Wednesday, July 06, 2011

How Wonderful to Have Katherine Hyde on my Blog This Week!

I love children's books, and Katherine's excited to give away her book to one person! Your comment and email address just might be the one drawn.

How long have you known that you were a writer? Did you receive a clear “call?” Or have you just loved writing all your life?

I decided when I was 11 that I wanted to be a writer. I’d always loved reading, and I had a couple of school assignments that involved writing fiction. I loved doing it, and one of my stories was apparently good enough that a teacher accused me of copying it from a magazine.

What is the genre you write in? Would you explain what it is?

I write in a variety of genres, from women’s fiction to young adult fantasy. But the common denominator is a more literary style and a more subtle approach to faith than you often see in Christian fiction. I like to call my fiction “God-haunted.”

How do you spend your writing days? Do you set goals to reach a certain number of words per day? Can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

The only time I have whole days to write is when I go on retreat on the Oregon coast for one week out of the year. Then I walk on the beach after breakfast and write for about eight hours, with breaks for lunch and maybe a short nap.

On ordinary days at home, I write for about an hour in the mornings after I take my kids to school. I try not to let this time get hijacked by ancillary activities like blogging, promotion, and social media—that I do in the evenings, on weekends, or interspersed with my editing job throughout the day. On a normal day of drafting—if I’m not struggling with plot issues and whatnot—I generally write between 500 and 1500 words, which is usually one complete scene. But I don’t set a definite goal unless I’m stuck and having a hard time motivating myself to write.

I can’t really give you a good idea of how long it takes me to write a novel. My first novel took about two months to draft and four years to revise. My second took about two years total. My third, which I’m revising now, will probably be done in a little more than a year from when I started. But I would not extrapolate from that to say the next one will only take six months!

You've had a book published. Would you take this time to describe it to us? How and where can readers buy your books?

The only book I’ve had published so far is a picture book, which is not my primary genre. The book is called Lucia, Saint of Light. St. Lucia is an early Sicilian martyr who became the patron saint of Sweden and is celebrated by Scandinavians everywhere to this day. The book combines the story of her life with a story about a modern American family celebrating her festival, which is very colorful and fun. The book is available on Amazon or through the publisher,

What is the spiritual message in your book? What can readers expect to get from reading it?

Even for people who are not in the habit of honoring saints, reading about Lucia’s life can be inspiring. She was unselfish, compassionate, brave, and full of faith, and I hope by reading the book children will be inspired to emulate those qualities.

Do you ever feel like giving up? Most people don’t understand the stress, the work, and the joy of being a writer. How tenuous becoming a writer is. Do you care to share how it feels, what discouraging/encouraging times you’ve gone through?

I’ve been discouraged so many times, for so many reasons. I think depression is the great curse of creative people. Sometimes the discouragement is intrinsic to the work—you take on a challenging project, and halfway into it you’re bound to feel you were insane ever to start, you’ll never be able to pull off what you were trying to achieve, and what immense hubris made you think you could ever be a writer in the first place?

Other times discouragement comes from outside, through the process of seeking publication. No matter how good a writer you are, there are absolutely no guarantees that your work will ever be accepted by the gatekeepers. And it’s so difficult, nearly impossible, to know for sure whether your work is being rejected because it really isn’t good enough, or just because it isn’t right for the current market. It can make you crazy.

There have been a few transcendent moments when I got the affirmation I craved from some publishing professional, and of course those moments are tremendously encouraging. But for me, encouragement comes mostly from my family and my wonderful and growing network of writer (and a few non-writer) friends. My family are all creative themselves, so they understand what I’m going through. And my friends are always there to catch me when I’m falling into the Slough of Despond. There is absolutely no way I could do this on my own.

The other crucial thing I think you need to do to stay on an even keel is to genuinely give your writing career to God. Your business is to become the best writer you can be. His business is to get your work into the hands of the people He wants it to reach.

