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Called to Write

1)      What is your Author name; use your Pen name if you have one.


October K Santerelli


2)      What inspired you to become a writer?


I don’t know that I was ‘inspired’ so much as ‘called,’ really. The moment I found out writing books was a real job that a person could actually do, I knew that was what I would do with my life. There was no question, no hesitation, and it drove my parents crazy. From age 12 on, I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of anything else.


3)      Do you challenge yourself to writing sprints? If so, how long are they?


I do! In fact, with my ADHD, writing sprints is the best way for me to get things on the page. I bop between 20 minute and 30 minute sprints. I also use hourglasses, like the kind with the sand? That way if I get really into what I’m writing, there’s no alarms to interrupt me.

4)      How did you come up with your cover design?


For my upcoming release, The Book of the Witch’s Son, I designed the cover with the past and the future in mind. These four novellas span hundreds of years, but follow one single character. On the back cover, there’s the past, with the character from the very start of the book at 14 years old. On the front cover, the future, where he’s otherworldly, a faerie, but also still himself. I gave it a decorative border like grimoires of old, since the book is based on magic, on a witch’s son. It’s simple, but I think it’s striking, too.


5)      What is your favorite way to connect with readers? (Social media, newsletters or something else)


Virtually, I love connecting with people through my newsletter. People on the newsletter get everything first, and the rare times I get a reply back, I love it. I’m really hoping to get more engagement this next year. But overall? Conventions. Conferences. Live and in person appearances. I love talking to readers, I love putting my book right into people’s hands, I love being able to share my excitement over reading with someone. I can talk to fellow book nerds for hours.


6)      Do you attend or participate in Cons or literary fests? If so, which ones?


Oh, gosh. My staple show is DragonCon in Atlanta, but I’ve taught at or guested at JordanCon, Superstars Writing Seminar, Multiverse Con, Rose City, ConCarolinas, and dozens more. I also frequently present for the Romance Writers of America, several of their branches love having me, and I love talking to them.

7)      Have you ever taken a course on writing or advertising? If so, which one(s) and how would you rate them?


I’ve taken several courses in 2024, actually. I like the information given in the Screw the Commute summit, and that one was free to attend and all the videos were uploaded so you could watch them later in the day if, like me, you lived on the wrong coast. I would give that one a 3 out of 5. I loved Pike’s Peak Writers’ in person conference for the sheer volume of offerings, that one is a 4 out of 5. I’m by no means done taking classes this year, either.


8)      Did you receive encouragement from a mentor, family member, teacher, coach…?


When I was 9 years old, in the 3rd grade, my teacher Mr. Todd Devine started to give me extra work to keep me entertained. It was right after my ADHD diagnosis. He realized I needed a challenge, and he gave me one. He had me learn ‘big’ words every week on top of the usual vocab lists. I had to be able to spell them and define them, and I loved it. At age 9, I fell in love with words. Individual words, large and small. After that, it’s really no surprise I went into a career involving them.


9)      What gives you the most satisfaction in the writing process?


I guess it’s not surprising when I say ‘the part where it all starts coming together,’ is it? I love when the cover is being designed, and the developmental edits are on my desk, and my work is suddenly transforming from a manuscript into a novel. I love that moment between, when I know this will be in someone else’s hands soon, when I’m giving it up, giving it over to someone else to take from here.


10)   What is the most difficult challenges you face in the writing process?


First drafts are my nemesis. The only way I’ve learned to get through them is to write bad on purpose. I don’t remember any of the writing rules, or tips and tricks, or metaphors, or show don’t tell, or, or, or… I just write. I make jokes that my first drafts read kind of like Luis in AntMan when he tells how his cousin talked to this girl who talked to this guy who… But I do a big rewrite for a second draft, where I pretty it up, and people only ever see that second draft, not the first.


11)   Pick five books that are must-reads in your mind.


This Poison Heart, Kalynn Bayron. Take a Thief, Mercedes Lackey. The Rover, Mel Odom. Chrestomanci, Diana Wynne Jones. The Fairy Godmother, Mercedes Lackey. (I really tried not to put too much Lackey on here.)


12)   What book protagonist would you love to talk to if he/she/they were real?


Young Merlin from TA Barron’s Lost Years of Merlin. Toward the end of the series, before he’s the Merlin but after he’s had a thousand adventures already. That would make for a fascinating conversation.


13)   What is your best book memory?


Reading by oil lamp, actually. I know that sounds archaic, but when I was five, we lived with my grandparents for a year. Their house backed up to a river, and whenever it flooded, the power went out. The power went out a lot. We set up oil lamps all over the house. Giant camping ones. And I loved reading by them, going through The Great Blueness, George and Martha, Strega Nona, and Amelia Bedelia. I read my Madeline collection by oil lamp a thousand times. It was the surreal quiet of it, the slight flicker, the way that the darkness in the rest of the house made it feel like a bubble. Just me and my books in our bubble.

14)   What is the name of your book/series? Tell me a little bit about them.


The Book of the Witch's Son is four novellas that follow Jeth, the son of a human witch and a faerie king. Stuck navigating two worlds he will never belong in, he has to decide what truly matters. When his mother dies, he sets out on an adventure that won't end for hundreds of years. Armed with magic, compassion, and very little else, Jeth faces down the fae in a war to protect humanity from their tricks, bad bargains, and cruelty -- a war that humans don't even know is happening. When he tires of trying to strike the perfect balance between humans and fae, he has to decide: which world does he really belong in? Which side is truly his?

FEATURING: Glimmers in the Night, Under the Hill, Doors of Glass, and Return to River Tor


15)   Do you have a website? If so, what is it?



16)   Where can we find and follow you? (Name your social media platforms.)


On tiktok: @okwrites and on Instagram: @o_k_writes


17)   If there anything important that you would want my readers to know about you?


(Oh no I can’t think of anything. Probably the Transgender and disabled stuff? Sensitivity editor, too.)


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