Kourtney Heintz writes speculative fiction for adults. As K.C. Tansley, she writes YA contemporary fantasy. Kourtney’s debut novel, The Six Train to Wisconsin, was a 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semifinalist. The Publishers Weekly reviewer called it “an emotionally intense, candid exploration of devotion, forgiveness, and acceptance.” A customer reviewer compared her writing style to Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Her article “Know Thy Genre” appeared in the May 2011 CTRWA newsletter and was selected by several RWA chapters for reprint in their newsletters. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Backspace.
She resides in Connecticut with her Shih-Tzu Lhasa Apso warrior lapdog, her supportive parents and three quirky golden retrievers. Years of working in financial services provided the perfect backdrop for her imagination to run amuck at night, dreaming up a world where out-of-control telepathy and buried secrets collide.
Q: Why did you create this website?
A: So you could learn more about my writing and me.
Q: When are your books going to be published?
A: The Six Train to Wisconsin will be published in late May 2013 in paperback and e-book format available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Q: What inspires you?
A: My daily life constantly creeps into my writing. For Reckonings and The Six Train to Wisconsin, I included photos of places that inspired me with each excerpt. Pretty much every place I visit has the potential to become a part of my novels.
Q: Who are your current favorite authors?
A: Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jay Asher, Ally Carter, and Sue Monk Kidd to name a few. I keep a blogroll called “Authors I Enjoyed Reading.” I also write book reviews for my blog.
Q: Why fantasy?
A: I didn’t set out to write a specific genre. I wrote my first manuscript, Reckonings, and then tried to categorize it. Turned out it was fantasy, a paranormal mystery that could be shelved as YA contemporary fantasy or YA mystery. Check out Articles for more on my genre journey.
Q: Do you really believe in all that stuff?
A: Life is much more fun if things are possible.
Q: How can you write YA and adult?
A: I get a concept or a character and see where it takes me. My second manuscript, The Six Train to Wisconsin, ended up being adult speculative fiction. My recent work-in-progress turned out to be YA contemporary fantasy.
Q: What are the things you do on a daily basis to improve you craft?
A: Read voraciously across genres. Pour over books on the craft of writing. Dog-ear every issue of The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and Poets & Writers. Devour RWR (RWA newsletter), SCBWI Bulletin, and The Third Degree (MWA newsletter). Draft a thousand words of my new work-in-progress. Blog. Dissect the tv shows I am enamored by. It’s hard work to watch The Vampire Diaries four or five times, but I make sacrifices for my craft.
Q: What’s the pattern on your wallpaper?
A: It’s something I doodled all the time in school and I made my web designer create a wallpaper with it. I like patterns where you can see a couple different things. Are they overlapping circles or four pointed knots? I’ll never tell.
Q: How do you get inspired/stay inspired to finish your manuscript? What’s your writing routine like?
A: For me, the pre-writing time is when I kindle the inferno of inspiration. I commit to my characters and I promise to tell their story. It’s usually 1-3 months of serious contemplation and tinkering with plotting. Fleshing out the characters in my mind. Learning their backstory. Uncovering their motives. I take notes on everything. I also try to write a two-page synopsis before I begin drafting.
I daydream the opening scene for a few weeks before I’m confident that I’ve figured out how the story opens. Once I feel ready to start writing, I set a 1,000 word a day requirement 5 days a week. In a month that gives me approximately 20,000 words.
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: As a child, I loved writing poetry and stories. But I read too many tales of poor destitute writers finding fame after their death in the Victorian era. My practical streak demanded I study Finance in college. I always managed to include writing in my professional and personal life but it wasn’t until a severe back injury that I started thinking I wanted to write as a career.
Q: Do you know where the story is going when you sit down to write it? Are you an outliner?
A: Yes, but the characters have a knack for hijacking it. Sometimes, I sit at my laptop confounded by what just happened. Because I didn’t see it coming and yet there it is on the page. So clearly it happened to them without any forewarning to me.
I prefer having a synopsis because the story evolves as I write it. The synopsis keeps my mind focused on where it needs to get to but allows me the freedom of an occasional detour into the unexpected.