Kristen Houghton interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Mar 20, 2017 11:47:58 PM
Kristen Houghton interview with David Alan Binder
Bio from her website: Kristen Houghton is an award-winning, best-selling author of nine fiction novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, and a children's novella. Her series A Cate Harlow Private Investigation has garnered praise from renowned book critics nationwide and her books are on the top-selling book lists in the USA, the U.K., and France.
In a recent interview, Kristen told Greg Archer of The Huffington Post about her love of writing.
"I was always a story-teller and that’s what writers do; we tell stories. I was the little girl who could keep her friends interested for a couple of hours by telling all different types of stories. I wrote my first story, "Bobby Jones and the Little Boat" when I was nine. My imagination was, and is, very fertile and active. In high school, I created a sort of soap opera and, each day during study hall, I would hand out the next part of the story. I made sure to always leave a cliffhanger of sorts with each new part to stir up anticipation. I love the magic in writing and reading a good story.
My bookshelf is eclectic: everything is there from the classics by Shakespeare, Austin and Dickens, to Victorian English dramas such as John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga, up to the classic horror of Stephen King and Anne Rice. I also love The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series and anything written by Amy Tan especially The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Reading, and writing, is my escape and my pleasure."
She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and The Authors' Guild of America.
1. How do you pronounce your name?
My name is pronounced ' kris-ten how-ton'
2. Where are you currently?
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
Never stop writing no matter what. Believe in your talent.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
I always request two extra weeks past a deadline from publishers. It makes me feel safe about reaching the deadline. I usually don't need the extra time but I still ask for it.
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I have self-published even while being traditionally published. The self-pubbed ones were different from the series with the traditional publishers and I found that I like doing it on my own sometimes.
6. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?
Traditionally published by:
Globe Pequot (now Rowan & Littlefield), Guilford, CT
Koehler Books Publishing, Virginia Beach
Skylight-NYC Publishers/Macmillan, NYC
6. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
Truthfully it seems that today, eBooks are out-selling print. The cost is less and even if you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can download them to a laptop or PC.
As to alternative vs conventional publishing, I would tell anyone who is interested in doing hybrid or self-pub. to do their homework as to costs vs profits. My own boutique publishing house will do it all for hybrid authors, (formatting, cover design with author input, print, and distribution), for a cost of $3000.00 to $3500.00. Many other houses charge thousands more.
7. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Traditional publishers will not look at a book unless it is through an agent. An author needs to get noticed to get the interest of an agent through blogs or writing for free for an online magazine.
Then there are hybrid publishing or self-publishing options. Whatever you choose, you need to get your book
out in the public.
8. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
Begin a blog about your intended book to get noticed before contacting an agent. You need to have something to show them. Also, as mentioned, write for an online for free. Believe me it is worth it. That’s how I got the attention of my first agent.
Then, when you submit your ms. [manuscript] You tell the agent about what you have done.
9. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
DO NOT join a writers’ group! Most of these groups are not helpful and 99.9% of successful authors have never joined one. Many of the members are super-critical and that is detrimental to you as a writer.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
I discovered that I not only liked, but also was very good at, the entire process of designing book covers. It’s a creative process similar to writing and very creative, which appeals to my inner artist.
11. How many books have you written?
I have written nine books, 5 of which have won literary awards. I am happy to say that my A Cate Harlow Private Investigation series is a best-selling series.
12. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Forget what you read or hear about how many words or pages an author “should” write a day. As a best-selling author, I disagree with numbers since we’re all different. I do write something every day whether it’s ten pages or just one page. The key is just to write something every day!
Writers are really working all the time. Ideas and stories pop into our heads constantly. Keep a note pad handy or write ideas on your phone or iPad. Margaret Mitchell wrote a great deal of Gone With The Wind on paper napkins in restaurants and cafes!
13.Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
Keep your readers guessing about what’s going to happen next in the story.
- What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
My work appeals to women as well as men. I write characters to whom people can relate and in whom they find something that reminds them of themselves or people they know.
15. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Social media, workshops, getting in touch with brick and mortar bookstores for author events. I also network with other authors for book readings and book signings.
16. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I would not hire a low end publicist. Unless you’re willing to pay top dollar, ($20,000.00), most publicists are scam artists.
You can do a lot of your own publicity through networking.
17. What saying or mantra do you live by?
“You are not what you were born, but what you have it in yourself to be.”
18. Anything else you would like to say?
Writing is a gift; don’t waste your talent. No one will know how good your work is if you never try to publish it.