Katherine Forrister, another 2021 Debuts author, just released Lodestone, a novel Cari Dubiel describes as “an impressive fantasy that leaves the reader both satisfied and wanting more.” Others who have endorsed the book mention the incredible setting, the complex characters, and the magic. What more could a debut novelist ask for? While Katherine might make the whole novel-writing scene look easy, this author, like many, adheres to a routine, making sure she writes from pretty early—8 a.m.—until her “brain stops cooperating, which is usually 1 p.m.” Also like many authors, she’s hustling to market her current work, which can take up more hours in the day (and of course, thinking about her forthcoming books, of which there are several!). With so much on Katherine’s plate, I’m pleased she took the time to answer a few questions for me.
Christina: Lodestone is billed as Dark Fantasy Romance. You also write speculative fiction and science fiction. I’m always fascinated by the active imagination of writers like you. What draws you to these genres?
Katherine: I’ve been drawn to these sorts of stories ever since I can remember, so I’m not sure why I’m so swept up by them aside from it being a personality quirk. I suppose a portion of it is due to a sense of escapism. I often thought “real life” was very dull growing up, and I was bullied for reading, so I escaped into books and daydreams. I do enjoy being present in the moment more as an adult, but I still love bringing other worlds to life. It honestly pains me a little to know that I’ll only get to live this one, single life and never know any other experiences in the shoes of other people, so I spend time imagining and writing about them instead. The more fantastical the world, the better, because that’s something I’ll never experience anywhere other than the page.
Christina: A NetGalley reviewer of Lodestone wrote how pleased she was that the main character, Melaine, “has agency in her story.” Many romances rely on tropes that don’t provide agency to a character. Did Melaine always have agency, or did that come out in revision?
Katherine: Melaine always had agency because even though I knew there would be a romance in the story, the plot truly started with her and her rough way of life and her sense that she would do anything in order to survive and better the situation in which she grew up. Her drive is what propelled the story in my mind before I ever set words to paper. The romance was a side effect! And of course her budding relationship enriched her overall character development throughout the story, which was carefully honed through rounds of revision.
Christina: Your bio states that you like to attend local festivals around Kansas City, where you live. Festivals provide wonderful opportunities for people watching. Do you enjoy observing people, and do they ever inspire characters or situations in your stories?
Katherine: I pay way more attention to people now that I’m a writer! I’m an introvert most of the time, so I used to escape into reading and writing to avoid people. Now, I pay a good amount of attention to people—their mannerisms, how they eat, how they laugh, the word choices different people lean into, that sort of thing. It definitely helps me bring my characters to life by incorporating all the little details.
Christina: Playing open-world video games is a favorite pastime of yours. What do you like about these games? Do they inform your writing at all?
Katherine: Yes, I love video games! My favorite ones are open-world and roleplaying games. They inform my writing because they spark the same side of my brain that reading or any kind of storytelling does, but I’m able to put myself into the role of my “character” on the screen, so it’s a more creative and engaging process than watching a film. I enjoy the games in which I can customize my character’s appearance and choose my own dialogue when interacting with non-playable-characters. The games that have huge, open worlds are magnificent because I can roam wherever I want and have the freedom to explore my imagination. I enjoy fantasy and science fiction settings the most, which are also genres I enjoy writing.
Christina: Another hobby is making hand-burned woodburnings. What got you started on this craft? What is the most intricate woodburning you’ve made? When you get a little stuck in writing, do you turn to woodburning or some other creative outlet?
Katherine: I used to draw with pencil and paper all the time, but I was at a friend’s house years ago who owned a pyrography stylus, so I tried it out. I thought it was so cool that I bought my own! Now, I “draw” my art onto wood instead. The most intricate woodburning I’ve made is a large skull and snake image, which took forever because of all the shading, plus I used a painstaking pointillism style to create textures on the snake’s scales. It’s been a while since I’ve made anything new due to time constraints with writing and book releases coming to the forefront, but I do miss it as a creative outlet that uses less brainpower and is a more physical task. And it does not involve a screen, which is great for my eye health!
Christina: What is your writing kryptonite?
Katherine: I’ve worked long and hard to overcome some of my initial weaknesses from years ago, such as lack of vivid descriptions and overuse of adverbs, repeated phrases, etc. The kryptonite I’m trying to overcome at the moment is juggling a much bigger cast of characters than I’m used to and holding on to each of their developments and plot-lines without creating loopholes. My current work in progress is a bigger undertaking than any of my books that are either published or set for publication next year. I won’t lie—it’s rather daunting! But I have faith that I can conquer any weakness with enough time and determination, and through working with editors and other wonderful professionals!
Thanks to Katherine for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you are an author who would like to be featured), feel free to leave a comment or email me via my contact page.