Author Interview: Cory Putman Oakes

Hey guys. Hope you’re all good.

I know it hasn’t been long at all since I last posted. But I’m excited about this interview and wanted to put it up ASAP.

Today I’m thrilled to post an interview with an author whom I’ve actually known on Twitter for a while. We lost touch there for a bit but, having seen some of Cory’s writing journey on Twitter, talking to her and seeing that she’s awesome, and having enjoyed her book ‘The Veil’, in this Author Interview series, Cory is definitely an author I wanted to have featured.

Interview is below.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Cory Putman Oakes. I was born in Basel, Switzerland but I grew up in California (in the San Francisco Bay area). In addition to writing, I have also been a lawyer at a large law firm and I also taught a business law class to undergraduates at Texas State University. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband, Mark, our two kids, and our pets. When I’m not writing I like to run, cook, and hang out with my family.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing stories since forever. But in terms of writing as a career, I left my previous career, law, nine years ago. I’ve been writing in a serious way ever since.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Continuing to have books published would be nice, but really I just want to be able to keep on writing and to keep getting better at it.

Which writers inspire you?

I think every writer has a book that they read at exactly the right time that has stayed with them and inspired them to write something themselves. I have two! In sixth grade I read Alanna the First Adventure (by Tamora Pierce) and The Blue Sword (by Robin McKinley). I will never love other books the way I loved/love those books. They made me realize that I wanted to grow up and write something like that!

What are you working on at the minute? What’s it about?

Right now I am working on the sequel to DINOSAUR BOY. It’s called DINOSAUR BOY SAVES MARS and it’s about what happens when Sawyer and his two best friends go to Mars.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

My books tend to be in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. That’s not to say that I’ll never write anything different, but my favorite books have always been in this genre. I like the challenge of writing something that is realistic and relatable but which also has an element of the fantastic to it.

When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?

I always wanted to be a writer. I’ve been writing stories since before I can remember. But I didn’t start to pursue it as a career right away because I knew it was hard and I wanted to have a “Plan B” to fall back on. So I went to law school, graduated, and started working at a law firm. At some point, it hit me that being a lawyer was hard too. And if I was going to be working really, really hard at something, it should probably be the thing I’ve always wanted to do. So I left the firm and started writing full time.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

These days, I spend part of my time writing and part of my time being a mom to my two kiddos.

Where do your ideas come from?

The idea for Dinosaur Boy came from a sweatshirt that my son had when he was three months old – it had dinosaur spikes on the hood.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? Are you a pantser or a  plotter?

I am a broad strokes plotter and a details pantser.

What is the hardest thing about writing for you?

The hardest thing is trusting that the words will keep coming. Because there are some days when they just don’t. And other days when they do, but I don’t have enough time to do them justice. Trusting that in the end, it will all come together. That’s really tough. I’m not sure that’s ever going to get better.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Getting excited about a new story idea. That is always the best!

Do you read much? If so, who are your favourite authors?

I think that reading is a very important thing for writers to do. That being said, I haven’t gotten as much reading done as I would like for the past couple of years. But now that my kids are getting to the age where they are reliably sleeping through the night, that’s starting to change. I just finished WE WERE LIARS (by E. Lockhart) and I loved it.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

Lately, I’ve put a LOT of time into marketing, but that’s because I have a book coming out this month. Ordinarily, I check in with Twitter and Facebook a couple of times every day and try to keep a good amount of things on the calendar. But I try not to let anything, even marketing, interfere with my writing time.

What are your opinions on fanfiction?

I actually don’t know anything about fanfiction!

What’s your views on social media for promoting your books?

I think that having a social media presence is essential for authors. Plus, I honestly really enjoy Twitter and Facebook because without them, I wouldn’t have as much daily interaction with people. Writing can be very solitary and social media is a wonderful way to feel like you have “work buddies,” even if you’re alone in your house.

Which social network works best for you?

I’m a big Twitter fan.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?

I think they’re very cool!

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

There are a LOT of books I would have loved to have written. If I really have to choose one, I’d probably say Pride and Prejudice. Just because I can read it over and over again and never get tired of it.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Settle in for the long haul. Nothing happens quickly in publishing and the sooner you realize that this has everything to do with the industry culture and not you, the more comfortable you will be. I spent a lot of years chomping at the bit, wanting to be published now, right now please! And I am only now starting to realize how lucky I am that I did not have that wish granted. I needed time to develop as a writer, to get better. I am still working hard to get better. But having some years to learn and practice and work at it were truly invaluable – even if they felt pretty rotten at the time! Be patient and work hard and everything will turn out just fine.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?

You can find out more about me on my website and social media pages:

Cory’s website:

Cory’s Twitter:

Cory’s Facebook:

Thank you for being on PenScratch Cory. This was great!

Thank you so much for having me, Zuhaib!


Cory Putman Oakes                               th


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