October Newsletter! 🍁
Hello, my lil pumpkin pies!
Experimenting with new pet names for the newsletter subscribers. I hope everyone's doing well! It has been a wonderful and exhausting month or so since we were last in touch. Plenty to catch you up on, so let's get started!
First of all, books
We love a milestone (or two)!
LOVE FROM SCRATCH has been out in the world for 6 whole months! Halfway to a year!! That is nuts to me and almost as nuts is the picture I made to celebrate the occasion (below), modeled after people's updates on their newborn babies. My six month old has not required nearly as much work as the human kind since entering the world. She's still cute though, and if you haven't yet picked up a copy, there's no time like the present! You also now have the option to preorder LFS in PAPERBACK, coming out January 3rd!
NOT HERE TO STAY FRIENDS will be out in less than 6 months! Wow, these milestones echooo. Funny how that works when your books come out one-year-minus-one-day apart! Early reviews have been slowly rolling in for my reality dating show bbs Sloane and Liam, and they've been making this gal feel all warm and fuzzy inside. NHTSF is a little different from LFS, a bit of a tone shift (shifting toward the more ridiculous + dramatic, in true reality dating show fashion), but still very ~me~ and I'm excited to share it with more of you. If you're excited too, it would mean the absolute world to me if you'd consider pre-ordering your copy!
Which room in my house will we have to paint to match book 3? Stay tuned. Just kidding, probably.
These are likely the last ~official~ events + signing opportunities I'll have this year, so if we haven't yet gotten to say hi face to face, now's a great time! :)
Saturday October 29th, 9 am to 4 pm EST - Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY - KENTUCKY BOOK FESTIVAL! I'm so excited to be at a table at the KBF signing books all day! I am also allegedly, according to the event schedule, decorating pumpkins and talking about writing YA at noon in the children's book tent out behind JBB! This sounds hilarious and fun and is subject to change as I actually don't know much about it yet. But I hope to see you there, whether we're decorating pumpkins together or just chatting at my signing table, and you can find more info about the festival line-up and schedule here!
Thursday November 3rd, 7 pm EST - Transylvania University in Lexington, KY - Creative Intelligence Series on Stories and Myths of American Youth! This will be a panel open to the public followed by a book signing with local authors David Arnold, Heather Henson, Mariama J. Lockington, and me. I'm so excited to be invited back to my alma mater as part of this awesome series! I also feel like I need to go read a textbook or something to refresh the ol Academia Brain. But maybe my slowly decaying Romance Novelist Brain will just make me more relatable to the youths? Certainly so will calling them "the youths." More info can be found here!
+ September event recap
Wow, it was a lovely month for book people and book things and booooks! My friend & mentor Susan Lee's launch for her book Seoulmates was SO fun and I kinda still can't believe I got to be a small part of something that cool! It was a blast to reconnect with writer friends I haven't seen in a while, meet others in person for the first time, and make new friends too :') There was so much love and excitement for Susan and her beautiful debut!! Also, San Diego is amazing, why didn't anyone tell me?? (Lots of people told me.)
Back at home in KY, I had the coolest opportunity to be in conversation with my friend Chloe Gong on her tour for her new book Foul Lady Fortune! Chloe has the same super dry humor and love of Taylor Swift that I do, and all of that and more made the event the most fun! All of her readers were the sweetest. We also got to hang out with our agent, Laura, in person for the first time, which was the best!!
:') again. Real talk: the publishing industry is A Lot, and navigating the social parts of it can be weird and challenging. It's becoming more important to me all the time to find the publishing folk who are authentic and kind, and to hold onto them like the precious lil gems they are. All those pictured here: gems!!
Wild About You updates, a.k.a I'm Wild About Revisions
Consistent with the last several newsletters I've sent out, I'm still churning out the first draft of my third YA romance, Wild About You! I've ended up in several conversations recently about writing process—talking with other writers about what works for us while drafting, being asked for tips for drafting/outlining/revising, etc. It's had me paying closer attention to and reflecting more on what I actually do when I write a book, as opposed to my normal mode of "don't think about it too hard, just writewritewrite," and a couple things have stuck out, especially with regards to the current work in progress.
One is that I can't write out of chronological order to save my life. I wish this wasn't the case! I wish I could jump around to whatever scene feels interesting or easy to write today and leave the less exciting, in-between stuff in my dust! But alas, I'll get too stressed out about working out of order and having consistency issues when I jump back and forth and it'll be even more of a mess than my chronological first drafts already are.
