IR Approved Author Katherine P. Stillerman: “When you finish creating your book, you’re only one-third of the way down the road to becoming a successful author. “

Over the Mountain received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Katherine P. Stillerman.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

Over the Mountain, published March 8, 2018

What’s the book’s first line?

“It happened a little over twenty years ago, in March of 1961—the night of my first official party at our house on Avondale Road—when Maria Dearman let slip the big secret that rocked my world.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”. 

A child of the Cold War and civil rights era, Harriet Oechsner’s coming of age story is fraught with teenage angst, emotion, and humor. A must read novel!

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event? 

The book is inspired by my own experience as a preacher’s kid, when our family moved for the third time in as many years, and in the middle of my high school career, to the affluent community of Mountain Brook, Alabama.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book? 

Harriet’s story will spark lots of memories for readers who grew up in the Cold War and civil rights era. However, the book has a universal appeal to anyone who experienced being an “outsider” as a teenager.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of? 

Harriet is honest about her insecurities and shortcomings, all the while revealing an underlying sense of self-worth and self-acceptance. She reminds me of a younger version of Skeeter Davis, the main character in The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

Saoirse Ronan.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I’ve always been a writer, but when I retired from public school teaching and administration in 2011, I decided to devote full time to becoming a published author.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

No. Over the Mountain is the third in my Barton Family series. The first book, Hattie’s Place, is set in rural South Carolina in 1906. It’s a sweet, coming of age story about Hattie Robinson finding her place in a new town and new school as a first-year teacher, just as she’s getting over a broken engagement. In the Fullness of Time takes up in 1913, with Hattie as a married woman trying to juggle her work for woman’s suffrage with her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Over the Mountain skips a generation and tells the story of Hattie’s granddaughter, Harriet Elizabeth Oechsner.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I’m a retired teacher and school administrator with the luxury to pursue writing full time.


How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

I’m engaged in some type of writing for several hours most every day; however, I don’t have a fixed schedule. When I’m drafting a novel, I will often spend six to eight hours in a stretch for several days in a row, and then let the draft sit until I’m motivated to go back to it. Like many writers, I tend to busy myself with non-essential writing tasks to avoid getting down to the real business of creating words on the page.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?   

The freedom to do whatever I choose with my writing is the best. The challenge of getting my books noticed is the hardest.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

When you finish creating your book, you’re only one-third of the way down the road to becoming a successful author. The second step is to prepare the book for publication by editing it, choosing a cover, and formatting the interior and exterior. The final step is marketing and promotion. It’s such a rush to complete your first book and such a rude awakening to find that you’ve really only just begun. Once you accept that reality and take responsibility for the other two phases, you’ve passed a major milestone to becoming a successful author.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? 

I probably would, just because I think it’s still considered more prestigious in many circles to have a publisher. But I won’t spend my time looking for one. I’d rather hone my skills to become a successful indie marketer.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune? more sex?)

I’d certainly like to experience fame and fortune as an author; but if I never sold another book, I’d keep on writing.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Eudora Welty.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen for the plot; News of the World by Paulette Jiles for the language and craftsmanship.



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