In spite of her youthful appearance, K. S. Brooks has been a writer and award-winning photographer for more than twenty years. Her first novel, Lust for Danger, won her an Honorable Mention in the Jada Press Book of the Year Awards as well as a spot in the “Next Big Thing” tent at the Baltimore Book Festival in Baltimore, Maryland (which is not under any circumstances to be confused with Baltimore, Kentucky). She has also provided feature articles, poetry, and photography for magazines, newspapers, books and other publications both in the U.S. and abroad.
In her writing, she likes to keep things moving, use the right words, and paint the scenes so that readers can share her vision and feel for the story. She says, “I’m told I have excellent flow, and my writing moves very quickly. My style has actually evolved quite a bit, from being pragmatic and impartial to colored by my main character’s attitude.”
Kat feels her writing style may be a result of what she describes as an “odd conglomeration” of reading she did as a child and young adult. “I love the sensitive, intimate portrayals of Oscar Wilde, the keen suspense and wit of Warren Murphy, the poignant truth of Gavin de Becker, and the righteous pens of Rudyard Kipling and Alexandre Dumas (pere). Throw those influences into a blender, and add a huge dose of faction – and I believe I’m probably in there somewhere.” Sounds delicious—maybe add a banana. [“Faction,” as used here, is a portmanteau which means a combination of fact and fiction. Yeah, I had to ask that. Shut up, that’s what!]
Kat has a fertile imagination that finds inspiration everywhere. She says music has sometimes played a role. “I’d get an image from a song and then a scene would develop from that. Of course, each scene is the result of something, so that history starts forming, as well as its results, and the whole thing spirals outward until I have a storyline. But something as simple as a patio brick wobbling under my foot can also spark a scene, as it did at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics – which blossomed into Night Undone.”
As with many authors, finding sufficient quality time to write is a challenge for Kat. “I really need a large chunk of time to do my fiction because I get extremely intense and forget to do everything else – like cook dinner, pay bills, etc. If I didn’t have to worry about real life – I might be unstoppable. In 2011, I was able to release 4 new titles. I’m hoping for the same in 2012. To deal with that, I try to get my ducks in a row, get all my marketing done, and my children’s books out of my brain so I have a clean slate and a chunk of time to submerse myself. I’m trying to establish a routine, but I find life gets in the way of that as well.”
Kat is an unequivocal supporter of using beta readers. “I cannot live without BETA readers. I’m not kidding. If someone isn’t using at least two BETA readers, they’re doing themselves a disservice. I caught a HUGE issue in The Kiss of Night while having a discussion with a BETA reader. Now, not all BETA readers will tell you point blank – “I didn’t get this” or “I thought your character was being a brat”… but if you wait until after they read and discuss your concerns, you may find that the thoughts in your head never made it to paper. I actually use four BETA readers for my fiction. Each of them has their own forte – so by the time they’re done, all my bases should be very well covered. For my educational children’s books, I am blessed to have five different educators, an editor who is also a grandmother, and a graphics person who all give their input.” Yikes! anything you can get past a crew like that has to be good.
As for marketing her work, Kat says if an opportunity arises, she takes advantage of it. She always does a press release each time a new book comes out. “I update my blogs, web sites and social media. I do give-aways with bloggers. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and I have a presence on pretty much every other social network out there. Unfortunately, because publicity results are so cumulative, I couldn’t tell you what has had the best ROI. Something I did 2 years ago might yield book sales tomorrow. Paid advertising – never. I use my non-existent budget for having bookmarks and other promotional items printed.”
I asked Kat if she’s read any work by other indie authors and she snorted derisively and said, “I have no desire to read for pleasure. I did read your book though, Stephen.”
“I thought you didn’t read for pleasure,” I said.
“It wasn’t a pleasure,” she sneered.
Okay, I made all that crap up just to see if you were paying attention. She did specifically mention that she had read Joe Café by JD Mader, and Newton Love’s No Accounting for Taste, and really enjoyed both.
Kat has some excellent advice for aspiring authors:
1. Build your resume. If you’re offered an internship at a newspaper – even if it’s working for free – do it. You’ll regret NOT taking advantage of that opportunity later when you’re competing with others who claim to be established writers.
2. Write. Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it later. You won’t.
3. Write – don’t edit yourself as you go along. There’s time for editing later.
4. Don’t be afraid to let other people read your stuff. Be selective when passing it around, but get it out there. You need input from readers to figure out where you need to strengthen your writing.
5. Rejection is part of life. Each rejection puts you one letter closer to publication.
Night Undone is the latest novel in K.S. Brooks’ Agent Night “Cover Me” Series. It was released in August 2011. Some say it’s suspense with a dash of romance, others say it’s a romance between two spies…
Former Special Agent Kathrin Night is not adjusting to civilian life. More than a year after her career-ending injury, she still can’t get the hang of it. This is wearing thin on her lover, Russian FSB Agent Aleksey Khovechkin, who tricks Kathrin into seeing a psychiatrist specializing in post-military/espionage patients. The therapy doesn’t go exactly as Aleksey hopes, but before he can react, Russia recalls him to make him an offer he can’t refuse.
Before his departure, Aleksey reveals his deepest, darkest secret to Kathrin. Had he, in fact, used her to escape his duties in Russia, or was his allegiance to her genuine? Determined to see justice served, Kathrin hatches a scheme to help Aleksey while at the same time reviving her career in espionage. The Vancouver Winter Olympics could be the perfect venue for her plan, but can she pull it off without destroying their relationship, causing an international incident, or getting either of them killed?
Night Undone has three 5-star reviews and two 4-star reviews on Amazon. She has also received some 5-star reviews directly from readers who aren’t on Amazon.com.
Night Undone and Kat’s other titles are available at Amazon. You can learn more about and from author K.S. Brooks from her personal website, her Write Write Write blog, and her K.S. Brooks Blog (satire, reviews & more). You can also find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.