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Author Interview and Giveaway: Katharina Gerlach

So we’re on my 5th author interview! Woohoo! *clap clap clap* I’m so happy doing these interviews. It’s a pleasure on my side to have met these wonderful authors and their books. You guys know I love meeting new people, yes? Well, if not, I’m saying that I am friendly and approachable so don’t be afraid to ask me things. And oh lookie! Another book giveaway!

A little info about the featured author:

Katharina Gerlach was born in Germany in 1968. She and her three younger brothers grew up in the middle of a forest in the heart of the Luneburgian Heather. After romping through the forest with imagination as her guide, the tomboy learned to read and disappeared into magical adventures, past times or eerie fairytale woods.

She didn’t stop at reading. During her training as a landscape gardener, she wrote her first novel, a manuscript full of a beginner’s mistakes. Fortunately, she found books on Creative Writing and soon her stories improved. For a while, reality interfered with her writing but after finishing a degree in forestry and a PhD in Science she returned to her vocation. She likes to write Fantasy, Science Fiction and Historical Novels for all age groups.

At present, she is writing at her next project in a small house near Hildesheim, Germany, where she lives with her husband, three children and a dog. (-Copied from Goodreads)

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Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: When I learned to read, I discovered a new world — thousands of new worlds. I read everything I could get my hands on, from milk-cartons through fairy tales to historical novels. My heart leapt at the smell of the dusty pages, or at the sight of the newest comic books in our shopping mall. One of my brothers saved his pocket money (10 Pfennig a week) until he had enough to buy a bicycle, the other one spent his on sweets — my wealth was my ever growing library. I turned the forest around our house into a haunted grove or into Little Red’s riding grounds. As a school girl, I dreamt of being Rainbow Girl, sliding though hollowed out tree trunks to help Mother Nature fight evil polluters. When I started to write down one page stories for all my friends and relatives, I knew I wanted to be an author, but it took my nearly 40 years to get close.

Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: It depends a little on the length. A full 90K word novel might take up to three months to write and another three month for revision. For me, the real book only evolves during revision, so I work especially hard on it.

Q: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
A: I work from 8am to 12:30 when my kids are in school. I force myself to neglect my household until then. Of course, I have to multi-task after that to fulfill the needs of my kids, my husband, my dog, and my household. Luckily, they are all very understanding (except for the household, it keeps getting dirtier every day regardless of how much I ignore it).

Q: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
A: I’m a nature fan (I studied forestry) and a history geek. I’m never satisfied until the worlds I create a biologically sound and have a history that seems logical for that specific world. Of course, most readers will not notice (I hope), but geeks like me might.

Q: How do books get published?
A: Oh dear, that’s a long answer. Traditionally, you go looking for an agent who will then try to convince a publishing house to buy your novel for an advance sum. If you’re successful, you’ll get paid royalties when your book earns more than what the publisher paid you in advance (I’ve got a couple of short stories in Germany that were published this way). The new way is going Indie. That’s where I am going with my English novels. Publishing your novels with a small, independent publisher (or even on your own), is much more work, and there isn’t an advance payment. But ultimately, I’ve got more control about how my books are presented, and the royalty is higher too. I love the way customers can contact me directly these days. With the advance of eBooks, authors have a much bigger chance of getting noticed IF (and that’s a big one) they write QUALITY.

Q: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A: Ideas are a dozen a dime. They jump at me from every street corner, newspaper, history book, walk in the park, holiday… I can’t go anywhere without ideas assaulting me. The hard part is to decide which one to write. The part that’s even harder: sitting down to write day in day out until the story is finished, then sitting down some more to make it as perfect as it gets.

Q: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
A: I wrote my first “one page novels” at the age of seven (I’ve still got them. They’re soooo cute). My first longer work saw the light of day in
1989 during my training as landscape gardener. Then, I stopped writing for a long time. After I picked it up again in 1995, my first novel took me
five years to write because I had to learn that much. I’ve been writing and publishing in earnest ever since.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: I like to go swimming or walk the dog, work in my garden, drive my motorbike, and play with the kids. Unfortunately, I don’t have that much
spare time (the aforementioned household eats up most of it).

Q: What does your family think of your writing?
A: My husband loves it, so do my parents and my kids, but my in-laws are sometimes skeptical because it takes so much time out of what they think I
should spend doing what a “housewife” should be doing. Still, they enjoy my stories a lot too and are getting more and more supportive the longer I
write.

