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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

 


KatiaLief wrote:

Let's start with the most important question, the answer to which is TEA!  I walk to a special place in my neighborhood in Brooklyn to buy loose Earl Grey tea by the pound, and I brew it fresh every morning (or my husband does...sweet man).  I have a cup of steaming fresh brewed tea next to me right now.

 

But now I'll tackle your 'real' questions about reading and writing books.

 

Where do most of your ideas come from?  Is there a specific character who you resembled after yourself?

 

My ideas come from anywhere and everywhere.  In the case of YOU ARE NEXT, I was reading an article in The New York Times one morning when I was riveted by an article about the high suicide rate among police officers. I sat back and thought about it, and all of a sudden the character of Karin Schaeffer popped into my mind...and the book went from there.

 

There's no single character modeled after myself, but I do channel myself into different characters in different ways, sometimes consciously, and sometimes not.  I gave Karin Schaeffer my willfulness, but I also gave her attributes I lack such as fearlessness.  Also, she's tall and I'm short, or shall we say 'petite.'

 

How long does your process normally take, from first idea to finished product?

Hmm...depends.  When I was young and starting out, I once wrote the rough draft of a novel in six days.  Yes, folks, that's six days, and I was working full time and in graduate school then...but I like to point out that it was a three day weekend.  That novel was PECULIAR POLITICS, a romantic comedy published five or six years later after a rewrite.  In retrospect, I have no idea how I wrote the first draft so quickly, and I'll never put myself through that again.  These days, I typically spend nine or ten months from the very start (idea) to the very finish (delivered manuscript).  I'm older now, and wiser, and make a point of not overdoing it.  Plus I have kids, and they have to eat from time to time :smileyhappy:

 

Do you find that your sucess as a writer puts pressure on you to come up with even greater ideas for novels each time you begin to write?

I usually don't have trouble coming up with new ideas.  In fact, I tend to feel impatient to finish what I'm writing so I can move on to the next idea that's already brewing.

 

Do you have any favorite authors? Favorite Genre to read when you are able to?

I read across the board, whatever I feel like reading, which means I read a little bit of just about everything.  Right now I'm reading Sophie Littlefield's A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, which I really like, and I'm also reading a novel with my son called IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY by Ned Vizinni.  I recently finished P.D. James' THE CHILDREN OF MEN, which was beautifully written and quite an interesting futuristic short novel, and also I WANNA BE SEDATED, a collection of essays about living with teenagers. Before that, I read all three Stieg Larsson novels.  On my bedside table right now is WOLF HALL by Hillary Mantel.  Hmm, it sounds as if I read a lot, but actually it feels as if I never have enough time to read as much as I want to.

 

As for favorite authors, I have lots.  Because I'm a crime writer, though, and I advocate (to my students, and anyone else who will listen) weaving a strong story with great writing, my first suggestion as the perfect example of both a classic psychological suspense novel and superbly written novel is THE COLLECTOR by John Fowles.


 

I'm a tea drinker, too, but my tea of choice is Yorkshire black tea. Very strong!

 

You've got some interesting books there - I've read Sophie's books and I really enjoyed them!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

I love all these casting ideas - I hope Hollywood is taking note!

 

I just want to point out a glitchy thing I've noticed. At the top of this thread there are page numbers. When you finish reading all the posts on one page it should automatically take you to the next page. It doesn't always do that so you might want to check that you end up on page 1 (the pages are numbered in reverse order - page 1 has the newest posts).

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dhaupt
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Hi Ms. Lief, you're latest novel is very high on my TBR pile

thanks for visiting

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lovesreading1
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Good morning everyone!  If my clock is correct, there are still a few minutes left before we swing into the afternoon.  I've been up and out and now I'm back at my desk before running out again, and then again later to teach my class this evening.  It's one of those days.

 

I've been thinking about the wonderful opportunity to convene with readers, writers and publishing folks here...that phenomenon called blogging.  (How did we ever get used to that word and start saying it with a straight face?)  For a writer used to sitting alone in a quiet room, the chance to get together, in person or in cyberspace, with other people passionate about the same things is energizing.  It's also what I love about teaching writing, and over the years I've come to realize that I probably learn as much from my students as they do from me.

