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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, contemporary romance author Katie Graykowski shares the creative writing process that went into her new book, Texas Rose Happily Ever After.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Katie Graykowski about her life and career, what inspired her latest story, Texas Rose Happily Ever After, and her creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Katie Graykowski and I write romantic comedy, contemporary romance, mystery, and young adult novels. I live outside of Austin, Texas with my husband, daughter, and three enormous dogs.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I’ve always loved writing and telling stories. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have stories in my head. But like most of the world, I convinced myself that I wasn’t a good enough writer to actually write a book. But the characters in my head are very persistent and refused to go away. For all of you thinking about writing a book, the characters only go away after you write their story. They will hunt you until you do.
When did you take a step to start writing?
When my best friend Charlotte and I turned thirty-five (our birthdays are 3 months apart), she told me that she wanted to sell everything and go to medical school in the Caribbean. I told her that I wanted to write a novel. I remember how nervous I was to tell her. We made a pact that by our next birthday, we would have something tangible to show for our secret dreams.
That was more than fifteen years ago. I’m happy to report that she graduated from medical school, did her residency at the Mayo Clinic, and is now a hospitalist in Georgia.
My 25th novel comes out on 4/11/23.
Don’t be afraid of making your dreams come true.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
The first book I wrote took about 35 years to create. The characters had lived inside my head for as long as I can remember. That book is Perfect Summer. It was the first book I wrote, but my second book to be published. The first book always takes forever. Then after you’ve reinvented the wheel about a hundred times, the next book is so much faster.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
Usually, it takes me about 2 months from first idea to finished product. My current work in progress is being stubborn and is taking me longer. I blame my muse. She seems to be on vacation right now. She needs to get off her lazy butt and start writing this story. I’m getting tired of staring at a blank page.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Texas Rose Happily Ever After?
My latest release, Texas Rose Ranch Happily Ever-After is the fifth and possible final book in my Texas Rose Ranch series. The five Rose brothers live on the second largest ranch in Texas. Happily Ever-After is the love story of the youngest Rose brother.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Texas Rose Happily Ever After?
Did I mention that I have a lazy muse? Happily Ever-After went smoothly until the end. I couldn’t get it right. In total, I’ve written the ending of that book twelve times. If you hate the ending, I have eleven more from which to choose.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
My mother is always the person who inspires my protagonists. She’s smart, funny, charming, hardworking, and never backs down. She’s one of those people who can talk anyone into doing anything and make you think it’s your idea.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
I always base my antagonists on people I don’t like. In fact, I name my antagonists after the people that inspired them. It’s interesting. I can name the villain after you, make them look exactly like you, and yet you have no idea that it’s you.
What is the inciting incident of Texas Rose Happily Ever After?
The inciting incident in Texas Rose Ranch Happily Ever-After was when the heroine’s grandmother dies. Before the old woman dies, she tells the heroine that the man she thought was her grandfather wasn’t her biological grandfather. Grandmere’s dying wish was for the heroine, A-Lee, to find her biological grandfather.
What is the main conflict of Texas Rose Happily Ever After?
The conflict is about being worthy of love and finding your place in the world. The heroine is a princess by birth, but she’s terrible at it. She feels like she was born to the wrong family. I feel like everyone has struggled over their place in the world and whether they deserve love. Or maybe, it’s just me …
Did you plot Texas Rose Happily Ever After in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
I’m a panster which means that I don’t plot anything formally. I have a theory that pansters are plotters who don’t write things down. I know where the story needs to go, but I’m all about the journey. I don’t micromanage my muse. As long as she gets me to the end, I don’t care how she gets there.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Texas Rose Happily Ever After need?
Yes, I have an editor who is amazing. I’ve worked with her for close to a decade. She knows my writing well. She has great instincts. She knows where and how to push me into being the best writer I can be. The first couple of books she edited for me, she sent me a list of things in general that I needed to work on. I totally go down that list before I send her my book. She’s amazing.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Get out of your head and write. Don’t let your inner critique or the world at large talk you out of writing your story. No excuses.
You don’t need to devote twelve hours a day to writing a book. Start with ten minutes. Take ten minutes out of your lunch hour and put together your story. You don’t need to have all of the particulars nailed down and you don’t need to spend that ten minutes actually writing the story.
If starting a story is too daunting of a task, then start with the protagonist. What do they look like? What do they love? What do they want in life? Why can’t they have it? What are they willing to do to get it? If you want a more formal approach, there are character interviews online. That counts as writing. Just because you’re not putting words on a page doesn’t mean that you aren’t working.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I’m working on the 5th book in my PTO Murder Club Series. The PTO is the Parent Teacher Organization. The heroine is the President of the PTO. She keeps stumbling over dead bodies. This time, her son’s bus driver is murdered.
And, I’m toying with a YA series about a guardian angel who gets thrown out of heaven and is sent to purgatory. In order to get out, she must save seven people from the seven deadly sins.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Hell yes, it was worth it. Writing is hard work and often times lonely, but I’ve put stories out into the world that weren’t there before. That’s powerful. And I’m proud of myself for not giving up.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
THE LONE STARS
Perfect Summer http://amzn.to/2EUwn0u
Saving Grace http://amzn.to/2BRSeTy
Changing Lanes http://amzn.to/2Fy5mNt
The Debra Dilemma http://amzn.to/2CItdHd
Charming Coco http://amzn.to/2CJqRaZ
Sage Advice https://amzn.to/2Tqnxd7
I Love Lucy https://amzn.to/3B7zLOa
The Lone Stars Box Set Books 1-3 https://amzn.to/3bLyaSB
Place Your Betts http://amzn.to/2BQYtqx
Getting Lucky http://amzn.to/2BSwk2v
Sorry Charlie http://amzn.to/2Fa0r7K
The Marilyns Box Set Books 1-3 https://amzn.to/32eOvfr
TEXAS ROSE RANCH
Texas Rose Forever http://amzn.to/2CLnMXS
Texas Rose Always http://amzn.to/2CMQ9oQ
Texas Rose Evermore http://amzn.to/2BS0eUk
Texas Rose Forgiven- https://amzn.to/2AyYL6z
Texas Rose Happily Ever-After https://amzn.to/3HRNL3q
THE FORT WORTH WRANGLERS
Lyric and Lingerie http://amzn.to/2BRYJFH
Harmony and High Heels http://amzn.to/2ETbdj7
The Tough Ladies
Cold As January https://amzn.to/2HxqXJS
Sweet Susie Sweet https://amzn.to/2JL8hTj
A Christmas Network Novel
Welcome To Christmas, Texas https://amzn.to/2B1yETJ
Return to Christmas, Texas https://amzn.to/2Ri7Oi5
A Christmas Network Box Set Books 1-2 https://amzn.to/3oSUtMh
PTO MURDER CLUB
Rest In Pieces http://amzn.to/2CJrxNz
Blown To Pieces http://amzn.to/2EVjm6U
Just One Piece http://amzn.to/2FxKiX9
Bits and Pieces https://amzn.to/37zY9sC
Box Set Books 1-4 https://amzn.to/3mO9hKh
Urban Fantasy Sci-Fi
The Navigator -Out Soon
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