Author Interview with Kait Nolan: Princesses, Plotting, and Patience

Kait and I at DFW Con

I am extremely excited to welcome and host the A-Mississippi-Mazing writer, Kait Nolan.  I met Kait when she was presenting at the DFW Writers Conference and she is even more phenomenal in person than she is on her blog.  Please give it up for Kait’s Happiness Project  Featured Writer debut!

And that’s not all!

Kait’s offering an e-book giveaway of her amazing paranormal YA book, Red, to one lucky commenter!

You guys, I just finished Red after coming back from Texas and I was enthralled!  Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’ll become a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. For seventeen years she’s hidden who and what she is. But now someone knows the truth and is determined to exterminate her family line. Living on borrowed time in the midst of this dangerous game of hide and seek, the last thing Elodie needs to do is fall in love. But Sawyer is determined to protect her, and the brooding, angry boy is more than what he seems. Can they outsmart a madman? And if they survive, will they find a way to beat the curse for good?

I LOVED this book!  For a YA read, Elodie Rose is a great female character.  She’s smart, skilled, and mysterious.  And she totally has Kait’s sense of humor!  But enough bragging, I’ll let you guys get to know Kait through her own words!


Describe yourself in three words.  

Stubborn.  Driven.  Tea-lover.

What three words do you wish described you?

Patient.  Graceful.  Athletic.

Who’s your real life hero?

Well, I’m not sure if she technically counts since she was a character, but Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women.  She took crap from NOBODY.

I loved Designing Women!  But with three jobs going at once, you’re one of my heroes!  I think we have similar schedules.  How do you manage? 

I have no social life and epically paranormal organizational and planning skills.  Also I’ve been underslept since 2002.  And I am very, very motivated.

Motivated how?  What are you working towards?

Being a full time writer.  It’s what I’m meant to do.  Have been meant to do since I was 12.  I wasted too many years doing what other people said I should do.

I hear ya, Kait!  And we’re all rooting for you!  Red is the story of Little Red Riding Hood with a twist.  What prompted this idea?

I’m a big fan of fairy tale reboots, and I started to wonder what would happen if Red Riding Hood fell in love with the wolf (before the awful movie).  Except it was more the long term consequences of that that interested me, so I wound up following one of her descendents.

If you could trade places with any fairy tale character, who would it be?

When I was a little girl, I’d have said Sleeping Beauty (Disney version), mostly because I wanted blonde hair, but as a grown up?  I’m not sure who…somebody who kicks ass and is independently wealthy.  That sounds very good to me right now.



I knew we were bff’s!  Sleeping Beauty was my fave as a kid too.  Used to wear a towel on my head like the shawl she wore.  LOL.  You and I had similar horror stories to share about dating too.  (You wish you could read that Google chat!)  Who’s your fantasy prince?  Mine might be Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables.  Or Han Solo – I told you I had a thing for Harrison Ford…
Well I don’t have a particular person in mind, but my fantasy prince is as much a neat freak as I am, never has to be asked to take out the trash or pick up the house, is a gourmet cook, and has six pack abs.

Who’s your real prince?  And what does he think of this business called writing? 

My real prince is my husband of 9 and a half years, Allen. He’s a photographer and musician, so he’s totally respectful of the creative pursuits and is super supportive.  He’s also a very handy reference for moves in fight scenes and is generally happy to demonstrate (which does not always feel good!).

You said you like strong female characters and happy endings.  What are some of your favorite books?

Insert pretty much everything ever written by Nalini Singh, particularly her Archangel series.  Um, Nora Roberts’ Irish trilogies.  Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.  Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone.  Oh, and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series.  Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.  Okay, I’ll stop now…

When I met you at the DFW Writers Conference, you made an impression.  You talk fast, you have hilarious stories, you give honest advice, and seem to meet the people who can tell you about exactly the thing you’re researching at that time.  (True story:  In two very different conversations in two completely different spaces, Kait met and connected with someone who made a career out of what she was writing her characters to do!  It was uncanny!)  Tell us about your best friends, I imagine you have a great support network.  