 

I have the most wonderful group this semester at the New School in Manhattan, where I've been teaching now for, gulp, seventeen years as a part-time adjuct professor.  I teach in the continuing education division, which I love, because my students are really motivated and there is also quite a bit of talent in the room.  This semester in particular I've got some pretty heavy hitting students in the group--MDs, a PhD, MBAs, a criminal defense attorney, a television producer, and so on--and it is a thrill to meet weekly with these people to discuss how to make their crime novels and stories work.  Tonight we're going to have a special class beause I'm bringing my agent and his associate to meet with the group and share how-to-get-published advice.  It's a tricky business, to be sure, and requires a lot of perseverence....

 

Oops!  It just tipped into afternoon!

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lovesreading1
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Becke, no, I don't have any Barnes & Noble events scheduled...but would certainly love to.  I've really been enjoying giving readings and signings, and meeting readers.  It's just such a pleasure to meet the people who read the books!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

 


KatiaLief wrote:

Good morning everyone!  If my clock is correct, there are still a few minutes left before we swing into the afternoon.  I've been up and out and now I'm back at my desk before running out again, and then again later to teach my class this evening.  It's one of those days.

 

I've been thinking about the wonderful opportunity to convene with readers, writers and publishing folks here...that phenomenon called blogging.  (How did we ever get used to that word and start saying it with a straight face?)  For a writer used to sitting alone in a quiet room, the chance to get together, in person or in cyberspace, with other people passionate about the same things is energizing.  It's also what I love about teaching writing, and over the years I've come to realize that I probably learn as much from my students as they do from me.

 

I have the most wonderful group this semester at the New School in Manhattan, where I've been teaching now for, gulp, seventeen years as a part-time adjuct professor.  I teach in the continuing education division, which I love, because my students are really motivated and there is also quite a bit of talent in the room.  This semester in particular I've got some pretty heavy hitting students in the group--MDs, a PhD, MBAs, a criminal defense attorney, a television producer, and so on--and it is a thrill to meet weekly with these people to discuss how to make their crime novels and stories work.  Tonight we're going to have a special class beause I'm bringing my agent and his associate to meet with the group and share how-to-get-published advice.  It's a tricky business, to be sure, and requires a lot of perseverence....

 

Oops!  It just tipped into afternoon!


You're not on a time clock here, Katia, so come by whenever it's convenient. It sounds like you have a very full schedule! Can you tell us more about the classes you teach? I'm intrigued!

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

 


KatiaLief wrote:

Becke, no, I don't have any Barnes & Noble events scheduled...but would certainly love to.  I've really been enjoying giving readings and signings, and meeting readers.  It's just such a pleasure to meet the people who read the books!


If you schedule any in the future, let me know and I'll post it on the boards here. It's always fun to meet authors in the virtual world, but I know a lot of our participants like to get their books autographed, too!

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Katia - I love to hear author's "call" stories. Would you tell us how you got the call announcing the sale of your first book? Is it still exciting, even after you've sold so many books?

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lovesreading1
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Hmm, well Becke, I really have two stories to tell about the first time I learned a book would be published, because I was first published by a small literary press under my first real name, Katia Spiegelman, and then years later I started publishing crime novels with a big publishing house under a pseudonym Kate Pepper.  Writing now under my second real name, Katia Lief (my married name, which I've lived with for nearly two decades) feels like a coming together of the two experiences.

 

Years ago, I worked as the assistant to novelist Erica Jong (FEAR OF FLYING).  For part of the two years I was with her, a pair of writers, Phllyis and Ebe Kronhausen, lived in her house to be near the NYC libraries for research on a book they were writing about health (FORMULA FOR LIFE).  We became friends, and when they asked to see my work, I showed them my recently completed master's thesis, a novel (SOUL CATCHER).  It turned out that a close friend of theirs was the publisher of a small press based on London, Marion Boyars, and they asked me if they could show her my novel. When Marion was next in New York, she called me and we met for brunch.  She made me an offer for my novel, and I accepted on the spot.  I was in my late twenties and thrilled to be getting published.  Before long she also bought a second novel I'd already completed (PECULIAR POLITICS).  It wasn't a lot of money, to be sure, and I learned through the experience that it's a good idea to have a literary agent representing you, but all the same it was a wonderful and gentle entrance into being a published author.

 

Fast forward a decade, married with two kids.  After having taken years off to mother my babies, I was eager to get back to work, because I've always loved being productive and independent.  I was also dying to get back to writing novels.  So I put the two together and decided to try my hand at commercial fiction, and chose the suspense genre because I have always loved suspense.  After working through three intensive revisions with my agent, he sent my first crime novel (FIVE DAYS IN SUMMER) out to a dozen publishers.  I expected the process to take months, because this is a molasses-slow business, but five days after submitting we had three offers!  One quickly dropped out, and over the next four or five days, the other two bid against each other until one finally won the novel.  It was an exhillarating process, to be sure, and even a little shocking; every writer dreams of a bidding war, but you never really expect it.  I ended up with a major publisher, a very enthusiastic editor, a two book contract and a new career as a book-a-year crime writer.  I admit I was a bit stunned by it all, and grabbed onto a pseudonym as a kind of protective layer.  After a while I grew comfortable enough that shedding the pen name, and writing under my second real name felt right to me.

 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

 


KatiaLief wrote:

Hmm, well Becke, I really have two stories to tell about the first time I learned a book would be published, because I was first published by a small literary press under my first real name, Katia Spiegelman, and then years later I started publishing crime novels with a big publishing house under a pseudonym Kate Pepper.  Writing now under my second real name, Katia Lief (my married name, which I've lived with for nearly two decades) feels like a coming together of the two experiences.

 

Years ago, I worked as the assistant to novelist Erica Jong (FEAR OF FLYING). 

 

That book was a turning point in women's fiction - I loved it!

 

For part of the two years I was with her, a pair of writers, Phllyis and Ebe Kronhausen, lived in her house to be near the NYC libraries for research on a book they were writing about health (FORMULA FOR LIFE).  We became friends, and when they asked to see my work, I showed them my recently completed master's thesis, a novel (SOUL CATCHER).  It turned out that a close friend of theirs was the publisher of a small press based on London, Marion Boyars, and they asked me if they could show her my novel. When Marion was next in New York, she called me and we met for brunch.  She made me an offer for my novel, and I accepted on the spot.  I was in my late twenties and thrilled to be getting published.  Before long she also bought a second novel I'd already completed (PECULIAR POLITICS).  It wasn't a lot of money, to be sure, and I learned through the experience that it's a good idea to have a literary agent representing you, but all the same it was a wonderful and gentle entrance into being a published author.

 

What a fabulous story!

 

Fast forward a decade, married with two kids.  After having taken years off to mother my babies, I was eager to get back to work, because I've always loved being productive and independent.  I was also dying to get back to writing novels.  So I put the two together and decided to try my hand at commercial fiction, and chose the suspense genre because I have always loved suspense.  After working through three intensive revisions with my agent, he sent my first crime novel (FIVE DAYS IN SUMMER) out to a dozen publishers.  I expected the process to take months, because this is a molasses-slow business, but five days after submitting we had three offers!  One quickly dropped out, and over the next four or five days, the other two bid against each other until one finally won the novel.  It was an exhillarating process, to be sure, and even a little shocking; every writer dreams of a bidding war, but you never really expect it.  I ended up with a major publisher, a very enthusiastic editor, a two book contract and a new career as a book-a-year crime writer.  I admit I was a bit stunned by it all, and grabbed onto a pseudonym as a kind of protective layer.  After a while I grew comfortable enough that shedding the pen name, and writing under my second real name felt right to me.

 

I love to hear about bidding wars - makes the whole process sound really exciting!

 


 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

You mentioned discovering the importance of having a literary agent. With so many agents out there, how did you connect with the agent you have now? Was it a difficult process?

