In depth with Author Katy Huth Jones:
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote my first fantasy and science fiction stories in the 3rd grade, but it wasn't until 1986, when our oldest son was 4 and we had a 6 year old foster daughter & infant foster son on a heart monitor that my dear husband said, "You need to find something adult to do one night a week." I took a creative writing course at Baylor University, and decided I wanted to improve my writing with the goal of publication. After over 600 rejection letters, I sold my first short story (a fantasy) in 1992.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the genre. I've yet to figure out how to write an actual picture book, but I've sold three early readers (one was not published, but the company let me keep the money), and they usually take 5-6 drafts to get them "right," so anywhere from a week to a month. With longer books (such as my current WIP series) it takes many weeks to finish the first draft, and many more weeks to rewrite and polish. I started book one (Mercy's Prince) in 2011, and I'm just now finishing book three.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
My best time to write is first thing in the morning (before my 87 year old father-in-law, who lives with us, wakes up) but I can literally write anywhere—in a doctor's office, in an airport, on an airplane, in the car (when hubby is driving). I don't need long periods of time to keep the story moving forward.
Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
I have to write all first drafts by hand. My brain is connected to my hand via pen or pencil, not the keyboard. When I type that draft from my handwritten one, I can edit as I go.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I almost always begin with a character who keeps talking to me and won't leave me alone until I tell his or her story, whether it becomes a short story or a book.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I play piccolo and flute in a regional symphony, which is a joy, and I like to sew and draw, although I'm not very good at either one.
What would you tell other Christian women who want to write?
Write the books that are in your heart; don't try to write for "the market," whatever that is. It's been my experience that readers of fiction are more deeply touched by spiritual truths that are imparted more gently or subtly that to actively "preach" to the reader. Just my personal observation, though.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I've written many more than I've published, but counting one that will be released in January 2016, I've published 7: 2 early readers, 1 MG nonfiction (out of print but trying to get the rights back), 2 MG fantasies, 1 YA fantasy, and 1 YA historical fiction. My favorite, hands down, is the YA fantasy, which is book one in a planned series of five (book two is with an editor). The historical fiction is a pretty close second, though.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read widely, from the classics to books more recently published in the genre(s) you want to write. Our subconscious absorbs patterns of language, so it helps to fill your brain with good quality writing. Take a class, find a writer's critique group, and always challenge yourself to be the best writer you can be. We all have room for improvement. Always!
What do you like to read?
I love fantasy, but the challenge is to find "clean" books, so I usually stick with "Christian fantasy." I also enjoy good historical fiction, since I'm a history and genealogy buff. I used to read more science fiction, but it's harder and harder to find books that don't have some objectionable content, even (sadly) at the YA level.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
It depends on the age. At 8 I wanted to be an archaeologist or an astronaut. In high school I wanted to be a professional flutist. I dropped out of college to get married and later have children, but I did get a second chance at playing, and that has been a real blessing.
I am shy, but I love to dress up in costume so I can pretend to be someone else, and that makes me braver. I'm designing a 10th century noblewoman's costume and teaching myself how to play "Good King Wenceslas" on a harp so I can set up school visits when my book about him comes out in January.
Katy Huth Jones' Books:
Leandra's Enchanted Flute (Tales of Finian Jahndra) (Volume 1)
Return to Finian Jahndra (Tales of Finian Jahndra) (Volume 2)
Read more from Katy on her blog: Life is a Four-letter Word.
Do you dress up for fun or cosplay?