Guest Post: Katharyn Blair

Guest Post, Misc.

Meet Katharyn Blair.


The Guest Post.

I was sitting at my desk at my job as an intern for my city’s Parks and Recreation department when I first saw Vesper Montgomery. She was standing in a cathedral, the multi-hued light of the stained glass on her face. She had long blonde hair that was braided back over her shoulder, and she wore armor.

I stopped what I was doing (probably working on a memo, or something, since I had quit my fancy job working for 20th Century Fox so that I might have any time to write, and that meant taking a job as my city’s parks and recreation intern. It was not like the show.) and sunk into the image swirling around in my mind.

Who the heck are you? I wondered. Because, mind you, I was working on an entirely different novel. I had different people in my head. (That novel is called The Breath of Bones, and it’s the start of a duology that comes out from Penguin in Winter 2020!) I don’t know how many of you have felt this strange phenomena of hearing from a completely different character while working on a separate WIP, but it feels a little like cheating.

But in this case, I was unfaithful. (Sorry, Eerie & Co.)

I jotted down some notes about Vesper, not giving her too much time, since I had just left my first agent and was getting ready to query again with my new WIP. I put her Vesper in a drawer and promised someday.

Turns out, Someday was a lot sooner than I thought. I queried with my book, The Breath of Bones, and signed with Brianne Johnson of Writers House. After some light edits, we went on submission. One of the (brilliant) things my agent does is attach a questionnaire with the submission so that the editor gets an idea of who the author is. One question is… what are two other ideas you’re thinking about writing? So, I wrote down a couple sentences about Vesper’s story.

HarperCollins called a week later. After a lot of back and forth – we landed somewhere awesome and strange. They decided Harper wasn’t the home for Breath of Bones. But, not unlike what happened to me as I sat at my desk in City Hall the year before – they had caught a glimpse of Vesper, and they wanted me to write her story.

I was floored. Confused, and honestly? Stoked.

Vesper had been pacing the back of my mind for months, waiting for me to get to her. I knew she had a backstory, and I knew she’d gone through some rough stuff. I knew she was in love, that it was tearing her apart, and that she was an overall badass.

So I dove in, and that WIP became what is now known as The Beckoning Shadow.

Turns out Vesper doesn’t wear armor, but does wear sparring gloves – she learns MMA fighting in preparation for a deadly tournament where the winner can undo a tragedy in their lives. She has friends, too – and some of them are so much louder than her, and much more demanding.

I thought it would be years before I got to her. I thought I knew exactly how it was all going to pan out, but I’m so thankful that I was surprised by this, because it makes sense. I’ve been nothing but surprised by Vesper since the moment we met.

I hope the readers feel the same way, too.



Get to Know Nikki Katz

Author Interview

Meet Nikki Katz.


Nikki Katz is an author and editor living in sunny San Diego with her three children. With a BS in aerospace engineering, Nikki first put her writing skills to use publishing four nonfiction books. She quickly sought out the creativity of young adult novels—writing about first loves and journeys of discovery. The Midnight Dance is her debut novel.

Twitter: @katzni | Instagram: @nikkikatz | Facebook as Nikki Katz |



Onto the interview!

From rocket science to novel writing… tell us your publishing story in five words or less. Then expand as much as you’d like.

“The roundabout route”.

Like you mentioned, I went from rocket science to writing young adult novels. Not the most straight route from point A to point B. My degree is in aerospace engineering and from there I went into management consultant and then the dotcom boom in NYC. After that I began working as a freelance writer and consultant, then moved to editorial work and writing. I’ve always been a left brain/right brain sort of girl. YA is my soft spot for fiction. I love stories of finding yourself and those first instances of young love.

Nonfiction or fiction. Do you have a preference? What was easier for you to write?
Absolutely fiction as a preference but nonfiction is easier to write! Nonfiction topics are based on facts and there’s typically a format or structure to follow in writing the book. Fiction allows you the freedom to develop worlds and characters and experiment with writing styles and plot structure. In my opinion it’s more fun, creative and artistic.

Do you have experience with dancing and dancing etiquette? If not, how did you research and then write The Midnight Dance?
I took a couple of dance classes as a young adult (literally an adult, not a teen!) My daughter also took ballet, jazz, and tap for years. From there I researched ballet terms, but honestly there’s not much ballet in the book. The gala is really more of a staged performance and I did theater all through high school. That made it easier to write about rehearsals, sets, and performance elements.

Flashes of a past life. A controlling figure literally known as the Master. *goosebumps* So when “the music ends, the dance begins,” what was your favorite scene, or line, from The Midnight Dance?
My favorite scene is probably the one where Penny discovers the identify of the new girl at the estate. Without giving spoilers: this is Penny’s moment of deepest despair, when she’s lost all hope but finally takes control of her life.

I see you have another YA coming out in 2018. Hello The King’s Questioner! First off, congrats! Next, what can you tell me about this new book? Any juicy news to share as of yet? If not, what inspired this novel?
The King’s Questioner follows Kalen, a mental lockpick who has the ability to enter into people’s minds and reveal their deepest secrets. When he uncovers something the king has been hiding in the mind of the prince, Kalen must put aside their differences and work together—to save his life and the fate of the kingdom.

The idea for the novel came to me when I started toying around with the idea of keys and a lockpick. From there I had my cast of characters (including a girl with silver tattoos), rich settings (including a city built on the water), and magical elements.

Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?
Thanks for having me! I hope anyone who reads The Midnight Dance finds a way to identify with Penny’s journey of finding herself.


Thank you Nikki for stopping by to visit A New Look On Books!


The Midnight Dance catch your eye? Go grab your copy today!