Author Spotlight: Kat Winters
On this author spotlight episode, it was a pleasure to welcome Kat Winters onto the show, to talk about her writing experiences. Kat is an American writer born and raised in California, and writes to give people hope, featuring diversity and inclusivity in her novels. We immensely enjoyed talking to Kat and learning about her book, ‘Free Me.’
Tell us about how you first started writing, and when you decided to pursue it more seriously and started thinking about getting your book published.
Kat always enjoyed reading, as she felt it gave her a stronger connection and a shared experience with her father. As she continued in her schooling, Kat’s teachers commented to her that the work she was producing on creative writing assignments was actually very good, and encouraged her to continue down this path. At this young age, she also knew that, one way or another, she wanted to end up as a published author and share her stories with the world.
Who are some of your favourite authors/writers/creators that inspire you?
Certain authors empowered Kat to pursue her writing. In her childhood, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series was a great source of inspiration. And, though she has only read one book by this author, Keep Holding On by Susan Colasanti really grabbed her heart. Though she was only in middle-school when she read this book, it really encouraged her to pursue writing, and gave her a passion for bringing hope and inspiration to her readers with the underlying message that even when things are tough, they can get better.
How do you juggle writing with life/work/your other creative projects?
For Kat, she finds that writing helps her to focus better, and there is not a moment wasted! Kat finds time to write in between (and occasionally at the cost of) her daily activities and life. Once she began putting together plotlines and focussing on novel writing, she would spend most of her weekends creating and piecing the books together on her computer.
What is your writing process? Plotter/Pantser?
Like a lot of other writers we’ve had on the show, Kat views herself as a ‘plantser’, somewhere between the two extremes. She does a loose outline, but leaves herself free to explore the characters lives and to let inspiration intercede along the way.
When you first started how did you better yourself as an author? Classes? Podcasts? Youtube? Novel writing books? Are there any particular recommendations you have?
Kat admits she is generally not the type of person to take notes on lessons and learns as she goes. She enjoys hearing other people’s experiences, and has listened to Lane Northcutt’s Indie Know podcast. She finds, as an indie author, it’s always good to hear how other people have found the process.
Tell us about your publishing journey.
Kat started out her writing on Wattpad, which she was drawn to in order to get honest feedback from people who didn’t know her personally. As she began reading other peoples’ work, she discovered some authors who were using Wattpad as a feedback platform before going on to publishing their books. She talked with these authors, and met some more authors on TikTok who gave her the information and resources that enabled her to ultimately publish her own book.
Tell us about your novel, Free Me.
Free Me is a YA LBTQ contemporary novel that has a heavy focus on the effects of bullying on the mental health of queer youth. Kat was able to personally relate to this situation after watching a close friend go through these challenges in high school, which inspired her to write about this topic. Her book follows a young closeted gay teenager as he attempts to navigate what he’s feeling for one of his classmates—the only openly gay person in their school. Kat was determined when writing this book to show the raw emotion of the effects of bullying and to show that every person matters, no matter their gender.
What have your biggest challenges been?
Kat’s biggest challenges in writing Free Me was reliving the trauma of these past events. She feels that some of it she rushed through rather than linger too long in these memories, but she still had to face it every time she went back for a round of editing.
Other projects on the horizon?
Kat has another YA contemporary planned which is going to be part of a trilogy. She hopes to have this out in a maximum of two years. She also has another queer romance that is going to be about bisexual holiday love triangle. And, Kat is also halfway through writing a historical fiction adventure story.
If you would like to know more about Kat and her book, Free Me, you can purchase her book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, and Room of One’s Own in Wisconsin. You can also buy signed copies and merchandise through her website.
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