Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Interview with award winning author and speaker, Kathi Macias
On your website it lists your name as Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias. How did the “Easy Writer” nickname come about?
My husband and I were long-time Harley riders, and as an author, “Easy Writer” seemed to fit the bill as the perfect “road name” (which every biker needs). Now, however, we’ve traded in the two-wheelers for a 2005 sunburst orange Corvette. I’m still Easy Writer, but in style (and comfort!) now.
You’ve now written over 30 books but you live 80 miles from the downtown L.A. How important is it these days to live in a major metro area for your books to get published and get a following?
It makes no difference whatsoever in the writing/publishing of books. With the Internet at our fingertips, we can travel the world without leaving home. My publishers are on the East Coast, as is my agent, and my publicist is holed up somewhere in the Rockies. But we all make it work.
However, when it comes to the inevitable public speaking appearances that go with writing and publishing, it’s handy to be situated as I am—midway between LA and San Diego. I can actually stay busy speaking/teaching within a two-hour radius of home, though I still fly around the country for engagements several times a year.
Each is special, of course, but the results of the last one—the Novel of the Year Award from Golden Scrolls for my novel Red Ink—make it stand out from the others. When Red Ink was given the award, the news went out across Christian news wires, and I soon heard from Bob Fu, President of China Aid, who told me he had read about my award, including how I accepted it on behalf of Li Ying, the woman imprisoned in China for her faith whose story inspired the book. Mr. Fu told me he knows Li Ying and offered to get a copy to her parents.
What a blessing! I had prayed from the beginning of the project that Li Ying would somehow know how she had inspired me, and now she will, even if she can’t actually see the book.
You were a former newspaper columnist. How did that help or hinder you in writing and producing novels?
Newspaper writing is the best training any writer can ever get. I always tells people it taught me to write “on task, on target, and on time.” That’s huge! I learned to write fast and clean, which has enabled me now to write three or four novels a year (though I intend to slow down a bit—honest!). It also taught me how to do in-depth research so I could write about countries and cultures I’d never visited or experienced. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to get into the writing field.
Which writers inspire you?
There are many, but Alan Paton is at the head of the list. He is the author of Cry the Beloved Country, which changed my life and contributed to my passion to write my own South African novel, No Greater Love. I have also been inspired by C.S. Lewis, Brennan Manning, Oswald Chambers, Brock and Bodie Thoene, and Francine Rivers, among others.
You’ve ghostwritten books but your website doesn’t mention what the topics were. Was it for individuals or book packagers? What was that process like for you? What important facts did you learn in ghostwriting that has helped in other writing?
I’ve ghostwritten books primarily for individuals, though I’ve done a few for book packagers as well. I’ve covered nearly ever topic in the Christian market, and enjoyed ALMOST every one of them. The process has been different with each author I worked with, as some sent me a plethora of material to work with, while others gave me nothing but the nugget of an idea.
It helped my research and organizational skills tremendously, and taught me to take on various voices in my writing. Acting classes were extremely helpful in developing that aspect of successful ghostwriting.
I see you had two books that were released in August. Are you that prolific an author or was one of the books a slow release process? How many hours a day do you spend writing? How many books a year do you try to release?
I suppose I would be considered prolific, as I often write three or four books a year, and occasionally juggle some ghostwriting and editing along with them. Both the August/September releases were written within about a six-month span.
A comfortable writing day for me is 2500—5000 words, though I often do more. I hit it early in the morning and work pretty much straight through, eating lunch at my computer and then knocking off for the day around three or four, just before my husband gets home so we can spend some time together.
I always say that my favorite book is the one I’m working on right now. One particular nonfiction book I wrote, BEYOND ME: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World, is what I consider my “flagship book,” in that all my other books/teachings flow out from that basic tome. However, overall I have to say that I prefer writing fiction to nonfiction, mostly contemporary and issues-driven. That gets me the most fired up!
Your current line of books deals with topics such as the persecuted Church/honor killing and human trafficking. What motivated you to tackle these subjects, particularly using mostly young adults and teens as the main characters?
The persecuted Church around the world and human trafficking are two topics I’m passionate about, so it was natural for someone like me who’s always been at the forefront of social issues to incorporate those issues into my writing.
I think it’s important too, that although the books are written primarily to adults, teens and young adults relate to the stories as well. One of the greatest compliments I ever received was when a high school senior who had just finished reading my Extreme Devotion series came up to me and said, “Mrs. Macias, your books make me want to lead a noble life.” It really doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
The most important advice I’ve been given as a writer and that I happily pass along to other writers is to identify and pursue the passion God has given you. Remember you’re an individual.
Though we may need to be aware of publishing trends, we shouldn’t let them dictate our work. If we do, we may find ourselves jumping on the latest publishing bandwagon, only to find it’s already overloaded and the wheels are coming off. Take the time to develop the talents and gifts God has given you, and trust Him to open the right doors at the right time.
There's so much more I could ask Kathi about her writing, but we'll save that for another time. If you would like to learn more about Kathi and her writing or if you want to buy any of her books, here's some links to do that...