Q: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your
books?
A: I was most surprised to find that I can write stories that are longer than 100 pages without them feeling boring. Also, my English improved beyond my
expectations (incl. grammar and vocabulary)

Q: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A: I’ve written nearly a dozen books so far, and I’m currently in the process of translating them into English. My favorite is a non-linear
choose-your-own-adventure fairy tale murder mystery called “Chasing the Grimm Reaper” which I will publish some time this summer.

Q: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so,
what are they?
A: BIC (But in Chair). A friend of mine, German bestselling author Andres Eschbach, once said that authors improve in jumps of novel length – each
new novel will be better than the last. And Hemmingway insisted that first drafts are crap. So, if you put your but in the chair and write until crap
becomes good becomes great, you’ll be an author to recon with.

Q: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
A: Some readers write and some don’t. I try to answer all the mails I get, and so far, I can keep up. Most readers who contacted me wanted to know
when my next novel is due, so I send them to join my mailing list

(http://katharinagerlach.com/IndependentBookworm/subscribe.html).

Some want to point out something they noticed while reading or tell me about odd spelling or weird phrases. I enjoy getting feedback. I value it higher than the money I earn.

Q: Do you like to create books for adults?
A: Not really. I’ve always been a dreamer and nerd, and a child at hart, and my novels reflect that. I know many grown-ups read and enjoy my stories, but I keep writing them for the young at heart like me.

Q: What do you think makes a good story?
A: Great characters in great peril in an interesting setting that affects the story (and that goes for all genres).

Q: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up
A: I wanted to study forestry (and I did), I wanted to become a mother of four kids (I managed three), and I wanted to be an author (still working hard on that one).

Q: For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do’s and don’ts for getting their material published
A: Don’t publish your very first novel. In 99.9% of all cases, it’s not publishable. Don’t give up. You’ll only become better if you write. Read a lot in your genre. Read a lot outside your genre. Talk to readers and other authors to get a feeling for the market. Enjoy what you’re doing, even if it’s hard at times. Being an author is no easy way to riches. If easy money is all you’re interested in, start looking for a better job (maybe bank-robber would do?)

Q: How old were you when you decided to become a writer? If it was later in life what gave you the final push?
A: I always loved to tell stories, and I always wrote. When I got my 15th rejection (aged 17), I decided to abandon my dream of becoming an author. Many years later, my friend found an archive in her attic that contained documents back to the 14th century. It was incredibly inspiring to see her unearth facts about her family, and I couldn’t help myself but write down one of those stories. It became my first ever published novel, “Ann Angel’s Freedom” (available as paperback, eBook release planned in April). After that, I was hooked.

Q: What do you consider invaluable resources for an aspiring writer?
Stein: How to grow a novel
Holly Lisle: How to Think Sideways, How to Revise Your Novel, How to Write a Series, Page Turning Scenes.

Thank you for this interview. The questions were really interesting, and I had a lot of fun with them. If anyone has questions, I’ll try to stick around as much as possible to answer them.

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GIVEAWAY

Our lovely author, Katharina Gerlach, is giving away 3 copies of her novel “Urchin King”

This is an international giveaway.

Starts on March 24 and ends on March 30.

A little info about the book:

For fourteen years, street-urchin Paul’s miserable existence has kept him safe from an ancient law that sentences all second-born twins to death. When he learns he is the younger twin of the mentally handicapped Crown Prince who’s in danger of being killed for his disability, he agrees to play the role of the miraculously healed royal heir. Paul struggles to learn how to act like a born ruler, but finds that his greatest skill, getting by unnoticed, is now his greatest liability. He knows if he is discovered, he will be executed like all second-born twins.

Interested and would like to have a copy of Urchin King? Here’s how you can join:

1st: Follow my blog. Quid Habes Quod Scripsi

2nd: Follow me on twitter and tweet about the giveaway

3rd: Like our Goodreads Facebook Page and spread the word!

If you are following both, you just have to spread the word about this giveaway. It’s so simple, yes? I’d be giving away the books to the first three (3) people to comment on the box below that they’ve followed my blog and have tweeted about the giveaway. Don’t forget to include your email address on the comment. Now go, enter the giveaway fun and enjoy the book!