by Georgia Griffiths, Age 15, United Kingdom
Katherine Garbera, born in Florida, is a best-selling author. Garbera has written many novels in over 20 languages and can be seen as an inspiration to many budding young writers. At the Junior Authors Writers Conference in the UK on May 18th, she will be giving a presentation on how we can define and develop characters. This will be extremely useful. Creating advanced characters can often be a struggle and sometimes make us have no faith in our writing. Here, Katherine answers some questions to help inspire young writers.
I see that you’re a best-selling author, but you must have started somewhere at the bottom. What inspired you when you were just a budding writer to become a best-selling author?
I loved to read. I read lots and lots of books, and one day I ran out of books to read and decided I’d try writing one for myself. I started writing and really loved telling stories and creating characters and getting them into trouble and then figuring out how to get them out of it. When I finished my first manuscript, I was desperate to start another one because I wanted to fix all the stuff I hadn’t gotten right the first time. It’s been like that ever since.
What line of work were you in prior to becoming an author? Did you enjoy it?
I worked at Walt Disney World in Florida. I had a number of jobs, including hostess at rides in Fantasyland, a lifeguard at Disney’s Grand Floridian Beach Resort, a VIP tour guide at the Disney Hollywood Studios, a receptionist in finance, and finally as an executive secretary in the entertainment division. All of the jobs were a lot of fun, and I truly enjoyed working there.
Which has been your favourite novel to write and why?
I have written 63 novels, so it’s hard to choose my favourite. The book I’ve just finished is always the top because I’m still on the high of finishing the book. I did write some books that were termed female action-adventure for Silhouette that were a lot of fun.
What advice would you give to young writers across the globe that just can’t seem to get any motivation to write that first draft?
The first thing I’d say is to remember you know enough to write well. I think sometimes fear is the biggest thing that stops anyone from writing. Also to remember that you can fix badly written pages, but you can’t fix blank ones.
Your presentation at the conference will be about developing characters, which I, personally, find to be the biggest struggle. Could you give us an overview of what people can expect at the presentation when it comes to character advice?
I’m going to be talking you through the building blocks of characters by helping you pick a theme for your protagonist and antagonist and then helping you build their story goal, the motivation of that goal, and their conflict. It sounds like a lot, but I break it down into some basic questions that give you the foundation to build on.
Georgia says, “I’m a young writer currently in a never-ending fight between working on my new novel idea and studying for my upcoming exams. (Writing, of course, is presently winning!)”