- Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books?
I have an academic background in art history (19th century Venetian, decorative glass enamel mosaics are my area of expertise), but I work at a university as a senior financial administrator. I’m part of both the Wattpad Stars and the Futures programs, and I’ve written several commissioned short stories for Wattpad’s partners including for the Crimson Peak and The Gallows movie promotions, as well as Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ve won and/or semi-finaled in several Wattpad contests, including coming in first in the XOXO Connects flash fiction contest that got me a publishing contract with Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster), as well as being one of the ten winners of the Target Once Upon Now contest where my short retelling of Grimm’s The Six Swans was published in an anthology that can be bought in paperback and e-book. My pirate adventure PLUNDER was also released by Hachette as an audiobook, and literally hearing my characters come to life was absolutely amazing!
- How long have you been writing?
I started writing creative fiction in 2009 with what turned out to be WATERS OF OBLIVION. It’s a paranormal romance duology about an immortal, 500-year-old woman in a twenty-three-year-old looking body posing as a graduate student who suddenly discovers that there are others like her out in the world, including a man to whom she has a strong, but forgotten connection.
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
WOO was a story that I just had to get out, almost to the point of obsession. There were some nights I’d stay up until 2:00 am when I had to get up the next morning to go to work because the words were just flowing. It still took me four years to finish the book that is about 120K words, but that was with several gaps including taking six months off to write my graduate thesis. When I finished, I wanted to share it with others so I eventually found Wattpad in 2013 and uploaded the story. It found some success, and the rest is history.
- Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I am definitely a part-time writer because I have a family and a full-time job. I’m a multi-tasker by nature and the type of person who gets more done under deadlines, so I find having other commitments besides writing actually makes me more productive.
- How do you find or make time to write?
When I’m writing, I can’t have any interruptions. I do my best brainstorming during my hour-long commute (each way!) so I try to have either a notebook or my phone handy to jot down notes or lines of dialogue while sitting in traffic so I don’t forget them. I don’t have a set time for actual writing, but I squeeze it in during evenings or on weekends.
- Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I write based on inspiration, not genres, so anything goes. I do try to subvert tropes whenever I can or mix genres. Right now, I’m working on a historical that may get a supernatural twist, and I’m toying with the idea of holiday horror.
- How do you come up with the ideas for your stories?
A song, a TV show, or a book I’m reading can all be seeds for a new idea. I also try to use my travel or educational experiences to make my writing more realistic. For example, many of the settings in WOO are places in Europe I’ve travelled to and I also mention a lot of pieces of art that I’ve personally studied.
- For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?
My brand—if I had to describe the overarching theme of my writing—would be strong yet relatable heroines, flawed but redeemable heroes, and the occasional villain you’ll love to hate. I don’t stick to one genre nor one age group, and I’ve dabbled in historical fiction, adult paranormal and contemporary romance, dystopian adventure, gothic middle-grade horror and contemporary YA. Almost everything I write has a romantic element just because that’s such a universal theme and you can use it in so many ways to drive a story and develop characters. Most (but not all) of my stories also have a female protagonist because girls can kick ass, too.
- What did you find most useful in learning to write the genre? What was the least useful or most destructive?
I’ve found that there are pros and cons to writing different genres. With contemporary stories, I usually have the least amount of research to do, particularly with slang, food, technology, etc. With historical, obviously you need to make sure that you’re not including anything anachronistic to the chosen time period so that it sounds authentic, so I had to do a fair amount of research for my Pirate King series to make sure that I was getting 1780s history correct. Speculative fiction is fun because you get to make up a lot of your own rules—whether it’s technology, science, cultures, etc. Anything with horror or mystery has to be fresh enough to get readers’ interest, so that becomes an added challenge in terms of planning a story in those genres.
- From start until the end, what’s your favourite part of writing a book?
I absolutely LOVE writing first chapters. To me, they’re the most fun to write because you have a completely blank slate. I have several first chapters on my laptop of stories that I will probably never continue writing, which is kind of sad, but I just don’t have time to expand all of them into full books.
