The Memories, Lies, and Other Binds
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An Interview with author
Katy Foraker

Writing for me is like food for the soul. I have all these ideas bouncing around in my mind— sometimes for years! Writing helps me get it all out. When those ideas are out on paper, they’re not taking up real estate in my mind any longer, which is a great feeling. Also, the process of writing; getting into that mode when the words are just bursting out of me is so cathartic. Some people ask me where the words come from, and unfortunately I don’t have an answer for that. They come from the ether and I mold them into scenes in the book. I can’t explain it any other way! 

In essence, I write because I love to write--it feels good. and if at least one person enjoys my writing, it would make me fulfilled as a writer. 

Why Do You Write?

I had this story in my mind for decades, probably since I was a teenager! I really love the urban fantasy stories (Buffy, Angel, A Discovery of Witches, The Rook, etc.) of the early 2000/2010s, but I didn’t really love how a lot of the female main characters were written. I wanted one who wasn’t “The Chosen One” or super-strong, or hard. I wanted her to be a reluctant hero with faults, not just a physically strong heroine from the beginning. 

Reading The Rook, by Daniel O’Malley was also a game-changer for me. It was the first urban fantasy I read with a female main character where the plot didn’t center around romance. It was such a breath of fresh air! It was just a fun, and sometimes silly paranormal story, and it made me realize that my own book didn’t have to be centered on a romance I didn’t want it to have. 

Writing this story during the pandemic also made me want to create a story that allowed an immersive break from the current reality. That’s why the story is set in 2021, but there’s no pandemic. It’s not an epic fantasy and doesn’t take itself too seriously for this reason as well.  It was also very intentional that the story ended with the cotton-candy ending. There is enough trauma going on in the world, I wanted readers to feel very satisfied and content when they read the last sentence. 

What was the inspiration behind MEMORIES, LIES, AND OTHER BINDS?

Creating the characters for the novel was probably one of the most interesting parts of writing the book! I started with Zoey’s character, and one of my favorite things with writing is juxtapositions. I wanted her to be this immortal character, but she’s also been locked up for the past few centuries which doesn’t allow her to mature emotionally. Immortal characters in other stories are often represented as these mature, grounded personalities, but Zoey has a bit of a ‘young soul’, she can be childish and brash. She can also be incredibly docile given her 18th Century upbringing. I wrote the story during the height of the pandemic (Winter 2021) when most people in DC were still staying locked inside and developing new routines to cope with everything being closed down. That went into a lot of molding of Zoey's character: the fact that once you settle into a new routine, it’s hard to try to break out of it. 

In creating all the side-characters, I remember sitting down on my couch staring at the blank character sheet. I had a vague idea (basically the vibe) of the characters, and drew inspiration from friends, co-workers, and troupes. Once I had them written down with some back story, I remember it feeling so odd writing them into their first scenes. Before writing MEMORIES, LIES, AND OTHER BINDS, I had only written fan-fiction and was accustomed to writing with fully fleshed-out characters. These characters were complete strangers to me in the beginning! But as I continued to write the book, they took shape and evolved on their own! It was definitely a ‘trust the process’ sort of thing. I also tried to make the characters as believable as possible. Most of my friends have mixes of different religions, ethnic backgrounds, sexualities, etc. and you’ll see I tried to incorporate those like Astrid being a quarter-leprechaun to Charlotte’s Pagan upbringing.  

And for anyone wondering, I would also say that my own personality is most like Charlotte’s.

What Inspired the characters of MEMORIES, LIES, AND OTHER BINDS? 

During the pandemic, I was watching Good Morning America and they were talking about the best ways to pass the time during lockdown. They suggested doing an activity that brought you joy as a child, like knitting or coloring, etc. As a kid I used to write. A lot. So, I decided to take the time during lockdown to write the story that’s always been in my mind. 

I also was diagnosed with cataracts (due to sublux [dislocated] lenses as part of Marfan Syndrome) and became at high risk of developing glaucoma. As a result, starting in November 2020, I started to rapidly lose my vision. That jump started me to try to write this novel as quickly as possible while I still had the majority of my sight. In January 2022, I had reconstructive eye surgery to save and restore my vision, which thankfully was successful! I can now see 20/20 and just need to use reading glasses when at the computer or reading. 

What Made You Want to Become a Writer? 

