Welcome to our September First Friday Breakfast with author Kitty Bucholtz. (Commenters to this post will have the opportunity to win e-books of her two most popular novels.) Details appear at the end.
Kitty grew up forty miles east of Traverse City, Michigan, the setting of Little Miss Lovesick and the pretend setting of Unexpected Superhero. She went to college in Traverse City, met and married the love of her life, and waved goodbye to everything she knew when she and her husband John struck out for parts unknown.
Their adventures included going back to school, changing careers, and traveling Down Under. Kitty now writes wherever John is working on a film. They spent a few years in Sydney, Australia, where Kitty earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing degree from University of Technology, Sydney, while John made a penguin named Mumble dance.
This morning I’m enjoying french toast (french bread soaked overnight in eggs whisked in coconut milk then grilled), topped with diced fresh peaches, blueberries and banana then drizzled with lemon infused olive oil and peach balsamic. It’s hot here so iced decaf coffee is my beverage of choice. What are you having for your virtual breakfast, Kitty?
Mmm, breakfast is yummy this morning! Last time I was in Michigan (where John’s and my families live), I had a Little Debbie’s Texas Cinnamon Roll one morning, and it was awesome! I brought a few back in my luggage [laughs] and now I’m spacing them out. Thought it would be fun to eat while we chat. (Though I did have a chocolate protein shake first. Otherwise, I’ll crave sugar all day!)
Well, shoot. Now I gotta hunt down that Little Debbie’s Texas Cinnamon Roll and try it myself. Tell us about your writing process from concept to draft to revision.
My process…well… [starts laughing] I had one! Honest, I did. My husband works in the film industry and we move around a lot for his work. So that makes creating structure in my career a bit of a challenge. But even what I had flew out the window when John got in a motorcycle accident in March! Since then, I’ve focused entirely on helping him heal. Plus, we moved again. Sigh.
But when I did have a structure, it was something like this. Get an idea. Get super excited. Write lots of notes until I couldn’t help myself and had to write the first scene. If the train doesn’t hit a wall, keep writing until the end of the first draft, occasionally pausing to make more notes.
I start by plotting out the major turning points, and some of the links that get me from one turning point to another. But then I use a “seat of the pants” approach to the actual writing. I find that’s the most fun, and I have to keep the fun going in order to keep up my momentum.
For Unexpected Superhero, I had an idea, pitched it to my agent, she loved it, I wrote it, she didn’t love it as much. She gave me notes – that forced a page-one rewrite! – and I wrote a new draft, which she loved even less. After a year or two, I printed out both versions and literally cut the books into scenes with scissors. Then I moved around all the scenes on the living room floor until I created the book I wanted – because there were good pieces in both books.
The trickiest part of this method – which I don’t recommend! [laughs] – is to not think your Frankenstein’s monster is a super model! The good part for me was that when the book was finished, I was absolutely positive how the series storyline should go. Book two – about three-quarters done before John’s accident, and second-guessed many times since then in the dead of night – should come together easier. I use even more sticky notes and 3×5 cards now than ever!
Tell us about Unexpected Superhero. Why did you want to do a “Lois and Clark” series? (Such a fun idea–I know why I would want to write about them.)
I’m glad you like it! I love superhero movies, and I love the idea of superheroes. I came up with the idea of writing a superhero book because I was mad at my husband. [Laughs] We’ve been married 24 years now, and he still spends a lot of time doing the things he did when he was 19 – playing Xbox, playing on his computer, reading comics, watching TV and movies – and one day I was really tired of being ignored. I imagined how fun it would be to be able to snap my fingers and have a superhero appear who only catered to my needs and wishes. Obviously, that storyline didn’t really work.
But then I asked John a few questions about comic books, and information poured out of him like he was Old Faithful. It just gushed. We went out the next day and he bought me Kingdom Come, the best graphic novel ever! Within a few weeks, I was hooked on comics. Two years later, John raised his eyebrows and cleared his throat at me when I spent more money at the comic book store that visit than he did!
I love being married, and I’ve always thought of marriage as a grand adventure, exploring all kinds of new things together. That led me to the reference, Lewis and Clark, the explorers, who I loved from grade school history lessons. I wanted to write about the grand adventure of marriage along with an exploration of what it means to be powerful, especially to have more power than you realize, which is the theme of my books. (I even had shirts made with the theme!)