- What inspires you to write?
I try to always want to tell myself the story first and foremost. If I—as the writer—am bored with the story, then I can’t expect the readers to be interested. The success of my Pirate King series (Book 1: PLUNDER and Book 2: SCUTTLE) are a great example of this. I started writing these books completely for myself and out of the fun. I threw in a whole bunch of pirate tropes and even exaggerated some just for the heck of it, and this is my most successful story on Wattpad. To date, the two books have almost 3.8M combined reads.
- Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”?
I don’t get writer’s block. I actually have the opposite problem: too many ideas. I always have at least two works in progress (WIPs), so my issue is trying to decide what to work on. This is compounded by a very strong imposter syndrome, which can be crippling at times, manifesting itself by me physically being unable to just sit down at the computer and type. When I’m experiencing this, I get very bad ADD and tiny things will distract me from writing.
- How long do they usually last?
Being distracted and unmotivated from writing can last days or months. When I got the S&S contract, I had to have the first draft of a 60K manuscript delivered to the publisher in six months. I set a daily writing goal and managed to write 70K within the timeframe. But afterwards, I couldn’t decide what to work on next, so for the following half-year, I wrote a total of zero words. It was the worst.
- Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Don’t force it and don’t beat yourself up if the words don’t flow. Keep a notebook or file of ideas. I use Pinterest to create an idea board for all of my stories, so that may help slowly get organized and inspired. Set deadlines, but don’t be too upset if you don’t keep your internal deadline. Maybe find a writing buddy to read each of your new chapters. If you know that you have someone supportive looking forward to your work, that may be the push you need to keep plugging away at it.
- A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
I don’t think this is any more true for authors than someone in another field. The authors I know on Wattpad are an amazingly diverse bunch who come from all different types of backgrounds and have various strengths and weaknesses. Some are less social than others, but I think the very medium of Wattpad makes it a great conduit of success for people who may not thrive in a face-to-face environment. Personally, I’d rather interact with people remotely, but being a part of the Wattpad community has let me do so much more than I ever thought I’d do. I was a panellist at two WattCons (2015 London & 2016 NYC), and I was part of @TheCornerBooth weekly YouTube show in 2015 where we discussed all things Wattpad/writing.
- What is some advice for new writers?
Writing may be a solitary endeavour, but being part of a community that supports you makes it so much better, so take advantage of opportunities like contests or collaborations. You can even start your own projects if you don’t find one that interests you. I hosted holiday-themed short story anthologies on Wattpad before they were cool (unfortunately, I had to remove them from my profile when I joined the Futures Program because I couldn’t earn money on other people’s stories), and I also started a custom profile called @ShePersisted when I noticed a gap. Also, listen to advice (like from the Wattpad4) and learn from others’ mistakes.
Check RS Kovach’s books out!
He just wants her booty, but she’ll end up stealing his heart.
After pirates kidnap seventeen-year-old Ana in a case of mistaken identity, the orphaned housemaid prepares for the worst. Instead, playing the wholesome daughter of a Spanish admiral among rag-tag buccaneers becomes the least of her concerns. Battles, a shipwreck, mutiny, and most unexpectedly, love are what really turn her world upside down.
When the truth threatens to end Ana’s adventures, it’s the secrets of the dashing Alestair Kincade, Pirate King of the Caribbean, that prove to be the most dangerous. Ana will need to use her wits and charm to not only stay off the gallows but also to avoid a fate she now considers to be worse than death: being sent home to Panama to a hopeless future.
Now an audiobook from Hachette Powered by Wattpad. This book is complete. Reached #1 on both the Historical Fiction and Adventure ‘What’s Hot’ Lists. Book Two is called SCUTTLE (formerly The Reluctant Pirate Queen).
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
PLUNDER (Book One in The Pirate King Series )© 2014 by R.S. Kovach All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced without the author’s written permission.
FOLLOW RS Kovach on Wattpad profile where all her books can be found: