Sunday, June 23, 2013

Authors Giving Back

I recently joined a writer's group with a special purpose - to help restock libraries impacted by natural disasters 'n such. This effort was the lovechild of talented author, K.S. Brooks, who took some time from her busy schedule to talk about the project, her artistic outlets and writing tips.

Could you tell us a little about Authors for Hurricane Sandy Libraries and what inspired you to start the operation?

K.S.: It all started in October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy devastated the coast from New Jersey up into Connecticut. I sat in horror before my television, feeling helpless – and wanting so badly to do something. But – I’m broke: a typical starving author. I may not have money, but I do have some books, and I know lots of authors… It was just a natural progression of wanting to help. I look at it sort of like eHarmony for books – the libraries tell me what they need and I match them up with the perfect books. It’s a win-win scenario – libraries in need of books get them and authors who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to get their books into libraries out of their local range get their work in front of new readers.

How successful has the program been?

K.S.: Right now (5-19-13) we’ve got over 180 authors in the group, have shipped well over 1200 books total to nine different libraries, and have enjoyed an amazing amount of news coverage. I haven’t been able to keep up with the latter, but the majority of the articles can be found here:  I’m working on revamping my website, and there’ll be a section dedicated to the effort once that goes live.

How did you connect with so many authors and libraries?

K.S.: It was easier to connect with the authors than the libraries, that’s for certain. Word spread across social networking, and the next thing I knew, over a hundred authors were asking to join the Facebook group. That was great. When it came to the libraries, they were quite guarded about their information, which is understandable. The last thing they wanted while trying to rebuild was a bunch of books they couldn’t use. So I had to be a bit tenacious and really work hard at tracking down the libraries willing to work with indie authors.

You’ve published numerous titles across a wide range of genres - which is your favorite? Is there a genre you haven’t delved into yet that you’d like to?

K.S.: I’m not sure if my adventures in genre hopping are good or bad. I just write what comes out. I recently completed a light romantic comedy with my writing partner Stephen Hise and I have manuscripts already in the works in the mystery, horror, supernatural, and chick-lit (cringe) genres – not all in one book, but that would be interesting and possibly seizure-inducing, I guess. So far, I’ve written comedy/satire, detective noir, educational children’s, suspense, non-fiction, photography, character-driven drama, and action-adventure books. I know that doesn’t leave too many out (I’m not going to name them, I don’t want to start a genre war), but I can’t really think of any others I have the fortitude to take on. Isn’t that enough already? :)

As an award-winning photographer, your talent extends far beyond writing. What techniques do you use to keep your creativity fresh?

Award Winning Photo by K.S. Brooks
K.S.: ADHD. I’ve always got a bunch of different projects going at the same time, which keeps those wheels turning. I’ve always had an overactive imagination as well, so it’s really just a matter of having myself cloned so I can get all the ideas written and published - as opposed to getting inspired. I’m usually working on at least four to five projects – simultaneously. It keeps it interesting, that’s for certain! Here's one of her award winning photos:

What advice would you offer to 'budding' artists?

K.S.: Learn your industry. Do your homework. Submerge yourself in the culture. With all the information out there on the Internet, there’s really no reason someone can’t get a decent grasp on what needs to be done. For aspiring authors, Indies Unlimited offers an immense amount of articles, tutorials, and guidance – all for free. Right now the Evil Mastermind of IU and I are working on developing a knowledge base tool for the website to help make the information even easier for newbies to find.

K.S. Brooks, Novelist/Photographer
To find out more, visit her website
Here are a few of her titles:
Lust for Danger
The Mighty Oak and Me
The Kiss of Night
Postcards from Mr. Pish
Night Undone
Mr. Pish's Woodland Adventure
Odd and Odder:  A Collection

For the full list, visit her Amazon author page.


  1. Great post. I'm guessing libraries in storm-damaged areas are pretty low on most peoples' list, so this effort is well worthwhile. So nice to be able to give back.

  2. I was fortunate enough to one of the authors contacts by Kat on the libraries project. The amount of work that she put into it is way above and beyond.

    But that's not the only good work Kat does. She and Stephen Hise started a wonderful group called Indies Unlimited, dedicated to the support and promotion of good Indie writers. That, too, has become an enormous and growing success story. We owe Kat a huge debt of gratitude.

    1. Shucks, Yvonne, that's very sweet of you. Thanks. I'm glad you're a part of both efforts. :)

  3. Thank you for having me here, Marita! It's an honor to be sandwiched between Shasta and Ulyssa. :)

    1. Thanks for doing the interview! It was really entertaining :)

  4. Even after so many years having passed, its still heartwarming to read a story like the one on this webpage. Thanks for your continued hard work!