Song Saturday: Love Starved week 1

I’m one of those writers who make playlists for their stories.

It’s a thing that happens, almost by accident, every time I work on something longer. Suddenly, there are songs everywhere – songs I’ve known forever but their lyrics just start to fit; songs I hear for the first time that give me the perfect combination of feelings; songs that tell a story. I’ve written dozens of scenes that were born from the right song sparking the right emotion at the right moment.

Several such scenes appear in my debut novel, Love Starved. And since there are thirteen weeks until it comes out, and I have thirteen songs in my Love Starved playlist, today I’m introducing Song Saturdays here on my blog. I will be posting one song each Saturday until April 18, before gathering them all into a full 8tracks playlist.

The songs I’ve chosen are in this particular order for a reason. If you listen carefully, you may hear a story in them, catch glimpses of scenes and characters… And then listen again when Love Starved is out and tell me what you thought 🙂

So here it is, week 1: I’ll Try from Disney’s Peter Pan: Return to Neverland.

The Beginning (a.k.a. How I tripped and fell into this writing thing)

If someone had told me five years ago that one day soon, I was going to be a writer, I would have called them crazy (or, you know, smiled and nodded to placate them, and then briskly walked away; you shouldn’t argue with the crazy).

I mean, sure, I’ve been playing with words all my life – I bullied my Grandpa to teach me how to read at age 4, and it’s been a slippery slope ever since: reading, reviewing, editing, proofreading, translating. I’ve worked with words, in different capacities, for well over a decade. But they were all other people’s words.

And okay, I’ve always had the (highly troublesome) gift of seeing all the ways in which any given situation – real or hypothetical – could unfold. I kicked ass at research. I never had a single hobby that wasn’t creative or artistic or crafty. But stories? Characters and background and plots? All built from scratch and carefully woven together like threads in a tapestry? No way. That was something real writers did. And how did one even choose a story to write? It seemed like a monumental task, something impossibly difficult that only professionals could do – experts in the world of words; the initiated. They surely possessed some kind of secret knowledge.

Then, in 2010, I discovered fanficton.

I’ve read my way through two large fandoms, at first just looking for additional glimpses into the worlds I’d grown to love; missing scenes to complement and flesh out the canon. Soon, I started sinking in deeper and deeper, discovering longer stories, talented authors whose words took me on adventures in no way worse (and let’s be honest, often better) than “real” books, and all the alternate universes within official worlds.

(All the erotica, too. Which was a shocker, how much there was and how good some of it could be. But that’s a topic for another post.)

And then, one day in the summer of 2011, a story seed hit me right in the heart.

It was a prompt someone started to fill, but the story seemed abandoned after just a few chapters, and the author took it in a different direction than I hoped to see anyway. But the prompt, oh, the prompt… It struck all the right chords. I could see how the story would unfold, I could feel all the heartbreak and comfort, the hope and slow build, I could imagine the way it ended – and I wanted to read it. That story, the one in my head.

I struggled for a week, waiting for the longing to subside. It never did. I kept catching myself daydreaming, building scene after scene in my head, and it felt like flying. It was a breathtaking feeling. Finally, I couldn’t resist any longer. I took a notebook and started writing down the slivers of random scenes, bits of dialogue – out of order, incomplete, just to get them out of my head. It was never enough. The story kept growing until it was done, over 20 000 words I never knew I had in me just flowing out within a month. It was only the first of many.

It turned out a writer doesn’t always choose a story – sometimes a story chooses them; jumps them on a perfectly ordinary day, uninvited, and clubs them over the head. That’s how it happens for me at least, with most of my ideas.

And real writers? Are those who write, published or not.

I can’t imagine not writing anymore. From the very first sentence, 3.5 years and nearly a million words ago, I knew I found my place. It was peace like no other I’ve known. It was like coming home.

I was really lucky. I found myself in a wonderful, supportive fandom community who welcomed me and my words with open arms, allowed me to safely practice and learn by writing, and who read and commented and embraced my stories. I was lucky to never have to write to the drawer; to never have to fear judgment, beyond the usual nerves/excitement mix when posting every new chapter. I’ve learned so much, and I have so much to be grateful for: the safe environment to slowly spread my wings and my readers’ support every step of the way. It’s such a precious gift for a fledgling writer.

For years, I’ve been saying thank you with my fics. Now, I get to say thank you with original stories, too.

A year in the (book) life

In three months (minus one day, because I fell asleep before I managed to post this last night, oops), Love Starved will be out in the world. And that means that it’s finally time to start talking more about the book, the idea, the characters – that whole world closed between the covers.

I have a whole series of wordy posts planned, but today, I just want to show the long way this story has come over the last year: from a pile of notes and index cards, through the first draft covered in red ink as I edited it for the first time, to a review copy – and soon, a final book. It has been a crazy, exhausting, exhilarating journey of hard work and blind faith that I can do it, and I’ve loved every step of it. I hope that love will show in the final product 🙂

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Hello World

For the last few weeks, I’ve been obsessing about the first post on this website. It had to be important, my perfectionism claimed. It had to be just right, deep and smooth and meaningful. In effect, I posted nothing, overwhelmed with the pressure.

Next week I’m going to Paris, to do research for my second novel. I’m excited, and I want to be able to share it here, on my official website. And to do that, I have to get it all started and running before I go. So here it is, the first post – not perfect, not drafted and redrafted several times, but here. (By the way, perfectionism – my old nemesis – is a subject I will be coming back to, time and again.)

So hi, my name is Kate and I write stories. My first novel, an m/m love story called Love Starved, is coming out with Interlude Press in the second quarter of 2015. I hope to be able to share the cover soon, because it’s stunning. I’m going to talk a lot about this novel here as the publication date approaches, sharing anecdotes, inspirations and teasers.

I’m also writing a few other stories – it’s never just one with me – and they will have their own categories and their own posts eventually. I may ramble about writing in general from time to time, or post drabbles and additional content for my stories.

I’m looking forward to developing this little corner of the Internet, making it cozy and inviting, and to seeing where this journey takes me. Step by step. See you on the road!