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Meet Alma Katsu.

Alma is a successful writer whose debut novel, The Taker, was a top pick by the American Library Association in 2011. She originally worked as a career intel analyst for almost 30 years, and FamousDC had the opportunity to hear about her writing and learn about how she was able to make such a drastic career switch. Here is what she had to say about following her dreams.

1. Can you explain your original career before writing?

I started as a writer after college working as a journalist and writing fiction on the side. I also did public relations and advertising briefly. I later took a job in intelligence, and the job was fascinating I stayed for more than 20 years, but I gave up writing. I worked in intelligence for 29 years before I completed my first book.

2. How did you transition back into a writing career?

I started to reexamine my life and what I wanted to really do, and I thought I never really did learn how to write a novel. It was my goal to learn and not necessarily get published. I went back to school part time and really applied myself. It took ten years to write my first book. I was ready to self publish, but within a couple months I had an agent, and it sold.

3. What types of books do you write?

The first book I wrote was sold as a stand alone, but I came up with an idea for it to become a trilogy. The next book will be published in early 2014. My books are difficult to describe because they don’t fall into one specific genre, but they are usually viewed as fantasy. They are historical and have a tragic love story as well.

4. Any tips for locals trying to make it in writing?

If people want to write, this is the best time to write because of how easy it is to self publish, and new platforms have come about that allow you to be distributed widely. There is also so much support – online courses and online support groups. It seems like more people are taking up the challenge, and there are so many resources available to help you. You have to make it a priority if you really want it to happen.

5. The First Lady needs a good read – where do you tell her to search in the DC area?

On small business Saturday President Obama visited this bookstore in Arlington – One More Page Books. It has a great selection with smart and thoughtful choices on the shelves. There is a great mixture of books you haven’t heard about but should read, and the staff is great.


Alma Katsu