Interviews with Kristen

Kristen Houghton interview with David Alan Binder

posted Mar 20, 2017, 4:47 PM by David Alan Binder   [ updated Mar 21, 2017, 4:32 PM ]

Kristen Houghton interview with David Alan Binder

Bio:  Kristen Houghton is an award-winning, best-selling author of nine fiction novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, and a children's novella. Her series A Cate Harlow Private Investigation has garnered praise from renowned book critics nationwide and her books are on the top-selling book lists in the USA, the U.K., and France. 

In a recent interview, Kristen told Greg Archer of The Huffington Post about her love of writing.

"I was always a story-teller and that’s what writers do; we tell stories. I was the little girl who could keep her friends interested for a couple of hours by telling all different types of stories. I wrote my first story, "Bobby Jones and the Little Boat" when I was nine. My imagination was, and is, very fertile and active. In high school, I created a sort of soap opera and, each day during study hall, I would hand out the next part of the story. I made sure to always leave a cliffhanger of sorts with each new part to stir up anticipation. I love the magic in writing and reading a good story.

My bookshelf is eclectic: everything is there from the classics by Shakespeare, Austin and Dickens, to Victorian English dramas such as John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga, up to the classic horror of Stephen King and Anne Rice. I also love The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series and anything written by Amy Tan especially The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Reading, and writing, is my escape and my pleasure."

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and The Authors' Guild of America.

 

Website:  http://www.kristenhoughton.com/

 

What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Never stop writing no matter what. Believe in your talent.

 

What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I always request two extra weeks past a deadline from publishers. It makes me feel safe about reaching the deadline. I usually don't need the extra time but I still ask for it.

 

Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I have self-published even while being traditionally published. The self-pubbed ones were different from the series with the traditional publishers and I found that I like doing it on my own, at least sometimes.

 

Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they located?

Traditionally published by:

 non-fiction: And Then I’ll Be Happy!

Globe Pequot (now Rowan & Littlefield), Guilford, CT

 

mystery/crime For I Have Sinned

Koehler Books Publishing, Virginia Beach, Virginia

 

mystery/crime Grave Misgivings and Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners

Skylight-NYC Publishers/Macmillan, NYC

 

Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

Truthfully it seems that today, eBooks are out-selling print. The cost is less for both publishers and readers, and even if you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can download them to a laptop or PC.  

As to alternative vs conventional publishing, I would tell anyone who is interested in doing hybrid or self-pub. to do their homework as to costs vs profits. My own boutique publishing house will do it all for hybrid authors, (formatting, cover design with author input, print, and distribution), for a cost of $3000.00 to $3500.00. Many other houses charge thousands more.

 

Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

Traditional publishers will not look at a book unless it is through an agent. An author needs to get noticed to get the interest of an agent through blogs or writing for free for an online magazine.

Then there are hybrid publishing or self-publishing options. Whatever you choose, you need to get your book out in the public.

 

How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

Begin a blog about your intended book to get noticed before contacting an agent. You need to have something to show them. Also, as mentioned, write for an online for free. Believe me it is worth it. That’s how I got the attention of my first agent. Then, when you submit your ms. [manuscript] You tell the agent about what you have done.

 

Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

DO NOT join a writers’ group! Most of these groups are not helpful and 99.9% of successful authors have never joined one. Many of the members are super-critical and that is detrimental to you as a writer.

 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned with your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

I discovered that I not only liked, but also was very good at, the entire process of designing book covers. It’s an artistic process similar to writing and very creative, which appeals to my inner artist.

 

How many books have you written?

I have written nine books, 5 of which have won literary awards. I am happy to say that my A Cate Harlow Private Investigation series is a best-selling series.

 As a best-selling author, do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

 

Forget what you read or hear about how many words or pages an author “should” write a day. I disagree with numbers since we’re all different.  I do write something every day whether it’s ten pages or just one page. The key is just to write something every day! Keep the juices flowing.

Writers are really working all the time. Ideas and stories pop into our heads constantly. Keep a note pad handy or write ideas on your phone or iPad. Margaret Mitchell wrote a great deal of Gone With The Wind on paper napkins in restaurants and cafes!

