Sunday, July 29, 2012

Kat Yares-Writer, Filmmaker, and Photographer

Looking at your Amazon author page…there are some intriguing credentials. Can you share some of your screenplay credits with us?

My screenplay writing credits are only for the short movies produced by the production company, Dirt Road Productions,LLC, owned by myself and my husband Kevin.  I have worked as a script consultant and script supervisor on several films produced by other Indie filmmakers around the state of Arkansas.

I have written four feature length scripts that someday I hope to either sell or produce.

What about your Indie filmmaking?

So far, we’ve produced two short movies with one more scheduled for the fall of this year.  All are adapted from short stories I’ve written over the years.  The two shorts, The Fan and The Truth of Becoming, are submitted to numerous film festivals and we are hoping for a positive reaction.

Eventually we will combine the shorts on DVD and release them for public consumption under the Tales of High Gap label.  High Gap is the fictional world that many of my stories are set.

My first attempt at creating a short movie was a contest I participated in called The Human Emotion Challenge.  The goal was to create a two minute short video using no dialogue, one actor and a single location to convey a very real emotional punch.  This was shown along with several others two years ago at a regional film festival.  An early cut can be seen here:

How do the creative processes differ there from your other writing?

While both screenplays and movies are a form of storytelling, it takes much more effort to get the story across in a movie.  When writing a short story, novella or novel, the author is in complete control of their words and the emotional impact they want to deliver.  In a movie, there is more collaboration – not only do you have to have everything set up correctly, you also have to rely on your actors to convey the emotions you want delivered to your audience.  This can often be very difficult, requiring take after take to get it right.

The writing community can be its own worst enemy at times. What are some of the issues you see cropping up in the Indie world? Solutions?

The largest issue I see is that so very many think that if they string a few pages of sentences together that they are an author.  They may be a writer, but until you’ve had your work vetted by other professionals, you are not an author.  Then, these same writers will whine and moan when they do not become ‘overnight’ successes and begin attacking what few readers they have – either because they don’t leave reviews or because they leave a low review.  Readers are not the author’s critique group – problems in the story, i.e., formatting, grammar, plot points, should have been worked out before the writer hits ‘publish.’

Solutions?  I don’t really see any.  As long as ‘anyone’ can publish his or her golden words, this problem will remain.

The social media is…

 Social media is a soul-sucking, time wasting modern devil.  Yet it is necessary if you are an Indie anything.  Although I have accounts with all the major players (Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest), I mostly use Facebook.  More people and a larger reach, or at least that’s the story I’ve managed to convince myself.    I’ve tried to keep it simple by using my real name, rather than a pen, in case someone inclined to find me, can do so easily.

Share some information about your work with us:

Most of my stories are set in the aforementioned fictional world of High Gap, Arkansas – so you have a lot of rednecks and hillbillies, but also those who have come to the area to escape the city.  My novella, Vengeance Is Mine, set the tone for the horrors that seem to permeate the region.  Some is supernatural, some psychological and others are plain dark comedy.

The two novels I am working on now Beneath the Tor and The XIII would probably be classed as thrillers.  There’s nothing really horrific about them except that the subject matter will possibly horrify some people.

What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you write and are published?

Not really a question, more the assumption that since I have a few books out I must be rich.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I suppose if there is a question, it would be ‘how do you do it?’  To which, I always answer ‘one word after another’. 

How do you deal with negative reviews?

I read them, see if there is anything valid in them and then dismiss them from my mind.  What I write is not going to appeal to everyone and everyone is entitled to their opinion and their right to post that opinion.  It is something every author has to learn to accept, without comment.

You recently re-joined the HWA (Horror Writers Association). I had to let my own membership lapse due to financial issues, but I never really felt connected to the group. How do you maximize the benefits of membership?

To be honest, one of the main reasons I re-joined the HWA was to increase my credibility as a writer.  Although I’m only an affiliate member, it does mean that I had to meet certain criteria as a published writer to be accepted.  However, that being said, it is nice to belong to a group of writers who don’t think I’m warped and twisted.  Instead, because it is a small organization, most there will attempt to help each other out by sharing markets and advise.

Sticking with that topic, there are some who (unfairly in my opinion) deride the HWA as being a bit of a “Good Old Boys (and Girls) organization. Is this more a case of sour grapes, or does it have merit?

