Episode 6: Writing with Spirit – with Jacques Von Kat

Welcome back to Alchemy for Authors!

In this episode I talk with Kat, one half of the husband-wife duo, Jacques Von Kat.

Kat shares how her husband’s background as a Psychic Medium, and her own fascination with Spirit, has impacted upon their writing lives. She also shares where they get their book ideas, how they link their standalone novels, and other tips for the author journey.

To find out more about Kat, or to connect with her, check out her website at https://www.jacquesvonkat.com/, follow her on Instagram @jacquesvonkat_author, and find her books on Amazon.

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Find the full transcript of this episode below.

Episode 6: Writing with Spirit – with Jacques Von Kat – Transcript

Jo: Hello, everyone. I hope you’ve been having a wonderful week and you’ve been getting lots of writing done. Now, if you’ve been following me on other platforms, you know I have a real fascination with the spirit world. And if you’re like me and you’re openminded about the roles our spirit guides and angels play in our writing lives and what happens when we die, then I think you’re really going to enjoy today’s episode. Today I’m chatting with Kat, one half of the husband wife duo, Jacques von Kat. Together they write books that often have a light-hearted take on what it’s like in the afterlife. Kat shares with us how her husband’s background as a psychic medium and her own fascination with spirit has impacted on their writing lives. We talk a lot about where ideas come from and how they link their standalone novels. There is just so much goodness in today’s episode. So when you’re ready, grab a drink, find a comfy chair, sit back and enjoy the show.

All right. Welcome back my lovelies to Alchemy for Authors. Today we’re talking with the lovely Kat, one half of the husband and wife duo who go by the name Jacques von Kat. Now Jack and Kat have been writing together for four years. On the Other Side of Alive is their debut novel, which came out in 2020. They are fascinated by the spiritual world and it was at a spiritual reading where the duo first met. When the couple started dating, they discovered that they both had a passion for writing, but in different genres. Jack asked Kat if she could assist him with his historical fiction novel, having learnt she graduated from the University of Lincoln with a degree in English Literature and History, whereas Jack was the opposite. He abandoned his studies, preferring to go on adventures with his friends. He always felt different to the rest of his family, who all excelled at school. Jack ended up in a career in engineering and welding, where he finds his knack for problem solving comes in handy. The duo decided to abandon this initial story in favour of an idea they could both work on together and the concept for On the Other Side of Alive was created. Their second novel, Mirror Man, was released in May 2021. It is a standalone novel, but all their books and characters are set in the same universe, whether with a crossover of characters or an item. The sequel to their first novel, Lost and Lonely, was released in October 2021 and they have big plans for 2022. Jack likes to restore scooters in his spare time. Three of his custom scooters have graced the front covers of the best scooter magazines in the UK. One was even used in the film, Faith, filmed in 2005, where Jack was also an extra. They live in Northern Lincolnshire with their two Bernese Mountain dogs and enjoy traveling the world.

So welcome, Kat. I am so excited to have you here.

Kat: Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Jo: I think just to give my listeners a little bit of a background, I think how we connected was maybe through Instagram. I know that when you were just about to launch your book On the Other side of Alive, and I think it was sometime around the time that I was looking at putting together my debut novel as well. And so I was really fascinated by kind of watching you pave the way for me, which was really cool. And something else which really drew me to not only your books, but just connecting with you, I think we both share this fascination with the spirit world, and that kind of comes through in our books. And I thought it was super interesting that you and your husband have that fascination there as well. So we’ll kind of get to that a little bit later. But I was hoping we can maybe just start with you telling us a little bit about your writing journey and how you were called to be an author.

