the main thing that you get out of this association? Why is the book so successful, besides having outstanding authors?

The Indie Chicks is a fabulous group of women writers, who have all chosen to be independent, in other words, Indie, in terms of releasing their work to the world this way. This has galvanized us as a group and we share our experiences in all aspects of writing, revel in our differences in writing style and genre, and embrace our commonalities with our life experiences, during this roller coaster age of change in the literary world. I think these various life experiences come through in the stories we share in the Indie Chicks Anthology, too.

What other support groups do you belong too? Do they help with writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I have a few groups on Facebook I belong to and a set of writer friends that I reach out to on a regular basis. As you know, writing is a solitary process, but you need the care and feeding of those who are like you just as much as those who are so unlike you (equally, in my view) to further finesse the craft and draw upon to get to the writerly talent inside.

Between your book writing, social networking, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

I treat writing as a full-time job. I write in some form every day and keep the plates spinning with the work-in-progress, the social networking, and the family, in much the same way I did when I worked (for years) in corporate sales in the high tech industry. My adage is: you just do it.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in other types of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I’ve had a mixed experience with giving away books. For a while, through the middle of last year, giving away free books on Amazon spun you into the best seller lists and to be seen is still everything. The free aspect has changed dramatically in the past few months. In my own experience with Amazon Select, the rewards for going free have been diminished and rankings on the best seller lists on Amazon are much harder to come by. (Your mileage may vary.)

My 2013 strategy is to ensure that my books are available everywhere (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple iBookstore, and brick and mortar bookstores in the U.S. and around the world.) I just got a note the other day from a woman in Sydney, Australia, who found my books in a local bookstore there. She bought all three books in print (trade paperback). How cool is that? I’m thrilled! Periodically, I’ll continue to do giveaways with Rafflecopter on my website in order to reward my fan base and gain new readers. Those types of giveaways are fun for everyone.

Have you ever done a book tour? If so, what were the results?

I am about to do my first book tour with When I See You. It starts in mid-February, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m excited to share my thoughts about writing, the inspiration for my third novel, and what I’m working on next with these twelve blogs selected for the tour. It’s a fabulous opportunity to meet and engage new readers and should be fun and rewarding for everyone involved.

Author's Book List
When I See You
She believes that love can never last, promises are usually broken, and true happiness is extremely elusive in the long run. He believes most risks are worth taking, the promises he makes can be kept, and love doesn't factor in his relationships any longer. They're both wrong.

Jordan Holloway has never fully recovered from the unexpected deaths of her famous Hollywood parents. At 27, she is still slow to trust and remains uncertain about the true duration of love and happiness. Yet, it's been four years since she fell in love with Ethan when he rocked her world even as he marched off to war leaving her alone with their young son Max. Now, Ethan tells her this will be his last tour in Afghanistan and that soon the three of them will be together. Still anxious at his leaving again, Jordan extracts a promise for Ethan's safe return from Brock Wainwright, her husband's sniper partner and best friend. But, can she put all her trust in Brock and can he keep such a promise?

At 29, Brock Wainwright fully embraces the dangerous life of a Navy Seal. He enjoys his freedom and not being committed to anyone; and, there's been a long line of women who can attest to that. Everything changes for Brock after he meets Jordan. When the two men return to Afghanistan, Brock's intent on keeping his promise to Jordan about keeping Ethan safe for a variety of reasons, including the most disturbing one of all, he is more than just attracted to his best friend's wife. This revelation plagues Brock on the battlefield and in a violent moment changes everything.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Seeing Julia
"Here's what I know: Death abducts the dying, but grief steals from those left behind."

Tragedy. Heartbreak. A decade of loss defines her, but an illicit connection to a stranger saves her, yet leaves her questioning her past, her life, and herself, most of all.

She's at the precipice of her life, looking over the edge and seeing nothing.

He saves her from herself.

The connection between them stirs something deep inside of her that she thought she had lost long ago. Now, she questions her ability to start over without looking back and wonders if she can move on if it means letting go of her past--a past that seemingly still defines her.

And, if she can't even see herself, how will others ever see her? She many questions and holds on to so many secrets, but soon she must confront the truth about her life, about herself, in order to be set free.

Please be advised that SEEING JULIA contains adult language and adult situations and is not appropriate for young readers. (Mature Young Adult/ New Adult/Adult Fiction)

Owen's award-winning debut novel is heartbreakingly intense, achingly romantic, and ultimately captivating. Seeing Julia is an intense emotional roller coaster of a ride, so hang on and don't forget to breathe.

If you enjoy the tender scenes of P.S. I Love You, the poignant story lines of Nicholas Sparks, and the twists and turns in plot lines like those of Jodi Picoult, you are going to LOVE Katherine Owen's novel Seeing Julia!

This is an emotional roller coaster read. Seeing Julia will captivate readers and take them along for an incredible ride--one woman's personal journey--where she must battle grief, recover from incredible loss, and ultimately start over, but only after discovering the amazing depths to which love can go. Owen won the Zola Award and First Place in Romance category with the Pacific Northwest Writers Association in July 2010 with Seeing Julia.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Not To Us
Ellie's perfect world unravels. A best friend's betrayal ends her marriage. An alarming diagnosis threatens her life. Yet.

It all leads to Michael...
But, fate soon tests their perfect union.
And, begs the question: if you get a second chance, do you take a different path?

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The emotional roller coaster ride that is the story of Not To Us will surprise you with its unexpected twists and turns. This is edgy fiction that explores controversial topics including infidelity and betrayal. If you have any reservations, please read the sample first.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Indie Chicks: 25 Women 25 Personal Stories
This exciting anthology contains stories from twenty-five women from different parts of the world. Their ages differ, as do their backgrounds and locations, but one thing they all have in common is a spirit of independence and a determination to not only succeed, but prevail. Whether their struggles are to maintain balance between motherhood and career, escape from an abusive relationship, or to step out in faith and pursue a dream, all of these women have forged their own path.

As women, one of our most powerful "gifts" is the ability to encourage one another. This book is an effort to encourage women across the world. These twenty-five women share stories that will make you laugh, inspire you, and maybe even make you cry. Their hope is that these stories will inspire YOUR independent spirit and allow you to live the life you were meant to live.

In addition, each woman has included a “sneak peek” into one of her own novels.

All proceeds from this book will go to various charitable organizatons. Our prayers and best wishes are with those who are struggling with this terrible and devastating disease. Buy a book for yourself and “gift” one to the important women in your life. Together, we can make a difference. Thank you for your support.
Buy Page: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight plus the blog: eBook Author’s Corner. Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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