There's a magic in life—But Ria Sterling has yet to embrace it, because she considers her ability to predict death from merely touching a photograph a curse. She yearns to use her sight to save just one life. On the other hand, tough-talking detective Carrick Jones and his partner profess not to care about saving anyone. But they do need Ria's help in solving a case. Instead, she predicts that Carrick's partner will die. Soon. And when her vision proves true, Ria goes from psychic to prime suspect…
The one thing she can't predict is her instant attraction to Carrick, a man who doesn't believe in the paranormal—only what his five senses tell him. But when danger threatens, Ria finally sees how to use her gift in a unique way. And to show Carrick the inexplicable power of a love where seeing really is believing…
Plotter or pantser? Why?
I am the ultimate pantser, though I prefer the term fogwalker. I almost always begin a story with one small thing – usually a phrase that I’ve heard or seen. I wrote two books of short stories, one of them began with a piece of graffiti I saw scrawled on a wall, the other with a phrase in an article in a newspaper. Once I have those few words, and if I don’t have a book contracted, I put them away. I have a whole bunch of directories in my computer that are simply titles or phrases. Nothing in them yet, but I look at them almost every day. Once I have that phrase? I walk off into the fog. I have no idea what the book will end up being about, have no idea who the characters, have no idea whether or not I can actually finish the story. But I have faith in the process – it’s worked for me for twenty-five years and I definitely don’t mess with it. It’s scary and exhilarating, good and bad, and I love it!
What do you do to unwind and relax?
My only true addiction is to books. I read somewhere around 300-350 books a year and I can’t stop myself. For me, a day without reading is like a day without oxygen. I feel as if something’s missing from my life. I have a to be read pile that’s insane – mostly because I’m obsessed with having enough books to read, books of all different types, because one day I want to read one thing, another day I want to read something else. So in that pile there are literary books, non-fiction, romance, mysteries, science fiction, art books, biographies, you name it, I’ve got it.
So my idea of the absolutely perfect day, the way I unwind and relax? Is to sit down in the morning and read right through until night. A perfect day is when I can read three or four books.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
The most important thing I’d say to beginning writers is to think about Rafael Nadal. Or Nureyev. Or Yo-Yo Ma. And no, I’m not kidding. Because the only way to learn to write is to practice, and the only way to practice writing IS TO WRITE! There’s a rule of thumb about becoming great at anything – it takes about 10,000 hours (by my calculation, that’s somewhere around 500,000 words or 5 books). You wouldn’t expect to take a year of tennis lessons and beat Rafa, would you? Well, you can’t expect to pick up a pen and write a bestseller. So my advice? Write, write, write. Don’t get discouraged early on because you keep getting rejected – of course you’re getting rejected. Think again about playing Rafa. Now once you’ve played tennis for 10,000 hours, you might just beat him. Once you’ve written the equivalent of five books, you might just get acceptance or encouragement.
Write. That’s key to everything.
What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
Friends. Wine. Patience. If you’ve got these things, you’re probably going to be okay.
Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?
Hmm, this is a tough question. Because when you read as much as I do, it’s tough to pick just one. And it’s different for me on different days, though I do tend be rotate around a few that I idolize. So I can’t tell you one – but I will tell you my today’s list: Michael Ondaatje, Nora Roberts, Connie Willis, Umberto Eco, Suzanne Brockmann, Jane Austen. And now I have to stop, or I’d just go on and on and on…
Sometime I’m going to spend three months in
. I’m going to pin a giant street map on my wall and I’m going to walk every single day until I’ve marked off each street. Every street in New York has got something that you can’t find anywhere else. It’ll be like a three month treasure hunt. Manhattan
What makes you happy?
I think it would be easier for me to tell you what makes me unhappy. I’m the person who is always smiling – mostly at the small stuff. Today? A puppy on the street who figured out how to sit on command, and then a couple came up to pet him, and he lost it completely. A friend’s 7 year old daughter who had one of her drawings published in the Thomas the Tank Engine magazine. Perfect sushi for lunch.
Other days? It might be writing a great sentence or finding a pair of shoes I love. Getting an extra hour for reading. Finding an author I love and finding out she’s written a whole bunch of books. Movies. Walking on the beach.
The big things are often out of our control (like getting published or making a bestseller list) so I try and focus on the small stuff. That way, I’m almost always happy.
Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
Scary. Satisfying. War.
Do you have a Website or Blog?
Even though Kate is an Aries (the fire sign), she thinks of herself as a water baby. She can't resist the ocean; it sings to her. Every day, she spends at least a few moments watching the water, and on good – or very bad – days, you can find her walking the Seawall for hours, rain or shine.
Kate Austin has worked as a legal assistant, a commercial fisher, a brewery manager, a teacher, a technical writer, and a herring popper, while managing to read an average of a book a day. Go ahead – ask her anything. If she doesn't know the answer, she's more than happy to make it up because she's been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember.