Writer Wednesday: Katherine Dell

WriterWednesdayWriter Wednesday is back with up and coming YA author, Katherine Dell. A busy mother of two boys, she’s currently querying her intriguing debut YA novel, Harmless. Read on to find out more about her book, her life, and where you can find her on social media.


Hi Katherine! Let’s start with a little bit about you. When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing a few years back around the time my first was born. At that time my husband and I had moved to a city where we didn’t know a soul, and our families lived was far away as well. Being a new mom in a new place – it was a chance to re-invent myself. I started learning all I could about the craft of writing, and reading anything I could get my hands on. (That’s an understatement! I have a reading addiction.) I guess the rest is history.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I’m a little bit of both I suppose. When I sit down to write a chapter I like to have a bullet list of things that need to occur. Other than that, I let my characters take the story where it may.

Describe your typical writing day.

My writing days are anything but typical. With two kids busy into sports, I fit in my writing where I can. It helps to schedule set writing times though. Otherwise my writing time is non-existent.

Your novel, Harmless, is coming soon. Where did you draw your inspiration for the story?

image-2HARMLESS is a work of fiction, but I put a lot of research into the ‘real’ details of this story. For example this story is set in Hazelton, a small town in northern BC. The town is smack-dab in the middle of the highest population in the world of Kermode Bears: black bears, born with a recessive gene making them white. To Aboriginal cultures in North America, these bears are surrounded by much folklore.

I took inspiration from this, creating a lore story around a ‘spirit box’ containing a white bear, white deer, white crow, and black Wendigo. This spirit box is fabled to grant wishes, and when my main character, Rachel, unwittingly releases the spirits inside, she must consider how far she’ll go to set things right.

Tell me about your protagonist, Rachel Barnes. What actress could you see playing her in a screen adaptation of Harmless?

Saxon Sharbino

Actress Saxon Sharbino

Hmmm … I would choose a fairly unknown actress, maybe Saxon Sharbino. She has the look I imagine Rachel to have.  My character, Rachel, is a moody girl, always second guessing her feeling and actions.

Tell me about your journey to publication or your publishing plan.

My journey to publication is a long one. I suppose that’s not an uncommon story. Last year, I thought I had publishing all figured out and a solid deal with a publisher. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, so I’m back to querying agents. Fingers crossed I’ll catch one’s attention soon.

What are you working on now?

Currently I’m working on the sequel to HARMLESS, called MAVENS. I could tell you what it’s about, but it would spoil the ending to the first book.

I’m also working on a new book idea, sort of a post-apocalyptic drama.

Can you give us a short summary of Harmless? What’s it about?

Katherine (35)Absolutely! Here’s my pitch I send to agents.

Rachel Barnes has suffered a legion of losses: the death of her brother, her parents’ divorce, and now the move from a big city and her trusted therapist to a small town and a new high school. And just when the roller coaster that has become her life should finally be slowing, she’s done the unthinkable. In an effort to impress her new friends, she’s unwittingly releases a malevolent, leviathan-like spirit, fabled to grant wishes, that’s been locked away in small box for centuries.

When this mythical Wendigo spirit possesses her friend, Mason, giving him powers to manipulate the world around him, Rachel must decide how far she’ll go in order to cure him.

As wishes asked upon the spirits contained within the box start coming true, Rachel learns the true, dark source of Mason’s newfound gifts; and her perception about life, death, and reality is tested. Now she must accept the very thing she’s been fighting against – the realization of her own wish, which could turn her into the very monster she tries to stop.

I saw that you also plan to release a graphic novel prequel to Harmless. What can you tell me about it? Do you do your own illustrations?

imageI’m writing these because there were so many characters for the first book that really resonated with my beta readers and I couldn’t put more about them in my book. (There’s only so much you can put in a novel.) So the graphic novel side to my story world was born. I’m actually writing these stories in novella form and having some of them made in to graphic novels. I’m hoping to have the same artist who’s done my book cover, book trailer and other medias to do the illustrations.

What is your most challenging aspect of writing?

Finding the time to do it. Finding time to write everyday is difficult to me, even if it’s just for twenty minutes.

Are there any websites or resources that have been helpful to you as a writer that you would recommend?

Resources that I’ve found helpful: My writing buddies! They are indispensable. It’s taken me years to network a group of committed writers who I can chat with about all things written. They help me when I’m stuck and give inspiration when things seen a little too.

What book are you reading now?

Sometimes I read a few books a week, and then not for a few weeks. So depending on when you post this title might be a little old. I’m currently reading SUICIDE STITCH by Sarah Johnson. I’m enjoying it very much!

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I read a lot, but mostly I like to hang out with my family and friends. Outdoor activities like hiking and biking are some of my favorite pastimes.

Where can we find you on social media?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/katherine_dell
Website: www.katherinedell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katherine.dell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38771569-katherine-dell


HarmlessHarmless

Have you ever made a wish? One, so seemingly insignificant that you never gave it a second thought—until one day when it comes true? And now, there is no amount of wishing that could ever take it back.

Rachel Barnes, a seventeen year old high school senior finds out just how much one single moment like that could change her life forever. After her brother’s death years ago, and the recent divorce of her parents, Rachel’s mother makes a major decision to move from Vancouver. Rachel is forced to leave the city she’s called home for her entire life and to settle in a small town in northern BC—called Hazelton. It is the small town where her mother grew up, and where her grandmother still lives. This is where her mother hopes they can finally put back together their life that seems so broken.

Linked to her family’s native origins, Rachel soon discovers the secrets about Hazelton that have all been forgotten. Secrets so old they are legends. Legends so old no one will ever believe are real. Until that one night—that everything seemed so … Harmless.


Katherine (32) copyKatherine Dell is a young adult fiction writer working on her first novel. She also hopes to publish a prequel, graphic novel series to her novel series, Harmless. Katherine takes every opportunity to hone her skills as a writer, including courses from Mount Royal University, workshops and reading everything she can get her hands on. She is also a member of the Alberta Writers Guild. Katherine has called Alberta home her entire life, currently residing in Calgary with her husband and two sons.


Thank you so much for reading. If you would like to be featured on Writer Wednesday, send me an email at cassidytaylorauthor@gmail.com.

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