What is your debut middle grade book about? And who did you dedicate it to?
It’s about seven fairy sisters and how they created the rainbow together! Each fairy sister has a different color hair and there are seven colors in the rainbow. All the fairies have to go around collecting their “ingredients” to make their color in the rainbow.
I dedicated it to my niece, Ella Rose, because she inspired the story with her love of rainbows and she’s my own personal rainbow! She also told me I better dedicate it to her, “OR ELSE!” and I don’t really want to find out what “OR ELSE!” means! Haha, totally kidding on that last part!
Did you illustrate your book?
I attempted to for fun, but then decided to just focus on the writing aspect of making a book, as that was time consuming enough. Here are a couple drawings though that I played around with. Maybe in the future I’ll work with an illustrator as I know pictures can add some charm and entertainment to a story! But I also like when kids have to use their own imagination, so they can see it in their heads the way they think the characters or scene looks.
Can you draw a self portrait?
Do you believe in fairies?
And if you want to see some, then you need to create a fairy garden—which is simple! Plant a bunch of colorful flowers. Paint some rocks to make them fun and charming and whimsical. Make a gingerbread house with a lot of candy and stick it in the garden surrounded by the flowers and colorful rocks. Then stick some lollipops in the ground…and tada! You’ve got your very own fairy garden for fairies to flock to.
How did you come up with the idea for “A Fanny Pack Full of Rainbow Magic”?
My niece loves rainbows! If you ask her what her favorite color is, she’ll say, “RAINBOW!” One day it rained and after the rainstorm, out came a beautiful rainbow. And I just thought it would make a great story to come up with the process of how the rainbow was created instead of it being something that just appears and you don’t know how or why; yeah it’s beautiful but that’s so boring! So I wrote the story for my niece, Ella Rose. I wanted it to be fun, and cute, and exciting for her to think about every time she saw a rainbow. I am also thrilled that I was able to incorporate fanny packs into the story and title; it gives it some quirkiness!
Why did you want to become a writer?
I was a babysitter as a teenager, and I was a nanny for almost a decade. So I’ve read a lot of books to kids and I thought it would be something fun to do. After all, if all these other books got published, surely I could get mine published too! It is fun to get your creative juices flowing and create something out of nothing, and tell an entertaining story. So when the ideas are there, and you’re writing, and creating this story that gets you all excited and proud…it’s exhilarating and refreshing. And it can be fun to do research for a story! But when you don’t have the ideas and you’re not writing because you’re not inspired, have writer’s block, etc.—then it’s not so fun. It’s frustrating. So I do enjoy writing for the most part, but like the saying goes, what I like the best, is having written. As in finished the story—everything has come full circle. And I’ve got a book in my hands with my name on it as the Author!
Are you a full-time or part-time writer?
Part-time; I can’t afford to be a full-time writer—yet, at least. But even if I could, I think I’d want to continue working other jobs as well because writing can be such a solitary thing, so it’s nice to talk to people and live life; do other things than just live in my head and write. I’ve got a day job as a flight attendant for a regional airline. Ironically enough, I’ve always been a nervous flier and scared of heights, but here I am a flight attendant! And as a kid, I had a hard time learning to read. So reading used to be torture for me! But now I enjoy reading and I am a writer. It just goes to show you that the universe can work in strange ways! Maybe next I’ll become a pilot. Captain Katy has a nice ring to it!
What are some interesting fun facts about you?
I’m a Pisces.
I’m really a blonde, but I dye my hair and eyebrows black every two weeks.
I was in 4-H for two years and had a sheep that I showed at the County Fair. Her name was Zoe Sassy Miss Congeniality Jamison. She had twins—a boy and a girl. I named the boy, Captain Cupcake, and I named the girl, Sprinkles. (Yes, I think I’ll put them in a story one day!)
A few years ago a friend submitted my picture to The Bachelor casting. They called me and I got invited to an open casting interview in Charlotte, NC. My friends wouldn’t have let me live it down if I didn’t go, so I made them tag along with me to the interview. I guess I passed that round of interviews because they gave me more paperwork to fill out and submit. But I didn’t pass that because I never heard from them again. Which was for the best; I’m more Hallmark Channel than drama filled reality TV—so I’d probably have made for a boring contestant on the show. But my friend’s husbands LOVE the show so it would have been cool to have been on it for them. They would have geeked-out over it!
