July 16, 2013

Interview with Katana Collins, author of Soul Stripper

By Liz Everly

If you’ve been following Lady Smut,  you know that I wrote about some books I read awhile ago—one of which was “Soul Stripper” by Katana Collins. (Here’s that post, in case you’re interested.) I’ve finally tracked Katana down to answer some questions for me. And wow, does she have the best covers or what? Yowzah!

soul strippersmall SOUL SURVIVOR

Liz: I’ve often heard that writers should take a drawing or photography class because it helps them to see things differently. You are both a writer and a photographer and your writing is so vivid. Do you think photography has helped you to be a better writer?
Katana: Most definitely. I think studying any form of art can only strengthen your craft. And in my case, learning and understanding compositions as well as lighting and mood helps me visualize a scene prior to writing it. I also keep a notebook full of visual references to help me when I need a boost of inspiration.

Liz: One question we ask a lot of authors on Lady Smut is how they see their work fitting in to the genre definitions. Do you consider your book to be erotica or erotic romance? And why? (Or is this something you don’t think about?)
Katana: Tough question! It isn’t something that I necessarily thought of initially. I wrote the story I wanted to tell and didn’t necessarily think of what category it fit into until after speaking with my editor. However, ever since being published, it’s definitely been on my mind! Up until about a year ago, I never even knew that true romance required an HEA. Therefore, I think I see Soul Stripper as more erotica. But, I think the romantic elements are definitely there and very strong. Each individual book does not necessarily come with a HEA ending, but I PROMISE that Monica will get hers in the end.
Liz: Since this is your first book, I wonder what has surprised you the most about publishing?
Katana: When I first decided I wanted to write a book, I took a short internship with a publishing house. I wanted to know what was discussed in meetings: why they turned some projects down and why they accepted others; which query letters stood out and why, etc, etc. So, I’ll confess that when I was offered my contract, I didn’t think much was left to surprise me. However–the timeline in which the sequels were needed came as a definite shock. For most of us (I say most, but I know we all vary greatly in how quickly we write and how much time we have in a day to devote to our novels), our first books tend to take a while. Anywhere from a year to several years to decades even for some! But when I signed my contract with Kensington, I had about seven months to finish the sequel and then four months to finish the third in the trilogy. Having never before written on a deadline, that was not only a shock, but also incredibly challenging!

Liz: Why did you choose a succubus, rather than say, a vampire?
Katana: Paranormal is the genre I LOVE to read. All of it. Any of it. I love all the creatures I can get my hands on. When I looked at the genre as a whole, the succubus felt wildly underrepresented to me and also felt like a creature that had so much potential–especially for erotica!
Liz: Can you tell us a little something about your process? When do you write? How many drafts does it take?
Katana: I am so very lucky in that because I own my photography business, I can make my own schedule every day. Typically, my photo sessions are Friday-Sunday. So, I tend to write Monday-Thursday. I am a night owl, so I usually get to the coffee shop (or as I like to call it, my “coffice”) around 11am or noon. I usually write until 3pm, when I go to the gym.  In those 4 hours, my goal is to write 2k words daily. Some days, it’s more…other days, I don’t quite hit that quota. But I get my butt in the chair and try my best.
When I have the luxury of time with a manuscript, I’d guess there’s at least 3 drafts. However, I have a critique group with three other fabulous writers. And many times they are reading my WIP as I’m writing. So, I tend to revise as I write, too.

Liz: What’s next for you?
Katana: I’m currently finishing up Soul Surrender (book 3 in the Soul Stripper series) and I’m working on a contemporary series as well. I’m in the process of fleshing out a new paranormal series on top of everything…but it’s still very young. There’s a few characters in Soul Stripper that may warrant their own book, too…
I’ll say! Thanks so much for stopping by our blog today, Katana. I look forward to reading more in your series.
About Soul Stripper: By day, Monica is a barista in a local café. It doesn’t pay a lot but it puts her up close and personal with her sexy boss, Drew. Unfortunately that’s as far as a succubus can go unless she wants to take his soul. Monica needs mind blowing sex to sustain her and she finds her victims every night at a local strip club where she’s an exotic dancer. But when her powers begin to diminish and her fellow succubi start turning up dead, all bets are off. Monica realizes she’s the one immortal who has a chance in hell of making things right. . .
Social Media Links for Katana.

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  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    Smart gal for learning the behind the scenes business of publishing before diving in! Nice interview, Liz!

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
    • Post authorLizEverly

      Hey thanks! Yep, she’s smart AND talented. So glad I tracked her down for the interview. Thanks for commenting, Elizabeth!

      Reply to LizEverly
    • Post authorKatana Collins

      Thanks for stopping in, Elizabeth! Taking an internship is not something everyone has the luxury (of time) to do, but if a writer can manage it, I HIGHLY recommend it! I learned so much in those few months

      Reply to Katana Collins
      • Post authormadelineiva

        I read Soul Stripper. That detective was too yummy! Can’t wait for HIS story.

        Meanwhile, given what you learned from being an intern Katana, what’s the biggest thing you took away from the experience? Did you gain any unique insights on what new authors need to do if they want to bust into the marketplace?

        Is the rise of erotic mystery a new genre, and did you spot that genre as the next coming trend, or are you a part of creating that new genre?

        Reply to madelineiva
        • Post authorKatana Collins

          Hey Madeline,

          Great questions! And thanks for reading (the detective is one of my faves in the series, too!)

          As an intern, I think I gained a much better understanding of what stands out in a query letter (because I was the one reading them and deciding which ones to pass on and which to request partials for). This comment will be entirely too long if I go into details on that, but there’s a lot of great resources online about how to write one. The hook is the most important, I would say. Have a great 1-3 sentence description of your book with a strong hook that sets it apart from the rest.
          The first chapter of your book is also absolutely key. A synopsis is important, but nobody really expects them to be great. But that first chapter needs to be flawless. Most interns and editors will read 20 pages. Maybe 50. That’s all you get to hook them into your story. I was the exception, because being a writer I would read at least 100 pages of every submission. I would take home stacks of manuscripts to read because I felt bad not giving each writer a fair shot.

          I wish I could say I was smart enough to have spotted the mystery/erotica trend myself a couple of years ago, but alas I cannot take credit for that! =0) I just knew what I liked to read myself–I loved paranormal. And most paranormal stories I enjoyed had some sort of mystery element to them. And I always wanted the stories I read to be even hotter. So, that was what I attempted with Soul Stripper!

          Reply to Katana Collins
  • Post authorLizEverly

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    My Interview with Katana Collins, author of Soul Stripper

    Reply to LizEverly
  • Post authormadelineiva

    Ah! That’s really helpful–thanks so much for sharing.

    Reply to madelineiva
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