Monday, August 5, 2013

The Swan Bonnet by Katherine L. Holmes Guest Post & Giveaway

The Swan Bonnet
Katherine L. Holmes
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Unknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Shooting swans has become illegal but Alaska is a territory and Prohibition occupies the Sheriff. 

Dawn and her mother become involved with suspicious responses to the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. Because Dawn’s grandparents see the swans first, Dawn agrees to secretly watch the migration with the Deputy Sheriff’s son. But after she and her mother encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are also townspeople roving the shore but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?


Most of my favorite authors are indie or self-pubbed, what made me you decide to go that route?
During the long and indecisive stays with agents, I saw that Indie publishers were beginning to thrive. So I submitted and because the process was more direct, without the agent go-between.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How the book came together finally, actually gradually so that the finalizing was very satisfying.

Which of your characters are you most like? Least like?
In The Swan Bonnet, I would have to say that I hadn’t expected to identify most with Frances, but I did as the novel developed. I suppose I identified with the teenage protagonist Dawn at first but as a person much older, I finally identified with Frances, the independent woman who traded in my historical novel.

I least like characters that come into the story but don’t influence the action so much. They need to be portrayed very concisely which is difficult.

Do you have a particular writing habit?
Yes, I write fiction in the morning, before I talk to anyone. I might edit or rewrite later in the day but I imagine and draft it in the early morning.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Can’t decide on one but names come to me – George MacDonald, Emily Bronte, Katherine Anne Porter

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
They are very new, writers that I found at or through, writers reviewed at my blog Writing Amid Used Books . I guess that’s why I became involved with used books, because I wasn’t enthralled with the books being promoted nationally. I’ve found wonderful books in the Indies and encourage readers to explore new books if they feel the need to look around.

What is the hardest part of your writing?
To re-read something that needs work, especially after I’ve submitted it, and the gap between being humiliated and starting the revision

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Do that difficult act after you’ve finished – re-read your work sentence after sentence and decide whether it needs to be revised. You might not be ready for that until a few months after finishing but this checking is important before submitting the work more than once or twice.

Describe yourself in three words.
Contemplating. Inquisitive. Empathetic.

I know characters are like children but if you could chose, who’s your favorite from your books? Of all time?
My favorite is probably the protagonist of a novel I haven’t published yet, a child of divorce. And probably because she was someone I identified with, but at the end of the book, she was my child. I was empty nest after writing the book and missed that character more than the others. Many of my protagonists were juvenile and so they remained with me that way.

Any song or songs that could basically sum up the overall mood of your writing?
I’ll just say “MacArthur’s Park” since my writing is often to remember, or to prevent from being forgotten.

Do you plot out your books or just freely write them and let the characters tell you what to do next?
I explore the character and setting with a vague plot-line. The plot doesn’t become defined for me until the second or third draft.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider the biggest influence in your writing?
I never had one writer that influenced all of my writing. The answer would have to be several. One doesn’t supersede the authors that I admired.

What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I’ve been working on a nonfiction project for eight to eighteen-year-old's. The reason for that age range is because the project is about music. Most music students begin at about the age of eight but it’s in the teenage years that music interests many. My project covers archaeology, history, and different ethnicity. It focuses on the first melodic instrument.

Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International. In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing. The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing. Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

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