Book Nerd Interview
Katharine “Katie” Sise is a New York City based author, jewelry designer and television host. Years ago, at age twenty-four— after dropping a rare and very expensive bottle of champagne on her way to deliver it to Robert De Niro’s table—she realized she needed a way to fund her acting and writing career that didn’t involve balancing a tray full of cocktails. That fall, she taught herself to make jewelry and launched Katharine Sise Jewelry. Within a few months, Lucky Magazine called her a “Designer to Watch” and her company appeared in every major fashion magazine—including Vogue, W, Elle, Self, Lucky, InStyle, Bazaar, Allure, Us Weekly, People, In Touch, Page Six Magazine, Real Simple, FN, Life and Style, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Women’s Wear Daily, Marie Claire and Glamour. Before she knew it, her celebrity clientele included Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Kelly Ripa, Ellen Pompeo, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Beyonce Knowles, Anne Hathaway and Drew Barrymore.
Katharine has been profiled on dozens of online fashion and lifestyle outlets including Forbes.com, Elle.com, InStyle.com, People.com, Sweet, The Huffington Post and The New York Post. Her jewelry has appeared on television shows such as The View, Live with Regis and Kelly, E! News, Good Day New York, Full Frontal Fashion, Movie and a Makeover, The O.C., Brothers and Sisters and Gossip Girl. While Katharine was chatting with the ladies from The View, one of her necklaces broke on air and fell from her neck to her lap because she didn’t spend enough time getting the clasp right. That moment is preserved, forever, on a DVD at her parents’ house.
Katharine has designed jewelry for national campaigns like Vera Wang, Gap and Keds. In 2009, Target launched Katharine Sise for Target.
Katharine has worked as a fashion and lifestyle consultant, appearing on-air for networks like HSN, Oxygen, Discovery Channel, CNBC and ABC’s Good Morning America. For eighteen months, Katharine co-hosted a live monthly television show for The Home Shopping Network. She also appeared as The Daily Special’s resident style expert.
Katharine’s first book, Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career (Perseus/Running Press) hit shelves in September of 2010. Creative Girl is written for every woman who wants to make her living in the creative world, whether in an office job or at the helm of her own business. The book is an encouraging and practical take on how to make a living doing what you love.
Katharine’s first novel, The Boyfriend App, will be published by HarperCollins Balzer + Bray on April 30, 2013. The Boyfriend App tells the story of a girl who, in order to win a scholarship offered by a secretly-evil global computing corporation, invents an app that makes any boy fall madly in love with her, with chaotic results.
Katharine has a BA in Film, Television and Theater from The University of Notre Dame. She lives in New York City with her family.
I remember very clearly being in third grade and starting to write shorts stories and books. I was so into it! I spent the rest of my childhood writing plays for my younger brother and sister to perform. I knew very early that I wanted to be a writer! I definitely got sidetracked—working as a jewelry designer, TV host, bartender, etc.—but that original love was always there :)
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
That I’m not a techie! To be able to write Audrey’s character, I worked with an awesome programmer named Jason Scalia who completely opened up this world for me. He taught me intricate hacking/programming/coding in a way even I could understand.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
I love The Great Gatsby. I remember being so swept away the first time I read it, and I still feel that way every time I reread it. I love getting lost in a book—when an author can keep you turning the pages they’ve really done their job! Outside of my genre, I love dystopic books—especially Lauren Oliver and Anna Carey’s books.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Anna Carey gave me great book-specific advice on The Boyfriend App. After reading the first draft she suggested making Blake and Audrey former best friends. It strengthened the conflict between them and changed the whole book!
In your new book; The Boyfriend App, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
The Boyfriend App is a story of a very smart computer hacker who very much wants to go to the college of her dreams. So when the opportunity arises to create an app worth $200,000 in scholarship money—she pushes the limits and uncovers some very scandalous software, and uses to create an app that can get any girl any guy she wants—with chaotic results.
For those who are unfamiliar with Audrey, how would you introduce her?
I’d say: Audrey McCarthy is smart, kind, and very loyal. She loves her family and her friends. She fights for what she believes in.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on the follow-up novel to The Boyfriend App. It’s not a direct sequel; it’s more of a companion book. I’m just starting it, so I don’t have too many details yet!
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Let’s see: how about introducing Nigit to Johnny Drama from Entourage. I know that’s a TV show and not a book—but I think he and Nigit would get along so well! :)
What part of Blake did you enjoy writing the most?
Confession: I love Blake. I want to write a whole book from her perspective. I’m fascinated by people who struggle with inner demons and lash out because of it. I wrote many pages from Blake’s perspective to try and get a good handle on her. I needed to figure out her home life and what would have to happen there to make her so unhappy. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, and I’ve always found that fascinating. A bad home life doesn’t excuse bullying, but at least it can help explain it, and that’s helpful when writing a character like Blake. I loved writing the scene where Blake tries to make amends in the best way she can.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
“Are you awake?”
My husband asks me this in the morning and I say “no,” and try to pull the covers over my head. But I think it might be one of the only few questions to which you can’t honestly answer “no”!
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Remember that you are the only person with your life experience. There is no one else like you in the entire world. That means no one can tell a story like you can. You’re already unique. Sometimes remembering that helps you tell a story exactly as it should be told.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
Sort of bad day: My husband
Really bad day: My sister
REALLY bad day: My mom
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The 1920s if I could be a teenage flapper! I’d love to write a book set in that time period.
Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
My sister. (My sister Meghan or my sister-in-law Christine are usually the answers to that question J)
Who was your first boyfriend?
Nick Parker. He asked me out on March 19th 1995 at 9:36 pm. (On the phone. I wasn’t allowed to be out that late! J) He was such a nice guy and I was over the moon when we started dating. We still keep in touch from time to time.
Who was the last person you hugged?
What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Oatmeal! I have it every morning and usually again sometime during the day. I always have 2 packs of instant oatmeal in my handbag just in case I get hungry. My agent jokes there should be an Oatmeal Rider in all of my contracts.
Where can readers stalk you?
Twitter @KatieSise Facebook Katie Sise Books Website: www.KatharineSise.com I really, really love hearing from readers. So here’s my email! KatieSise@gmail.com
But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?
This roller coaster ride that Audrey is set to embark on is full of emotions and surprises. Readers will find her character to be relatable. She has been betrayed by her former best friend, lost her father, and would love to get the boy of her dreams to feel the same way about her. She’s your typical normal teenage girl.
Although the development of her app was rather quick and became an instant hit among her peers, there were unanticipated bugs that caused it to disappear just as fast. What she thought would bring her success and make her dreams come true, she would have never thought that it also entailed a heap of problems.
The Boyfriend App is an amazingly-crafted story with highly appealing characters. Through Katie’s wonderful writing, she provides readers with a portal into the world of high school shenanigans and all of the drama that only high school can bring. It has everything that makes a YA novel great: suspense, romantic love triangles, conflict, fast-paced plot, and a cast of characters that are simply wonderful and memorable.