Hello, everyone! My name is Kate M. Colby, and I’m proud to say that, as of yesterday, I am officially a published author.
I began writing in the second grade, around age seven or eight. Writing was my first love (although I do confess a huge childhood crush on the white Power Ranger), and boy has our relationship been a tumultuous one. My first story was a picture book. We were learning about the U.S. Civil War, so I wrote a story in which a young girl escaped a plantation and followed the Big Dipper to freedom. My second grade teacher loved the story and encouraged me to keep at writing, so I did. Mrs. Cram, if you ever read this, thank you.
From there, and through high school, writing became scribbling in spiral notebooks. I would scrawl a few pages, a little snippet of some character’s life, and then get bored or frustrated and abandon it. Despite this lack of staying power, I still decided to pursue a creative writing degree in university. I guess I figured that everything up until that point “didn’t count,” and all I needed was the right professor and right peer group to turn me from a “wannabe” writer into an author.
In one way or another, I was right. My creative writing professor specialized in poetry, and from her, I learned how to apply the stylings of poetry—rhythm, precision, word choice, line breaks—to prose. However, in a twist of fate, I ended up taking a sociology class my first semester of college. I instantly fell in love with sociology, and I decided to major in it alongside English literature and creative writing. While my English and writing classes may have cemented my love of language and improved my writing skills, I fully believe that sociology is what made me an author.
You see, all those years when I was struggling with “writer’s block,” it was because I didn’t have a purpose behind my writing. Sure, I wanted to write for the sake of writing, but I’ve come to realize that, for me, that isn’t motivation enough. I love art for the sake of art, and I admire those who practice it, but I just can’t. I have to have a “bigger” reason.
My third year of university, I took “Gender and Sexuality.” In that class, the professor had us read Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Long story short, the novels depicts three adventurers (all men) discovering a utopian society that consists only of women. It makes fantastic statements about gender roles, sexuality, and other feminist topics. Once I read that book, I knew that’s what I needed to do. I thought back on my first story book, where I had made about as complex an argument as an eight-year-old could make about racism, and I realized I had done it.
I wouldn’t articulate it until three years later, but combining my love of language (English) with my passion for the human experience (sociology) would become my artistic purpose—Exploring real world themes in not-quite-real worlds.
My first novel, The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1), does exactly that. In the steampunk wasteland I’ve created, I’m able to explore several sociological issues I care about in a controlled context. Desertera features an immensely unequal class system, a questionable religious ideology, and an unhealthy sense of sexuality. My main character, Aya, also expresses sociological themes. Mainly, she challenges conventional gender roles and a corrupt political atmosphere.
Through my novel, I am able (in theory, anyway) to make others take pause, to consider how these themes play out in real life, to decide where they stand on them and what they plan to do about the injustices they see.
And then again, maybe I just entertain. That’s fine, too!
Each reader will take something different from my novel. That’s one of the most exciting (and nerve-wracking!) parts of authorship. All I can do is write what I want to say and put it out there for the world to interpret. Maybe they’ll “get” me and my writing. Maybe they won’t. But either way, if only for a short time, the readers will have the chance to explore the themes I deem important. And if only one person gets it—well, I won’t be rolling in the royalties—but at least I’ll have fulfilled my purpose.
If you’d like to read The Cogsmith’s Daughter (Desertera #1), you can enter my Goodreads Giveaway for your chance to win one of three signed copies HERE.
Or, if you’re not a gambler (I’m not either), you can pick up your copy at any of the online retailers listed below:
If you’d like to learn more about me and my writing, you can visit my website or follow me on your favorite social media sites listed below:
And of course, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Chris for hosting me and for all the brilliant information he shares with the author community. You are the perfect example of what the writing community is all about, and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say thank you for all you do!