Kissing and Macking up with Katie D. Anderson

This self-proclaimed, self-taught, stay-at-home mother and gifted writer became inspired to write her new novel Kiss & Make Up during a fight with her husband. Katie D. Anderson opens up about the book, writing in general, and trusting the path her life has taken below.

YOUNG ADULT: What made you decide to start writing?
KATIE D. ANDERSON: I’ve thought about this a lot because it wasn’t all that clear. In fact, my friends and family thought my foray into writing was rather strange. But as I look back I can see that I was always writing down funny things my friends said. I never equated it with wanting to “write,” it was just a peculiar habit. However, one day in my thirties I had this insatiable desire to write a movie. I LOVE movies and thought the lives of my friends were totally screen-worthy so I recruited my friend Sarah Frances Hardy (also a children’s book writer) and we did it. We wrote a movie. Books came a few years later.

YA: Tell us a little bit about your latest work.
KDA: Kiss & Make Up is a romantic comedy about a young girl who discovers that she can read the mind of anyone she kisses. Excited by this ability, she chooses to kiss a bunch of brainy boys in order to improve her grades. But kissing for grades isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and she learns some tough lessons about love and life in the process.

YA: What are some of the qualities in your latest work that set it/you apart from what’s currently out there on the young adult market?
KDA: The most obvious difference is the fact that a lot of what’s popular these days is in the dystopic and paranormal genres. While I love reading these books, I find that on the whole, they can be a little dark. So I choose to write contemporary books that offer “light” to young people. Often I will incorporate a magical twist, but not so much that they veer into true paranormal or fantasy. 

  From the Book:

YA:  Can you describe the path to getting this work published? What were the challenges? What was easy about it?
KDA: Getting published is HARD. There is no easy way around it. Luckily for me, I am stubborn and was determined to pursue it for as long as it took. I would say the hardest aspect of the journey for me was the actual writing—I’m self-taught and so it took YEARS to learn how to plot, etc… I was always getting rejections saying that my plot didn’t work, or my characters were boring, or any number of technical issues. So learning the basics of writing was the hardest. And just between you and me, my grammar still sucks. I have to have people insert almost all of my commas. I bet I’ve made a million mistakes answering these questions.

From a spiritual standpoint, I think it’s sometimes hard to trust God’s plan for your life. For me, trusting that I was supposed to pursue writing as a career was extremely difficult. But I am so thankful I persevered because I learned SO much more than just plotting—things like grace, patience, and courage. I can’t emphasize enough what an incredible blessing this has been. CHASE YOUR DREAMS, PEOPLE! 

YA: What gave you the unique and amusing central idea for Kiss & Make Up?
KDA: One day in the middle of an argument with my husband, I thought it would be so much easier to resolve it if I could just kiss him and see what he was thinking. I knew in that split second I had the seed of a great novel.

YA:   If you could cast the Dream Film Adaptation of your work, who would you cast? 
KDA: Truthfully, I’m a fan of unknowns. I like watching movies in which the actors are complete strangers to me. But, I have discussed this very question with Warner Bros. (who hold the film rights) and what I told them was that I thought a well-known actress like Sandra Bullock or Jennifer Anniston should be cast in the role of Emerson’s aunt. AND I suggested that Justin Bieber play the role of Edwin McNeely. Edwin is the main character’s love interest and he is very musical so The Biebs would nail it. Of this, I am certain. 

YA:   Do you have pursuits outside of young adult fiction?
KDA: I am a stay at home mother of two teenage girls who keep me very busy. When I’m not writing, I’m tending to my husband and the girls, playing tennis, or cooking. I’m a great cook 🙂