Katie Cross is the creative mind behind The Network
Series of books. The first book, Miss Mabel’s School for Girls
features a strong teenage witch named Bianca as she struggles to remove a curse placed on her family. The books are set against the eve of war in the Network of witches. Katie Cross is a former pediatric nurse with a passion for independent publishing. Cross spoke with us about her reasons for sticking to independent publishing and how her characters sometimes call the shots.
FGN: When did you first start writing? What were your first pieces about?
Katie Cross: I first started writing in the first grade in my journal. I’d tell you all about those stories, but you’d fall asleep in the middle of them.
FGN: What were some of your inspirations for Miss Mabel’s School for Girls?
Katie Cross: Writing a story for teenage girls that proved they don’t need a man to save them. I wanted young girls to read it and feel empowered, the way I would have at their age.
FGN: Was it important that Bianca’s school be an all-girl academy?
Not necessarily. I’m fascinated by the dynamics that spring up when girls get together in groups, so I wanted to explore that more in my writing.
FGN: Do you have the entire story arc for The Network series planned out, or do the characters write their own world and instances?
Katie Cross: Oh, they are so in charge. I’ve planned the stories out, but then find that halfway through a second or third draft, I have to change the entire thing because they’ve decided something else. It’s both fun and frustrating at the same time.
FGN: Your writing website proudly declares your writing “indie.” Why is it important to you to publish as an independent writer?
Katie Cross: Because I love the creative control of publishing my stories. I feared that giving control to anyone else in the project would remove a lot of the core values and ideas, such as family connection, inner strength, and a lacking romance. (For the first book.)
FGN: What are some of the rituals (coffee, certain music playlists, yoga) that you do before sitting down to write?
Katie Cross: Schedules are very difficult for me to maintain, so I can’t think of any rituals. I’ll fall into a “habit” for a week or two and quickly lose it because I get bored. Writing has been the same way. Sometimes I write every morning, sometimes every evening. Sometimes I like music, sometimes I need total silence.
FGN: What kind of books do you enjoy when you aren’t writing? What is your favorite book?
Katie Cross: I love the classics! Vanity Fair is one of my favorites, but so is A Tale of Two Cities, and Anna Karenina, and Les Miserables. Love in the Time of Cholera was another unexpected, fascinating gem.FGN: According to your biography, you’re also a pediatric nurse. How do you balance your writing life with your nursing life?
Katie Cross: I’ve been writing full time for a little over a year now, so it’s a much easier balance. Before that, I worked a lot of night shifts so I could write, plot, plan, and email during the quiet times at 2am. It wasn’t easy, but it could work.
FGN: What sort of activities, other than writing, do you enjoy?
Katie Cross: HIKING. I’m obsessed with the mountains. My husband and I love to go trail running, and I hike every day with my two dogs, who are vizsla’s and incredibly energetic. If it’s outside, you can bet I probably love to do it.
FGN: Where can our readers follow your latest projects?
Right now I have many projects! The official website for the Network Series is www.missmabels.com
. I’m also on Wattpad, where I write contemporary chick lit. My first novel on Wattpad, Bon Bons to Yoga Pants
, is currently (as I write this) #10 in all of chick lit and was just sponsored by Athenos yogurt. It’s a free read, so that’s a great place to catch a glimpse of my writing.
Katie Cross’s Network Series is available on Amazon and on Powell’s