Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn Fletcher.
Hi Kathryn, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
In 7th grade, I read a unicorn series for the 3rd time and didn’t want the story to end. So, during my study hall each day I continued the story in my notebook. I wrote 60 pages or so of a sequel. I asked for an electric typewriter for my birthday that year so I could be an author.
Fast forward to when I turned 39. I was a middle school English teacher.
I’m a goal-oriented person. Achiever is my #5 strength on the Clifton Strengths. So, I was having a hard time with 40 looming in front of me and so many goals as yet not achieved or even started. The primary goal gathering dust was that desire to write, to transport readers into fantastical worlds.
I decided to start working on it while I worked my day job. My #3 strength is Input and my #4 is Learner which means I go all-in when there is research to be done or something new to learn. I joined a writing group and a critic group. I went to writing conferences and took online classes. And of course, I read books, lots and lots of books on writing, publishing, and being an entrepreneur.
Over the next threeish years, I wrote the proverbial manuscript that will never see the light of day. Good practice, right? I also wrote short stories to play around with voice, style, and wild ideas. One of those short stories got published in a magazine.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The largest obstacle to publishing these days is finding time and energy to write. While I was learning to be an author, I also went to UNT and earned my Master of Library Science. This year I am a first-year librarian at an elementary school. I love what I’m doing but it takes energy to learn a new work role.
Everybody has excuses though. Nobody is sitting around with a plethora of free time. So, I scheduled a weekly video conference with my Facebook writing group. (Writing, Coffee, and Friends) Every Sunday evening, we meet to study a writing craft book and discuss how we can apply it to our stories. Every Monday evening, we meet for a Write-In. We chat and write for 45 minutes and chat some more. This way, people are relying on me to be at the meeting. I can’t tell myself I’m too tired to write. Bonus, we encourage each other and troubleshoot our stories when we get stuck. I wouldn’t be where I am today without this group.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
One the stories I wrote, won Honorable Mention in the L.Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. Honorable mention doesn’t sound impressive, but it is an international contest with thousands of entries each quarter.
The story is about an insatiably curious and impulsive teenage girl with ADHD, Jo, who can suddenly see fairies, moss monsters, and all manner of strange creatures that seem to go unnoticed by everyone, except another boy in her school, Albert. Together, they have to protect their neighborhood from the moss monster. That same short story got picked up by Youth Imagination Magazine.
I sponsored the middle school writing club for many years. Some students wrote manuscripts and asked how to get them published. There are many steps between finishing a manuscript and publishing, many decisions to be made about what’s right for the story and author. I’d read a dozen or more books and gone to conferences to learn all I had about publishing. I wanted to recommend a book, but I couldn’t think of a book that would explain all the myriad of decisions and steps. My blog explained a lot of the steps, but a book would be better. So, in 2020, during lockdown, I wrote a book called, From Rough Draft to Published. It’s a book that guides beginning writers through the basic process of publishing and the decisions a person faces. Do I publish traditionally or self-publish? Do I need an agent? And much more. The book has been selling well for the last 2 years and reviews are positive. I hope that the book makes it easier for people to fulfill their lifelong dreams of publishing.
Over the last year, I wrote a novel that continues the story of Jo and Albert. This time, they are defending the unaware from a wanna-be teen witch who has summoned something which is far more dangerous than any of them anticipated. They must stop her before it grows too powerful to control. Simultaneously, Jo must learn to control her impulses before they get her into serious trouble, again. Currently, I’m in the editing phase. It will be out before the end of this year.
What do you think about happiness?
For me, happiness is in telling stories, reading stories, and writing stories. Think about the power that stories hold over readers. Scribbles on a page can make a person cry. They can help a person heal a broken heart. A letter can break a heart. Words on a page can teach someone how to do something or teach them something about life. Stories were our first language, even before writing was invented. They are at the core of our being.
Truly, I love all manner of creative endeavors. I enjoy painting with oil paints. My husband and I find joy in woodworking as well. Together my husband and I remodeled my office, part of which was taking my family’s old 1954 Wulitzer Organ, gutting it, and turning it into my writing desk. (As seen in the photo) This spring we built a rabbit hutch and chicken coop. We have two dogs, two rabbits, a snake, and most recently added four baby chicks. My Instagram account (@Fletchers.Quill) is where I share all the happy things in my life.
- From Rough Draft to Published book $7.99 paperback
- From Rough Draft to Published book $5.99 ebook
- Email: Kathryn@quillandbooks.com
- Website: QuillAndBooks.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fletchers.quill
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/writingcoffeeandfriends/
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