KATHY DISANTO: I WRITE FIRST AND FOREMOST FOR MYSELF
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Kathy DiSanto has four books behind her. The most popular one is Amanda’s Eyes. The novel was published in 2012. The story was accepted nicely by the readers, who gave an average 4.4 stars from 70 Amazon reviews.
We’ve got a chance to speak with Kathy DiSanto about her most popular novel and coming up projects.
– What is Amanda’s Eyes about?
– Crime reporter Amanda “A.J.” Gregson comes to in a hospital with a broken arm, a colorful assortment of abrasions and contusions, and a face swathed in bandages. But she can’t remember what hit her.
The bad and the ugly are A.J.’s business, but learning she had a ringside seat for an explosion that vaporized two federal agents, incinerated an entire block of warehouses, and peppered her eyes with so much shrapnel they had to be surgically removed? Well, that gives the darker side of life a whole new meaning.
When her memory floods back in brutal detail the night before transplant surgery, A.J. remembers the architects of her personal disaster, a lethal band of killers-for-hire known as Ferrymen.
The Ferrymen. My not-so-magnificent obsession for more than a year. Only a cataclysm could have made me forget. I guess you could call them hitmen. You could also call Einstein a math whiz. Think ruthless. Think unstoppable. Think killers so proficient ‘caught the ferry’ was fast replacing ‘bought the farm’ in common usage, and you have the Ferrymen in a nutshell.
Now she’s raring for a rematch with Hell’s Boatmen, but fate has another surprise in store for her. Before long, her new baby blues reveal a power that turns her world upside down–the power to see hidden dimensions of the human heart. And when the Sight unmasks the mastermind behind the Ferrymen, A.J. realizes she’s onto a story no one will believe.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– The idea for Amanda’s Eyes popped into my head while I was reading one of those news stories about a beloved public figure who was exposed as a pedophile. Or maybe it was a news story about Bernard Madoff. Anyway, I remember thinking it’s too bad we’re so easily fooled by brilliant or benevolent appearances. Wouldn’t it be handy, if we could see behind the mask from the get-go?
I chose a crime reporter for my protagonist, because I wanted to give the sight to a character who was, by nature, somewhat cynical and thus, uncomfortable with the gift she’s been given. I also wanted a character who was in a position to use the visions she would have.
– What was the biggest challenge during the writing process?
– That was describing the visions. Letting the reader experience what A.J. saw without becoming repetitious. Also formulating visions that fit the crime, so to speak. How would a murderer appear? A traitor? The victim of a severe beating? Coming up with a visual was very challenging!
– Tell us something more about your main character Amanda? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– While somewhat cynical, A.J. is also a closet idealist, a woman who wants to give Lady Justice a helping hand. She comes from a wealthy, well-connected family, but refuses to rely on her money/connections. Thanks to her three brothers she’s is a dyed-in-the-wool tomboy. The character isn’t based on a real-life person.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– Because I was employed as a full-time communicator (having fallen prey to that pesky “you gotta eat” thing), it took me two years to write Amanda’s Eyes, working evenings and weekends. Now that I’m retired and able to write full-time, I hope to be lots more productive!
– Give us some inside about Why Live?
– Why Live? Is a whole other ball of wax—dystopian science fiction set on a star cruiser in the far future.
For more than 400 years, Janus has been a virtual Utopia and temporary home to the Quingenti, five hundred souls who fled Earth when the Global Assembly refused to legalize immortality by human cloning.
But fate steps in unexpectedly, and the protagonist, a third-generation clone named Kai-Lee Fox, suddenly finds herself wondering if she’s the woman she was engineered to be. The same question occurs to a handful of others, triggering a covert rebellion.
Before long, the word is out and life aboard the Janus degenerates into an interstellar witch hunt. And where do you run when you’re on a space ship millions of miles from nowhere?
The novel has a definite philosophical bent, examining questions life vs. existence, death, and the unique historical role played every individual.
– What the readers will find inside Hunter in Disguise and For Love Or Money?
– For Love or Money and Hunter in Disguise actually constitute a two-book series, romantic comedies. Interestingly enough, I’m currently working on what I call remixes of these two books. In the twenty (almost) years since they were published, my writing style has matured and the world has changed. I mean, gosh, now we have cell phones!
– Why you did such a big pause between your first two and your next two books?
– Great question with a complicated answer. Long story short, life happened. I found myself on a spiritual quest, a journey of self-examination, undergoing profound personal change. I didn’t stop writing, exactly, but my writing was mainly journaling. Until I reached a point of—not resolution, so much as balance—I simply didn’t have time for fiction. I’m still on my journey, but have reached a point where writing fiction has become part of the process.
– Who are you?
– Still working on that. A voyager, a seeker, an inquirer, a believer. On a less metaphysical level, I’m the mom of two gifted musician/poet/artist sons; a stone introvert; a novelist and occasional ham-handed poet; the enabler of two spoiled rescue dogs; a budding handy gal; a Vietnam-era veteran; a blogger; and a quirky, gray-haired misfit.
– What are your writing habits?
– Since I just became a full-time author, I’m still working them out. I don’t write with music, because I can’t help dancing or singing along. I need quite. I generally read what I wrote the day before—and might even edit it a little—before settling in for the current day’s work. I write sitting down for about 40 minutes, then write standing up for 20. Once I finish the book, I print out the first draft, then shift into slash-and-burn mode to edit, because I like my writing lean. I do that for at least two drafts, before sending the ms out to editors/beta readers.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of the book?
– Uh-uh, but then, I haven’t been able to really work on sales or building a consistent platform until now. Now that I’ll have more time to write and promote, time to get more books out there, I hope to improve sales. But even if I didn’t, I’d still have to write. It’s what I do.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– Right now, I’m focused on building relationships across a wide array of platforms. I’m determined to do more than push my books; I want to become respected as an author, a resource, and a supporter of other authors. Building a sturdy platform. It’s a process that will, I think, help me identify the most effective approach to marketing.
– When we will see your next novel Mind Games? Give us some clues about the story?
– Hopefully, late this year. Clues about the story? Just a couple, on account of I’m really protective about my ideas. Let’s just say the novel will involve gaming, murder, and romance.
– You are member of many Author alliances or organizations. What are the benefits and the positive from such membership for a writer?
– The benefits of membership are many and important. First off, no community I know is as supportive or as well informed as the indie writer community. They know stuff, and they’re more than willing to share. They encourage one another, help one another out, pass along fabulous resources. This is networking at its very best. Need an editor? They’ll help you find one. Need help formatting your e-book? They’re there for you. Trying to figure out how to deal with Amazon’s latest monkey wrench? They’ve got ideas. The importance of connecting with other authors can’t be overstated.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be? (Don’t forget to answer)
– How do you deal with negative reviews? Before or after the wine-and-chocolate-binge? Just kidding. Sort of. Negative reviews are never, ever fun. I don’t think you ever get used to them—no matter how many good reviews you’ve gotten—probably because you remember the blood, sweat, and tears involved in writing the book, not to mention the joy and abject terror you felt just putting it out there.
Three things help me get over a bad review: Reminding myself that even To Kill a Mockingbird got one-star reviews. (Seriously? How does that happen?)
Realizing that reviews by Mr./Ms. Reader reflects his/her personal opinion, which he/she has a perfect right to. Haven’t I picked up books based on a 4.5-star average rating, only to think, “Are you kidding? What did they see in this that I don’t.” It goes to personal taste.
Finally, realizing I can no more stop writing than I can fly, and I write first and foremost for myself. Bad reviews won’t change that, and good reviews are gravy.
Take a look at Kathy’s books: