Thursday, September 8, 2011

Author Interview: Katherine Amt Hanna - Breakdown

Today we have Katherine Amt Hanna, author of the post-apocalyptic book Breakdown.

Six years after a pandemic devastates the human population and unstoppable computer viruses have destroyed much of the world’s technology, Chris Price finally makes it from New York to Britain to reunite with his brother. But the horrors he’s witnessed and unresolved grief over his dead wife and baby have changed him. Can he let go of his past, unlock his heart, and learn to find love again?

Sounds fantastic, right? Check it out at Amazon!

Hello Katy! It's great to have you!

What was the first speculative fiction story you ever read?
Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham. Ninth grade. Then I devoured the rest of his stuff. Thanks, Mom.

So what was the first thing you ever wrote?
Oh, lordy. It was a script for a SWAT episode when I was in eighth grade. I blush to remember.

I think we all blush over our first efforts! What's your writing routine like?
What’s a writing routine? LOL.

About how long does it take you to take a story from first draft to finished?
Far, far too long!

What personal experiences did you draw on while writing Breakdown?
Well, I had an experience with a deep friendship gone wrong. I never really got over it until I had a chance to resolve it with the person involved. In a way, the book was born out of that, and grew to include more.

So, which character did you find it easiest to relate to?
I definitely relate to Chris, with his losses and his depression. Been there. Felt that.

And which character was the hardest for you?
Freddie was hardest, I think. She has confidence in spite of what she’s been through, and that’s something I’ve always struggled with.

What did you learn from writing the story?
That you must have other people--objective people--look at your stuff. You can’t do it by yourself. Too many people are writing a book and slapping it up on Kindle with no input from anyone else. Ouch. It hurts to read that stuff.

Yeah, there's some rough reading out there. Do you participate in any writing communities or critique groups?
I spent nearly two years on Critique Circle. It helped me so much. I’ve let that slide since Breakdown came out, mainly because promotion takes so much time. I try to be active on the Kindleboards, and a bit on Goodreads.

How long did it take you to finish Breakdown?
Gack. I worked on this book for about eight years. The first few I dabbled at it. I went through a two-year period where I did most of the work on it. Then I dabbled again for another two, while I spent time on Critique Circle learning to write better, and lamenting the fact that my chances of getting it published were slim to none. Then, the whole Kindle thing exploded. When I decided to publish on Kindle, I got serious, and finished it up in three months. That was an awesome feeling.

Which part of the process did you have the most fun with?
I like revising best. Getting the original words down are hard for me, but revising is fun.

When's your next book coming out?
Well, I’d hoped to have it ready for release by December, but that’s not going to happen. So, maybe February or March.

What it's about?
It’s actually a prequel to Breakdown.

What gives you ideas for stories?
I have very vivid dreams sometimes. Some of my best ideas have come from them. Sometimes when I was stuck with Breakdown, a dream would propel me forward. Sometimes, the dreams had nothing to do with the novel, and I took a detour to write something else for a couple of weeks. I guess I can go back and work on those at some point.

Detours happen to me all the time. *G* If you couldn't write for an entire month, what would you do with yourself?
I keep busy sewing and reading. I haven’t written anything substantial since Breakdown came out in April. Just bits here and there. It kinda sucks, but I was never prolific. I don’t have the kind of life that allows for a set writing schedule.

Do you get "writer's block" and how do you deal with it?
I’m always struggling with writer’s block. Usually, when I’m at my busiest with other things like sewing, lightning will strike and I have to carve out time to write. At the moment, this is not happening. In January, I plan to put all else aside and WRITE.

What do you do in your life outside of writing?
I have my own business making medieval and biblical costumes, so I have my busy times of the year, like in the months before Christmas, making Nativity costumes. I have two boys, and I’m a Den Leader for Cub Scouts, so I definitely keep busy!

It sounds like it! Thanks for taking the time to drop by and tell us about your book!

2 comments:

Chrystalla Thoma said...

Very interesting interview! The book is on my kindle, waiting to be read as soon as I find the chance. :)

Marion Sipe said...

Glad you enjoyed it, sweetie! I know what you mean about reading time. I am sneaking it in whenever I can and still so behind! But, GBA makes sure I read something from start to finish now and then. :-D