Friday, March 8, 2013

Katherine Owen Talks About Her Voices and a Giveaway!

Welcome to The Book Bag today, Katherine. I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?
Story ideas come from everywhere that usually stem from all this deep thought and continual pondering of the what if type of question when various scenarios start to run through my mind. The first inspiration for When I See You came from a singular scene in the movie Shooter for a writing exercise I was doing for one of my advanced fiction classes with The Writers Studio over two years ago. Classmates loved the premise of the soldier story (only about a thousand words) and it eventually developed into what became the start of chapter three of When I See You. With that exercise as a starting point, I began with this premise: What if the story centered on a woman, who has been left behind by pretty much everyone she’s ever loved? How does she start over? Then, Brock’s character started to form and it became clear that readers would need to hear from his point-of-view as well. Wow! What an undertaking—two points of view from a male and female perspective—as if I hadn't complicated the story enough already.
As the story of When I See You came together, I drew inspiration from various aspects of a soldier’s life through extensive research and talks with my brother, who had served as a U.S Army ranger. As the story started to come together, the plot lines started to evolve from the characters themselves. For example, I envisioned Jordan Holloway as a strong, independent woman. There’s a reason I made her a chef; she needed control in her professional life because she didn't have any control in so many other aspects of her personal life. Food preparation, presentation, and the control that came along with being a head chef fulfilled certain needs for her that were missing in her relationship with Ethan that this stranger Brock quickly picks up on when first meeting her. The first chapters of the book subtly reveal this. For months, I envisioned these characters as film scenes in my head and did my best to do the story justice by writing it all down as it came to me. At least, that’s my process. I wish I could say I outline (I try) and that I know how the story is going to turn out from the beginning, but I rarely do.
As a writer, in everyday life, I’m not always listening or all there when I am thinking through a scene or envisioning what a character will do next when I’m working on a novel. I try to turn it off and cook dinner or clean the house, every once in a while, much to my family’s delight, but writing is a weird, complicated, thought-provoking process for me. It’s true that I tend to be in the mindset of dark emotional angst most of the time, so writing characters that exhibit these deep emotions is a table stake for me. Truly? I have a lot of empathy for what happens in real life, which is probably why I listen to sports radio more than hard news because it’s just easier on my psyche that way.

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour site (click here) will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of When I See You before March 11 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

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.

Connect with Katherine

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.

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  1. Susan, thanks so much for sharing this post about my writing process. I loved the question. Best, Katherine Owen


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