 

Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Keep your readers guessing about what’s going to happen next in the story.

What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

My work appeals to women as well as men. I write characters to whom people can relate and in whom they find something that reminds them of themselves or people they know.

 

What are some ways in which you promote your work?

Social media, workshops, getting in touch with brick and mortar bookstores for author events. I also network with other authors for book readings and book signings.

 

What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I would not hire a low end publicist, which unfortunately, I made the mistake of doing. He took my money and did almost nothing in return. Many promises, no action on his part. That being said, unless you’re willing to pay top dollar, ($20,000.00), most publicists are scam artists. You can do a lot of your own publicity through networking.

 

What saying or mantra do you live by?

“You are not what you were born, but what you have it in yourself to be.”

Anything else you would like to say?

Writing is a gift; don’t waste your talent. No one will know how good your work is if you never try to publish it.

Tuesday
Dec302014

Los Angeles LATalkRadio Interview

latalkradio.com/Savory.php 

with Sheri Savory and Tina Sansone

click to  hear interview

What got you interested in writing? Have you always written crime or detective type books, or did you start out doing something else?

Well, I was always a story-teller and that’s what writers do; we tell stories. I was the little girl who could keep her friends interested for a couple of hours by telling all different types of stories. My imagination was, and is, very fertile and active. In high school I created a mystery series and each day during study hall I would hand out the next part of the story. I made sure to always leave a cliffhanger of sorts with each new part to stir up anticipation.

I’ve always loved writing about crime and the human emotions involved in why someone commits one. What are they thinking? Why did they do it? It fascinates me and I want to take all the puzzle pieces of the crime and solve it.

As you did the research for this book, did you meet much resistance? Do you get any backlash and/or praise now for writing it from the public?

I actually found no resistance from anyone in dealing with the sensitive subject of priest molestation, mainly I believe, because the topic has been in the news a great deal. The organization SNAP, (Survivors’ Network of those Abused By Priests), commended me for writing the book and were extremely helpful in the documentation of the abuse listed in the author’s notes at the end of the book. A friend of mine who is a priest read it and said, “You nailed it, Kristen. This is exactly the way it is.” I have received emails from readers which have all been very positive and many have praised the book for being so honest about the abuse.

Will there be others in this Cate Harlow’s series in the future?

Definitely! Readers have been asking me the very same question; they want more Cate Harlow! Yes, absolutely, the second book in the series, GRAVE MISGIVINGS is in pre-publication and should be published in late 2015. FOR I HAVE SINNED is the first book of three in the series A Cate Harlow Private Investigation.

When you were young did you like mysteries like Nancy Drew or was this something that developed as you got older?

Oh I have always loved mysteries! And I did like any book, Nancy Drew included, which showed strong, intelligent girls and women. Solving the mystery in a well-written story was my passion.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in writing a book but just now sure how to get started?

I would say get started immediately. You can begin by jotting down ideas in a notebook and then flesh out the characters and story as you go along. Write something every single day, even if it’s only a sentence or two; you’d be surprised how much you’ll have written in a month if you do that. Keep everything you write in one place and be faithful to writing.

What other books have you written?

FOR I HAVE SINNED is my sixth published book and my fourth fiction novel. I’ve written WELCOME TO HELL, a dark humor novel about one man’s unexpected arrival in Hell. Hell looks like a tropical resort so he’s confused when he gets there! REMEMBER, HETTY? is a YA ghost story about two sisters. Both of these books were awarded Best Fiction by Powell’s Books Editors.

I’ve also written a well-received book of humorous essays on relationships titled, NO WOMAN DIETS ALONE-THERE’S ALWAY A MAN BEHIND HER EATING A DOUGHNUT.

And then there are my two non-fiction self-help books AND THEN I’LL BE HAPPY! and NOURISHING THOUGHTS. Truthfully even though those two are non-fiction, they’re written in a story-like manner.

Where can our listeners get  your books?