Photo Credit: Frank Vasto
I’ve gone sky diving! One of the professional sky divers on the plane with me told me that it would be “relaxing” and feel like I was “lying out at the pool.” I am here to tell you, that 100% it did not feel like that. I was distressed and scared to death! But, on the other hand, oddly enough, afterwards I felt really happy and proud and accomplished. Not that I really did anything but jump out of a plane. And I really didn’t even jump. I was pushed! I did a tandem jump, so I was attached to a professional sky diver who was behind me. He told me we were “going out the door of the plane” on the count of 3, but in reality, he jumped us out on 2. It was an adrenaline rush! Maybe I’ll go shark cage diving next or maybe I’ll live life on the edge—of my couch. Who knows!
Photo Credit: Quincy Kennedy
*As you can tell, I really enjoyed my “relaxing” day laying out at the pool!*
I’ve had a lot of people tell me I look like Katy Perry and Katie Holmes. So maybe if the whole writer thing doesn’t work out, I can be a celebrity impersonator. Or if they need a body double to do different stunts for movies or music videos, be the decoy so they can escape the flashing lights and cameras from the paparazzi, and avoid getting kidnapped and held for ransom—I’m your woman! I’ll send you my resume.
Photo Credit: Frank Vasto
Currently, I’ve got 4 fur babies; my Corgi-Basenji mix Turbo, my elderly domestic short-hair Old Humphrey, and Jake and Jasper, my Maine Coons. We also have an open door policy with our neighbor’s dog who likes to come for play dates almost daily. He’s a red Siberian husky named Jake. When my niece was three, he came to our front door and she kept screaming, “The Big Bad Wolf is here!” So ever since then, we call him Big Bad for short.
Corgi butt’s drive me nuts! I absolutely LOVE the breed…I’ve got OCD…Obsessive Corgi Disorder! They’re like potato chips, you can’t have just one and I can’t wait until I get to add to my corgi crew! I’ve already got her name picked out, a pink leash, orange food bowl, and about a hundred-dollars-worth of toys for the puppy I don’t have yet.
I’m in the Cool Aunt Club! Ella Rose is my niece. Currently, she absolutely adores the Transformer Bumblebee, so every time we walk by a yellow car, she has to get a picture with it as she thinks it’s him.
I live in a quaint purple cottage house with a green door.
What are the seven fairy sister’s names and how did you come up with them?
Their names are: Mohini, Della, Prinsloo, Bexlee, Tilly, Asa, and Luluvioletta. Della is the name of a mom of one of my former nanny kids’ friends. Asa is the name of a reality show personality. Prinsloo is the last name of a famous model, and I’ve always liked her first name and last name and wished it was my name as it’s such a unique and rockin’ name! And the rest I just googled unique baby names and went through different lists and picked out which ones I felt fit my fairies for this story. I’m very happy with the ones I picked! None of the fairies were based off of any of these people. I simply just wanted seven names that you don’t hear very often.
Which of the fairy sisters would you choose to be if you got to pick?
Hmmmm…I adore the name Mohini! So I wouldn’t mind being called Mohini. But my favorite fairy adventure I wrote about in this book was with Asa and the Witch. So I would have wanted to go to the Witches’ haunted house or gone to the pyramid like Prinsloo and conquered all those booby-traps. It would have been an intense workout—something I imagine cross fit to be, and I need a good workout! Oh, or Bexlee with the Frog Prince. That would have been an interesting and eventful mission; dealing with a spoiled Prince and having to rescue him his own spoiled Princess. Sign me up for that!
What is your favorite color of the rainbow?
Pink is my favorite color, but there’s no pink in the rainbow—unfortunately. (Luckily there’s plenty of it in my closet!) So I’m going with blue! I’ve always been partial to blue as I have blue eyes.
Is there a lesson or moral to the story?
