Meet Katelyn Buxton! So one of the things I love about the indie writing community is that everybody is at different places in their writing journey, and I get to learn from them all!
It takes boldness to put your work out there. If I had put my 15-year-old story about a lighthouse on the internet, I probably would have gotten a lot of feedback and grown a lot faster. Instead, I buried it away, along with all of my work until this year.
The other trap I fell into was constant rewriting. Granted, my work needed it. But I didn’t see myself really grow until I pushed forward on a new project. That’s when I was able to go back and really revise well. So I salute Katelyn for charging ahead in her series. I am excited to follow along and watch her grow as an author! Her first book Branwen’s Quest is a fun YA fantasy adventure with themes of redemption and forgiveness. Elements in it reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia.
Me: What inspired you to write?
Katelyn: It was actually a history assignment in eighth grade that got me started writing stories. Before that, I hated writing. The assignment called for me to write the first chapter of a story with a cliffhanger—after that first chapter, it wasn’t just my family that wanted to know more—I wanted to know what happened next too, so I wrote the next chapter. And the next, and the next, until it was done. After that first, short 10-chapter story about an anthropomorphic mouse named Matthias, I found I had enjoyed writing it so much that I wrote a sequel. The rest is history—I had fallen hopelessly in love with writing.
Me: Can you name a couple authors that have influenced you?
Katelyn: Brian Jacques with his Redwall fantasy series about mice first and foremost, (note the subject of my very first story), but I’d also have to say Lois Walfrid Johnson with her Viking Quest series, and Arnold Ytreeide.
Me: Tell us about your Warriors of Aralan series.
Katelyn: The Warriors of Aralan series begins with Branwen’s Quest, which was originally supposed to be a standalone—so in other words, I never intended it to be a series at all. In the end, it turned out a lot like my history-assignment story—I wrote Branwen’s Quest, and then found I had to have a sequel. After that, I thought it should at least be a trilogy, and then God got hold of my writing with book four, and it really took off. Currently I’ve written nine books to the series, with six published, and the seventh on the way. They’re fantasy, leaning towards a more historically accurate dark ages, featuring real people with real problems, and after book four, real faith. Life’s messy—it isn’t always easy—and I hope readers can see that reflected in my stories.
Me: When did you start this series?
Katelyn: I started the Warriors of Aralan series five years ago, when I was fifteen. It seems a little strange to think that I’ve been writing the same series for five years, but I have.
Me: How have you seen yourself improve as an author?
Katelyn: There’s a quote by Ernest Hemingway, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master,” but I’ve seen myself improve so much from my early years of writing, and even from Branwen’s Quest to book nine of the Warriors of Aralan series. Writing is a learning process, so I think I’ll always be learning more every time I open up a new document, but characterization and writing authentic dialogue is an area I’ve worked hard to improve since beginning.
Me: What is an area you still need to improve in as an author?
Katelyn: Writing is so much about finding the balance in things. The balance between realistic emotion, and going overboard. The balance between writing in my faith authentically and thumping people over the head with the Bible. The balance between injecting myself into each and every character, and making them too much the same in the process. Finding the balance in things is always something I could use improvement in.
Me: What are you working on right now?
Katelyn: Currently I am working on editing Warriors of Aralan #7, and hoping to publish it soon.
Me: Is it important to read your books in order or can readers jump in anywhere?
Katelyn: To a certain extent, yes, it is necessary to read them in order. Other than the beginning, book four is a fairly decent place to start, since it signals a kind of “new beginning,” by moving on to Branwen’s children’s generation. But if you’re like me and like things in order, Branwen’s Quest is the best place to start.
Me: What sets your writing/books apart? Tell us what is unique about them?
Katelyn: Well, first of all, I believe in writing honestly. I don’t go into the gory details (whatever the case may be), because I also believe in family-friendliness, but I do try to truthfully deal with the hard things as they come up. I’ll have to admit, I didn’t always write this way, but God put it on my heart to begin during the writing of Warriors of Aralan book four.
As for my writing style, it’s kind of a mishmash of the three authors I mentioned previously, but over the years I feel I’ve developed my own voice through it. The Warriors of Aralan series is also unique for a fantasy series in the respect that there’s very little “magic” (Branwen’s Quest is the only one that bears any of it), and there’s only one race—humans.
Me: What are three tools you use as an indie author?
Katelyn: I use Canva for making my eBook covers and blog graphics, Mailchimp for my author newsletter, and Weebly for my website/blog. Becoming an indie author means learning to use a lot of programs and sites that I never would have otherwise.
Me: Have you read any good indie books lately?
Katelyn: Unfortunately, I do not read many indie books, but I have several on my TBR list that I need to get to and support my fellow authors.
Thanks so much Katelyn!
Go check out her work: Branwen’s Quest
and the rest of the series is available on amazon!
Or find out more about her on her website
And don’t forget to follow her on twitter