A Q&A with E. Katherine Kottaras
Author of How to Be Brave
November 2015, St. Martin's Press
Q: What was your path to publication? How long did it take you to write the book? Was this the first book you wrote or just the first one that got published?
However, I didn’t pursue creative writing seriously until I was 25 when I signed up for classes at UCLA. About seven years later after taking classes in short story, nonfiction, and YA, I finally decided to start submitting my work places – poetry, short stories, essays, etc. Around the same time, I decided to write a book. It’s YA paranormal, took me four years to write, and was rejected by absolutely every single agent I queried. Not even one request.
So, after a bit of soul-searching and some acceptance that perhaps this book wasn’t “the one,” I started over. I took some more classes through Litreactor where I started the book has eventually become HOW TO BE BRAVE. I’ve been extreeeeeemely lucky as the process has been fairly quick from initial draft to publication. Between beginning the book and publication, it will be a grand total of two years and nine months, which is actually quite amazing!
Q: Your protagonist, Georgia, lost her mother and is honoring her by completing her bucket list. How much of this premise was taken from your own experiences?
Q: What's currently in your TBR pile?
The Lies About the Truth, Courtney Stevens (my publication date buddy)
Hoodoo, Ronald L. Smith (we were classmates!)
Q: Are there any "must-haves" at your work station? (M&Ms, coffee, etc.)
Q: Of Georgia's tasks, are there any you don't think you could complete yourself? Are you up for the challenge?
Q: How did the idea for HOW TO BE BRAVE first come about?
That’s when I turned to writing. On my darkest days, my husband would tell me to take time for myself – to go for walks, yoga, etc. – but more often than not, I would find myself at the library, writing. The act of writing was a way for me to work through my own grief and to also find new purpose my life.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us, E. Katherine! We love knowing the inspiration for How to Be Brave, and we can't for everyone else to read the book too!
Reeling from her mother's death, Georgia has a choice: become lost in her own pain, or enjoy life right now, while she still can. She decides to start really living for the first time and makes a list of fifteen ways to be brave - all the things she's wanted to do but never had the courage to try. As she begins doing the things she's always been afraid to do - including pursuing her secret crush, she discovers that life doesn't always go according to plan. Sometimes friendships fall apart and love breaks your heart. But once in a while, the right person shows up just when you need them most - and you learn that you're stronger and braver than you ever imagined.
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