Yes, teamwork makes the dream work! I think it’s important for kids (or anyone of any age) to be able to work together. As well as maintaining a positive attitude and being creative…instead of working by yourself—or not even trying something because you don’t want to be bothered or are afraid to fail, or think it’s an impossible task. In the word impossible, it literally says I’m possible! So be a team player, use your imagination, and do your best.
Do you own a fanny pack?
Not anymore! I did when I was growing up as they were “in-style”. They came in handy—but, were kind-of silly looking. I hear that they are coming back into fashion. Or at least, someone is trying to bring them back. So maybe I should buy an old fanny pack and refurbish it just like the mom of the fairy sisters did. I think that would be a fun art project to do with my niece! She can rock the fanny pack in kindergarten!
How long did it take you to write?
I had the idea that I wanted to come up with a story about how the rainbow was created so I wrote that down in my idea book. And about nine months later, the plot just fell into my head. There’s literally no other way of explaining it. A light-bulb just went off and the creativity flowed through my fingertips and onto the page. The outline of the story came to me easily, which was a really pleasant surprise. The first draft was completed in a month and a half. Then I had some other things going on in my life that took my attention for a couple months so my book was on the back-burner. (I had to study for recurrent; which is testing to re-qualify me to be a flight attendant for another year.) So it probably took a year for it all to come together; written, edited, registered with the Writer’s Guild, cover designed, Author website created, and finally SELF-PUBLISHED!
What’s your writing process like? Do you write every single day?
I don’t write daily. (Not unless grocery lists and text messages count as writing!) I know that some writers say that you have to write daily to get good at it. But honestly, if I don’t have an idea, or an outline, or I’m not inspired to write a story, it doesn’t do me any good to stare at a blank screen and peck away at the keyboard writing stuff that I don’t want to read much less let other people read. That would just make me frustrated and depressed—and I’d feel like I wasn’t a good writer. I’m not able to pump out a book a month like R.L. Stine was doing in his hay-day with his Goosebumps series. (Which my brother and I enjoyed collecting and reading as kids!)
When it comes to my writing, I’d rather go with quality over quantity. I want to absolutely LOVE what I write and feel like it’s the best version of the story I can make it. So if I don’t have as many books, or I’m not able to pump them out zippity-quickity-fast— I’m OK with that! I’d rather have a handful of books that I’m really happy with and proud of than a high stack of books I’ve written that I’m not happy with.
As for my writing process; I have an idea book that I keep with me at all times. If I think of something, or read an article, hear something on the radio, etc., that I think would make a good story, or there’s a name I like that I could use for a character, or a joke I’ve heard, or someone’s mannerisms that I’m observing…whatever it is, I write it down. Because the biggest lie I tell myself is, “I WILL REMEMBER THIS!” Any idea, no matter how big or how small can be the seed that’s planted to create a story. I usually have a couple stories I’m working on so that things don’t get boring. But also, full disclosure, sometimes having multiple story ideas is easy…but then figuring out the details to the stories and the characters is the hard part. It’s like putting flesh back onto a skeleton. The story idea and a basic outline is the skeleton bones and all the other details you makeup are the flesh.
So, I always create an outline to give myself the basic idea of how I want the story to go. I can stick to it like it’s a coloring book or I can color outside of the lines and change it up or have the story go in a completely different direction than I initially anticipated. But at least the outline provides me with some kind of structure and I can go from there. I’m not a “write by the seat of my pants” writer where I can just sit in a chair, stare at a computer screen, and type some story up off the top of my head. That’s basically asking me to pull a rabbit out of my hat. (I’m not that talented!)
On the bright side, once my draft is done, it’s pretty much how I keep the story. Sure I edit it to clean up any spelling and punctuation mistakes I might have made, but the basic idea of the story stays the same. At least, in the one book I’ve completed that rings true! We’ll have to see if it’s the same the second time around.
Did you consider writing under a pseudonym?
No, I’m already an unknown author. (You can’t get any more unknown than me!) Now if I ever write any books for teenagers and adults, I will probably use a pseudonym so that the kids that are reading my books don’t look me up and see what else I’ve written, and get their hands on material that isn’t age appropriate for them. But my current focus is on creating entertaining stories for kids!
Are you confident about writing a second book or is it still intimidating?
