Wednesday’s Wonders With Katherine Hetzel
Today I am honored to have Katherine Hetzel, author of “Valentine’s Day Massacre” A short story that you can find in
“Love is in the Air”
Hi Katherine! And Welcome to Wednesday’s Wonders!
Many people don’t like the name they were given at birth. Do you like your given name? If not, what would you rather have been named?
I’ve never wanted to change my name; I’ve always felt like a Katherine! (I get quite annoyed by folk who straightaway shorten it to Kath or Kathy.) The story goes that I should have been Katherine with a ‘C’, but my dad spelt it wrong at the registry office…he also forgot to add my brother’s middle name, but that’s a different story! My spelling is slightly less common – so I was delighted to discover, at the age of 15, the book ‘Katherine’ by Anya Seton. I still have a copy on my shelf…
Do you write under your given name or a pseudonym?
Given – especially after seeing my son’s disappointment that one of his favourite book series (a couple of years ago) was not, in fact, written by the ‘person’ whose blog appeared on the website, but a conglomerate of authors. Why make up a persona when I’m happy with the one I’ve got?
Is there a routine you go through before you begin writing?
Grab my big cushion for the settee (I get backache ‘cos I only have short legs and can’t reach the floor unless I’m pushed forward), plug in the lap top to warm up, (I work in our South-facing lounge because it’s the warmest place in the house) and choose a stack of CD’s. (My favourite to have on whilst working at the moment is Muse, though Eurythmics or Madness come a close second.)
Is there anyone you admire?
Debi Alper – author and editrix extraordinaire! Many writers are willing to share their knowledge and thoughts to help you write as well as you are able to – Debi goes above and beyond the call of duty and is as free with her advice as she is with her smiles.
What do you like to read?
Terry Pratchett – he is my favourite author and I have an almost complete collection of Discworld. He makes me laugh and cry and I love the visual images he creates in my head with so few words. I’d say my reading tends towards the fantastical rather than any other genre, but as an aspiring children’s author, most of what I read comes from the children’s library. I live in the grown-up world and it’s nice to escape for a while…Having said that, I am widening my reading tastes at the moment – I’ve just read (among others) Chocolat, Game of Thrones, P.G. Wodehouse and a rather brilliant debut novel by Andrew James (a fellow cloudie) called Blow Your Kiss Hello.
Do you have a favorite author?
See number 5!
Does it have to be quiet when you write or do you like background noise? TV, music, etc.
See number 3!
Beach or mountains?
Beach, most definitely. I don’t fry myself in the sun like I used to, but I love the feel of sun on my skin. There’s also something magical about swimming in the sea, it just feels so much better than a chlorinated public pool. We discovered Sardinia a few years ago, and have returned so many times to its beautiful, beautiful beaches…
What inspires you?
Generally, or in my writing? In life; people who fight on, in spite of all the odds stacked against them. In writing; children. I want to write stories to fill their imagination and that are just as much fun to listen to as to read for themselves, because I’ve worked with so many kids who struggle with reading but enjoy a good story with the best of us. Why should their access to stories be limited by their reading ability?
Favorite snack food?
Something savoury – salted crisps, Twiglets, or crackers and cheese…normally eaten just before bedtime!
Doesn’t matter who we are, man, woman, child, all of us get freaked out by something. Spiders, mice, snakes, bugs, geese, etc. What freaks you out?
Piercings. And those funny lumps that some folk have inserted under their skin. I don’t know why, but they turn my stomach – literally. When I was in hospital, having my second child, the lovely trainee midwife had a pierced tongue that I could see every time she spoke to me. I remember thinking that I hope she’d stay quiet…
What is the most unusual job you’ve ever had?
Egg pickler. You know the big jars of pickled eggs on the back shelf in the chippy? For two weeks after my first attempt at ‘A’ levels (now I’m showing my age!), it was my job to count twenty hard-boiled eggs into a jar, top it up with vinegar (brown or white, made up in a bath-tub) and screw the lids on. The smell of vinegar was so strong on my clothes after a day at work, my mum used to wind down the car windows on the way home to air me, and to this day I still can’t eat salt and vinegar crisps! I decided that retaking my ‘A’ levels was a better option…
I read on another blog, that a writer was working on 10 novels at once. Confusing! Do you work on one or multiple novels at a time?
Blimey, no! Just one at a time. The best bit of advice I was ever given as a writer was ‘concentrate on just this book, and make it the best it can be.’ I do write shorter pieces in-between…there are little monthly comps on the cloud (Word Cloud – an online community for writers) which I try to do, as they challenge me to write something I’m not comfortable doing or focus on a particular technique. I’ve also written a collaborative story for fun – each person adding a new portion in turn, going round as many times as you like! These sort of mini-projects help when I get stuck on the main MS; keep my writing ticking over until I sort things out and go back to the main event.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Something creative, usually. I’m a Gemini, so I like variety…I stitch, knit, make jewellery, garden, bake, draw, paint, sing (to myself!), arrange flowers (proper arrangements, not just stick ‘em in a vase)…
And last question…Do you have anything new coming out that you’d like to share with us?
Unfortunately, no. My first novel wasn’t picked up by publishers, (though it did land me an agent), so I’m working on a second story at the moment and hoping for the best.
Katherine, thank you for joining us today. I see by your answers that we have quite a bit in common and I look forward to working with you again!