Author Interview with Katie Stephens

Today, I'm delighted to be welcoming the wonderful Katie Stephens, author of Candles on the Sand and Catching Lightning, to Becca's Books for a natter, a mug of something hot, and maybe even a slice of cake!

Katie, you're the author of Catching Lightning and Candles on the Sand. What genre would you place your books in? Are they only chick-lit, or do you think there's a little more to each of them?

K ~ I think the term chick-lit covers such a wide spectre of books now. In both my books my main characters deal with loss and finding their true selves as well as encountering love when they weren't looking for it. I'm a great believer that love finds you rather than you finding love and you cannot plan where or when you will find it. 

Where do your ideas come from when it comes to writing, Katie? Do you visit the places where you set your stories, or do you figure everything out in your imagination? 

K ~ I have so many ideas in my head and they are often triggered by a line in a song, or a story in a newspaper and I just think 'what if?' and it grows from that. With my first book I relied a lot on beautiful photographic books and the internet whereas with Catching Lightning I drew on my experiences from my trip to Kenya in 2001. The journey that Mel and Sam go on in the book is very similar to the route we took while we there. It was lovely reliving the experiences. 

Which of your two books would you say you enjoyed writing the most? Are there any differences/similarities between them? 

K ~ It was very different each book. With Candles on the Sand, I was writing to see if I could write a book and not really expecting anyone else to read it. It was amazing when it went to number 1 on Amazon. However that made writing the next book very different. I was writing it knowing that people would read it and that made me quite nervous. The good thing with the second book is that my confidence had grown and I feel that I had developed a better writing style. I suppose the only similarity in the stories is that both the main characters find love when they weren't expecting to and have to deal with the consequences of not being completely ready for love. 

Have you always wanted to be a writer? If so, what gave you that almighty push to publish your first book?

K ~ I have always loved writing, both stories and poetry. It had always been my dream to write but I never really believed that I would achieve it. I did a creative writing course in 2008 as, with two young children, I felt I needed something for me and doing the course I grew in confidence and was getting some great feedback. I printed off a couple of copies of my book for friends to read and they loved it (well they had to, didn't they!). A few friends had got Kindles and so I thought I would put it out there for them to read. I told people about it on Facebook and the rest, as they say, is history!

What scared you most about putting your work out there for the whole world to see?

If I'm honest I didn't expect the whole world to see it! When it started to climb up the charts I was thrilled but also very nervous. As I did not expect people to other than friends to read it I hadn't had it professionally edited and I did get knocked quite a bit for that - it has now been edited! I never claim that it is a literary masterpiece so obviously there were going to be some people who would not like it but thankfully there were many more that seemed to love it. 

What is your perfect writing accompaniment?

K ~ Chocolate, and then a bit more chocolate! I truly believe there is a direct connection between chocolate and creativity!

How do you handle any negative reviews?

K ~ I won't lie, they hurt but I read a great comment from a bestselling author on Twitter once who said she handled it by saying 'you wrote a review, I wrote a book.' I also know plenty of amazing books that other people have loved and I haven't enjoyed so I know that you can't please all of the people all of the time. 

And how do you handle positive reviews?

K ~ Oh I definitely have a little happy dance that goes on in my head. It really is the best feeling. With Candles on the Sand I loved the fact that it inspired so many people to want to head to Italy!

Are you already working on book #3? If so, can you tell us a teensy bit about it?

K ~ I am working on my next book and it is a bit different from the first two. Firstly it is set in England and there is a bit more mystery involved.

If ever you're feeling particularly unmotivated, what do you do to get your head in the right mind-set?

K ~ Because I have to set aside writing time, I see that as my treasured time so whenever I do get the chance to write, I grab it. When I am not writing the story is always growing in my head so I just love getting it down on the screen and seeing where it takes me. 

How do you try to present your characters to the reader?

K ~ I try and make the reader feel that they are friends with the characters, make them fairly normal, everyday people that the reader can relate to.

What do you do when you're not writing?

K ~ I work part-time in PR and I am a mum to two wonderful girls so when I'm not working I am generally ferrying them to cricket training, ballet, musical theatre, swimming... I spend a lot of time sitting outside school, sports hall etc so I get to do a lot of reading too. 

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers out there, Katie?

K ~ Get writing and don't give up. Write stories that you want to read, not what you think other people want you to write. Also get to know your characters inside out. There are things about my characters that don't feature in the book but I know about them and that helps develop them as real characters. 

When can we expect to see book #3 released?

K ~ I'm not sure on that one but hopefully it won't take too long.

Any parting comments?

K ~ One of the best things I have discovered from having my second book out is that in the 4 years since the first book was out there has been a great rise in the number of bloggers out there and it has been so good getting to know them and feeling part of a great community. 

Katie, thanks so much for appearing on Becca's Books today! It's been a pleasure having you here, and I can't wait to finally get around to reading your beautiful books!

~ Author Bio ~

Katie Stephens was born and raised just outside Guildford and now lives in Camberley, Surrey with her husband and two young daughters.

In 2008 Katie signed herself up for a creative writing course and absolutely loved it. She then found herself spending all her spare time (not much with two young children) at the computer. Her first novel Candles on the Sand, set on the Amalfi Coast, was published in 2011 and went on to become an Amazon bestseller.

You can find Katie Stephens on Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter |

You can find Candles on the Sand on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US
You can find Catching Lightning on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US


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