Writer Interview-Katherine Gilbert

Describe your day job.

I teach English at a two-year/community college in South Carolina. Most semesters, I’ve got five classes, although it’s occasionally more than that in Fall, if there are some extras that need an instructor. Our students are a combination of the overflow from the larger, local university (we’re part of a program with them where we educate a fair number of their Freshmen) to those in their 30s-70s coming back to school for a variety of reasons (training for new jobs, picking back up a college education they had to set aside, coming to college after the military, etc.). Sometimes, it’s very fulfilling and other times incredibly frustrating, depending on how mentally and emotionally prepared for college-level work the students that semester are. It can also be extremely taxing and time-consuming, as there are many hours outside of work to prepare for classes, grading, etc. (many people seem to forget that teachers don’t exist solely in the classroom). Getting any time on the side can be incredibly difficult.

Tell me about your latest book.

Unearthly Remains is a quirkily-humorous paranormal mystery/urban fantasy/paranormal romance. It involves a police force for the supernatural world (Supernatural Oversight–or the S.O.) delving into a series of murders in London. As an 82-year-old (and immortal) daughter of a witch and an incubus, Sgt. Marilyn Jaye has seen a lot, but she isn’t prepared for her feelings when she meets Henry, a newly-turned and traumatized werewolf. It’s the first time her emotions start to distract her from a case.

Who are your writing role models?

There are quite a few. I adore the complex worlds both Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones manage to put together, always finding new and complex twists to present in them–and I adore Pratchett’s humor. Agatha Christie created every single mystery twist we still use today and absolutely cannot be outdone; I thought of her often, as this is the only mystery I’ve written. Barbara Hambly can create such an absolutely vivid world that her novels just pulse with life. I admire all of their skills and try to create my own, complex fantasy world which gets revealed a bit more with each new novel.

How do you balance your day-to-day commitments with your writing life?

Not well, sometimes. The day-to-day often ends up monopolizing the majority of my time. I have to try to plan out well in advance how to schedule in all the grading, preps, and teaching, as well as the various daily concerns, so I can steal just a bit of time every day for my writing career. Even then, most of that time goes to the marketing side (where I’m not very skilled). What’s left over frequently goes to editing of what’s already been done. Actual writing often barely gets a look in. This is especially frustrating, as I’m a total pantser and only know what’s going to happen next by writing it–and, darn it, I want to know what happens next!

What are your other passions outside of writing?

Spending time with the people I care about. Even with all the other things going on, I need to always find some time to get together with my sister (who lives in another state, although fortunately a fairly close one now). Neither one of us would be sane without daily chats, as well as visits at least a few times a year. I’ve got a friend I enjoy going on staycations or one-or-two-day trips with, as well. She’s not from the South, so I get to play tour guide to show her the best and most interesting parts (as well as visit them again myself).

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

If there are any authors you enjoy, please tell them so. Writing is an incredibly solitary activity, unlike many creative arts. Even painters can sit by at an exhibition and listen to people’s reactions to their works–but authors put their books out into the world and . . . that’s about it. We know if people buy them but not much else. Getting either a review or a kind word now and then is life to any author, even more so if the readers mention specifically what they enjoyed. That way, we know that someone out there actually loves our creations, as well.

Unearthly Remains

A werewolf, a witch, and a vampire walk into a murder scene . . .
Sgt. Marilyn Jaye of Supernatural Oversight (the investigative unit for all things which bump a bit too much in the night) is having a frustrating day. What should have been a simple case of a murdered ghoul has spun entirely out of control. It’s bad enough that she’s getting distracted from her investigations by her unreasonable attraction to Henry, a young werewolf with a terrible case of PTSD (Post-Turn Stress Disorder), especially since every Tom, Fang, and Hairy (previously known as her sensible friends) tells her she’s destined to be with him. Worse, her distraction allows a second murder victim to turn up, one of the gentlemanly Victorian vampires who lives in Highgate Cemetery. If that isn’t enough, the vicious werewolf who attacked and turned Henry is still on the loose. London’s creatures of the night seem to be in trouble, and it’s her job to protect them.
Marilyn is determined to find the killer and the rogue wolf, but she’ll need a lot of help. That will include her friends, Hanover (Henry’s handsome Alpha and Marilyn’s ex-lover) and Julius Beer (a vampire who watches over his distressed comrades in Highgate from his ornate mausoleum). Also alternately helping or annoying her are the other members of the S.O., including her powerful sorcerer boss, the eternal spirit of Romantic poet William Blake, her ex-NYPD partner, a pool (yes, an actual pool) of secretarial sirens, and an imp who’s in love with a cat. Even Henry has to tag along. And they better solve the case soon, because the killer has made it clear that she’s the next target.

Find more about Katherine on her author Facebook page.

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