Interview with Kate McLay

Today we are sitting down with Kate McLay, author of The Housing Crisis and Magic in Her Touch.


LLP: You have written both contemporary and paranormal stories for LLP. Do you have a favorite genre out of the two?

KM: I love all my genres equally. That being said, paranormal is my first love and what I’m very comfortable writing in. When I write contemporary, I need to stretch different muscles which I think strengthens me as a writer.


LLP: Tell us more about how you approach the two genres.

KM: On a broad level, I approach them the same way. A story is a story whether the biggest drama is how you’re going to pay rent or how you’re going to defeat an evil witch. The biggest difference comes in world building. When I’m writing contemporary, I’m working with the world more or less as it is. When I’m working with paranormal, I get to dig in a little more and give my characters awesome powers…that I then need to go on and explain and decide exactly where the magical world intersects with the every day.

LLP: What does your writing space look like?

KM: As much as I’d love to imagine a spacious office overlooking the ocean, most of my writing is done on an IKEA couch overlooking my TV. Occasionally I shake it up by moving to my desk. I’d take a picture, but my space is a little too well lived in for me to share it with the entire internet.

LLP: Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for your latest story, The Housing Crisis?

KM: I thought it would be fun to do a story about roommates who (spoilers!) fall in love. And that got me thinking of what it’s like to be in your early twenties and trying to figure out how the ‘real world’ works once you’re out of college.

LLP: Do you have any crazy roommate stories? Have you ever fallen in love with one?;)

KM: I can’t say I’ve ever fallen in love with a roommate (though the opposite has definitely happened :p). I’ve actually been pretty lucky with my roommates in the past. All the crazy roommate stories I’m thinking up aren’t actually that crazy, even though it would leave me and my roommate dissolving into laughter. However, I don’t think an exploding soda can or stories of bravely slaying insects will leave anyone else in stitches.

LLP: Have any of your characters been similar to you in personality? 

KM: To write good characters, I need to be able to empathize with them. That automatically leads to at least some level of my personality bleeding into the characters. But I generally don’t try to make my characters fictional versions of myself. (That’s what fanfic is for)

LLP: Can you tell us what are you working on next?

KM: Something great!

LLP: You are a tease! OK, let’s switch to some fun questions. If you could have lunch with any three literary characters, who would you pick and why?

KM: This one’s hard! I’m going to go with Minerva McGonagall cause she can give me all the dirt on the magical world. Miles Vorkosigan because he seems like an amazing dinner companion. Finally, I’m going to complete this party with Elizabeth Bennet.

LLP: Were you inspired to write by any particular author?

KM: This might be a little literal, but I’d have to say JK Rowling. I was big into writing fanfic back in the day. Even now I’d drop everything in a heartbeat to go to Hogwarts.

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is another person. She made a splash when I was in middle school because she was only fourteen and got her first novel published. She also had this great web community – long before Facebook and Tumblr – that was a great place to hang out online. Now, it took me about a decade to actually get any project completed, but that was definitely inspirational.

LLP: Final question! What would be something most fans would be surprised to learn about you?

KM: I have a black belt! I actually used to be a martial arts instructor about ten years ago.