Kate Golden is the author of upcoming debut novel, A Dawn of Onyx. She lives in Los Angeles and is an avid book reader, movie fanatic, and functioning puzzle addict. An embarrassing LA cliché, she likes to hike, brunch, and go to the flea market with her partner and puppy. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
In this post, Kate discusses how a vacation led her to become a writer, why self-publishing is more time-consuming than traditional publishing, and more.
Name: Kate Golden
Literary agent: Taylor Haggerty and Samantha Fabien at Root Literary
Book title: A Dawn of Onyx
Release date: October 10, 2023
Genre/category: Fantasy Romance
Elevator pitch for the book: The story follows a young woman who offers herself up to a wicked king to save her family, and finds herself locked in his dark, gothic keep as his castle healer. While imprisoned, she makes an unsuspecting ally in a fellow prisoner, but not everything about the stranger is exactly as it seems…
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What prompted you to write this book?
I was on vacation with my now-husband, and had brought about five books, all of which I just could not get into. After I whined about it over dinner for way too long, he encouraged me to try to write something for myself.
Though I’d never written anything before, I told myself nobody would read it but me, so I didn’t feel any pressure. The first draft was atrocious, I’m sure, but by then I had already fallen in love with writing.
How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?
The idea never changed too much, but it was a strange route to publication for sure. I had initially chosen to self-publish the book because I had (and actually still have) another full time job and felt like that might be easier and less time consuming than finding an agent and an editor. I was absolutely, categorically wrong about that.
Self-publishing was an enormous amount of work. And once the book came out in December of 2022, I was lucky enough to find some pretty quick success and at that point I realized I needed a literary agent. Taylor and Sam at Root helped me find my dream editor in Kristine Swartz at Berkley, and she made the writing of the next two in the series so, so much easier (and the stories that much stronger!)
Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?
Absolutely. I had no idea how many people were involved in releasing just one book. My editor, her assistant, my publicist, marketer, copyeditor, the entire design team, social team… it really takes a village. And I couldn’t be more grateful to all of them.
I also had to learn that First Pass Pages do not mean “rewrite your whole book one last time.” Thankfully the Berkley folks were very understanding!
Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?
There weren’t any huge surprises in writing the first book other than the realization that I loved writing. I had never written anything and had an entirely different career for the past eight years, so I was sort of bowled over to find how passionate I was about my characters, the story, and the practice as a whole.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
I hope readers really feel like they can escape into my books. That’s what I love so much about storytelling. It’s like a superpower—the way we can all just jump right into anybody’s head, or their love story, or heist, or heart-wrenching tragedy. Any world or time or era… It’s incredibly special, and universal.
It’s why I love finding a great book or TV show and just devouring it for days on end. If I can give that experience to even one reader, who pops their head up after five hours of reading and feels like they just stepped out of an enchanted forest—then I have done my job!
If you could share one piece of advice with other writers, what would it be?
Oldest advice in the book, but: just write. If I’m starting a new book or a new chapter or sometimes even a new sentence, and I have that instinct to put the computer away because it feels too daunting or self-doubt is creeping in, it’s the only advice that matters. Just write!
And I tell myself the same thing when I complain that I can’t find time to write as much as I need to, or as often as I’d like. It’s like Nike’s slogan, but for us bookish types who don’t own running shoes.