I also liked the idea of where super powers come from. There are all kinds of great stories out there, but I had an idea that I couldn’t stop thinking about. What if, when Cain killed his brother Abel, God’s punishment to Cain was to give him and all his descendents extra-human powers and task them with protecting life forevermore? And if God gives you super powers, but you have free will, what happens? So I’m exploring that in the series as well.
It’s a lovely bonus for marketing purposes that my series name, the Adventures of Lewis and Clarke, mirrors the TV show so many are familiar with, Lois & Clark. 🙂
Ah hah! The comic book connection. This is why we also go to all those Marvel comic book hero movies. Love the tie-in to the Cain and Abel story! Let me top off your cranberry juice, Kitty. What did you find fun/intriguing about writing this story and what was difficult?
I’ll tell you, the most difficult part of writing book one, Unexpected Superhero, was trying to come up with a believable way a 27-year-old woman would discover for the first time that she had super powers. I thought my brain was going to bleed! But I created a super-protective mother, a doctor in collusion with the mom, and an insecure young woman trying to hide from the world – and I think it worked.
The most fun parts were the scenes between Tori and Joe, the newlywed main characters. They both want the honeymoon phase to last, so neither wants to rock the boat with uncomfortable questions. But they’ve only known each other for about ten weeks at the start of the book. So there’s a lot of getting-to-know-you that has to go on, too. Just like in a marriage-of-convenience story, it’s fun to watch suddenly married people try to figure out the steps to this new dance.
Tell us about your next project and when it may be published.
(Laughing again) Ah, yes. My next project. Well, book two in the series, Superhero in the Making, was supposed to already be out, but I’m apparently not the kind of person who can focus on writing while learning to be a caregiver. But John is walking on his own again and almost doesn’t need me anymore, so – I’m super excited to start working on that book again soon!
Of course, now my deadlines are bumping up against each other. The audiobook for Little Miss Lovesick is set to begin recording next month, and I’m just wrapping up a new cover for that book. I’m releasing a print version of “Superhero in Disguise,” the short story prequel to Unexpected Superhero, in time for Halloween and Comikaze (a comic book convention in Los Angeles). The short story takes place on Halloween night, when Tori and Joe meet in disguise, so this is the perfect time to bring it to print for the convention. (The ebook version is free.)
Plus, I’m teaching a 4-week online class starting September 15 called “Your How-to Guide to Self-Publishing.” That’s going to be pretty time-intensive since the idea is for class members to actually publish, or get ready to publish, their books. (Everyone is welcome!)
Nonetheless, I’m itching to get back to actual writing. Grin! So I expect Superhero in the Making to be out by Christmas. I already have the cover, so I’m nearly ready!
Thank you for sharing your breakfast and writing life, Kitty. Loved hearing about your writing process. I have all your books including Superhero in Disguise. You all heard that, right? Kitty is offering the e-book at Amazon for FREE. All my comic book friends are getting Unexpected Superhero for their birthdays this year. Keep us posted about Superhero in the Making. I’m hooked.
Here are a few links if you want to read more about Kitty Bucholtz and her terrific books.
Unexpected Superhero: http://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Superhero-Adventures-Lewis-Clarke-ebook/dp/B00D4FOLHQ/
Superhero in Disguise: http://www.amazon.com/Superhero-Disguise-Adventures-Lewis-Clarke-ebook/dp/B00FVDMQOE/
Little Miss Lovesick: http://www.amazon.com/Little-Miss-Lovesick-Traverse-City-ebook/dp/B005NVFJ70/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kitty-Bucholtz/e/B006GWTTV2/
Kitty’s web site: http://kittybucholtz.com
OCC Online Class: http://www.occrwa.org/onlineclassSept14.html
Before you rush to Amazon to buy Unexpected Superhero or click http://www.amazon.com/Unexpected-Superhero-Adventures-Lewis-Clarke-ebook/dp/B00D4FOLHQ/, who would like to join us for another glass of cranberry juice?
If you comment to this post, Kitty will hang around to respond. On Tuesday (September 09, 2014), we will draw names from the list of commenters and you Lucky Few will receive your choice of e-books UNEXPECTED SUPERHERO or LITTLE MISS LOVESICK. Good luck!