Katie McGarry is a Young Adult author, known for her edgy teen romantic dramas, which feature characters making hard choices or going through rough times. Katie McGarry is the author of the Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road series. Say You’ll Remember Me will be released in 2018. Katie McGarry writes stories that are raw, gritty and contain very tough circumstances. She writes characters who face difficult problems and her characters discover that no matter how dark the situation there is always hope. Katie McGarry majored in political science in college with concentrations in philosophy and history. Please enjoy my interview with Katie McGarry.
How do you describe your occupation?
I’m an unpaid Uber driver for my three teenagers and in between, I write.
I’m up early, around five, and help my teens move forward with their day. Once everyone is at school, I clean up the house, go for a run, then sit down to work on my social media accounts and answer business emails. Between eleven and noon, I start to write then have to wrap up near two so I can pick up my teens from school. I spend the next several hours driving teens to after school activities and helping with homework. I’ll work again between nine and eleven, then typically head to bed between eleven and midnight. I take the weekends off whenever deadlines permit.
What are you reading at the moment and what made you want to read it?
In a Perfect World by Trish Doller. I’m a huge fan of Trish Doller and will read anything she writes.
Can you remember the first book you read by yourself?
The first book I can remember reading is Seals on Wheels by Dean Walley.
Are you a page folder or a bookmarker?
When did you fall in love with reading?
When I read The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton when I was a teen.
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
In elementary school, I wrote about a mouse who was a fighter pilot.
If you could gift yourself books at age 16 and age 25 – what would they be and why?
I would gift myself Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. This book takes someone who is broken by circumstance and then shows hope. As a teen, I needed this book.
Can you talk us through your writing process, from the first spark of an idea, to having your first completed draft?
I’m a slow “drafter.” Once I have an idea, it becomes like a chess game in my head. I move the characters through different plots and situations. If I don’t like where it leads, I pull back and then try new plots and situations. When I have a series of situations and a plot that feels strong, I start to write. I’m usually slow again as I write the first fifty pages because then I’m fleshing out who my characters really are. Around a hundred pages in, I usually have a good sense of my characters and how their personalities will affect the plot so I’ll go back and make needed changes. I’ll then plot out the rest of my book.
I attempt to write my book to the plot. At the three-quarter mark, my characters kidnap me, throw me in the trunk of the car, and take off without me—ruining whatever ending I thought I was going to happen. After going through a period I’ll call writer’s block—which is really me grieving what I wanted to have happened in the story—I’ll give in and let the characters tell me what should happen with the book.
To learn about the craft of writing, I would recommend The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. For storytelling and writing emotion, I would recommend The Stand by Stephen King and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.
What was the last book you purchased, and why did you buy it?
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams. My son read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and was hungry to read more.
What is your favourite thing about reading?
I love being transported to another place that gives me a chance to escape reality for a few minutes.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
If you could insert yourself into any book, which would you pick and why?
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. There was such a sense of innocence, beauty and love in the books that always drew me to them.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?
I would tell aspiring writers to read a lot and to write a lot. I would also tell them to learn as much as they can about the craft of writing and to find a critique group.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life? What impact did it have?
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. It was the first time I saw a mirror of myself in a book. I understood having friends as family and seeing that made me feel less alone in the world. In that moment, I had hope and that dragged me out of some very complicated situations.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
I’m a huge fan of books by Miranda Kenneally, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Gena Showalter, Lori Foster, Simone Elkeles, Erin Watt and Jennifer Armentrout.