The lovely and talented Kieran Scott graciously agreed to let me interview her about her new book “Only Everything” and a bunch of other fun things! I’ve been a fan of her work for years now since I first read her series “Private” she wrote under her pen name Kate Brian. Under her pen name she’s written several best selling books and series, The Private Series, The Privilege Series, The Shadowlands Trilogy (I can’t wait for book 3!), Megan Meade’s Guide To The McGowan Boys, and under her real name she’s written The He’s So/She’s So Trilogy, The Non-Blonde Cheerleader Trilogy, and many others. Along with being an extremely talented author, she’s a mother, wife, and all around awesome person.
In “Only Everything” the first book in her newest trilogy, Eros aka Cupid is banished to earth and can only return to Olympus to save her one true love if she matches 3 couples without using any of her powers. Once she and her mother, Aphrodite herself, are banished, she assumes a new name and identity and heads to a New Jersey high school to try to find 3 couples to bring together in true love. Eros, now as True Olympia, quickly discovers that the task at hand may be harder than she thought. As she begins to navigate her way through high school and her new life, she meets some friends along the way that help being banished a little more tolerable, until someone walks into her life and changes everything.
I had the pleasure of reading this book and I loved it! Kieran Scott aka Kate Brian is the queen of cliff-hanger endings that leave you counting down the days until the next book is released or running to the bookstore to buy the next book.
Now onto the interview!
Me: So, to get started, what age did you know you wanted to be a writer? If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
KS: I loved writing from a very early age. My first “published story” was about eight lines about animal crackers coming to life and when it was published in my school’s “magazine” I freaked out. I was in first grade. I wrote all through middle school and high school, but it was in high school, working on the yearbook, that I thought I could maybe do it for a living. I figured I’d write for magazines, because for me that looked like a viable career. The thought of writing novels never crossed my mind until after college, when I was an editor at a book publishing company. Before then, to me, fiction writers were like rock stars. That wasn’t something normal people got to do for a living.
If I wasn’t a writer, I’d probably be doing something having to do with words, like editing or being a teacher or librarian. I also love to bake, so I could possibly be a baker. I’m obsessed with Cupcake Wars.
Me: What is your writing process like? Do you begin with the characters, or the story? Or does your process differ depending on the book?
KS: It used to be that I always started with characters and got to know them really well, then wrote an outline. Lately, stories have been coming to me and then I’ll create the characters to fit into the story. I came up with a great idea for a thriller and knew the plot right away, and then created characters that made sense for what had to happen in the plot. She’s So Dead to Us and Only Everything weren’t like that though. Those were characters first, 100%.
Me: You also write under pseudonyms Kate Brian and Emma Harrison. What made you decide to do so?
KS: I was just about to sell my first idea to a publisher (I Was A Non-Blonde Cheerleader), when an editor friend of mine asked me to help her by rewriting a book that had come to her in bad shape. The book had been written by another author who wanted to write under a pen name, and the publisher came up with the name Kate Brian. There was no changing it at that point because catalogs and covers were already set, so I rewrote the book for a fee and figured that was it. The book ended up selling really well (the book was The Princess and The Pauper), so the publisher wanted more novels by Kate Brian. I’ve been Kate Brian ever since. Emma Harrison came about when I was doing a lot of TV tie-ins and quiz books- quick books that helped to pay the rent. I sort of wanted to establish my real name as a hard cover-original author, so I used Emma for the books I was doing on the side.
(Author’s note: Her pen name Emma Harrison comes from combining the name of two of her favorite actors, Emma Thompson and Harrison Ford. A more personal author’s note: I’ve had a crush on Harrison Ford since I saw the first Indiana Jones movie. He may be old enough to be my dad, but he’s really working that whole “Silver Fox” look.)
Me: Who are some of your favorite authors, and which authors have inspired you the most?
KS: The authors I always go back to read again and again are, Maeve Binchy, Sophie Kinsella, Jen Lancaster, Jennifer Weiner, and Jane Austen. I read a lot of different genres and authors–YA, thrillers, contemporary, biographies. Everything inspires me in some way or another! Maeve Binchy is one of my favorites, though, because she manages to weave together all these characters lives and make them all so rich and real. I love her stuff. I was thinking of her when I came up with the idea for Only Everything.
Me: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take three books with you, which three would you choose? (Your books are allowed in this hypothetical scenario, of course!)
KS: Ohhhh, that’s a good one! Definitely Emma by Jane Austen, because it inspired me to be an English major, which I think lead me into my career. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (the first one) would be number two. And number three…Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy.
Me: What made you want to write Young Adult fiction? What is it about being a teenager that makes you want to write about that age group?
KS: It was always my favorite genre to read, aside from horror. 🙂 But I think writing about being a teenager is endlessly fascinating. You’re writing about people as they are figuring out who they are, as all these people and events and challenges are colliding to determine the type of person they’ll turn out to be. Everything is so huge when you’re a teenager, whether a guy or girl you like talks to you in the hallway to what college you do or don’t get into to the makeup of your family and their personalities. There is an endless amount of drama to pull from. I love that.