Admittedly both those instances were totally NOT normal for me…
My best friends are mostly writers.  I positively could NOT do without my crit partner Susan Bischoff, talented author of the Talent Chronicle and supreme kicker of my ass (seriously, I challenge any NY editor to rival her for tough and awesome crit).  I would be equally lost without Claire Legrand, my baby sister from another mother, who is my sunshine on a cloudy day (how can anyone with that much love for unicorns fail to perk you up?).  And Mhairi Simpson, who gives me my daily Brit fix and is all around marvelous bitch buddy and food lover.  And on the non-writer front, I must mention my BFF Christine, who had been telling me for years—all those years I spent pursuing a career that other people thought I should pursue because it was practical—that I was meant to write and I needed to get a move on.  She’s always a refreshing breath of honesty and observation when I need to hear it.

You’ve traveled the world quite a bit!  What’s your favorite place you’ve been and where do you want to go next?

Been: hands down Scotland.  I lived in Edinburgh while I studied abroad in college and LOVED IT.
To go next: I’d really like to do a more thorough tour of Ireland.  I only spent one weekend there in Dublin while I was abroad, and I’d love to go back.

Speaking of travel, tell us about A Round of Words in 80 Days!  

A yes, ROW80, the writer’s challenge that knows you have a life.  The slogan is really the reason I started it.  I did NaNo and a bunch of other challenges that expected you to DROP EVERYTHING and do nothing but write for some period of time, and that just DOES NOT WORK FOR ME (and seriously, who thought NOVEMBER was a good time to do that?).  Real writers, IMO, must learn to fit writing into their every day and learn how to set goals, then adapt them as circumstances dictate, so that they are always making progress, not just taking things seriously one or two months out of the year.  We start Round 3 of this year on July 2nd.

What have been the biggest A-ha! Moments for you as you’ve set about your goals?

Probably the biggest one is FINALLY finding a system to use for plotting and making the switch from inveterate pantser to hard core plotter.  I find I’m much more efficient this way and my finished first draft is a LOT closer to truly done than anything I pantsed in the past.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what else do you imagine yourself doing?

Owning a combination tea shop and bookstore.  If I can’t write, I want to combine my two OTHER favorite things.

Tell us about the worst job you ever had.  Mine involved chipping away caramelized pieces of plastic that held old rope lights in a display window that was full of spiders.  Top that!

The worst job I ever had (the one that sent me RUNNING back to graduate school) was as a case manager in a community mental health system.  I had to commute 35 miles, then spent all day driving around a very rural county to see my very large client load, fumbling my way through and hoping I didn’t irrevocably screw anybody up (as I had NO training and just a bachelor’s in psych at the time), for incredibly LOW pay, lousy benefits, and more paperwork than you can shake a stick at.  In triplicate.  NOTHING was computerized.  It was awful.

Besides being a famous writer, founder of ROW80, and all around amazing Mississippi gal, you also cook well.  What’s your favorite dish?

What?  I’m supposed to narrow it DOWN?  Okay I think I can make a top three.  Pizza (mine), parmesan polenta, and homemade mac and cheese (also mine).  A low carb person I am not.

What’s currently cooking in your writer’s world?

I’m working on the first of a YA trilogy based on the mythology of The Wild Hunt.

Words to live by?

Everyone has a happy ending, if you’re not happy then it’s not the end.

Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all three of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, she uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. The work of this Mississippi native is packed with action, romance, and the kinds of imaginative paranormal creatures you’d want to sweep you off your feet…or eat your boss.  When she’s not working or writing, she’s in her kitchen, heading up a revolution to Retake Homemade from her cooking blog, Pots and Plots.  You can catch up with her at her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Thank you Kait for being a part of the Happiness Project Featured Writer Series!  It was a delight meeting you and laughing over Google chats the last month!  


Make sure you leave a comment or ask a question of Kait so you win an e-book copy of her book, Red!  Giveaway ends Thursday at 10pm.  Winner will be announced on Friday when Kait comes back (squee!) to share her Guilty Pleasure with all of us!

20 responses

  1. I want RED. Let’s cut to the chase. Awesome interview, Jess! Meanwhile – I don’t know what planet I’ve been on – but how did I NOT know Kait started the Row80 thing? Duh! Good to know.

    1. Red is amazing! I loved the book and I adore Kait even more! She rocks the ROW80 and I am so pleased to know her.

  2. I have to read Red now! Kait is amazing and I loved getting to know more about her. Fantastic interview, Jess. You create the best questions! And ROW80, well…I think it’s the best writing challenge out there. It never makes you feel like a failure. I’ve done almost 4 rounds and learned a lot about discipline, when I’m most creative, how I write and more.
    Thanks Kait! All your efforts are so worth it!

    1. If you love Kait on ROW80, you’ll love her books because Elodie (the leading lady of Red) I think has a lot of Kait’s sass in her. She’s adorably awkward and self conscious but incredibly talented and holds her own. I adored Elodie, and Kait is even better in person!

  3. Yes, Kait is awesome! I loved this interview. It had fun and depth. Sleeping Beauty has always been my favorite too, although I would have liked to have seen Aurora take on a dragon herself. I did also enjoy the feisty fairies in the Disney version.

    And I can TOTALLY see Kait having a lot in common with Julia Sugarbaker–intelligent, fast-talking, quick-witted, and strong. Thanks for the interview, Jess & Kait.

    1. The night the lights went out in Georgia speech is possibly my top favorite TV moment ever!

    2. Merryweather is my favorite! She’s sassy and spunky like Kait!

  4. Wow! The interview is fun and awesome! i want Red and Red and Red! Can’t find a copy here in the Philippines!

    1. Thanks for visiting Gian Carlo! Red is an awesome book! Are you a YA or paranormal read fan?

  5. Wonderful interview, Jess. I so admire Kait’s work and can relate to this sentiment, “I wasted too many years doing what other people said I should do.” Great reminder and inspiration!

    1. Well isn’t that the epitome of Kait for you? A hard worker who goes after her dreams! She is a courageous woman!

  6. Great interview, Jess. Kait, it was great to learn so much about you. I love your priorities and your determination. My daughter (now 11) often asks me which princess I’d want to be. My answer is always the same. Mulan! She saves a freaking country and Shang is so-super-dreamy!!

    I have already thoroughly enjoyed Red so please don’t put my name in the drawing. I want it to go to someone who hasn’t had the pleasure! 🙂

    1. Thanks for visiting Ginger! Red is an awesome book! I loved this twisted fairytale!

      And who wouldn’t fall in love with a prince who can sing like Donny Osmond?! 😉

  7. Karen McFarland | Reply

    Wonderful interview Jess! I love Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables too! And I, like Kait Nolan and a tea and book lover, so the alternative works for me. I love the idea of ROW80 and always look for ways to support it. Thank you both for taking the time to share this! 🙂

    1. Thanks Karen! Gilbert is so dreamy!

      Perhaps you and I can convince Kait that when she is old and gray and too tired to write anymore, that she can open up her tea and bookshop then!

  8. Great interview, you two! Kait, you are well on your way to full-time writing. Can’t wait to celebrate once you get there.

    1. Here, here! Cheers to her writing years!

  9. Wow, clearly I just need to swing by hear when I need an ego stroke 😀 Oh Gian Carlo, if you’re looking for print, you can find Red at The Book Depository with free international shipping! And international readers looking for the ebook version are best served by

  10. […] how well do you know our ROW founder, Kait Nolan?  Test your Kait knowledge and learn even more in Kait’s fantasy revealing interview with me and about her single serving guilty pleasure!  Both posts are filled with trademark Kait Nolan […]

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