T. Katz is represented by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.
T. Katz, a resident of Southern California has been involved in the children's entertainment industry since the early '80s working on hundreds of episodes of animated television and as a music instructor to hundreds of very animated children.
Her latest project is a delightful children’s chapter book, Miss L’eau. We interviewed Ms. Katz to find out more about her new book and her life as a published author.
Thank you for this interview, Ms. Katz. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you've been writing?
Having been involved in the children's entertainment industry since the early '80's (working on hundreds of episodes of animated television) and as a current music instructor to hundreds of very animated children – storytelling has always been a part of my world. Writing has also always been a part of my daily routine since childhood, but I started getting serious about it when I was in television production and a particularly prickly boss laughed and told me, "Girls can't write." I immediately went into my office, shut the door and started writing Miss L'eau.
At what point in your life did you make up your mind you were going to become a published author?
Becoming a published writer was never something that I thought was an option for me; it was a bit like becoming a movie star or astronaut, reserved for someone else in another dimension. Still, the compulsion to write never left me, as I just kept writing even though I believed nobody would ever see it. I still don't think of myself as a “writer,” I'm just someone who writes.
My decision to send my work out into the world for publishing consideration was done basically as a dare from my daughter when she was in junior high. I had helped her with a career board on "How to Become an Author" and after she received an "A" on the project she questioned why I wasn't doing that if I was so smart! That's when Miss L'eau had her debut mention in multiple query letters sent out in the mail in 2005.
What was your favorite book to read as a child?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn written by Betty Smith. It was the most honest book I'd ever read about a young person and their relationship to their family and the world around them. The story made me feel as though I was right there in the book walking alongside the characters as they went through their days and nights. It was the first time I truly understood that books allow us to explore and learn beyond our own experiences.
I also had a much loved, worn-out copy of folk tales (Reader's Digest, maybe?). It was a huge red book and I carried it everywhere and I wish I still had it.
If you could trade places with one author who you have admired over the years, who would it be and why?
I think it would be a hoot to trade places with A.J. Jacobs, the author of The Know-it-All and The Year of Living Biblically. The way he immerses himself in every story and then reports about it with humor and ninja-level observation skills is remarkable!
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Two young boys in a coastal town discover a secret about their elementary school teacher, Miss L'eau, which changes their lives forever. The boys had always known there was something unusual about her, but they could never quite put their finger on it. Even though the boys have always lived near the ocean, they never thought about its importance, power and certainly never its vulnerability. Through Miss L'eau, and her very unexpected relationship to the sea, they develop a love and understanding for the great body of water covering most of the earth's surface. With their teacher's help, they become involved with a nearby aquarium and organize an annual clean-up event in their community.
What kind of research did you have to do to write your book?
There are so many great books and websites about the care and keeping of the ocean and importance of the water cycle that I spent months and months immersed in them, absorbing as much as I could to infuse into the story of Miss L'eau. It was my intention that even though Miss L'eau is a fictional story, its heart would be based in fact.
What message are you trying to convey with this book?
I decided to write Miss L'eau in an effort to make young minds aware of the help our shores needed. If one page of Miss L'eau makes a reader want to investigate more about the water surrounding us, then a good deed was done.
Where do you get ideas to write your books?
Many of my ideas come to me while I'm sleeping. My husband says that it's as if I have another job or life I go to when I put my head down on a pillow. Waking up, I am often more tired than I was when I went to sleep, because my dreams are so active and I remember them all. There is a pad and pencil near my bed to capture the ones that I'd like to explore further.
How do you deal with rejection?
With the first 75 rejection letters, phone calls and/or emails, my preferred method of dealing with it was to crawl under the covers and cry. At #76 and beyond, I decided that just like I didn't find every flavor of jelly bean in the bowl to my liking, particularly the blue ones, it was just that I was somebody's blue jelly bean and accepted the dismissal and moved on.
Thank you for this interview, Ms. Katz. Do you have any final words you'd like to share with my readers?
"Writers write" is simply some of the best advice ever given because the compulsion to do what you love shouldn't be hampered by anyone or anything. While you may have to do other things to keep a roof over your head and food in the refrigerator, writing feeds your soul and you should not let your love of writing be stifled by feelings of inadequacy, paralyzing perfectionism or the opinions of others.
You can visit my website at www.tkatz.com.