Thursday, September 15, 2016

Makings of a Young Adult (YA) Historical Fiction Writer

 I wrote this about a writer friend of mine.

Makings of a Young Adult (YA) Historical Fiction Writer

         “Their still beating hearts will be removed. Their heads will be stricken off, their bodies cut into quarters and the pieces hung high on the London Bridge so all may see of the fate of traitors to the king.” Gilt, Katherine Longshore
         How does a young girl, composing stories and songs about her cat, all while crouched under a kitchen barstool, grow up to write a popular published trilogy about duchesses and dukes, kings and queens, and beheadings?
         Well, if you are Katherine Longshore (Katy by her friends), it is an amazing adventure that warrants being told.
         In her teens, Katy fell in love with theater.  “I loved losing myself in a character made of words… to make that character live and breathe. Now, that is magic.”  Katy went on to achieve a university acting scholarship. She found that studying Method acting taught her how to get into her character’s shoes, “Not just perform, but become the role.” Still harboring the love for writing, Katy had a sense that it would help her future writing. “To be able to inhabit the character’s emotions and sensations – to envision the setting around me, will help translate to the page.”
         Wanting to get out of the physical classroom, Katy enrolled in a study-on-board Semester at Sea. “The thought of traveling by ship around the world sounded inescapably romantic.” The ship stopped at ten countries in one hundred days. Katy was hooked, and wanted more.  “My life was changed forever,” and she set her goal on Southern Africa.          
         Needing to finish college first, Katy studied anthropology, geography, and journalism, all to prepare for her next big adventure.  “I dreamed of being a travel writer. I was able to create my own traveling major, and traveled for two months on a train through Europe.” From there, Katy landed a job on a National Oceanographic research boat, which went to Chili, the Antarctic, and Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean. “At this point, I was ready for land.” 
         With one bag packed, Katy began her solo adventure to Africa. When asked why she wanted to travel alone, she commented, “It can be too easy to rely on a friend while traveling.  I knew that being alone would broaden my horizons, challenge my limitations, and open me up to new possibilities.” Katy spent time in South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. From there she traveled on to Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.  It was Zimbabwe however, and the meeting of an Englishman, that would alter the course of Katy’s life.

         Katy returned home for a few months, but became very restless. She opted to accept a two-week invite to England, by the Englishman.  Katy stayed until her six-month visa expired. “I went back the next year and married him.”
         Katy and her husband stayed in a little town in England, for another five years. She found herself mesmerized by all of the history surrounding her. “I fell in love with the colorful and violent history of England.” She lived next to castles that had been inhabited by Ann Boleyn, the Duke of Buckingham, and a home of King Henry VIII.  Her focus had taken a change in course from travel writing, to being totally immersed in English history. She spent her time researching and falling in love with King Henry VIII’s era.  “I became obsessed with his six wives.”
         Who do you get when you combine a young girl who loved to write, a teenager who learned to act, and a young woman bold enough to travel the world alone helping her to discover her passion for English history? Katherine Longshore,  a well-praised published historical fiction YA author, who claims she is dedicated to maintaining historical accuracy in her novels. 
         How does it feel to have completed a published trilogy on the romantic and violent era of English history? “It feels both incredibly satisfying and deeply terrifying.  I feel like I have grown and progressed as a writer through this series and that I’m ready to challenge myself even more and try new things. But that’s frightening, because don’t we all feel so much safer when we’re surrounded by the familiar?  Still, I’m willing to try.  It’s like heading off to Africa alone – it will challenge me and broaden my horizons.”

If you’d like to find out more about Katherine Longshore, you can visit her website at:, or Twitter/@kalongshore.  Katy lives with her English husband, two young boys, and family dog in a small town in Northern California. 

Here is a listing of her work:

Contributor to: A Tyranny of Petticoats/15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls

Manor of Secrets


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