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lovesreading1
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

I found my agent by sending him a query out of the blue.  He was at William Morris at the time, and after he read my novel his assistant called me.  That particular novel was never published, but we've been working together for sixteen years now and have followed him to three different agencies.

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Mysterylover1138
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Katia

 

Sorry I have been absent since sunday.  My new work schedule has my house all messed up and normally I am working all night and sleeping all day.  It's a vicious cycle when you have to work over nights.

 

I have been reading the posts and am intrigued by your teaching.  I always wanted to take a class that was taught by an actual author, and gain some useful knowledge for the writing field.  Do you find it rewarding to help them out, and see their novels grow into something?

 

Who is your biggest supporter?  

 

When you were growing up did you want to be a writer, or did you have other aspirations?

 

What is the best advice that you could give to a new writer who is starting out?

 

Hope you are having a great day, and I hope I am able to chat again soon.

 

Leigh

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maxcat
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Hello, Katia. I'm interested in your mysteries and will go by the bookstore and check them out. Welcome to the mystery thread and have a great day.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

 


KatiaLief wrote:

I found my agent by sending him a query out of the blue.  He was at William Morris at the time, and after he read my novel his assistant called me.  That particular novel was never published, but we've been working together for sixteen years now and have followed him to three different agencies.


Wow - William Morris? You went right to the top!

 

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ReadingPatti
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

KatiaLief, Welcome, I must check out your books. You have me intrigued by them. I love the titles.

 

How to you pick a title?

 

How did you get into writing mystery or suspense?

 

Thanks again for coming to  B & N.

 

ReadingPatti

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Thanks for mentioning the titles, Patti. I meant to ask about those.

 

Katia, did you choose your own titles or did your publisher pick them? I hear that happens a lot with New York pubs.

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lovesreading1
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Sorry I have been absent since sunday.  My new work schedule has my house all messed up and normally I am working all night and sleeping all day.  It's a vicious cycle when you have to work over nights.

 

I don't know how you do it!

 

I have been reading the posts and am intrigued by your teaching.  I always wanted to take a class that was taught by an actual author, and gain some useful knowledge for the writing field.  Do you find it rewarding to help them out, and see their novels grow into something?

 

It's very rewarding working with developing writers.  After all these years, I still love it, and I learn a lot from them as well.

 

Who is your biggest supporter?  

 

My husband Oliver, without a doubt.

 

When you were growing up did you want to be a writer, or did you have other aspirations?

 

As a teenager I wanted to be a dancer.  I studied all forms of dance, particularly modern dance, and majored in it in college.  Meanwhile, I was also writing.  Around 18 I did a U turn, stopped dancing and focused on writing.

 

What is the best advice that you could give to a new writer who is starting out?

 

Read a lot and write, write, write.  Those are the best ways to learn and grow.  Becoming a published author is a long road with many discouraging obstacles, but perseverance does pay off.

 

Hope you are having a great day, and I hope I am able to chat again soon.

 

Very nice to meet you here, Leigh!

 

Leigh

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lovesreading1
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

Hello, Katia. I'm interested in your mysteries and will go by the bookstore and check them out. Welcome to the mystery thread and have a great day.

 

Nice to meet you Maxcat!

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lovesreading1
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Re: Please Welcome Author KATIA LIEF!

ReadingPatti wrote: KatiaLief, Welcome, I must check out your books. You have me intrigued by them. I love the titles.

 

Thanks!

 

How to you pick a title?

 

I have a strong gut feeling about titles, which tend to come to me out of the blue. I often start a new novel with one title, a 'working title,' and then somewhere along the way the right title just hits me.

 

How did you get into writing mystery or suspense?

 

I got into it as an experiment when I decided to try my hand at writing a novel that was more commercial than what I'd done in the past, and suspense intrigued me more than all the genres, so I went for it.  I set about trying to understand how suspense operates in fiction, and then wrote my first crime novel, FIVE DAYS IN SUMMER, which to my astonishment quickly found a publisher. The truth is I didn't know much about the genre when I started, as I came of age as a novelist more on the literary side of things, and like to say that I've been 'learning on the job.'

 

Thanks again for coming to  B & N.

 

ReadingPatti