Happy November 1st! On today’s Writers’ Corner post, we will speak to Katie Jane Gallagher, the self-published author of Specter. Katie will share with us her insights about self-publishing and Wattpad.
1. Your book, Specter, was published in July this year (congrats!) What was the inspiration for this book?
The first burst of inspiration was one of those from-the-shadowy-depths-of-your-subconscious type of moments. I was reading on my bed and suddenly bowled over by a story idea about a girl who sees ghosts. Now, there are tons of books on the market about girls who see ghosts, but what made this feel different was that I immediately knew the mechanism for seeing the ghosts would tie in strongly with teenage rebellion. I don’t want to say much more than that, for fear of spoilers!
That vague story concept was marinating in my mind for some time. There was a long stretch where I thought the ghosts should be from the 1800s, which felt intimidating for me as an author because I was never the best history student. I started researching all kinds of bizarre things trying to nail down the story; I remember diving down a rabbit hole about tuberculosis doctors who set up camps in caves for their patients! I tried a few test chapters, but the book wasn’t working. Then I watched the second season of Stranger Things, and everything came together: turned out the ghosts had to be from the eighties. If you read the book, the Stranger Things influence is definitely front row center.
2. Are you self-published or traditionally published? Either way, please share with us your experience with the publication process!
I shopped around my first book, The Gold in the Dark, to agents and had a decent response, but nothing concrete came out of the query process, so I shelved the book and moved on to the next project. In retrospect, I’m extremely happy about that.
While I was wrapping up the editing stage for Specter, I came to the decision that I would go the indie route, for a couple reasons. First off, I believed so strongly in the concept of the book that I basically didn’t want to change a thing; I think one quality that ties indie authors together is that we’re all control freaks!
I was also falling out of love with the traditional publishing industry as a whole; it’s easier to make money going the indie route, and there are no gatekeepers. I also loved the concept of approaching my work like I was a small business owner, rather than handing off my rights to someone else. So I’m very happy that I decided to self publish, and I doubt I’ll ever take a traditional deal.
3. Your novel The Gold in the Dark is serialized on Wattpad. I’ve been curious about Wattpad though I haven’t used it myself. What are your thoughts about Wattpad? Do you have a different approach to writing for Wattpad than for a print novel?
I’m actually a total newbie to Wattpad myself! I’ve only recently started posting chapters there, mostly because I think that the more places I can make my work available to readers, the better. So I don’t have a different strategy for Wattpad, since I just copy and paste my prewritten chapters to the website, but I’d imagine that a thriller approach, where each chapter ends with a cliffhanger, would work really well.
One of my TBR goals is to read a few Wattpad books, since it’s such an interesting space. Anyone have recommendations?
4. If you could choose one genre to write in for the rest of your life, what would you choose? (And why?)
That’s so tough! I’ll say paranormal, even though that would mean I’d have to shelve my current work-in-progress since it’s soft sci-fi. I just love the paranormal/urban fantasy scene too much! Ghosts, vampires, and weres will forever have my love.
5. Today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo (yay!) Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, tell us a bit about what you are working on!
I am participating in NaNoWriMo! I’m a slow writer, so I never complete the full 50k, but I like going to the events for the camaraderie. This year I’m working on a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in the modern day, where the “beast” is an alien who abducts the “Belle” character.
6. Any tips for aspiring writers?
Read widely, read books of quality in your genre, and make it to the finish line on a project, even if your book sucks. I know too many writers who have been struggling with drafting their first book for years. Getting to the end can be a game-changer in terms of mindset.
Also, try meeting other writers in your area! I met all my friends through NaNo events, and their support has been invaluable.
Horror aficionado Lanie Adams should be thrilled when two eighties-era ghosts materialize in her bedroom. Yet after a fainting incident unbecoming of a horror nerd, she would rather her haunting just go away—the ghosts’ distorted, waterlogged voices and ice-cold auras are more terrifying than any movie. Enlisting the help of Ryan, an entirely-too-cute stoner, she makes it her mission to put the spirits stalking her to rest.
Some sleuthing reveals that their sleepy Connecticut town is host to a shadowy, decades-old conspiracy. If Lanie wants to say a final goodbye to her ghosts, she’ll need to keep digging. But it’s important to tread carefully. The culprit is still in town—and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried.
About the Author
Katie Jane Gallagher is the author of Specter and the serialized YA fantasy The Gold in the Dark. She was born and raised in Illinois, and the magical Naperville Public Library was her home away from home until she ventured to the East Coast for college. Katie graduated magna cum laude from Connecticut College with a BA in Chinese language and literature. She currently lives in Connecticut with her stupendous, half-human half-neanderthal husband and their dopey boxer dog.
Are you a writer? Whether you are a published author or an aspiring writer, you are welcome to contribute to a feature on Writers’ Corner, whether it is an author interview or a guest post. Check out the details here!