Katy Pistole is an award-winning author whose favorite topics are horses and brokenness. The Lord has repeatedly used horses in Katy’s life to reveal His Truth about surrender, unconditional love, and Life in Him. Katy loves to share His Life, through words written and spoken. You can find out more about The Sonrise Farm Series at www.thepalominobook.com . You may also visit www.katypistole.com to discover more about Katy.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. My mother recently presented me with a book I wrote when I was 5. The cover was green and shaped like a turtle. It was about … you guessed it. A turtle. Later, in my teens, I filled composition books with The Adventures of the Masked Marvel, a kitty hero. The passion to write didn’t burn until I was grown. The Lord gave me a story and suddenly I had to put pen to paper.
Your love of horses comes through in all of the books in the Sonrise Farms Series. How did you fall in love with horses?
I am pretty sure that horse was my first word. I have been obsessed with them since before I can remember. My parents bought my first horse when I was 12. Something inside of me still breaks loose when I watch a horse running across a field, especially when it’s my horse. The Lord constantly reminds me that the way I love horses is tiny compared to how He loves me. Blows me out of the water.
How did you learn to write novels that speak to the hearts of young people?
I am not sure. In The Palomino, the Lord gave me the book in the form of a movie in my head. I saw, heard, and smelled the whole thing.
Once I had that down, the next two came more easily. Morning Glory was the hardest of them all to write. I struggled for several months before I realized that I was trying to write it. You know. Without Him. I begged Him to reveal what my problem was. He said something so clearly, I wrote it on an index card. “Neither flesh or force can inspire.” I walked through the process of giving up the right to write, giving up the right to the advance. I recognized that I would rather not write than write without Him. He then gave me the story and I re-wrote the whole thing just before the deadline. It’s my favorite of the four. Perhaps the biggest thing about writing for young people is to keep the story hopping.
Many writers sometimes experience dry spells where they’re not able to come up with fresh story ideas. Has this ever happened to you? If you lost your mojo, how did you get it back? If you’ve always had it, how do you keep it?
Golly, that’s a hard one. I do have dry spells, mostly lack of time spells. I usually take a break. I’m saying that because I don’t have any deadlines right now. When I had deadlines and dry spells I just wrote. You can always edit … if you have written something. I often find that the story comes in layers. I need to get the first layer down and then He’ll bring the next. I find chocolate to be excellent mojo fuel.
For writers who may be interested in writing children’s books, what suggestions do have for getting started?
Jump in with both feet! Or just do it! Or whatever cliché works for you. I think the hardest thing is starting. There are great books out there. Techniques of the Selling Writer, by Dwight Swain is one. I would also join a group, on-line or in person. Beware of critique groups. They can discourage you before you begin. I would buy a coffee mug that says “WRITER” on the outside, set aside an hour (or more if you have it) a day and do it!
You’ve written young adult and children’s books as well as adult fiction. Is there a difference in how you tell a story or in your writing style?
The whole style question is hard. The writing is different for each genre but I think my style is similar. I tend to use description, and I try to show detailed emotion. My adult book has been much more difficult to write. Multiple POVs (Point of Views), timeframes, and deep characterization takes time to unfold. It has stretched me … and that’s good. Even when it doesn’t feel good.
What are the biggest challenges of writing books for young people?
I think young people are hungry for Truth. How do you deliver Truth without preaching? Jenny is a girl with a thirst for life … Real Life. Abundant Life personified — Jesus. I hope she invites the reader along into the True Adventure. Life in Him.
I’ve heard all sorts of crazy stories about the writing rituals and habits of successful writers; everything from using manual typewriters to writing while sitting on an exercise ball. Do you have a special routine or habit that helps you write and create?
When I am in the groove, I am up between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. I also go to my parent’s lakeside cottage for one weekend a month. As a home-schooling mom, I never seem to have enough quiet time. I often wear ear protection in the house to muffle the sibling sounds. I also act out my scenes. This makes my children avoid inviting friends over. 🙂
Around here, we’re known for being a little zany so I’m going to throw you a curveball before you go. Tell us a funny story or situation involving one of your horses.
A couple of years ago my children were standing at the kitchen window screaming that a bear was attacking the horses. Sure enough, it looked like a black bear. As I looked harder I realized it was two big Rottweillers. I took off with a baseball bat and told my kids to stay in the house and call 911 if something happened. I raced towards the dogs with my bat at the ready. One of them turned tail to retreat; the other one though, lowered its head and came toward me, teeth bared. I positioned myself and waited. The dog suddenly stopped, stared over my shoulder and turned to run toward her companion. I straightened up and looked behind me. There stood my four horses, shoulder to shoulder right behind me. They weren’t looking to protect me. They were being protected by me … but their presence frightened the dog. Whew!