Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Alma Katsu

Welcome to Writerhead Wednesday, a weekly feature in which a brilliant, charming, remarkable author answers three questions about her/his writerhead…a precious opportunity for looky-loos around the world to sneak into the creative noggins of talented writers and (ever so gently) muck about.

Today’s writerhead? Alma Katsu, whose novel The Taker has set the reading world a’buzz. Tiptoe as we make our way into her writerhead…it’s a little scarier than most (see answer to question #2).

The Scoop About The Taker

“On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her…despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort. And as she begins to tell her story, a story of enduring love and consummate betrayal that transcends time and mortality, Luke finds himself utterly captivated.

“Her impassioned account begins at the turn of the nineteenth century in the same small town of St. Andrew, Maine, back when it was a Puritan settlement. Consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, Lanny will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for all eternity. And now, two centuries later, the key to her healing and her salvation lies with Dr. Luke Findley.

“Part historical novel, part supernatural page-turner, The Taker is an unforgettable tale about the power of unrequited love not only to elevate and sustain, but also to blind and ultimately destroy, and how each of us is responsible for finding our own path to redemption.” [from amazon.com]

The Buzzzzzzzzzzz

“Readers won’t be able to tear their eyes away from Katsu’s mesmerizing tale.” ~ Booklist starred review

A Cosmopolitan UK Book of the Week: “Dark and super sexy…This will impress all Twi-hards who like their heroes to have graduated high school…”

“Seductive, daring, soaring, and ultimately gut-wrenching, The Taker is a lush, historical rendering of transcendent love…” ~ Jamie Ford, bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

First Sentence

“Goddamned freezing cold.”


And now, Alma’s writerhead

1. Describe your state of writerhead (the where, the when, the how, the what, the internal, the external).

My state of writerhead has changed over time. When I first started writing, they were periods of complete bliss. Just me, a pen and notebook, and usually a bed (I like to lie down while writing) and a sense of being deep in another world. The best times were while traveling, left alone in a hotel room with those uninterrupted hours before me. Now with the release of The Taker and the press of promotion, plus going through edits on the second book, those deep REM states of writerhead are rare. Despite the pull to do twenty things at once, when I really need to create something new I’ll feel a primal need to turn down the lights, get a notebook, curl up on the couch and write.

2. What happens if someone/something interrupts writerhead? (a spouse, a lover, a barking dog, an electrical outage, a baby’s cry, a phone call, a leg cramp, a dried-up pen, a computer crash, etc.)

I’m lucky to live a quiet life. My husband is a musician and away most evenings. My dogs are old enough now to be content lying at my feet while I’m at the laptop. I ignore the phone to the point where no one calls anymore. When someone does yank me out of a deep writing session I will be polite enough but inside I’m plotting the best way to kill them, or at least hurt them very badly. Like door-to-door solicitors for some completely worthy cause. There are probably a couple buried in my backyard.

3. Using a simile or metaphor, compare your writerhead to something.

For me, writerhead is the life I’m supposed to be living, instead of this one where you have to go grocery shopping and do laundry.


Alma Katsu is a writer living in the Washington, DC area with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. She graduated from Brandeis University, where she studied writing with novelist John Irving and children’s book author Margaret Rey, and received her MA in Fiction from the Johns Hopkins University. The Taker is her first novel and is published by Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster.

If you’d like to connect with Alma, hop on over to her web site (www.almakatsu.com). You can also greet her on Twitter (@almakatsu) or say hidy-ho on Facebook.


Q4U: Writers / Looky-Loos / Readers of Books That Scare You: Alma (along with a number of past writerheads) talks about how her writerhead has changed over the years. Has yours? How so?



Today—Wednesday, September 21, 2011—I’m giving away 1 copy of Alma Katsu’s The Taker.

RULES: To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment for Alma right here on WRITERHEAD. Show her some love! Tell her how gripped you were by the first paragraphs of The Taker. Ask if she’s going to be giving a reading in your town or how she came up with the idea for the book.

*Comments must be posted before the clock strikes midnight on September 22, 2011. (That’s Eastern Standard Time U.S.)

**This contest is open internationally.

***Winners will be drawn on Thursday, September 22. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

****Though I welcome all charming comments, only one comment per person will be counted in the contest. (I know, I know…but this isn’t American Idol.)

*****The winner will be drawn randomly by the highly scientific method of my 3yo pulling a name out of a hat (or some other convenient container…blocks box, [unused] cereal bowl, sand bucket, etc.)


8 Responses to Writerhead Wednesday: Featuring Alma Katsu

  1. Wow, this sounds like such an intriguing debut novel! Would love to get my hands on it. Also, Suzanne’s question above my comment is a good one. I’d be interested in the answer!

  2. I think I’ve read every review out there for The Taker! And with every review I want to read it more and more!

    Alma-my question is what do you find to be the most difficult part of writing a paranormal novel?

  3. I was hooked when I read the first paragraph of The Scoop on The Taker. When I got the the second paragraph I almost started jumping up and down. The paranormal aspect sounds fantastic!

    Good luck with finding those writerhead moments, Alma! 🙂