Katie Zaber is originally from Southern New Jersey. Her childhood home is just minutes from the Long Beach Island Bridge. When not writing, Katie can be found at wine tastings, sun bathing at the beach, going for hikes, screaming at Six Flags, reading, or in her favorite place, her kitchen, baking desserts and breads. She currently lives in Morris County, New Jersey with her boyfriend. Please see below for more on Katie Zaber as she answers interview questions.
Author Bio Interview Questions:
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Waretown—pronounced where-town, New Jersey. The name is a perfect description of the town. As a child in the car, I would blink and be in the next town over. My childhood house is blocks away from a lagoon and is a quick walk to Barnegat Bay. With ice cream cones in hand, our family took many walks down to the bay, to say hi to Old Barny—the Lighthouse on Long Beach Island. My elementary school was inland in the Pine Barrens, home to the New Jersey Devil. I can remember going to Wells Mills Park, a mile away from the school, to go on a field trip and read about the notorious birth and how the Devil still haunts the woods. He was even rumored to make appearances at kid’s birthday parties. There were tons of woods and swamps to explore. When the streetlights came on and our shoes were too muddy from the day playing, a quick splash in the bay was all they needed before going home for dinner. Our shoes never were allowed inside the house. My imagination went wild in the woods by the bay and I went on many adventures within my small community. It’s those childhood memories that continue to inspire my writing, revisiting those distant lands not too far from my childhood home.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love baking delicious desserts and breads, almost as much as I love to eat them. I spend hours in the kitchen, blasting music, sipping sweet wine, with flour up to my elbows. When not in the kitchen, I’m reading a book or trying to find something to find on TV. If the weather is nice, I’m visiting my hometown and going to the beach or heading to Six Flags Great Adventure to scream for the afternoon.
Describe your desk.
I sit in front of a walnut stained secretary desk with a hutch holding an array of keepsakes. Albums, picture frames, my Snoopy collection, souvenirs, and nostalgic knickknacks line the shelves of the hutch.
My work space is a wonderland of post-it notes in three different colors: pink, neon-yellow, and green. On the right corner of my desk, shoved between the monitor and notary stamp is a yellow, mini-spiral notebook that contains book outlines, plots, and ideas. The notebook is separated by little sticker tabs. The tabs not in use are floating on the surface of pamphlets and lists of login information to accounts I hardly visit.
A leather bounded diary with nautical embellishments, complete with anchor bookmark, holds random thoughts and sketches. A mechanical pen can be spotted, hiding between the yellow notebook and leather diary. Its extra parts—erasers & extra graphite are strewn about the entire desk.
Between post-it notes there are three hacky sacks. There’s also a rectangular, leather box with a brass kaleidoscope made to look like it was used on a whimsical pirate ship.
It’s a happy mess.
What’s the story behind your latest book?
The first draft for Ashes and Blood started when I while I was recovering from surgery and bored out of my mind. A Christian song, Lord of the Dance, somehow was stuck in my head and my imagination took over. I pictured a king singing the song—a much more sinister version—while destroying a village of people that disobeyed him. At first, the story was going to be about him and how his reign ends, which made me change my focus. I wanted the story to be about someone ordinary, without any powers or ability to fight. Someone who should die when faced with impossible feats, but can overcome them.
What are you working on next?
Right now I’m finishing up DNA—Angels & Demons, a book about a woman named Evie who mysteriously gets pregnant. After a DNA test proves that her husband is not the father, her life becomes complicated.
People become possessed around Evie, telling her to kill the baby or protect it at all costs as she tries to rebuild her life after a heartbreaking divorce. Throughout the book, she begins to realize that her child might be a celestial being, but isn’t sure if it’s angelic or demonic.
It’s almost done, and I hope to have it on sale by summer.
I’m also working on the third book in the Dalya series, title undecided. It’s roughly 20,000 words, and I hope to have it out this fall.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love books that take me to a different world or way of thinking. So I mainly go for authors in that realm: J.R.R. Tolkien, Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher, Karen Marie Moning, John Conroe, Laini Taylor, Margret Atwood, Chuck Palahniuk, George R.R. Martin, Jennifer Estep, Naomi Novik… just to name a few.
How do you approach cover design?
I search for an artist whose gallery looks close to what I want as a finished project. Each artist has a unique style, vision, and way of creating your idea. It’s all about finding the right match. Then I tell the artist what I envision, send them a couple images of things close to what I want, and then let their mind go to work. One of the most important things about working with a designer is to let them mold your idea into what will sell. They know art. They know what graphic design’s catches the eye and what colors to use when trying to portray a certain feeling or tone. They know what they are doing.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I wrote, was after I had read the elementary school book, Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. I wanted a sequel to the book and was mad that there wasn’t one. So I got a bunch of paper and started to write. I think I wrote around 50-60 pages before I started a different project and forgot about it. Years later, when I told my mom that I had finished writing Ashes and Blood, she said I still have your first book. I told her one day I would finish it, just for her.
More Questions? Comment for more! 🙂