I had the great pleasure of receiving an ARC of Katharine Grubb’s upcoming release, Soulless Creatures. Let me just tell you, I absolutely loved it! A full-length review is cooking up even as I type. While it’s finishing up, I thought I would share some more information about this fantastic author. Below you’ll find information about her and all three of her books before you arrive at the main attraction: an interview she graciously allowed me to conduct! You won’t want to miss this!
Falling For Your Madness
Eccentric literature professor David approaches Laura for an unconventional, intentional, rule-filled courtship filled with poetry, flowers and bottom-less cups of tea. Laura is smitten by his humor, charm and British accent. Dating David is challenging, convicting and sometimes frustrating. There is a reason why David is bound by the laws of chivalry, both body and soul and when Laura discovers what it is, she must decide. Is David worth it? Or is he completely mad? Falling For Your Madness is a romantic comedy about ladies, gentlemen, and the power of words.
Published: November 17, 2012
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Would you like to write but have no spare time?
Working-class future leader Roy Castleberry and pampered over-thinker Jonathan Campbell are 18-year-old freshmen at the University of Oklahoma who think they know everything. Roy thinks Jonathan could succeed in wooing Abby if he stopped obsessing over Walden. Jonathan thinks Roy could learn to be self-actualized if he’d stop flirting with every girl he meets. They make a wager: if Roy can prove that he has some poetic thought, some inner life, A SOUL, then Jonathan will give him the car he got for graduation. Roy takes the bet because he thinks this is the easiest game he’s ever played. Roy spends the rest of the school year proving the existence of his soul, competing against Jonathan for Abby’s attention, dodging RAs who are curious about the fake ID ring in his room and dealing with his past. For Roy and Jonathan, college life in 1986 is richer, (both experientially and financially) than either of them expected.
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Katharine Grubb was born in northeastern Oklahoma. She was raised in the Tulsa suburbs, attended the University of Oklahoma, taught school, wrote stories and then shocked everyone by moving to Boston, Massachusetts to be with a man she had been e-mailing for nine months. She married that man, and with him had five boisterous children. Nowadays, she still lives in Massachusetts, homeschools her children, bakes bread, does a ridiculous amounts of laundry and sets her timer to write stories in ten minute increments. She believes in this so much she created a Facebook group for it (10 Minute Novelists) and she runs a website for the group: http://www.10minutenovelists.com. Her favorite type of books to read and write are quirky, imaginative tales of romance, faith and humor.
First thing’s first: are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. The pantsing is a critical part of the gold mining. But I would be stupid to stop there. I often stop and organize my thought, make incomplete outlines of what should happen next or what points need to be revealed in a chapter. If I didn’t have the brain spew that comes out of pantsing, then I wouldn’t have the raw material to create the outline.
What does your writing process look like?
My writing process is a big mess. I’ve found that no two stories come together the same way. I’ve also found that if you start out with an idea and say, “All I have to do is ABC and I’ll get my novel,” it doesn’t always work. (Even though I say almost the opposite in my writing book. Shh. Don’t tell.)
I do know that pantsing an idea or an impression or a characterization or an exchange of dialogue can produce GOLD! I think I wrote over 120K on Soulless Creatures before I realized it was about Jonathan proving that Roy had a soul. Once I saw that, everything changed.
How important are names to you? Do you choose character names based on meaning or sound, or do you choose names you like?
Names are important, but not in the way that you’d think. Often I just pull a name out of my head as a placeholder until I come up with something better. I don’t like symbols to be too obvious, with the exception of David Arthur Julius Bowles. If anything, I want something to sound right. If you hear the name Roy Castleberry, it sounds like he could be from a small town in Oklahoma. The short answer is, I lean toward the names I like but I play around with them until they’re perfect.
What was your inspiration for this particular story, Soulless Creatures?
I think it took me well over a year to connect all the pieces for this story. I often start with One Obnoxious Man. In this case it was Roy. I think about what kind of man he would be and why I would like to hang out with him. I play games like Roy does and I wanted to incorporate that into his character, but he had to have an organic place to play a lot of games, like a college campus. When I read Walden back in high school, I thought that to have a modern student follow in Thoreau’s footsteps would be fun, so that was Jonathan’s basis. Then I wrote what I knew: the University of Oklahoma in the ’80s. Abby was the last piece of the puzzle, and the most challenging storyline to write. I write better men than women, don’t know why exactly.
I think I played around with these characters for months before it all came together. At one point, the story was going to be a 20 year long saga about how they had grown up. I’m glad I cut it.
What’s in the works now?
I’m in the fuzzy beginning phase of a story, where I have these shiny beads and I don’t know how to string them together. I’d love to write a novel that takes place in Central Massachusetts (where I now live) and I think I’d like to have senior citizens be my focus (as opposed to college students), and I think I want a mystery, and if I could figure out a basic story, I’d like to do some crazy stuff with structure. This is not a fun place to be. I like it better when I know where I’m going.
But as for non-fiction, I have plans to write more books for writers. I’m beginning the research on good marketing. I’d love to write a practical book that explains why we should be generous and rethink our position on sales. I’m only going to write if the research backs me up and I can make it a practical, helpful kind of book.
Do you read your reviews? If so, do you respond to them, good or bad, and do you have advice on how to deal with the bad?
I DO read my reviews, but only the 4 and 5 star ones. If I see that I have a 1 or 2 star one (and I DO have them), I’ve just decided that it’s not worth ruining my day over. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a sensitive type, and sometimes I tear up a little. It’s better for everyone around me if I just ignore the bad reviews. I know I’ve done my best and the majority of my readers love my books, and that’s all that matters. My advice to writers who can’t handle bad reviews? SIUB! That stands for SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! Do not respond. Do not let it bother you. Move on.
Be on the lookout for my review of Soulless Creatures in the next few days, and pick up a copy of your own on August 15. You won’t regret it!