Jo: For me, I’ve always been an avid reader, so I suppose it was kind of inevitable at some point that I was going to start writing. I mean, I always do a lot of short stories, that sort of thing. Done some creative writing classes and just scribbling little bits down. Wasn’t until I met Jack and he said that he’d been writing that I really thought, oh, maybe this is something that I can do. And I’ve looked into it, and all the pros and cons have been Traditional or indie. And I thought, yeah, you know what? Maybe we can do this. And then when he told me that he already started his own, I thought, maybe I can help him with it. I’ve got a degree in history because his first story was a historical fiction piece, and it would just come together and we just make a really good team. How it works for us is Jack is more of the ideas man, and I take the idea and I expand upon it and fill in all the missing bits that he hasn’t thought of. And then if something that it gets stuck with and I go back to him and he comes up with another idea. He’s absolutely full of them. He’s got so many ideas that we keep on writing books for 20 years, I bet.

Jo: That’s so cool. So are you the one that does the actual writing? Getting the words down, or do you take turns?

Kat: No, I do absolutely all the writing. It’s not to say that he doesn’t do any because a lot of his ideas come through dreams. So he’ll wake up in the mornings, and then I was like, where is he? Because I know I’ve heard him get up. I usually get up before him, and then I get up and see him scribbling away. I’ve got to get this dream down it’s going to come in handy for a book. So then I take those ideas and then I expand upon them.

Jo: That is so fascinating. I love that idea of getting stories from dreams. You’re not the first author I’ve heard. I’m sure I’ve read books and that where authors have said they’ve got their stories through dreams. And I was talking with an author yesterday who was actually experimenting with channeling books. So she would kind of go into a meditation and just let the book kind of come through. So it’s such an interesting concept to me. It’s cool.

Kat: For Jack, he’s a psychic medium, and so he does have what he calls he does have guides and he does have help from the spiritual world. And he says to me, a lot of these ideas are coming through from them. They’re helping him with these ideas and putting them into his head through dreams.

Jo: Oh, my gosh. I just love that. Do you have that experience, too, or is Jack really the ideas person, or do you feel some kind of connection when you’re writing that you’re starting to kind of get story ideas or having the help from the other side as you’re writing as well?

Kat: I have actually had one dream come to me that we will actually be writing this year, but that is the first time it’s happened to me like that, where it’s been so vivid that I’ve got so much detail. I have to write it down.

Jo: That’s so good.

Kat: But yeah, mainly it comes to him, not me.

Jo: That is so interesting. Now, obviously, you can’t really speak for him because he’s not there at the moment. But do you think he would have any tips on how any other authors, myself or anybody else could try and connect to those ideas?

Kat: Yeah, he will say to you, switch off from all social media, don’t watch TV, stay away from the news. That’s how he does it.

Jo: Yeah, that’s really cool. So obviously that connection to your husband being a psychic medium that must play into your stories, because one of the things I love about your stories, or some of them, not so much Mirror Man, but your other two really brought in that spirit world, which was really cool. And so I’m assuming that was probably Jack’s idea, to write a story based on somebody who’s passed?

Kat: It was more my story because I started asking a lot of questions once we got more together and knowing each other. I was so fascinated by the spiritual world, and I didn’t really know that much about it, but I thought there must be something else out there. And then I thought he talks about these spirits with him. And I said, what do it? What are they up to? And we talked more about that, and that would make a really good idea for what our spirits are getting up to on the Other Side. And that’s how it came up about I put the funny bit in about Caroline went speed dating and think, why aren’t they doing that while they’re waiting around, perhaps for the rest of their loved ones to join them? They must be doing something. And I just want people to look at death in a light hearted way, to think that they are still around us. They are still comforting us. And that’s how it came about.

Jo: I love that. I’ve really enjoyed all of your books. On the Other Side of the Alive was obviously the first one I read not long after I think it came out. And the whole premise behind it, I just thought it was so fascinating. Caroline, isn’t it? She the main character?

Kat: Yes, Caroline, yeah.

Jo: Yeah. So just with her having this almost human life on the Other Side where she meets a new man and she has these people that she doesn’t necessarily get along with. And then you bring in all the supernatural with the poltergeist and the spirit guides and all the rest of it, and the angels. And you’ve kind of played with those ideas in not such a traditional sense, like the angels kind of have a bit of attitude. The spirit guide has a bit of an attitude in different ways, and that just makes it so fun. So I’ve really enjoyed your books for that. Is this purely, like, just a fun fictional story to you, or is it actually how you think, well, maybe these things actually do happen like this on the Other Side?

