Kaitlyn Sage Patterson
author of The Diminished
Author, I Never is a new segment in which I interview fellow authors about the writing process, breaking into the industry, and breaking rules. I try to mix it up a little and ask some hopefully novel questions along with some of the old standards, and finish it up with a round of I Never (kid friendly version) to find out what cardinal writing rules we've broken.
Question the first: Kaitlyn, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Ooooh, glory. Way to start with a hardball, Dana! I think I’ve known since I was a little girl that I wanted to write books, but it seemed wildly impractical, and I, by nature, am a very practical beast. I got my MFA thinking that I would teach, but, turns out, I really don’t like teaching composition. I started to pursue the life of a novelist in earnest in 2013.
Question the second: What has been your proudest or most exciting moment as an author so far?
I’m not going to lie to you, there have been a lot of moments in this experience that have brought me to tears, both good and bad, but I think my proudest moment, really, was signing with my agent, Brent Taylor at TriadaUS. Never in my life (except when I married my husband) have I been so sure about a partnership. Brent’s my A #1 fav.
Beachfront Avenue. Question the third: At what point did you think to yourself "I've made it" or at what point do you think you'll feel that way?
LOL. Nope. With every met goal or accomplishment comes another hurdle. I think this is just a function of who I am as a person, but I think even if (when!?!) I’m a NYT bestseller I’ll be aiming at the next big goal.
Question the fourth: Did any experienced authors or industry people mentor or give you helpful guidance on your journey to publication?
I’ve been intensely lucky to make a number of friends in the publishing world along the way (big shout out to Natalie Parker at Madcap Retreats for making this possible—buy her AMAZING books!). I’m particularly grateful to E.K. Johnston and Heidi Heilig for their friendship, support, and guidance. They are the people that repeatedly remind me that this job is really f*ing cool even when it’s really f*ing hard. We get to think about and talk about the things that matter the most to us, and beyond that, we get to tell stories that matter. They inspire me to make that work count.
Question the fifth: Have you ever had a time when you've felt like giving up?
Not yet! The thing I’m most grateful to my MFA program for is teaching me to take and, honestly, crave criticism. That NEED to hear what’s wrong with my work has been such a boon to me over the years of rejection and WORK that goes into publishing.
Question the sixth: What was the most inconvenient time or place you were struck by inspiration?
I love this question! When I was living in Korea, I woke up in the middle of a dream that was totally fascinating and FORCED myself to get up and write it down. That tickle of an idea was the inspiration for something I’m working on now and really, REALLY love. I couldn’t get back to sleep for the rest of the night, but it was SO worth it.
Question the seventh: Can you give us a hint to help us find an "easter egg" or hidden item to look for in one of your books? Maybe an obscure clue if there's a mystery thread, or a reference you threw in to a favorite book or song?
I totally didn’t do this, but I’m still editing, so I’m totally going to. Look for some snark about violet eyes in THE DIMINISHED. ;)
I most certainly will! Now, on to the...
I Never Round
The basic rules of I Never, the kid friendly version- I state a generally established writing rule (or at least a norm). If you've broken that rule, state your guilt for the record.
I never made up a word in my manuscript, and stood by it during copyediting.
I write fantasy. I make up ALLLLLLL the words and I’m going to STET that shizzz.
I never had an amazing idea right before bed, and decided sleep was more important.
Sleep is literally never more important than work. #workaholic
I never started a story with a character waking up, looking in the mirror, or in a bathtub.
I actually have never done this.
I never worked on two manuscripts at once.
All. The. Time.
I never went several days or even weeks without writing.
I went almost a year between defending my MFA thesis and writing the first word of my first novel.
I never wrote "for a long moment."
BRB, looking in my manuscript for this… Okay. Not in this book, but I can’t promise I’ve never done it. I’ve written a lot of terrible poetry!
I never cheated during NaNoWriMo.
I’ve never done NaNoWriMo! The fastest I’ve ever managed to write a draft is 3 months.
Thank you so much for appearing in Author, I Never! When and where can we look for, preorder, or buy your next or most recent book, and where can we follow you on social media?
Bonus question: If The Diminished had a theme song, what would it be?
Can I pick one for each of my two MCs?
This interview is all about rule-breaking.
Okay. I think Bo's song is Gold Angel by Minke. And for Vi, Glamour Child by Moonrise Nation.
DJ Spotify, do that thing you do.