In order to finish said chronologically written draft, I try to keep myself from doing too much editing first drafts as I go, instead opting to make a long list of all the things I know I'll want to change/add/fix/whatever during revisions. This means I quickly accumulate a massive pile of all the things I need to do better in the next round staring me down, waiting for me to finish the messy first round so I can get to the work of actually making it all remotely readable. I'm in that massive pile stage now. The pile looks a little more overwhelming every day and can scare me off from writing, because I know doing so gets me closer to having to deal with the pile. But at the same time, I love working with the existing words and the pile of possible fixes so much more than I love working with the wide open blank page. A CONUNDRUM!
In the early stages of a book, I'm also working with so many different things I want to accomplish with it, and it takes a lot of thought, time, and trial and error to whittle that down to what is actually reasonable to accomplish with these characters, their particular story, and the ~300something pages I have to tell it. So that's part of where I am now too—determining what Natalie and Finn's story actually is, out of the many, many things I wish it could be but don't have the capacity for in one leettle volume. Much like a potter on my fav show, The Great Pottery Throw Down, who wants to create a pot with eight handles, fifteen different glazes and oxides, sgraffito a pattern onto one side while also hand painting an intricate landscape on the other, and raku firing it all, but they only have two hours and two measly hands to do so...we gotta prioritize.
Speaking of revising, a ~retrospective~
I was recently faced with the challenge of freeing up storage in my nearly-full google drive, and while this was ultimately accomplished by weeding out 5 million screenshots and blurry videos accumulated over the last decade, I also spent time looking at old documents in my writing folder. One of these was a spreadsheet from alllll the way back in November 2019, a.k.a. when I was revising the earliest version of Love from Scratch during Pitch Wars! Oh it was so funny and weird to read. HOW LITTLE YOU KNEW, BB KAITLYN. But it was also my first time using a resource that my mentors, Auriane Desombre and Susan Lee, introduced to me and that I've used on every book since—Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes. This craft book is so short, 70something pages, and a godsend when it comes to understanding the story beats in a romance novel! These beats are a great starting point for structuring a romance plot and I don't know where I'd be without them (thank u Auriane, Susan, and Gwen xoxox). I'm including screenshots of the "beat sheet" for LFS as it existed then, before I ever worked on it with my editor or agent. Some things have changed, but plenty have also stayed consistent, so spoiler alert if you haven't read the book! It's color coded for Acts 1, 2, 3, and 4, and columns B and C show the name of the beat and a brief description of what it means. Enjoy! And tag yourself, I'm the box that just says, "Wallowing."
My life does include some non-book-related things, too
Not many, but they exist! Including:
Multiple Grand Canyons! You may remember from last newsletter that we were going to the Grand Canyon with some friends last month. That trip was so so fun! Husband and two friends successfully hiked from the north to south rim of the canyon in one day (!!) and it was pretty inspiring to see them and all the other canyon hikers cross the finish line. Almost inspiring enough to make me want to do something that physically challenging, but maybe not quite. The other two friends and I who drove the rental van from north to south rim also had a wonderful time and saw some amaaazing views! Then this past weekend, we went with different friends to Breaks Interstate Park in Kentucky and Virginia, which some signs and the internet have called the "Grand Canyon of the South"! It was completely different landscape-wise and did not involve anyone waking up at 3am for an all-day hike (lol). But it was also incredibly beautiful with so many fall colors in the trees, and we had a blast camping and spending time with friends we love.
Channeling our best quarantiner homebody selves again. Like a character in a historical romance novel, Mr. KHill is spending the next few months convalescing (a word we don't use enough in modern times imo)(he's fine!)(in more ways than one am I rite)(making it weird in the newsletter), so the two of us are doing a lot of couch sitting, food ordering, and TV watching. We're on the Bachelor in Paradise wagon, per usual, but also slowly working through the most recent season of Love Island UK and, for a dash of something not reality dating, just started Only Murders in the Building! It's also so considerate of Taylor to release Midnights this week (!!!) so we have a new 24/7 soundtrack for this season of life!
Grand Canyon #1
"Grand Canyon" #2 (aka Breaks Interstate Park)
Embarrassingly discovering I'm wearing the same sweatshirt in both those pictures taken almost a month apart. The most Kaitlyn move of all Kaitlyn moves.
It's been a wonderful fall so far! I feel so lucky and grateful for these friends and this life. Wishing you and yours a lovely Midnights release week!!
p.s. below is me signing my books at the last signings this year