Today we're excited to chat with Gwen C. Katz, author of Among the Red Stars. Read on for more about Gwen and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Gwen C. Katz!
Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines.
As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.
Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.
1. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. I didn't want to use the word "witches" in the title because I was concerned people would think the book was about actual witches. So I swapped a drawing of an airplane with a friend in exchange for a title. They suggested "Beneath the Red Stars" but I decided "Among the Red Stars" made more sense for pilots.
2. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I've learned to treat problems with the manuscript as challenges with solutions instead of intractable roadblocks.
3. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love that Valka has such a powerful stance. She really looks like she's in control and she's going to make things happen.
4. Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Without spoilers, there's a scene where the regiment suffers a major loss, and that was really hard scene to write. I've never been good at dealing with loss and Valka isn't either.
5. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Marina Raskova, the famous aviator and commander. She's the mentor character and I kept having the problem that her dialogue sounded too much like Mufasa.
6. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Drafting. When you catch that high and you're putting down 3000 words a day, it's just so much fun. Revising means you have to go back and face all the bad parts of the manuscript. That's when you usually have your dark night of the soul.
7. What would you say is your superpower?
I can identify an absurd number of local plants and animals.
8. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Early on, I decided I wanted to donate part of my advance to charity if I sold Among the Red Stars. I decided to give the money to the Malala Fund. Malala Yousafzai is such an inspiration. The Night Witches accomplished great things because they were in a country that valued girls' education. All girls should have those opportunities.
Among the Red Stars
By: Gwen C. Katz
Release Date: October 3, 2017