My books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, all print and ebook venues online and in brick and mortar stores. They’re also available through my website http://www.kristenhoughton.com/

Do you feel anything is getting done in stopping the child molestation based on the research you have done? Will the priests ever be truly punished or prosecuted that did these things?

I do believe that those who have mercilessly molested innocent children and have been hidden behind the protection of the church are finally being brought to justice. This is mainly because of the many brave survivors of priest molestation who are no longer afraid to come forward and name their abusers. Monetary damages are being awarded to these survivors and that seems to be what is forcing the hierarchy in the Catholic Church to take notice of this horrible abuse. A sex crime is a crime no matter who the abuser is and punishment in the public courts is what he has to face. There should be no hiding behind clerical robes.

The media has been wonderful in reporting on this abuse and in naming names of priests, bishops, and archbishops involved in the sex crime or in covering it up. They are to be applauded for their in-depth reporting.

What does your family think of your writing?

Well, my husband lives with a crazy author and he’s been very supportive of my work. I do think that when we first married he thought of my writing as more of a hobby but he is very proud of me and my biggest fan. Our daughters are thrilled that their mother is an author; bragging rights for them, I guess.

Have you ever considered having your book turned into a movie for  TV?

Yes!! And I am working on this.There are two actors I have in mind for Cate Harlow, Katherine Heigl or Kelly Giddish. They both seem to act very much the way I write  Cate. I think Jeffrey Pierce from Drop Dead Diva would make a great Detective Will Benigni.

Do you see your character, Cate Harlow, as a role model for women and in what way? 

Cate Harlow takes a stand against what she feels is injustice and will relentlessly pursue all angles of a case to solve it for her clients. She is good at what she does and her clients benefit from her strength. She’s also loyal and very human; her one weakness is very sexy lingerie.

Where can our listeners contact you?

kch@kristenhoughton.com, on FB under Kristen Houghton author, and Twitter @kristenhoughton

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Jan262013

A Book Lover's Library Interview With Kristen Houghton

 Interview with Author Kristen Houghton by Rebecca Graf for A book Lover's Library. ABLL would like to welcome author Kristen Houghton. Sit back and enjoy the interview.


Describe yourself as a writer.

Surprisingly, since I am not this way in some other areas of my life, I am a very organized writer. I like to write beginnings, middles, and endings in my stories in that order. This gives me a story timeline and lets me get inside the minds of my characters as if I am going through what is happening to them. Let's say that everything is going along smoothly in the beginning of the story and then something unexpected or traumatic happens, how does that impact one or more characters and how do they react? But I do sometimes write endings or future parts of a story if an idea comes to me.  My filing system on my computer is well-labeled with stories, story ideas, and articles.


Is laughter important to have in your writing?

 Very much so; laughter can help to heal so many things in life and I try to incorporate it in my humor stories. For instance my book No Woman Diets Alone – There’s Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut is all about humor in relationships. The stories in the book depict issues that can be fraught with stress, such as dieting, buying a house, planning a vacation, friends who can drive you crazy,etc We all relate to those. I insert a healthy dose of humor that makes it believably funny.


You are a journalist. How did you get into that business?

 I began writing articles, with my byline, for free for an online magazine. It was a good experience because my name and work did get noticed and I learned a great deal from the editor-in-chief. While I was there, a paying magazine contacted me and asked if I’d like to write a weekly column for them. That was the San Francisco Examiner.  My column covered everything from politics, to issues affecting women, to healthy, successful lifestyle. I’ve done work for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network, the Style Channel, and HBO documentaries.


Did you always want to write?

 Well, I was always a story-teller and that’s what writers do; we tell stories. I was the little girl who could keep her friends interested for a couple of hours by telling all different types of stories. My imagination was, and is, very fertile and active. In high school I created a sort of soap opera and each day during study hall I would hand out the next part of the story. I made sure to always leave a cliffhanger of sorts with each new part to stir up anticipation.

 
How do you stand out against other writers?