Who’s inspired you the most?

Wow, that’s a tough question—there are so many, living and dead. Louisa May Alcott was one of my childhood heroes who first inspired me to write. Reading a biography of Charlotte Brontë was one thing that pushed me to finally start pursuing my dream of writing after letting it languish for decades. She had a very difficult life, a lot of obstacles to overcome, and she just kept on—I really identified with her. Another big inspiration is Jane Austen. I admire her so much as a person as well as a writer. She had amazing discipline and a sensitivity of conscience that you rarely see today. Madeleine L’Engle very kindly answered an almost incoherent letter I wrote to her when I was trying to write with young children around. She reassured me that I was indeed a writer but I didn’t need to push myself to produce during those difficult years.

Artistically and in some cases spiritually, I’m inspired by the great Russian writers, especially Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy. Charles Dickens, C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy L. Sayers, and L. M. Montgomery have also contributed a lot to my formation as a writer.

Of living writers I know personally, Karen O’Connor has been a good friend and inspiration to me. She is such a gracious lady, a true bearer of Christ to the world. Liz Curtis Higgs is another woman I find tremendously encouraging. I could go on and on.
Do you mind telling us some of your likes and dislikes? Hobbies, interests? Where would you like to travel if you could?

  • Of course, I’ve always spent most of my free time reading. I’ve loved the classics from a very early age.
  • I’ve also been an avid needleworker most of my life. I’ve done dressmaking, cross-stitch, crochet, and currently I’m hooked on knitting.
  • I love to sing, and I dance at every opportunity.
  • I’m also fascinated with domestic architecture, an interest that is reflected in the novel my agent is currently shopping for me, The Vestibule of Heaven.
My first choice destination for travel is the British Isles, especially Ireland, because that’s my heritage. I’m a total Anglophile, to the point that I’m setting my current WIP there (that is, it starts and ends in England, but goes to another world in between). I’d also love to go to Russia—I majored in Russian Literature, but I’ve never been able to go there. Someday I hope to write a historical novel connecting Ireland and Russia.

Would you give us your blog or webpage so everyone can check it out? Anything else you’d like to share? Promotional information?

My blog is called “The Wayfaring Writer,” at
I also have a website at
I’m a grammar fanatic, and I do a daily #grammartip on Twitter as KatherineBHyde.

Leave a comment and email address for a chance to win her book, readers!


Mary Allen said...

What a fun interview! I felt as if I was sitting across from Katherine because her personality shone through. Perseverance is what I take away from this, but in the sense of keep getting on the surfboard no matter what throws you off as opposed to trying to calm the waves.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Katherine: This is so encouraging to read about your life, the ups and downs of your writing career. I'd love to win your book, and hope it's only the first of many published for you!



Linda said...

Thank you for sharing your journey and your heart. God bless.

Sally Chambers said...

What a full, rich interview of Katherine and her writing life, Carole. I could relate to her experiences, like always having loved to read and, as a writer, facing discouragement and doubt. Those times when you tug on the edges of the Lord's robe and question.
And her advice to keep on an even keel by genuinely giving your writing career to God is excellent. Blessings to you both!

Caroline said...

Katherine, here's a comment emailed to me; Ann wasn't able to leave a comment:

Katherine, so nice to know you better. I am glad you did this interview. I hope a good publisher snags you soon, fulfilling your passion to write novels. You are certainly qualified in every way, and your priorities speak so much about you. May God richly bless your endeavors.
Ann McCauley

Lisa Lawmaster Hess said...

I can't wait to see your book! My daughter has chosen Lucia as her confirmation name, and I'm excited to find a book about "her" saint. Good luck!

Mozi Esmé said...

I can understand being inspired at the Oregon coast!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Melanie Ski said...

We learn about St. Lucia each Christms when we study christmas around the world. Would make a great addition to our homeschool collection!
melanieinoh2003 at yahoo dot com

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