Let’s get to know Katy…
Katy Newton Naas graduated from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale with a bachelor’s degree in English Education and a master’s degree in Reading and Language Studies. She currently teaches middle school reading and high school English in southern Illinois, as well as children’s church. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband, her husband young son, Aven, and her four-legged sons, Shakespeare and Poe. She expects her second little boy to arrive in the next couple of weeks!
From a young age, Katy was always an avid reader and writer with a big imagination. Though she continues to grow older, her true literature love is and has always been young adult fiction. She loves creating both futuristic and realistic stories about teenagers, and feels so fortunate to get to work with them every day as a teacher.
- Why did you choose to write a dystopian novel?
- Well, I had the idea one day when I was bored on my computer, browsing through the Yahoo! articles. It was one of those days when every story was particularly depressing – murder, children gone missing, etc. So a thought occurred to me: If there is life out there somewhere, looking down on us, what do they think about us? The idea just kind of developed from there. I started thinking of all the ways their society would be different, better than ours. But that, of course, created problems of other sorts. Thus, the planet of Verdant was born!
- Do you have any favorite dystopian literature? Authors?
- My all-time favorite dystopian story is THE GIVER by Lois Lowry. I read that story for the first time in fifth grade, and it never let me go. I teach the novel now – all these years later – to my seventh graders, and most of them fall in love with it just like I did.
- Do you foresee any part of your book becoming reality? If so explain.
- Well, I think everyone wonders about the possibility of life out there on other planets. Will we ever get there to see it? I would like to think so. We’re closer now than we’ve ever been before. But as far as what that world would be like…I’m not sure. My main character, Noah, learns some horrible things about his “perfect” world. I’d like to think that part would never become reality.
- Was there a particular event or idea in the real world that inspired your writing?
- Well, like I said before, it all stemmed from the news articles. I try to watch the news and keep up with what is happening in the world around us, but sometimes, I just have to tune it out. If you stop and think about all the ‘what if’ situations that could happen, you would never go anywhere or do anything. It’s a scary world out there!
- When writing your book, did you seek to only tell a good story or to get across a specific message?
- I really just wanted to tell the story, but after it was finished, I realized there was a message as well. Sure, we’re far from perfect. But some of the things that go along with our imperfections are what make this world worth living in.
- What was the inspiration for your book?
- Well, I’ve spoke to this question a couple of times above, but I will just address it as writing in general. People always ask why we as writers choose to write. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I really don’t think we choose writing so much as writing chooses us. It’s something I feel compelled to do. When I get an idea or a particular character in my head, it stays there until I do something with it and I have to write it down. It’s been part of my life since I was very, very young.
- What other genres do you read?
- I will read literature from just about every genre. I teach middle school reading and high school English, so of course, I enjoy the classics. But on my own time, for entertainment purposes only, I concentrate on YA. I always joke that even though I continued to age, my literary tastes just didn’t grow up with me. My favorite books and authors are all YA.
- Have you or would you like to write in another genre? Which one?
- Well, THE VISITORS is YA dystopian, but my second release, HEALING RAIN, is YA contemporary/romance. I have a third release coming out in July, GUARDIAN, and it is a middle grade novel about a seventh grade girl with epilepsy and her seizure assistance dog. I have two current projects going: an adult contemporary romance, and a series of chapter books for young readers. So, as you can see, I’m all over the place! I would say my concentration is more YA and MG, but I am really excited for the young reader series as well. We will see where life and inspiration take me!
- Are you particularly fond of any one of you characters?
- I get pretty attached to all of my characters, I think. In THE VISITORS, I was most attached to Jady, the sixteen-year-old human protagonist. She is so strong and smart, and she’s not afraid to take chances. I have a real soft spot in my heart for Rain, the somewhat sarcastic protagonist in HEALING RAIN, because of all she has to go through in her life and the way she deals with it all. In GUARDIAN, I really fell in love with Drake, the seizure assistance dog, because of his loyalty and the sacrifices he makes to protect Kinsey, his owner. I don’t think it’s possible to spend so much time with these characters, writing their stories, and NOT become attached to them as if they’re family.
- Is there one book, in any genre, that has had a lasting impact on your life? Title. How did it affect you?
- Now this is a tough question. So many books come to mind. I think if I have to narrow it down to ONE choice, I’d say the one that has stuck with me the most throughout the years is CATCHER IN THE RYE. I just absolutely fell in love with Holden and all of his flaws. When I finished that book, I thought, I want to do this. So I guess you could say it was the novel that first made me think about really pursuing a career in writing.
You can visit Katy here…
Now let’s check out her YA novel, The Visitors…
Sometimes soul mates find each other in unlikely places. But is love worth it if it risks your life?
Seventeen-year-old Noah is startled when he awakes one day to find that dangerous, irrational, self-serving, and destructive visitors called “humans” are coming to visit his beautiful, perfect society. All citizens are ordered to have limited contact and share minimal information with these visitors.
Sixteen-year-old Jady is thrilled to accompany her father and his crew on a trip to a recently-discovered planet, Verdant. The United States’ crew is hopeful that they can learn from this advanced yet similar species.
Despite their greatest efforts to fight it, it doesn’t take long for Jady and Noah to fall in love and begin a secret affair. But when their relationship is revealed, danger is created for everyone involved…
Sounds like a fascinating read. You can go and buy here…
THE VISITORS is available in ebook, and now in paperback! Find it at: