Kathy Campshure holds a MS Degree from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI. Her previous writing credits include two novels, “In the Light of the Passing: Book 1”, and “Brinda’s Promise: Book 2”, which she published under the pen name of K.C. Berg. In addition to her novels, Campshure has written, produced and directed six stage plays, one of which placed in a national competition and was performed in New York City in February, 1998. When not writing, the author teaches composition classes at local technical colleges, and currently serves as president of the Board of Directors for the Oconto Area Humane Society & Animal Shelter, Inc.
What inspires you to write?
All of life inspires me to write. When I am creating fiction, I fashion my characters after people who have inspired me, or whom I despise. Even the most mundane situations can be converted into interesting fictional settings by supplying details and sufficient background information. Mostly, I listen to my heart when I am writing. Strong characters inspire me to share their stories with the world. If I love or hate a character, I want the world to feel those emotions with me. Writing for me is about connecting with (and revealing) my heroes, and exposing my villains for all the world to see.
Tell us about your writing process.
I teach the art of writing to college students; I tell them about the importance of using an outline to capture their story-lines and make the writing process easier. I find this to be extremely useful when I am writing nonfiction articles and stories. With that said, however, I am not an author who likes to use an outline when I am writing fictional stories. For me, I understand the main message of the story I am writing, and I am passionate about the characters I have created to live within that story line. But from there, I simply place the characters into the correct spots in the tale, then watch them in action. Sometimes the story unfolds so quickly that I have a hard time writing it all down. It’s like having a movie unfold inside of my head, complete with startling revelations and plot twists. I am totally caught up in the passion of that creative process. To try to outline that story ahead of writing it would be useless; the inspiration would be squelched and the story-line would grow old.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I spy on my characters. I am the fly on the wall that watches everything that they do, and reads every thought they have. Yes, I listen to what they are saying–both to themselves and to others. I would never dream of talking ‘to’ them, though. That would break the magical spell of creation and would let them know I am here. Perhaps God feels the same way; I had never thought about that . . .
What advice would you give other writers?
It’s all been said before–“Keep at it,” “Be persistent,” “Never give up.” Let’s face it; it’s hard to keep at it when progress is hard (or impossible) to measure. Deep down, if you’re a true writer, you have no choice but to write. It’s the way we are hard-wired from birth. The only choice we really have is in how much and ‘what’ we choose to share with the world.
One other piece of advice is to write what you are passionate about. With the rise in popularity of Kindle books, I have read many published guides that tell writers to “look at what’s currently selling and then write with that target audience in mind.” These advisers also warn that you “shouldn’t write a type of book that isn’t currently in high demand–that you’d be wasting your time.” Let’s face it; you have to write what interests you. If romance novels are flying off the virtual shelf, that doesn’t mean you have to write romance. Indeed, doing so may be impossible for you. I’ve heard the analogy that writing is easy; all you have to do is “open a vein and bleed onto the page.” If that’s true, and you don’t have romance in your veins (or whatever other genre may be currently popular), then you’re not going to be able to get that subject matter to come forth. Write the genre and the style of prose that YOU are passionate about (whether or not it’s currently selling.)
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have run the gamete on this–everything from obtaining an agent (two actually), to eventually self-publishing in 2005. At that time, I went through Infinity.com. They designed the cover for me, and the entire bill was about $670 (plus I had to buy any copies I wanted @ appr. $10 a book.) They eventually published both books in that series, “In the Light of the Passing: Book 1” and “Brinda’s Promise: Book 2”. They did a good job and I was happy with their services.
With the last book I published (which was in Dec. 2011), I took advantage of more recent (and less-expensive) publishing options and went through Createspace.com. I liked the option of using one of their cover templates (for free) and also their ‘print on demand’ service. I have found their service to be exceptional. The books arrive in about a week, and are a good-quality paperback book. My cost is appr. $3.50 per book (cost is based on the page count of the book, and other options such as interior pictures, etc.)
From there, I ventured into another exciting option available to authors today, which is e-publishing–or creating an electronic book–which can be absolutely free. Depending on the format that you save your book’s file in, it can be published as a Kindle book, a Nook book, etc. The only costs are to have a cover created (which can range from $30-$500 depending on who you have do it), and you may have to pay someone to format your manuscript so that it will be electronically “readable.” This is also something you can do yourself if you are comfortable with computers and formatting tasks. There are numerous free guides available online that will walk you through the steps. I have since re-released two of my books in Kindle format, and have also published four “How To” articles on writing research reports. You can see what one of those Kindle Articles looks like by going to http://www.amazon.com/Write-Informative-Research-Report-ebook/dp/B00APBC6DS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359915037&sr=1-1&keywords=write+informative+research+now
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
While this new age of being able to publish anything is a wonderful opportunity, it can also be a literary nightmare. Most POD companies will publish whatever you submit; there are no editors or proofreaders looking over your shoulder. Misspelled words, confusing or incomplete text, rotten or weak story-lines, etc. are all the same to them, so the burden lies with the author to polish, polish, polish. Due to the volume of what is being published, I think that truly good authors will have just as difficult a task of rising to the top as they did in the ‘conventional’ days of editors and ‘bookstore’ publishers. We have to wear every hat (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur) if we truly want to succeed. Simply being a “writer” isn’t good enough.
Of course, you can still go about publishing the old-fashioned way of submitting query letters to agents and trying to find a brand-name publisher. We are simply given more choices of ‘how’ to publish. I am certain that eBooks are here to stay; it is the quality of what is published that I question.
What genres do you write?
Nonfiction, inspirational, fiction, fantasy, science fiction, academic, how-to manuals, romance
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print