A little bit of both. I’ve been saying I wanted to write a book, and I F-I-N-A-L-L-Y did, and I’m super happy with the results. So it can be done! I know this. And I’ve got some story ideas I’m excited about! But of course, starting completely over with nothing but an idea and trying to create something, can be a bit intimidating or daunting even. But, if it’s something you want to do, something you’re passionate about—then you need to try, because you’ll regret it a lot more if you don’t. So I’m excited to work on my second middle grade book and get it out into the world!
Why did you go with self-publishing instead of traditional publishing?
Traditional publishing can be hard to get into. There can be a lot of rejection in trying to get agents and publishing companies to love your idea, agree to work with you, and invest their time and money into getting your book out into the world and into the hands of readers. Writing a book can take a while—and I didn’t want to possibly wait years and deal with the countless possible rejections and lose my confidence, just to put my book back in my dresser drawer to never see daylight and collect dust. I wanted to put the ball in my own court and self-publishing gives the author the opportunity to do that!
- Write your book.
- Edit your book.
- Register it with The Writer’s Guild/Copyright.
- Create your own Author website.
- Self-Publish your book and promote/advertise it.
Of course with all that being said, when you self-publish it’s all on your shoulders—the cost of self-publishing, creating your author website, and then the actual promoting/advertising. So even though self-publishing seems like it’s the easier and faster route, it still is quite an undertaking. But as the saying goes, there are pro’s and con’s to everything!
Are you going to make a sequel to “A Fanny Pack Full of Rainbow Magic?”
I don’t think so although I wish I could write a series! There are so many series out there that give the readers multiple adventures with their favorite characters, and I wish I could do that. (And maybe one day I can! I really, really, really do.) But right now, my books are just standalones. I have a lot of ideas that I’m excited about, and I’m doing my best to make each individual story the best it can be with its plots and characters—that’s what I’m focused on. But I’m definitely not opposed to writing a sequel to A Fanny PackFull of Rainbow Magic! If I get a good idea for a sequel…I’ll write it!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hmmmm, I’ve got a handful of middle grade books that I’m the author of and I’m immensely proud of them. Hopefully kids and parents enjoy reading them! Maybe they’re financially successful and I can afford to get my corgi puppy! (Or two! Or three! I already know I’ll be a Neighborhood Corgi Lady!)
In my mind, I’m living in the sunshine state (Florida—or somewhere warm and tropical) in a charming pink house with an aqua door and window shutters that are in the shape of over-sized flip-flops. I have a white picket fenced backyard where my corgis are frolicking around, and I’ve got a blossoming garden as well as colorful birdhouses I’ve painted on my fence for décor—and for any birds that want to take up residence there, of course. I’m driving my blue Jeep Wrangler, just cruising with the sun shining and the cool breeze in my hair—headed to the beach to play extreme badminton and surf. (Note to self—I need to learn how to surf!) Other times I saddle up on my pink flamingo bicycle and bike around. Ella will be 10 then—hopefully she still thinks I’m Cool Aunt Katy and loves spending time with me! Maybe I’ll be happily married with a husband and a baby—or 2—by the time I’m 40. When it’s meant to be it will be and it happens when it happens. Until then, I’m pretty sure my Prince Charming is riding a box turtle instead of a white horse or pulling on a push door! Luckily, I am an independent self-proclaimed Princess who can escape from any tower and slay my own dragons!
Most importantly, I just want to be happy. I know I’ve listed some materialistic things, and people and animals, but I think as you get older, you realize that the real gifts in life are being happy and healthy. Those are the things that are most important. And you want that for everyone else as well! Life is too short to not spend it happy!
Can you tell us about what book you’re currently working on?
I don’t want to publicly broadcast my ideas. I’d rather do that when I’ve finished my books and I’m promoting them! So I’m not going to give you a lot of details—sorry! I really don’t know which book will be completed first and become my second book to be published. (It’ll be a surprise even to me!) I’ll just say I’ve got a small handful of stories I’m working on. One is about a chicken. One is about a small herd of cows. One is about kids on summer vacation. But for all I know, it’ll be a story I haven’t listed that ends up being my second book! Stay tuned!