It is my pleasure to introduce you to a fun writer to know and to read: Cole Gibsen. Her debut novel, Katana, is like an all you can eat candy shop for a chocoholic--with accurate fight scenes (in my humble 3rd degree Black Belt opinion) not to mention she has her character use my favorite weapon --the Katana (a weapon I had started studying since I was 11). Take these facts; add in humor, a liberal dash of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and stir with a "Kill Bill" Katana and you get Rileigh Martin--the heroin of Katana.
So please sit back with a cup of coffee (or whatever beverage you wish to enjoy) and join us for a coffee with Cole and I.
David Alan Lucas: When you are starting to work on a new novel, what do you find brings the story into focus for you? A Character? A setting? Something else?
Cole Gibsen: Voice is usually the first thing I’ll focus on when I begin a new novel because it will be the first thing that resonates inside my head. I’ll usually have a particular character talking to me before their story unfolds. That’s not at all crazy…right? RIGHT?
DAL: What attracted you to YA fiction?
CG: For me, my favorite thing about writing for teens is the raw emotions and “firsts” they get to experience at that age. Now, you couldn’t pay me enough to go back in time and relive my teen years—but write about them? Yes, please!
DAL: In Katana, you have a very well developed voice that brings out the teenage heroin. How were you able to develop the voice?
CG: I adore teenagers. Maybe it’s because my own teen years were so rough, but I’ve always had a special place in my heart for that particular age group. Maybe it’s because of this that I’m able to relate to them.
DAL: What was the hardest part of writing Katana?
CG: The comedy. I have a quirky sense of humor and what is hilarious to me might be lost on other people. Writing KATANA, I was scared that people wouldn’t get my weird sense of humor. Luckily, for the most part, it seems that most people are just as goofy as me. This is cause to celebrate because, really, the more the merrier. This world can be too serious sometimes.
DAL: What themes in your fiction writing seem to drive you the most?
CG: Comic books! I love them! And if I can write a novel that has a comic book feel, then I know I’m on the right track.
DAL: Do you work on multiple novels at once? If so, how many?
CG: Oh, I can’t even imagine! I’m a one-novel-at-a-time-girl. I can’t imagine having any more voices inside my head than I already do.
DAL: What do you find focuses your writing?
CG: Opening the document. It’s amazing how many distractions will pull you away from clicking on the Word icon. But I find that once I have it open, I’m usually okay.
DAL: How easy was it to take the leap of faith to become a serious writer and chase this career? What did you find that you had to do to take the step?
CG: It wasn’t easy at all. I had a lot of self doubt that held me back from even attempting to write my first novel. It wasn’t until the economy bottomed out and I was forced to close my business that I decided to really give it a serious go. At that point I figured, I had nothing to lose.
DAL: What was your biggest fear when you decided to be published?
CG: My internal editor likes to whisper things like, “They’re all going to laugh at you!” and “This is complete crap!” My biggest fear was that my internal editor was right.
DAL: Who was the most influential person or persons in your writing career?
CG: One of my mentors is a fabulous St. Louis young adult writer by the name of Antony John. I don’t know where I’d be without his career advice and guidance.
DAL: If there was some advice that you could give to a fellow writer, what would it be?
CG: Perseverance. It makes me so sad when I hear about a writer throwing in the towel after a few rejections. I get it. I’ve felt that way myself. But in this business, you won’t get anywhere unless you grab the bull by the horns. It took me two books, two years, and over two hundred rejections until I landed my agent.
DAL: What advice would you give a fellow writer about pitching a story either face to face or in a query letter?
CG: The shorter the better. Get your hook in there and don’t bog down the rest with details.
DAL: When you plot your novels, from whose point of view do you plot from? The protagonist’s? The antagonist’s? The narrator’s? Some one else?
CG: Wait, what? I have to plot my novels? Kidding! I used to be a big pantser but I’m fast becoming a plotter. My favorite thing to start with, before I even think plot, are character bio sheets. Personally, I really have to know my characters before I can tell how they’re going to react and move the story along.
DAL: What is your writing schedule like?
CG: Wait, what? Other writers have a schedule? This time I’m not so much kidding. As the mother of a preschooler, my day consists of fitting writing between doctor appointments, dance class, gymnastics, and whatever else may pop up on the day planner.
DAL: If you could have coffee (or drink of your choice) with four other authors from any time period, who would you choose and why?
CG: I’d pick the writers who’ve inspired me the most with their writing whether it was a comic book, novel, picture book, or screenplay. Those writers would be; Stan Lee, Mark Twain, Dr. Seuss, and Kevin Smith.
DAL: How could my readers learn more about you?
CG: I love interacting with readers! You can find me on my website: www.ColeGibsen.com, Twitter: @Colegibsen, or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/colegibsen
Thank you Cole for taking time to share with us.
And thank you for reading and please visit www.davidalanlucas.com and www.thewriterslens.com. You can also follow me on twitter @Owlkenpowriter and the Writer’s Lens @TheWritersLens. Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.