I consider myself a pantser writer with guard rails. I don’t write the scenes in sequence with the novel until the middle/end. I start with a few key scenes that are itching to get out of my head and just write those as I see them. I might write some notes on specific scene details or dialogue I don’t want to forget, but that’s it. When the story starts to take shape, I write a ‘Beat Sheet’, which are all the points in the story in order so I make sure I don’t forget everything. 

I usually write in the evenings after work, and always enjoy a glass of wine to get the creative juices flowing. I have a lot of anxiety about writing, and the wine helps with that too (for better or worse!). I would describe writing a lot like method-acting in that I have to actually feel the emotions of the characters to be able to write them. Because of that, some scenes are incredibly hard to write. The scene where Augustine show’s up at Zoey’s apartment took me nearly five hours to draft—I was constantly taking breaks because that scene was so emotionally draining. 

What is your Writing Process Like? 

Read and write. It doesn’t matter what it is, just read and write. I am constantly reading—especially when I am in writing mode and I find it helps me discover new words, dialogue tags, more concise ways to convey emotion that I can put my own spin on. My favorite author is Deborah Harkness, I just love the way she writes! So you can usually find me re-reading one of her books when I’m in writing mode. 

I would also encourage aspiring writers to write everything-anything their heart tells them to. I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to my own writing, and there are many brain dump scenes/exercises I do that no eyes other than mine will ever see. But in that writing, there is always potential—a piece of dialogue, an action sequence, etc. that I often re-leverage for the novel. It is also important to remember that there are so many changes from messy first draft to final, but you have to start somewhere. I also truly believe in the 70/20/10 rule in that: 70% of what you write will be OK, 20% will be good, and 10% will be great. The only way to write more ‘great’ sentences is to write more in general. And lastly, it’s easier to revise writing when there are actually words on the paper. 

What is Your Best Advice for Aspiring Writers?

"I very rarely give out 5 start reviews but this is one of my top 5 books of 2022. From the first chapter I was hooked and I finished this book in 24 hours. Zoey is relatable and fun. The world building is lovely. I really enjoy the new spin on some old troupes. I love the nod to well known vampire stories sprinkled in. (A rare type of vampires in the Pacific Northwest who didn't burn but sparkled in the sun. Our heroine has a strong suspicion they are blood thirsty fae with an identity crisis.... 😂) There were a couple of twists that I saw coming but one I absolutely didn't anticipate. I think and hope this book/author becomes the hot new thing because man, I need more books ASAP! This isn't a great work of American literature but it's an entertaining, fun book. 10/10 would recommend.” 

- Reader Review


"The plot was really intriguing and interesting and I was totally invested in it. There were also some nice twists and turns, and I especially didn’t see coming what happened towards the end. In addition, the book felt like you are watching your favorite paranormal tv show and a bit like a mixture of The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf and Supernatural and I really enjoyed that.
Overall, this paranormal story is really great and if you like those types of stories, I highly recommend checking this one out."

- Blogger Review

“𝐓𝐋𝐃𝐑: This was a fantastical tale, and I devoured it. There is something about a polished ambiance and fully grown and built characters that is soooo enticing.
The story's language was another highlight for me. The writing was witty and easy to read.

In the wake of a serial killer's rise to power, Zoey goes against the advise of her coworkers and searches for the homicidal vampire responsible... who happens to be her brother. RIDER won't stand by and watch while Zoey skewers her evil sibling. She now stands in the company of her ex, who left her for a mortal (and no, she is not over it), and a young witch who may be the next target of the killer.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐝: The characters. They were all so richly written and fully developed. I also loved the suspense and mystery surrounding the plot. It kept me guessing until the very end. I LOVED the ending. Won't share more to avoid spoilers.

This novel is different from most fantasy novels I've read (not a lot) in that it establishes a very strong environment that feels real, you end up forgetting the fantasy at times. The world is truly beautifully imagined. In a never-ending chain of shocking revelations, the author guides the reader through an universe that is both wholly original and rife with familiar concepts like dark academia.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧'𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞: The book starts off amazing and ends on a bang. There is a part in the middle that feels almost ...useless... It really brings you off the flow of wanting to stay at the edge of your seat.

𝐖𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐈 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐭? Yes, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good dark academia and fantasy novel. It has the perfect mix of both genres.”

- Reader Review

“Completely blown away! Waiting for a big series.” 

- Librarian Review

“a supernatural world full of colorful characters and interesting lore and history while maintaining a very grounded and relatable energy.” 

- Reader Review

“Katy has expertly crafted the immersive world of Zoey Prescott. A refreshing take on a supernatural thriller with unanticipated turns” 

- Reader Review


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