Fledgling writers often try to emulate their favorite author's style. Did you experience this when you first started writing? If yes, who was your role model?
I try to learn from every author whose work I read and admire, but I can’t say that I really emulate any particular style. Voice is tough to fake, and if you’re not writing in a voice that authentically yours, it doesn’t sound true. I worked in broadcast journalism when I graduated from college, and I remember an older anchorman at the NBC affiliate in Syracuse, New York, chewing me out because I admitted that I was trying to sound like another well-established reporter in one of my stories. “You can’t be Sheryl Nathans,” he told me. “Because that job is already taken... by Sheryl Nathans.” It’s advice that I remember to this day - the only voice that will work for you as a writer is one that’s uniquely your own.
With so many books published, how do you promote your work and still have time to write, or vice versa? Do you follow a planned writing/marketing schedule? Any tips you would like to share with other authors?
Juggling marketing and writing with teaching and family is a delicate balancing act for me. I think I make a good go of it, but I’m certainly not in a position to be giving advice!
Any upcoming books in the horizon?
I’m finishing revisions on another historical novel set on Lake Champlain — this one during the 17th century — and I have a middle grade contemporary novel that’s out with a few agents right now. I’m just starting work on a humorous chapter book and polishing up a few picture books.
Do you have a website where readers may find more about you and your work?
http://www.katemessner.com. Teachers will find the site especially useful, since the full study guide for Spitfire is available as a free downloaded pdf document.
If there was one book you'd recommend as absolute read for aspiring young adult fiction authors, what would that be?
Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. It’s not about YA fiction but about writing in general and the life of a writer. I love this book and recommend it to everyone who will listen. It has lots of great, concrete advice, but more than anything, Anne Lamott has a way of making you laugh and then believe that this whole writer thing will work out. That, for me, is what it takes to stay in my chair and keep working.