I caught up with author Katie Zaber, author of DNA Angels N Demons for a quick interview this month. Katie Zaber knows the best way to decide who is cooking dinner is with a Nerf gun fight in the living room. Her boyfriend is an exceptional cook. When she isn’t baking, reading, or going to wine tastings, she’s busy planning her next trip to Six Flags Great Adventure or Long Beach Island, New Jersey. As a child, her parents would read stories about Atlantis and other fictional places that she dreamed of exploring, fueling her love of history, adventure, and fantasy. These days, she finds herself captivated by her many projects and enjoys quiet nights at home.
Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?
I’ve always been creative, but never took up writing until I was recovering from surgery, was on a lot of meds, and let my imagination loose. Once off the meds and healed, I edited the story, building and rearranging, working through drafts until I was happy.
Describe your desk / writing space.
I sit in front of a walnut stained secretary desk with a hutch holding an array of keepsakes. Albums, picture frames, my Snoopy collection, souvenirs, and nostalgic knickknacks line the shelves of the hutch. My work space is a wonderland of post-it notes in three different colors: pink, neon-yellow, and green. On the right corner of my desk, shoved between the monitor and notary stamp, is a yellow, mini-spiral notebook that contains book outlines, plots, and ideas. Little sticker tabs separate the notebook into different sections. The tabs not in use are floating on the surface of pamphlets and lists of login information to accounts I hardly visit. A leather bounded diary with nautical embellishments, complete with anchor bookmark, holds random thoughts and sketches. A mechanical pencil can be spotted, hiding between the yellow notebook and leather diary. Its extra parts—erasers & extra graphite are strewn about the entire desk. Between the post-it notes there are three hacky sacks. There’s also a rectangular leather box with a brass kaleidoscope made to look like it was used on a whimsical pirate ship. It’s a happy mess.
Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspired?
I try to stick to a schedule, but that normally doesn’t happen and I end up writing when inspired.
How do you come up with the title to your books?
When I write a book, I usually have a broad idea of what I want to call it, but I usually decide when I’ve finished the first draft. Almost like a parent meeting their new born. They might have an idea of what they want to name the child while pregnant, but that can change when they see the baby face to face and realize he isn’t a Jim, he’s a Stephen. Kind of like that.
What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?
Intimate scenes. They are my weak spot. I feel like I can never get them exactly right. My favorite ones are when I’m describing something for the first time. When I introduce the reader to a new environment, object, or food, my goal is for the reader to feel the mist and sun on their skin. I want them to see in minute details what the character is looking at and taste the juice running down their cheeks as character bites into fruit.
What inspired your book/series?
The song, Lord of the Dance. Somehow, it was stuck in my head and my imagination took over. I pictured a king singing the song—a much more sinister version—while destroying a village of people who disobeyed him. At first, the story was going to be about him and how his reign ends, but I didn’t want to tell it from his perspective. That’s where Megan comes in.
What are you working on next?
Right now I’m finishing up DNA—Demons N Angels, a book about a woman named Evie who mysteriously gets pregnant. After a DNA test proves that her husband is not the father, her life becomes complicated. People become possessed around Evie, telling her to kill the baby or protect it at all costs as she tries to rebuild her life after a heartbreaking divorce. Throughout the book, she realizes that her child might be a celestial being, but isn’t sure if it’s angelic or demonic. It’s almost done, and I hope to have it on sale midsummer.
I’m also working on the third book in the Dalya series, title is undecided. It’s roughly 20,000 words, and I hope to have it out this fall.
What authors or books have influenced your writing?
There’s a few. I’d say Margaret Atwood, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Conroe, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Karen Marie Morning, Jennifer Estep, Laini Taylor, and Chuck Palahniuk are some of the biggest influencers. However, I’d like to think I’ve absorbed a little bit from every book I’ve read.
If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?
I’d love to live on a winery in southern Italy. The architecture is breath-taking and I love the small villages with cobblestone streets, knowing your local artisans by name and buying locally from them. There’s something really romantic and peaceful about that small village lifestyle that I hope to one day experience.
If I got to live in a fantasy world, it would be made of chocolate and it wouldn’t be frowned upon if I ate everything.
What is your favorite meal?
I’m a steak and potatoes kind of lady, but the steak needs a decadent brandy cream sauce and buttery garlic whipped potatoes.
Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?
A good cup of black tea with a little bit of sugar and milk is my go to in the morning. If I drink coffee, its half milk, and I don’t count the how much sugar.
I love moscoto and fruit wines
Describe yourself in three words.
Curious, Spaz, Sensible