Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Author Interview: Kathy Bosman

Today I have the honor of welcoming multi-published and talented author, Kathy Bosman to the blog to answer some of our interview questions. Her answers provide plenty of writing tips useful to the novice and experienced writers alike.

What genre do you write in? Any specific reason why you chose the genre?
I write contemporary romance – mostly sweet. I enjoy contemporary as it’s fast-moving, fun, and easy to write. I started off with Inspirational Romance, but that genre didn’t work for me although one of my older Inspy Romances has been cleaned up and contracted with Decadent Publishing. Should come out next year some time.

Where do you get the ideas for your books?
Usually inspired by a movie, song or just a thought.

How do you go from idea to outline?
My best time for brainstorming is when I go for my weekly walk. Somehow, being out in the open air all alone inspires my muse. I plot the outline while I walk.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Why?
Mostly a pantser, but I do plot my initial outline quite thoroughly. Plus I tend to plot in the middle of my book too. But oftentimes, the characters take me somewhere different to my plans. Sometimes, I just have to sit down and write and let the story take me down its exciting path.

If you are a plotter, how thoroughly do you outline the plot?
I don’t write plots down. Somehow that makes me feel trapped. I store it all in my head which can cause a problem if I don’t have time to write and I forget some of my ideas.

Do you use any specific software to outline/plot your novel? If yes, could you give us a couple of advantages and disadvantages of the software or method you use?
Nope, the simpler the software, the better for me – I only use Word. I don’t want the technical stuff to distract me.

If you have to choose only one element (setting/ character development/ structure/ conflict/ etc.) that is absolutely essential to every novel you’ve written, what would it be? Why?
Believable and likeable characters. They have to evoke sympathy from the readers, act in part with their character and not do crazy things (I have had that many times in my books before editors picked them up) and also have a character arc where they change and find their true vision in life.

How much time do you spend on getting to know your characters before you start the first draft? Why?
Now, I know it sounds really lazy, but this part of my book I’m  fully pantser. I let the character reveal themselves to me as I write. I’ve tried to fill in those character questionnaires, but I absolutely hate them and then the character always changes anyway. They’re very rebellious, my characters – like individualistic hippies going their own way – a bit like me.

What is the single most important thing a writer must do before he/she starts writing the first draft? Why?
I think you need to plan what the conflict is that’s going to keep the hero and heroine apart – that’s vital to the story. I also believe that planning a setting and researching it is vital – also finding the specific spot in the world for your character – like what they do and what the romance brings to them. I can’t just write without those things firmly in place.

What is your writing process like? Do you finish the first draft and then start editing or do you edit while you write? Is there any specific reason why you do it like that?
My first draft is usually a sprint. Sometimes I take it slow and deliberate, but usually, I write the first draft really fast as I like to entrench myself in the story. But every book is different – some flow easier than others. Once I’ve completed the first draft, I leave it aside for a while or send it to beta readers. When I go back to it, I can see problems a lot easier than right after I’ve written it. I edit it and then send it off. I do edit as I write but it’s never enough.

Do you only self-edit or hire a professional editor? Why?
I can self-edit to a degree as I’m actually in training to be a line editor – something I really enjoy doing besides writing. I’m okay at picking up missing words, typos or grammatical problems, but when it comes to plot holes, crazy wording, character inconsistencies, etc, I’m not too good as I’m inside my own books. I would never put a book out there without someone else’s eyes. I’ve just sent in a short story to be self-published by a group of writers without going through a professional edit. I think I fine-tooth-combed that story over and  over - got a bit OCD about it. I much prefer knowing it’s been through a professional edit. Although, I have to admit, the beta readers I had for that story did a really great job. So my worries are probably foundless.

If you hire a professional editor, can you recommend anyone and state the reason/s why this person is recommendable?
I’ve never had the money to hire anyone, but I would say Zee Monodee would be an excellent person to hire. I loved working with Johanna Rich – one of the Decadent Publishing editors – she’s great.

How many drafts do you write before submitting to publishers?
Only one. I have sometimes deleted chunks or rewritten scenes, and I have many discarded partial books on my PC.

Do you submit to multiple publishers at the same time or stick to one?
Sometimes I do. Depends.

What is your greatest consideration when selecting a publisher?
How they treat their authors, their professionalism, and their success.

If you have to give one sentence advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Don’t give up and learn as much as you can from other seasoned writers.

Could you please give us a list of your published books and a short blurb about each one? Please state the publisher and year published as well. (Self-published books are also welcome.)

Wedding Gown Girl published in 2012 with Astraea Press

Blake starts to pursue Kienna, but she holds back, believing he’s on the rebound, yet all the time fighting her attraction to him. Kienna isn’t ready for love either because of memories from her bitter divorce.
Will they find healing in each other’s arms or more hurt for their wounded hearts?
Because when her relationship and everything she clung to starts to crumble, Ryan is right beside her to inspire her to greater things.
But her obsession for having her own child pushes Ryan away when she falls in love with an orphaned HIV-positive baby.
What can Ryan do to make Tessa realize that being with him is what her heart has longed for all along?

Kienna loves dressing up her clients in beautiful gowns at the bridal shop where she works. When Blake comes in with his fiancée to help her choose a gown, Kienna discovers that he is about to make a terrible mistake in marrying her. She has to warn him, but Blake ignores her, until he is jilted at the altar.

Reminding Me of You published in 2013 with Astraea Press

Mia wasn’t planning to fall in love with a mysterious stranger called Luke the day before she left for a new life in London. She also didn’t expect every tall, dark stranger to remind her of him, including his look-a-like, Bryn, who comes into her work one day. Unable to make contact with Luke, she instead has a fling with Bryn who understands how it feels to have a love you can’t reach. Once she finds Luke, will Mia’s memories bring them together or force them apart?

Dragonfly Moments published by Decadent Publishing in 2013
A young woman’s first love walks back into her life at the worst time possible—she is about to start a family with another man. But when her dreams begin to crumble, which one will be there to help her pick up the pieces?
Seven years earlier, at university, Tessa Calitz wrote a letter to Ryan le Roux promising her undying love. As time passed, she forgot about that letter...but not Ryan, who clung to the hope that she would wait for him. Such is not the case when he walks back into her life. Tessa is in a serious relationship, and is busy setting up her art gallery in Johannesburg. She has plans to start a family, and the arrival of Ryan into her life throws her for a spin.
He is the worst thing that could happen to her dream of stability and starting a family...or is he?

Cosmetic Heart published by Astraea Press 2013

Lisa works for a top South African magazine as the make-up artist, but writes articles on the quiet. When the chief editor, Daniel, asks for her help in posing as his ex-fiancée to save face with his family, Lisa agrees, hoping to obtain a promotion in return. She doesn’t expect to fall for the handsome editor nor to fit in with his family who love her unconditionally. But Lisa has more secrets, and she doesn’t believe in love and family. After Daniel finds out her secrets, will his forgiveness and determination be enough to cut through all the layers Lisa has put over her heart?

Three Tiers for Win published by Astraea Press 2013

Three Tiers for Win is a story of adventure, romance, and family passion that unfolds with the backdrop of the 2012 London Olympics. Elaine said she would never date an athlete as they’re too driven. That’s until she meets kind, yet intensely focused and ambitious South African Olympic swimmer, Winston Harper. He stands for everything she’d chosen not to go for. Win also has a bad family history which keeps him from opening his heart to her. When intense attraction and affection breaks through some of their barriers, family secrets and conflicts pull them apart again. Only Elaine’s support and Win’s brokenness can draw them back together, but will that be strong enough to wipe away the past?

His Halloween Kisses published by Astraea Press in 2014

Ali’s never been so scared. She’s housesitting for a colleague on Halloween night, but the lights have gone out, and terrible noises and crashes send her imagination into overdrive. When her brother’s friend comes to her rescue, he kisses her in the dark three times. Once back in the light, Ali is embarrassed at allowing him to kiss her. Byron tries to ignore his strong attraction for Ali, especially seeing he’s not ready for a relationship. When Ali finds out why, she runs away, but life has other plans. What can bring them together? Fate, faith, or the memory of his Halloween kisses?

I also have a short story in an anthology:
Love And Diamonds is a collection of romantic love stories for Valentine's Day by fifteen of some of the best Astraea Press Authors. So sit back, relax and fall in love all over again. 
Here is a listing of the contributing authors in alphabetical order: Kathy Bosman, Liz Botts, Kristine Cheney, Sherry Gloag, Jennifer Gravely, Heather Gray, Patricia Kiyono, Zanna Mackenzie, Kelly Martin, Brenda Maxfield, Amy Mullen, Vivian Roycraft, J. L. Salter, E. A. West and Nicole Zoltack.

A blurb of my story in the book: Rosalee finds an engagement ring in a pocket at the dry cleaner where she works. The ring looks just like the one she returned after accepting her boyfriend’s proposal a year earlier. She still regrets giving it back to Sam especially after he broke her heart and left. Unable to resist, she tries on the ring but can’t get it off. She has to find the owner and explain herself. What will she say?

About Kathy Bosman
Here's a little bit about me for those who may be curious. I've been writing for about ten years now. I started off writing children's books. Then my husband suggested that I try an adult novel. I enjoyed writing it so much, and it turned out to be a romance. That made me realise that I could bring my love of romance into my writing. My writing has evolved over the years from partial romance, to inspirational romance, historicals (which didn't work at all!) to sweet, contemporary romance.

I've also learnt that writing isn't just about writing - that so much thought goes into it, there's also the editing process which is actually even more work than the writing process, and lastly, once the book is out, there's promoting of your book. But I love it!
Besides writing, I keep myself busy by homeschooling my three children (okay one is a teenager), tackling piles of laundry and dishes, making all sorts of food from scratch, and helping out with raising funds for the local Cubs and Scouts. Reading and watching romantic movies help me unwind.
The best inspiration for my writing has been the ROSA (Romance Writers of South Africa) Group. What a fantastic group of writers they are who have helped me get to where I am now.

Where can we find you on social media?

Website and blog:
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Thank you Kathy for taking the time to answer these questions. New writers (and some established ones) can always learn from experienced people—even if it is just to get some ideas and methods to try out.