Interview with Kate MacInnis
by Aurora Jean Alexander
1. What made you decide to write the genre you are writing now; did you ever write in another genre before you decided on this one?
I have loved ghost stories since I was little kid. My family is Scottish and my dad loved to tell me spooky stories about his own experiences growing up in Canada. As a teenager, my friends and I also enjoyed paranormal and supernatural movies, books and TV shows. I made it a point to read everything that Stephen King wrote. As a young adult, I went to work in a hospital and oftentimes, lunch or dinner in the cafeteria with nurses and doctors led to the exchange of some great ghost stories. Sharing the fear or laughter of an unexplained encounter is a common thread for all of us in the US. Our culture loves ghost stories and I believe the reason is because it forges a bond among us. Besides, it’s great entertainment and I love a good laugh.
I’m a late bloomer and spent years as an office worker until I returned to college and honed my skills as a writer. I did a lot of writing for my jobs, but I wanted to be a professional and a degree in journalism was the best thing I could have done to establish myself. I absorbed everything my professors shared and was able to be a freelance features writer for a local newspaper for years. I also made a very good living as a fundraising writer for a hospital system.
Other genres: As a features writer, you write about a lot of terrific things, but not at great length; same with fundraising. This is my first published novel and I’m proud that it’s a little mystery, some humor and has a happy ending.
2. When was it clear to you that you wanted to be a published author? When did it all start?
I’m a journalist by nature and much prefer to take notes. I was always the person in the back of the room feverishly writing about the party instead of being in the party. It’s where I’m most comfortable. In fourth grade, my music teacher asked us to write about a famous composer. I wrote about Mozart and ended the paper with a big flourish. She asked me to stand up as she read my pages aloud to the entire class. I received a round of applause and was hooked. I can’t sing or dance, but I can make a room full of people pay attention with my words. What a bonus.
3. Did you ever suffer from writer’s block – and if yes, how did you get over it?
If I have a deadline, either real or self-imposed, I don’t have writer’s block and always get the job done and on time. I have rarely suffered from a block, but if I do, it’s time to leave the desk and walk away and binge on old b/w movies or read something I’m anxious to devour. I search for comfort and by the next morning, I’m back to normal.
4. How do you keep track of your characters and their development within the story? Do you work with ‘cheat-sheets’?
No, I don’t use cheat-sheets, in fact, I can’t because they’re too rigid. I follow the story as it pours out of my head. I was told in college by a wonderful professor that there are two types of writers: the ones who sit in front of a screen and crank out a story; and those who are writing 24 hours a day, every day with everything they hear becoming a future plotline or dialogue. I’m in the second group and carry small notebooks with me at all times to jot notes for books yet to be written.
5. This is your first book. Is it going to be part of a series or is it one single story standing alone?
This is my first book in, hopefully, a three-book series. It can easily stand alone, but the main character, Morgan Cutler, is a nurse learning to deal with suddenly having paranormal experiences that both frighten and provide entertainment. I would like to see her character continue to grow and have broader experiences as she becomes more confident with her own powers and those of others. I want to see her communicate in both worlds (living and non-living) to benefit everyone.
I’m proud to be a writer and appreciate the beauty and strength of words and ideas. If I can help someone forget their troubles or pain for a few hours, or give them a sense of hope, I’ve done my job and exactly what I was meant to do.
Website: (under construction right now)
Michigan-born and raised, Kate earned a BA in Journalism at Oakland University and Master’s in American Culture at the University of Michigan-Flint. As a professional writer for more than 20 years, her career has included freelance newspaper features writing and fundraising writing in health care. Her work has provided an opportunity to hear many stories from nurses, doctors, visitors and family members about unusual activities and miracles that occur without a clear-cut, scientific explanation. She also claims to have had her own share of unusual experiences, some of which are shared in this book.
Kate is married to the love of her life, has two grown sons and three grandchildren.