I don’t know if I would call it sour grapes exactly, but more of what seems to me a sense of entitlement.  To join the HWA as an affiliate or active member, you have to be published by someone other than yourself.  Many new Indie writers don’t understand that and take issue with the policy.  They believe that because they write horror, the HWA  should welcome them with open arms.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, not in the HWA or any other professional writer organizations that I know of. 

How much reading do you get in, and can a writer excel at his or her craft if they do not read?

I try to read at least an hour or so every day. I don’t always stay within my genre.  I have eclectic reading tastes, covering not only horror, but also historical fantasy, thrillers, mysteries and non-fiction.  I think it is essential for a writer to read.  I have to question those writers who say they don’t read.  I mean really, if you don’t read, how do you know how to tell a story?

Define “Indie Writer” and defend or attack their position in the book market.

Like the rise of the Indie moviemaker, I see the Indie writer in much the same way.  There is going to be dreck, but there are also going to be gems.  The Indie commits themselves to doing most or all of the work themselves or finding people who will help them out with details, such as covers, line editing, proofing, etc.  These things do not have to cost three arms and five legs as some companies (and individuals) are attempting to charge.  Bottom line is Indie Writer’s should learn to do the basics themselves, learn how to promote themselves without appearing spammy, and write the best stories they possibly can.

What new projects are you currently working on?

Several short stories, plus major rewrites of my two novels Beneath the Tor (think Mists of Avalon meets the Da Vinci Code) and The XIII (think Da Vinci Code meets The Illumanati).  Hopefully, I’ll have both of these released in time for the Christmas book buying season.

What is one thing about you that would surprise the readers who do not know you personally?

That I love photography also.  I rarely post the pictures I take online, so no-one has really seen them.  I figure I’m just learning how to do this, so no point in sharing pictures that aren’t the best they can be.

If you could team up with any Indie author, (no fair if I let you choose from one of the big names), who would you choose, and what would be the subject matter of the book?

I don’t think I can give you an answer to this as it’s tough enough to collaborate with my husband, whom I love on projects.  When I write, I’m a bit of a control freak so I really cannot imagine that I would work well with someone else.

Is there anyone you’d like to give a mention?

First and foremost would be my better half, Kevin, for 15 years of support and relentless belief in me.  Although I’ve made money writing for others in the past, if it were not for him, I would have never had the belief in myself to submit my fiction to others or to begin on this self-publishing journey I am not pursuing.

I suppose I should also thank my kids – they were the inspiration of many of my stories.

What defines success as a writer in your eyes?

Success to me isn’t fame or money.  It is when that one reader reaches out through email, letter or even a Facebook post and tells me that my words have touched them.  It only takes one and I’ve had quite a few, so in my eyes, I am successful.

What is in your “to be read” pile right now?

Currently Oceans of Red by Willow Cross, Monkey Love by John Paul Allen, It’s Not My Mountain Anymore by Barbara Woodall and Widowby Billie Sue Mosiman.  That’s just a start as I have almost a thousand books on my Kindle to be read at some point.

My thanks to Kat for stopping in. Check out her Amazon author page for a look at her available work. Pick out one or two and get some quality reading material.

Today's Olympic challenge is a nod to last night's thrilling and exceptional performance by the men's gymnastic team. The challenge is a handstand. Not just a headstand, but get yourself off the ground to the point where JUST your hands are on the floor.


  1. Sounds like a silly, almost naive question but I thought Indie (the way I've heard it swung round...) was another term for the writers who get published by small publishing houses and not the bigger company's such as harper collins or penguin.Or does it strictly mean self published. And if we (the royal we) are published by the smaller publisher, does this mean that we are not "real authors". I'm curious if anything, I'm wandering if I am reaching high enough for the goals I seek as a writer/author. Also what is the difference between a author and novelist? I've just began my journey and am eager to learn more with my art. Thank you for your time.


    1. No such thing as a silly question except for the one that remains unasked. The term "Indie" means different things to different folks. Small press, self-published..the term is open to interpretation. As for the "real authors" thing, that is also up to the person. I know when I felt like a "real author", but that was my moment. We could get into a deep and philosophical discourse over these points...but I think it comes down to the individual.

  2. Thank you for answering, I love the small press. In fact I was once told it is more difficult to get an acceptance with the small publisher. I think my main concern with being a writer is the hope in being taken seriously. There is nothing worse then having people that have no faith in your dream. So remains that I must keep the faith and my pen burning words into paper; What can I say? It's my addiction.