Me: In “Only Everything” you delve into Greek Mythology, have you always been interested in it or did someone or some thing pique your interest?
KS: When I was in sixth grade in Mr. Smith’s class, we did a section on Greek Mythology that hooked me, and I was obsessed. Over the years I grew out of it a little, but when I came up with the idea for Only Everything and started reading everything I could get my hands on, it was like being a kid again. I love this stuff.
Me: In the book, True is willing to risk everything to save her true love Orion. What is the craziest thing you or someone you have dated done for the sake of love?
KS: My husband, back when he’d only been my boyfriend for four months, left his super important job in the middle of the day to come take me to the hospital when I had a migraine that I thought was going to kill me. That was kind of huge. Right then I knew he was a keeper.
Me: If you were to turn “Only Everything” into a movie, who would be your dream cast? Also, out of all of the books you’ve written, which would you want to see on the big screen the most, and who would be your dream cast?
KS: Okay, that’s extremely difficult. But if I had to choose, I think Crystal Reed from Teen Wolf would be a great True, and Matt Lanter from Star-Crossed would be an awesome Orion. I have this weird thing where I’ve always had Aphrodite and Ares cast in my mind with Neil McDonough and Eliza Coupe. As for Charlie and Katrina maybe Sterling Knight and Mackenzie Vega. It’s tough with Katrina, because I see her perfectly in my mind, so I can’t replace her face with anyone else’s! Only Everything would be my first choice for a TV show, because I think it’s got great humor and heart, and has the perfect setup. It has an over-arching story (True and Orion) that could span two seasons, but each episode could be the pairing of one couple. My number two and three would be Private, because I’d kill to see that world come to life, and the He’s So/She’s So Trilogy (Colton Haynes for Jake and Selena Gomez pre-Bieber troubles for Ally.) Oh, and Megan Meade’s Guide to The McGowan Boys, because come on. One boy-clueless girl living with seven brothers? That’s TV perfection!
Me: You’ve written several series of novels, and I know for me as a reader, when the series ends it’s almost like losing a friend you’ve known for years. (I definitely felt that way about Reed when Private ended!) Do you feel that way as an author? If so, out of all the characters you’ve created, is there one in particular that you hated saying goodbye to or miss writing about?
KS: I had a hard time when Private ended. I had written those characters for so long that I went through withdrawal when it was over. I actually missed writing Gage a lot. He was fun. Even worse was the end of Privilege, though. Ariana was so much fun to write because she was my polar opposite. Every situation I got her into, I would imagine what I would do, and then have her do the opposite. Her logic was so skewed, it would just crack me up when I came up with the perfect insane thing for her to do next.
Me: Are there any authors that you, despite being a best-selling author yourself, still “fangirl” about?
KS: I met Nia Vardalos (the screenwriter and actress fro My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and I went kind of nonverbal. I think I made an idiot of myself.
Me: And lastly, what’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten as a writer and what advice can you give to writers (like me!) who are just starting out and are trying to break into the world of being a fiction writer?
KS: Well, there are two sides to that question. The writing side and the business side. When it comes to finding your voice, I always tell people the best thing you can do is to read everything you can get your hands on-even genres you never thought you’d read. You never know what can inspire you. It also helps to write everyday, flex that muscle, even if it’s only for an hour. Just write whatever you can. Practice makes perfect, if there is such a thing in writing. On the business/getting published side, you’re lucky because there is this whole new world of digital publishing that was just not a reality when I was starting out. I actually don’t know much about it, but when it comes to traditional publishing, I think it helps to get a job in the publishing world. That’s how I started out. Try to land an internship or an editorial assistant job at a publisher or agent. You learn so much about how the publishing world works, and you meet all kinds of people that could help you out once you have a finished manuscript to show around. It’s both what you know AND who you know. I really believe that! If you can’t go that route, you need to find an agent, which means a lot of mailing and querying and receiving of rejection letters. You have to develop thick skin. For every person who scores a hit with their first book, there’s a person who was rejected fifty-six times before he (or she) got an acceptance letter. So be ready! It can be tough to hear “no,” but that first “yes” makes it all worth it.
So there you have it! A HUGE thank you to Kieran Scott for agreeing to do this interview for a blog with only a handful of followers, and being so gracious about everything. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but now you have a fan for life and I CANNOT wait to read Shadowlands book three and the next two books in the True Love Trilogy.
Everyone (or more realistically, all five of you) get your butts to your local bookstore on May 6 and buy “Only Everything,” or you can pre-order it through Barnes & Noble and Amazon. If you’d like to find out more about Kieran Scott aka Kate Brian or Emma Harrison, you can visit her website http://www.kieranscott.net, and follow her on Facebook or Twitter @kieranscott, or @kate_brian.
Hope you enjoyed reading her answers as much as I did!