Interview with Kathryn Cooper, author of “Aspen Everlasting”

A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?

Not true for all authors. I know many authors, including myself, that love socializing.

Do all authors have to be grammar Nazis?

No! I try my best, but editors help make improvements.

How important is research to you when writing a book?

I did a lot of research on the locations in my book. I visited Smithson Valley High School and Spring Branch, TX to help with the many scenes there.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

I was 25! At that point I was a stay-at-home mom of 2 little boys. I had started reading a ton of Young Adult fiction about 3 years before that. In 2009 I finished reading a teen series and was NOT happy with it. I decided I’d write my own book that I would love.

How often do you write?

Since I started writing with 2 young boys and finished my book 5 years later with 4 little boys all together, I didn’t have the strength to write consistently. Then in 2014 I was diagnosed with a brain tumor/cancer. I finished editing and sent Aspen Everlasting out to agents and publishers right before my surgery. I then went through radiation and chemo for the next year. My writing has slowed down by my wild boys, whom I love, and my post brain tumor life.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?

Some weeks or months I do set a schedule to write every morning before my boys wake up. Other times I go weeks and months before gaining the energy to write some more.

Writers are often associated with loner tendencies; is there any truth to that?

For me the loner tendency wasn’t by choice. If I’m around family or friends I get very distracted.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I take the idea and go with it. That ends up hitting me latter because I end up making huge changes. I have learned to start writing out plot plans if not before writing at least after a few chapters.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

FINDING THE TIME! I would love to write every day, but my life with my young boys, whom I love, takes over.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I started writing because of reading. I became a book blogger back in 2011. I love sharing my love of books. I’m not the kind of blogger that continues to read a book when I don’t like it. I don’t have time for that. My website has many posts of books I’ve read. I also add ratings for sexual, language, and violent content. I don’t have a favorite author because I have many books that I loved which makes all of those authors my favorites.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

I have only written and published one book. So what I did was go through it many many many times myself. Then when I felt comfortable with sharing my book, I sent it to 4 beta readers. One was a friend I knew and the other three were friends from my book blogging life. They sent back lots of fixing to do. After all of that I then sent it to a friend to edit the grammar, and things like that.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

I have a book blogger friend that I know will not read the synopsis so I have learned that the image is very important. I am also a visual learner and prefer good covers. I came up with my title of Aspen Everlasting, but just gave ideas for the cover. I was sent a great cover to okay when going through with my publishing company. I love my cover!

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

Read tons of books! If you want to write a Young Adult fantasy, read many Young Adult fantasy books already published by other amazing authors. I love to attend author events. In Texas we have large groups of Young Adult authors talking about writing.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

A mom. Then a singer. Then a kindergarten teacher. I graduated from Brigham Young University in Early Childhood Education. I learned so much in that major that has helped as a mom and now a teacher.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

I put more of myself into my book than I had realized. My college friend mentioned some things about the main character that reminded her of me. That made me laugh happily.

How realistic are your books?

My book is a realistic high school life then I add some fantasy into it. The relationships are all realistic. I added a good relationship with two siblings and parents because that was like my life. In the first chapter I have a flash flood happening which is very realistic for someone living in Texas.

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

I am currently working on a Young Adult contemporary fiction that will touch on what I have gone through with Brain Tumor Cancer. I hope to gain more energy to finish this one.

Who are your books mostly dedicated to?

I dedicated Aspen Everlasting to my husband, Colt Cooper. He was my constant support who believed in me. He also was my first reader, even before my beta readers.

Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?

Yes! I work 2 days at a Mother’s Day Out teaching 2 and 3 year olds. My 2 youngest boys attend it because they aren’t in school yet. I also work half days as an Optometrist Assistant at my dad’s eye doctor office. I love the people I work with. It wasn’t my plan to be a working mom of young boys, but with the brain tumor and other bills it had to happen. I have been blessed to have great people to work with.

Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?

Yes, I’m exhausted after work, and I put spending time with my family above writing.

Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?

For me that is so false and laughable! When you only get a small percentage of a $3 eBook you won’t be rolling in the money. It takes years to publish many books and maybe make enough for a full time job.

How do you see writing? As a hobby or a passion?

This connects with the #21 question. I love writing. I love reading. I love that I am actually an author! But it doesn’t make enough money, and I have too many other responsibilities for this to take over my life as a passion. Right now, writing is my hobby. Maybe someday that will change.

Is it true that anyone can be a writer?

Yes! Anyone can write. It’s up to you if you are willing to go through all the work to get your book published.

People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

If some day just one person recognizes me as an author in a grocery store I will consider myself famous! I am pleased easily.

Have you ever taken any help from other writers?

Like I mentioned in some early questions. I love reading. My love of reading is what gave me the ability to write and become an author. Attending author events, like the Texas Teen Book Festival, gave me the engorgement needed to become the author I am!

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