7 Questions With Author Kestra Pingree
Kestra Pingree is a creative who doesn’t know how to stop. They are first and foremost a writer and storyteller with an endless library of books in their head just waiting to be typed. They are also an artist and animator, as well as a singer, songwriter, and voice actor. One day they swear they’re going to make their own video game, too.
If it involves creating, they are there. They can also be seen cuddling their cat, reading, or playing video games.
For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther Rabbit, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re interested to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For writing and marketing tips consider subscribing to my YouTube Channel.
What’s your own definition of an author / indie author?
An author is simply someone who tells a story in the written form. Not published but you write? Author. It’s taken me a lot of years to see myself this way, even after publishing several books.
I had put the word author on a pedestal—a lot of authors do. It had all of these requirements, and until I checked them off, I couldn’t be a real author. Haven’t sold a million books? Not an author. Not a household name? Not and author. Those are lies.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, friends. Speaking from experience.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Hi, I’m an insane plotter. What is pantsing? I tried it before and was left with such a big steaming mess I had to put that manuscript away. Five years later I’m finally going to tackle that project again.
Having said that, there are advantages to pantsing. I knew my characters really intimately by the time I was done with that first draft, because it was all about the characters taking me on a journey. The plot got lost, but the characters remain strongly imprinted on my mind.
I’ve since found a way to take that journey with my characters while making it more manageable with plotting. I create extremely thorough book outlines that can be thousands of words long, where I tell myself the story and learn about my characters along the way. That’s where I do the majority of my developmental edits too. My first drafts are usually quite clean because of this, which I prefer. I’m throwing away less words than if my “outline” were my “first draft.”
It’s complicated. Even with plotting and pantsing, there are tons of variances. Everyone has their own process. When you’re starting out, I think it’s great to check out what a bunch of different authors do and test what works for you. Take what does, leave what doesn’t.
What were some major setbacks of this profession?
What a question.
I think the biggest slap in the face I’ve had while writing is learning that some books hit and some books don’t and it’s basically all out of your control. Even when you have a book that “makes it,” it’s not going to sell amazing forever.
If you’re in this game with the intention of it being your full-time job, you better plan on writing. That might sound funny, but I don’t think you could ever hit a magic number of published books and suddenly not have to do anything ever again for money. Most of us anyway.
People like new stuff. The same goes for readers.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey?
Why the hell are you writing?
Seriously, ask yourself this question.
Do you want to write a story for yourself? Do you want to write a story for readers? Do you want to make money? Do you have a message to share with the world? Whatever questions and answers you come up with, they’re important; they’re the foundation of your writing roadmap.
The first book I published was a test to see if I actually had this writing thing in me. I’ve always loved writing, but I had never finished a novel. Spoiler alert. I succeeded and caught the writing bug. I wanted to write more and more novels, and that was where things got hairy. I didn’t ask myself what writing more and more novels meant. For myself? For readers?
To be honest, I’m still asking myself these questions. A lot of my answers are a bit contradictory, but I’m getting by. I want writing to be my full-time job, but I’ve also learned I have certain things I won’t compromise to get there. It’s brought me some peace of mind.
How do you deal with negative feedback or negative reviews?
Nah, I’m just kidding. Everyone gets negative reviews, and it’s really easy to deal with them. How? Just don’t look at them. I’m serious. I used to be on the edge of my seat reading every review, trying to mine gold out of them. You know what I’ve learned? Writing/storytelling is subjective as hell.
I already tear myself and my stories apart constantly, so looking at negative reviews honestly doesn’t do me any good. I think you could learn some things, but you’d have to dig for reviews that are saying something more concrete such as “typos.” In which case you might want to look at your proofreading. But I’ve also had reviews mentioning things like choppy sentence structure—who knows what—but the very next person says the book is really well written. Complete contradictions. Line edits are one of those subjective things. Can’t please everyone.
You. Can’t. Please. Everyone.
Remember that and keep doing your best.
What would you do if you wouldn’t be writing?
That’s a good question.
I have no idea.
At one point in time, I wanted to be a manga artist and/or animator, but I learned I do not have what it takes to put in those hours, nor am I quick enough at drawing to make a splash in that super competitive world. Hah. One could say the same thing about writing. I mean, there are easier career options?
How about testing video games? That sounds like fun. I’ll go with that. (Don’t even tell me that’s hard to break into, you’ll break my heart.)
What should readers expect from your next novel?
Vampires. Lots of vampires, sexy dark fantasy goodness, and a romance to break and mend your heart. That’s what I’m going with.
Unless we’re talking about books up for preorder rather than what I’m currently working on… In which case, y’all are getting Nightshade Academy 4 in just a few days.
Are you in the Writing Industry?
Shoot me an email, I’d love to interview you!
And check out Lost in Amber: An Out Of This World Paranormal Romance if enjoy girl power, adventure & a toe-curling love story.
She just wanted to mope over her breakup but the universe had other plans for Zoey Mills.
Read the full blurb here.