 Relating to other people is a plus for me as a writer. People, even complete strangers, talk to me and tell me things about their lives.  I can take something they tell me that may seem simplistic and embellish it to make it a more interesting and readable story. I did that with an incident that happened to a couple on their way to my friend’s wedding. I turned what I was told into a horror story which is in the just released anthology book, The HorrorZine.   The couple was pleasantly surprised and the story received rave reviews.


You’re driving in the car. What do you see on a daily basis that could inspire your writing?

 Houses; they are treasure troves. Every house you see has stories hidden within them. I am a bit of a voyeur when it comes to looking into open windows as I drive by.

 Stopping at a light or stop sign, I’d sometimes see a lighted room and maybe people sitting there and I’d imagine a story. Or I might pass a side street and see a kitchen with someone cooking; another story.


Describe the books on your bookshelf.

 My reading tastes are eclectic, I just love reading. Everything is there, from the classics by Shakespeare, Austin, Dickens to Victorian English dramas such as John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga, to the classic horror of Stephen King and Anne Rice. I also love The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency series and anything written by Amy Tan especially The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Reading is my escape and my pleasure.


How are you as a traveler?

 I am ecstatically happy when I travel! From the moment I am on the way to my destination, I am in a new world with endless possibilities. From the things I see to the people I meet, all contribute to my life as a writer. I am what I call a lifelong learner; there’s always something new to learn and to explore and that adds to my writing.


What is the one spot in the world that you would love to travel to and just spend the time writing?

 There are actually two places where I’d like to live for a year each. One is the Kona coast on the Island of Hawaii. There’s a peace and serenity there, just perfect for writing in an outdoor “office”. The stories written there would be mystical and mysterious.

The other place  is Paris, a haven for many creative artists and writers. Imagine an apartment overlooking the beauty of the city and imagine all the stories just waiting to pop out of my head!


What are you working on now?

 The first book in my new Catherine Harlow, Private Investigator mystery series; it’s due out in 2013.  The book is already copyrighted and in pre-publication now with edits. I love my characters and truthfully the story seemed to tell itself. It was a very satisfying writing experience.

 I’m also working on a book of short horror stories guaranteed to make you lock your doors and check under the bed before going to sleep. It's very much in the tradition of the early Twilight Zone TV series, the old black and white ones. You were psychologically scared and that is my aim with these stories.

Thank you, Kristen, for stopping by. It was great having you.

Readers, if you want to read some terrific articles by Kristen Houghton work check out these links:


Huffington Post

TwoDayMag.com

 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments 

BK
 
01/01/2013 9:51am

Great interview and nice to meet you Kristen.

 Teddy Rose link

01/01/2013 12:05pm

" Every house you see has stories hidden within them.", I've always thought that too. Great interview!

 rhomy
 
01/02/2013 1:26pm

 Great interview! I love the part were she tells about the soap opera she wrote in high school. I admire people who know what they want so early in life!

________________________________________________________________________________

Author Interview by Betsy Ashton of Write Now, Right Now

I sat down recently with Kristen Houghton after I read her novella, Welcome to Hell. I followed her columns in the Huffington Post and www.twodaymag.com and relate to many of the women's issues that are her favorite topic. Some of you may not know that Kristen writes wicked satire, although if you read my book review of Welcome to Hell, you'd know she is a wickedly funny satirist, albeit with a streak of dark humor. I asked Kristen to introduce herself.

I'm a teller of stories with a vivid imagaination. I like living in my head with the characters I create. Writing brings the people and situations in my imagination to life. I just completed the  first book in my new A Cate Harlow Private Investigation mystery series.  The book is already copyrighted and in pre-publication. I love my characters and truthfully the story seemed to tell itself. It was a very satisfying writing experience and I will be continuing the series. Even when I wrote articles there was more an element of a story than just facts.


Before we learn about your latest work, can you tell us the last two exciting places you visited? Why did you pick these destinations?

Ah, exciting places! Yes, I would love to tell you about those. My husband and I are scuba divers so we try to go on a dive once a year. Last year we dove in the Bahamas from the island of Exuma. This dive was especially beautiful and serene. 

My second exciting destination was in Miami. I was there for a magazine meeting; I had never been to Miami. Everything was fast-paced but there was a feeling of being laid-back too. So different from my home in NYC!

Now, let’s get to your novella. It’s not your first book, so please let our readers know about your others. 


My very first book, published by GPP Life Press, a self-help book for women called  And Then I'll Be Happy! It was launched in December 2009 and its success was a nice Christmas present. My second book is No Woman Diets Alone-There's Always a Man Behind Her Eating a Doughnut. There were twenty-six essays on relationship humor and it did very well. I've also written short horror stories that have appeared in the print anthology books, The Horror Zine.

Welcome to Hell is part black humor, part satire, part morality play. What gave you the idea to put a skeptic in hell and have him deny his new reality?  


Teddy likes to deal in reality and his idea of Hell was the fire and brimstone version. Arriving in a place that looks like a Caribbean resort and with a host who looks nothing like his idea of the Devil, makes him deny the truth of what they say is really Hell. Plus, I think there are times when, even though we know something is true, our fear makes us deny it. That's Teddy's dilemma.

 

How in the world did you get from writing about women’s issues for The Huffington Post to writing about a man in hell? Is there a secret message for men here?


Well, I love writing about women's issues but those issues are real, current, and what women experience. 
The fiction I love to write  gives me more leeway and creative freedom. There really wasn't a message for men there. I related to Teddy and writing about a man in this type of situation just seemed more comfortable for me. The author Anne Rice  often writes in the voice of her male characters and it seems natural and works well.

 

 

What are the last three books you read and why did you choose them?  

I love reading and don't get to read as much as I would like. I read Inferno by Dan Brown, because I enjoy his character Robert Langdon and because it references Dante's Divine Comedy, which I have always loved. I also read Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshowski novel, Breakdown. Currently I am reading The Associate by John Grisham, an author whose work I've loved since his first novel, A Time to Kill.

 

What haven’t I covered that you’d like to add?

Relating to other people is a plus for me as a writer. People, even complete strangers, talk to me and tell me things about their lives.  I can take something they tell me that may seem simplistic to them and embellish it to make it an interesting and readable story. I did that with an incident that happened to a couple on their way to my friend’s wedding. I turned what I was told into a horror story which is in the just released anthology book, The HorrorZine. The couple was pleasantly surprised and the story received rave reviews.

Thanks, Kristen, for sharing your time and insights with us. And for the shout-out for Mad Max Unintended Consequences. I don't know about the rest of you out there in Social Media Land, but I can't wait to read Catherine Harlow, Private Investigator.

Tuesday
Oct302012

Making Dreams Come Alive

October 30, 2012

Writing The Catherine Harlow, Private Investigator mystery series, is an incredibly creative and satisfying experience for me. Writing my columns on women's issues is something I love to do but it forced me to put my fiction writing on the back burner. I told myself I would "get back to it soon". After the success of my first non-fiction book, And Then I'll Be Happy!, I wrote two other non-fiction in ebook format. All three of my books have been well-received and I enjoyed writing them.

Now, besides writing my columns, I have made the decision to concentrate on my fiction novels and short stories. Catherine Harlow, Private Investigator is 3/4 complete and one of my horror tales, The Shuttle Bus Man - a Tale of Terror, is the featured story in the November issue of The HorrorZine. It will also be available in the print issue coming soon.

The title for the first book in the Catherine Harlow series is a bit up in the air at this time. There are two that I like but, like an actor who has just landed a role and is superstitious about mentioning the name of the character she will play, so am I about the title. Fingers crossed and mouth closed for me for now!

I think that at some point in our lives we all need to take a breath and decide to make our dreams a reality. It's never too late; Elizabeth Jolley had her first novel published at the age of 56. In one year alone she received 39 rejection letters but finally had 15 novels and four short story collections published to great success. Mary Wesley was 71 when her first novel was published. Talk about not giving up!

I encourage everyone to "do a dream"; success is relative. You are successful just for trying! Don't let your dreams wither and die. Go after what you want and be good to yourself!