Author Interviews

Author Interview with Katie Mettner

Today I’m interviewing Katie Mettner, the author of contemporary romance “A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls”. Welcome to my blog, Katie!

What inspired you to start a writing career?

I never intended to have a writing career, if I’m honest. I’ve always loved to write, but just for fun. As a full-time mom, wife, and medical transcriptionist, I didn’t have a lot of extra minutes to write. After my below-knee amputation in February of 2011, that changed.

I was basically homebound for several months, so when I wasn’t typing medical reports, I was using the time to finally tell the story of Sugar DuBois, an amputee ballroom dance instructor who lost everything she loved one snowy night. When I finished the book, it was over 150,000 words and filled with grief, loss, love, hope, and a little bit of death and destruction thrown in to keep it interesting. I wanted to get copies of the book for my family, so I Googled, and this thing called KDP came up. I was like, “Okay, let’s do this!” I uploaded the book and went through the process, excited to get that Kindle version and paperback for my family. I didn’t know that I’d published the book to Amazon where other people could read it! I was thinking, “Well, now I have my copies and that’s the end of it.”

Then I started seeing sales, reviews, tweets, and emails, which were all a surprise to me. The bigger surprise was that readers loved Sugar and wanted more. I was thinking to myself at that point, “How much Sugar do you need? That book was 400 pages!” But, as it turned out, they needed a lot more. They got four Sugar books, a companion novel to the Sugar Series, and a spin-off series as well! So, while I never intended to start a writing career, the readers had other ideas. They wanted more books that featured characters with disabilities that were written in a real-life, accurate, and life affirming way. They were tired of the ‘disabled best friend’ trope or the main character with a disability who gets cured at the end of the book by love. We all know that’s not possible.

I published Sugar’s Dance ten years ago on Halloween and it has been a wild, wacky, and wonderful ride that has spanned so many personal changes in my own life, not to mention my growth as a writer over the fifty-one manuscripts I’ve finished. When readers ask me where they should start with my books, I always say Sugar’s Dance. Sugar’s story, in all its imperfections, is the perfect introduction to who I am as a writer, but more importantly, as a person. Life can be ugly and hard, but we can always find joy and hope shining somewhere for us to hold onto.

Is this book stand-alone, or part of a series?

A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls is a stand-alone novel. Though, I have already had requests for A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls 2, so you never know when I’ll be back spending time in Gingerbread Falls.

How does your book stand out from others?

I think Kirkus Reviews said it best when they said, “Mettner crafts two parallel, interdependent stories in a singular novel that’s ideal for those who can’t get enough of Hallmark movies come the holiday season.” Another reviewer said, “The movie storyline is rated G like a Hallmark movie and the real-life story is more PG13 like Lifetime. It was a good twist on the usual Christmas romcom.”

At first, you think you’re getting a typical Christmas romance novel, until the director yells Cut and you meet the actors behind the camera. Their story unfolds in real life just as the scripted story unfolds on camera. (The sections are well marked, so you’ll never be confused.) You get your classic, cheesy holiday movie fix along with a deeper, truer love affair between two people who, because of their pasts, don’t think they deserve the love of someone else. In the end, it will take a little bit of Christmas magic to convince them, but I trust Gingerbread Falls can bring that in a heaping cupful.

Are any of the situations / characters from your book based on real people or events?

The book was written for a small-town library writing contest two years ago. The town had gone through a tragedy, and they were looking for a little cheer with some fun stories they could post on their website for people to read. The contest ran in November, and I never stopped thinking about the story I’d written. I had the first 2,500 words, but I desperately wanted to finish the story. The problem was, I didn’t have a workable plotline to carry me through the rest of the book. It was a few weeks later when I was at my son’s Christmas concert in the same town. Singing next to him was my future ‘Carrie Murray.’ I don’t remember a thing from that concert other than how vividly the plot of the book snapped into focus. The real ‘Gingerbread Falls’ came through for me, and that night, I went home and scribbled out the whole book start to finish, so I didn’t forget a thing. A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls is proof that libraries not only make readers for life, but also writers. I was so thrilled to bring them a paperback copy of this book last week with a thank you for what they do for the community.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I have two bits of advice that have served me well since I started writing.

  1. Write every day. I don’t care if it’s a sentence written on a napkin on your lunchbreak. Write something every day. Sentences and paragraphs add up to pages and chapters and novels, take my word for it. If I have a busy day and can’t sit down and formally write something on my WIP, I will always write 500 words or so on my phone before bed. Google Docs is great for this, but even a note app works.
  2. I once had an author tell me, “A third of the people will love you, a third of the people will be indifferent to you, and a third of the people will hate you. Write to the third of the people who love you because nothing you do will sway the other two-thirds of the people.” I took that advice as, “stay on brand and true to your writing and your readers will follow. There will be bad reviews and there will be people who never even try your work, but as long as you keep giving the third of the people who love you what they want, you’ll always find success.” After nearly ten years of doing this, I can say without a doubt she was spot-on. To sum it up, love what you do, but remember that not everyone will love what you do. Don’t be discouraged by that third of the people. Find the ones who love you and you’ll find your tribe.

About the Book

Title: A Christmas at Gingerbread Falls

Author: Katie Mettner

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Christmas

Actress Carrie Murray’s films are a Christmas lover’s delight. Filled with twinkling lights, festive carols, and happy endings, they’re the perfect escape from reality. For her and the audience. Then Tinseltown calls.

Braxton Timothy is Hollywood’s biggest action star. Handsome and talented but decidedly on the naughty list, no one can fathom his sudden desire to produce a feel-good Christmas movie—least of all, his no-name co-star.

Alternating between scenes reminiscent of everyone’s favorite made-for-TV movies and unexpected, off-screen chemistry, Gingerbread Falls has surprises in store this holiday season. The question is, will there be enough Christmas magic to convince two imperfect people that they’re perfect for each other?

Author Bio

Katie Mettner writes small-town romantic tales filled with epic love stories and happily-ever-afters. She proudly wears the title of, ‘the only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill,’ and loves decorating her prosthetic with the latest fashion trends. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and three mini-mes. Katie has a massive addiction to coffee and Twitter, and a lessening aversion to Pinterest — now that she’s quit trying to make the things she pins.

 

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