Happy Friday, everyone!
Today, I’m bringing you a rather special post – an interview with one of my favorite authors, Katie Wismer!
I first discovered Katie through her YouTube-channel Katesbookdate, which I would highly recommend if you’re ever looking for inspiring vlogs, writing tips, book recommendations, or wholesome cat content 😊 I’ve always found her videos to be extremely relatable, so when Katie mentioned that she was looking for beta readers for her debut novel, The Anti-Virginity Pact, back in 2019, I decided it might be time to get over my fear of interacting with strangers and reached out to her.
Two years later, Katie and I have worked on several projects together, and she is now quite a successful indie author and freelance editor. Apart from The Anti-Virginity Pact, Katie has also published two poetry collections – The Sweetest Kind of Poison and Poems for the End of the World – and her second novel, The Anti-Relationship Year, comes out in just a few days!
Anyway, in celebration of the upcoming release, Katie and I have decided to collab on this interview. Thanks again for agreeing to this, Katie, I’m really happy to have you here! 🤗
Naemi: To start off with, could you tell us a bit more about yourself? What is something interesting about you that my readers probably wouldn’t know?
Katie: I guess something that a lot of people don’t know is if I hadn’t pursued writing, my plan was to become a lawyer—I took tons of law classes in college and everything (this is actually something I passed on to one of the characters in this book!) I thought it would be a more secure, “reasonable” career path, but ultimately decided I’d rather take the risk and do what I love instead.
Naemi: And I am very happy you took that risk! One of my favorite things to watch on your channel are actually your writing vlogs. I think it’s fascinating to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the industry works! Especially since you decided to go down the self-publishing route and also have to take care of steps that a traditionally published author normally wouldn’t have to, such as hiring a cover designer, an audiobook narrator, or marketing your own books. So I’d like to know: Which parts of the writing and publication process do you enjoy the most? Which ones do you like the least? And have you ever regretted your decision to self-publish?
Katie: My favorite part of the writing process is definitely when I start incorporating beta readers! That’s when I really start to see the story come together—there’s always a huge difference between pre-beta and post-beta drafts. It makes all the difference. It’s also the first time someone other than me is reading the book, so it’s really fun to see someone else’s reactions and excitement. It’s really encouraging. I don’t know if I have a least favorite—every step is challenging in its own way. I definitely find that first round of revisions after a rough draft to be the most difficult and daunting though.
My favorite part of the publishing process is different with every book. Getting the final cover is always an exciting moment—it just makes the book feel all the more real. I’ve also recently started turning my books into audiobooks, and it’s so fun hearing my books in that format since that’s my favorite way to read other books. My least favorite part is anytime I’m not actively doing anything and just have to wait for someone else—like waiting for my editor or cover designer. I make sure to start working on a different project around this time so I don’t drive myself crazy!
I’ve definitely never regretted going the indie route. The longer I do this, the more certain I am that I made the right choice. It’s the perfect fit for me and what I wanted out of my career. I work for myself, I make all of my own decisions, and I write the books I love.
Naemi: With one novel and two poetry collections under your belt, you already have a bit of experience when it comes to publishing. Did that make the process for The Anti-Relationship Year any easier? Or did you run into any new surprises that you hadn’t been expecting?
Katie: Absolutely. The Anti-Relationship Year was a whirlwind of a book, and the easiest thing I’ve ever written. I think it took less than six months from when I first sat down to outline it to when it was completely done. I knew to plan ahead when it came to booking editors and cover designers, and I had a better idea of what to plan for, so making a publishing timeline was much easier. I guess the main challenges I’ve been running into have been figuring out how to market it in a clear way. It’s basically a spin-off of another book, but they can both be read on their own, and a lot of people are still confused about it and whether it’s a series you have to read in order. And no matter how many times I say it’s not Young Adult, I still have people calling it that haha.
Naemi: Now that we’re already talking about it, could you tell us what to expect from The Anti-Relationship Year?
Katie: It’s a college friends-to-lovers romance with my favorite love interest I’ve ever written. I think it has its funny, feel-good moments, but also some more serious topics and a focus on mental health and personal growth.
Naemi: The college setting in The Anti-Relationship Year was actually one of my favorite things about it – apart from Miller, obviously! 😁 I feel like high school contemporaries are definitely more popular, so it was a refreshing change to see that part of my life reflected in fiction! Are there any nods to your own college experience hidden in The Anti-Relationship Year?
Katie: Haha nothing directly plot-wise, but I did go to a small school like Jo does. I think a lot of the underlying themes are just relatable to anyone going through that part of their lives though.
Naemi: When I read the final copy of The Anti-Virginity Pact, I thought it was so interesting how much it had changed from the draft I had first beta read. So I wanted to ask: Are there any significant changes that you made to The Anti-Relationship Year that might surprise your readers? Anything that was in your first draft that didn’t make it into the finished copy, or a pivotal scene or character you only decided to add later on?
Katie: I don’t think I cut anything major from early drafts—this book started out short, so I was mainly focused on fleshing it out more. I added a lot of scenes, some of which ended up being my favorites! The Christmas scene was a last minute addition, and a lot of the scenes involving Addie and Liv (I won’t say more to avoid spoilers!) I focused a lot on side characters in later drafts and adding scenes that would help develop them more.
Naemi: One thing I really like about your books is that they’re not just lighthearted, but also tackle darker and more controversial themes. Your poetry collections deal with what it’s like to survive an abusive relationship and the struggles of growing up. The Anti-Virginity Pact follows a closeted atheist in a very religious family. And The Anti-Relationship Year also has its fair share of darker undertones. Why is it so important to you to include some of these issues in your writing?
Katie: It’s actually not intentional at all! I just write the stories as they come to me and write about what I find interesting.
Naemi: Well, I guess I’m glad we have similar tastes in what’s interesting, then! You’ve mentioned before that you like to dabble in quite a few genres, but that you’ve also been surprised to learn how much you enjoy writing romance. What sorts of projects can we expect from you in the future?
Katie: I’m currently working on a romantic suspense novel and the first book in a paranormal romance/urban fantasy series. Very excited about both! I like that they’re a bit different than just writing contemporary, but they’re still very romance-centered.
Naemi: I’m definitely very excited for what awaits us! For anyone interested, where can we find you and your books?
Naemi: And finally, since this is a book blog and I know my readers are always on the lookout for something new to read: What are some of your own favorite books? Is there anything you discovered recently that took you by surprise?
Katie: I’ve found that my reading taste has changed a lot over the years, so I’m not even sure what I’d consider to be my favorite anymore! Some favorites that I read last year were City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Night Swim by Megan Goldin, and Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas! Psychological thrillers or angsty romances are my go-to right now.
And that’s it for today!
Thanks again, Katie, for agreeing to this interview, and also for trusting me enough to give you feedback on so many of your books! I’ve always loved working with you, and I’m very excited to pick up my own finished copy of The Anti-Relationship Year on March 30th!
I highly recommend you guys check Katie’s books and her YouTube channel out, and feel free to tell us what you thought of this interview down in the comments! Have you read any of the books mentioned here? Are you a writer yourself? We would love to know!
The Anti-Relationship Year
Johanna Palmer is very much over relationships. After a scarring experience her freshman year of college, she’s decided she would much rather have something fun than something serious.
Her best friend Miller has seen it all—the tears, the parties, the drunken phone calls at four in the morning when she needed a ride. In fact, there might be several things Miller saw that Jo herself can’t remember.
Things Miller can’t forget.
With the whirlwind of senior year underway, Jo just wants to move on, get her degree, and land her dream job. But her past might not be as easy to outrun as she’d hoped.
The Anti-Relationship Year is a companion to The Anti-Virginity Pact, but both books can be read as standalones.