Kat: I’d like to think that they do happen. Why should life, I know they’ve passed on, but why should their life? Then why shouldn’t it still go and enjoy themselves on the spiritual plane? So, yeah, I like to think that our loved ones are doing something fun.

Jo: Awesome. I love that. I love that I have very similar beliefs. So I think that’s really cool. Your second book, Mirror Man, was actually my favourite. I absolutely love Mirror Man. You took on the idea of neurodiversity, so I’m not quite sure that John Michael, I think, was the main protagonist. So I’m not sure if he was autistic or something else, but I just felt it was portrayed so amazingly. And you just did so well at kind of getting inside his head. What inspired you to write that?

Kat: So we did want to have a character that was autistic, but you’re not the first one to mention that. We didn’t mention it in the book. And the reason why is we set it in where Jack was born in a little town called Son, which is in Yorkshire. So in the 80s, autism wouldn’t have been diagnosed for him at that time, which is why we never said it, because no people wouldn’t have known so that he was just known as the odd, strange kid. And Jack said there were kids like that nowadays would have got the help and support that they needed. And he would have probably had a much better life if it was 20 years later, because they would have known what his condition was. Another part of the idea came from when he was actually on holiday. Where did we go? I think it was Spain somewhere like that. And in the daytime the hotels just saw glass windows and you can see everything in the pool. It looks really nice. But at night time, Jack sat up to these big windows and he said, everything’s just reflected back at me. He said, what if we had a character that just looks at everybody through mirrors? Because that’s what it was like. He was looking at me and he could see all the restaurant and everything behind him. So he was just what was going on behind him through the mirrors and nobody would know that’s what he was doing. So that’s where it came from.

Jo: Oh, my gosh, it was just such an amazing concept. I hadn’t read a book like that before. And then you went and did something even cooler, I think in your third book, which is the sequel to On the Other Side of Alive, and you connected all three books, even though Mirror Man was a standalone. It was so cool to be taken on that journey where the main character like Caroline and your Lost and Lonely, and On the Other Side of Alive, she kind of crossed paths with John Michael from Mirror Man.

Kat: Yeah. So what we did is, I don’t know if you remember, there’s a scene in Mirror Man where he’s kind of like looking off, like he’s seen something. And it’s the point in the sequel, Lost and Lonely, where they’re looking at each other. And I said, we need to do this crossover. I said, so they’re all three of like in the room at the same time. And then I said, what people will only know if they actually read all three, that they actually are connected. Otherwise you just don’t got a clue what John Michael has seen. Something’s caught his eye at that time and what we are actually doing. His book as a standalone, so you’ll actually get to see Max’s journey. So he’s a Knight’s Templar and you’ll get to see his journey from the very beginning. And then it will tie back to On the Other Side of Alive. Do you remember the bit where Caroline goes back to the past with Eisen?

Jo: Yes.

Kat: And Max actually will see him there and he looks like he’s talking to himself, but he’s actually talking to Caroline. So everything will all be tied back, although it will be kept as a standalone level. But if anyone does enjoy reading all of our work, then we’ll see how they all connect to each other.

Jo: It’s such a gift to your readers to be able to do that because they pretty much do work as standalones. But just seeing those connections in this world that you’ve built. And what I found was really cool is that you had Mirror Man is very much set in the physical world. I can’t really remember there being any real connection to spirit or anything. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was very much in the physical world. And so to have your books that are based on life on the Other Side connect with that was just so well done. I just absolutely love it. And so it sounds like you’ve got some really exciting projects lined up for this year, too. Can you talk a little bit about what you’ve got going on for this year?

Kat: Yeah, I’ve been writing this evening, just finishing off that will be coming out at the end of March. And Caroline will be back. She’s actually going to be the spirit guide to a medium in our book, the first book in the Lexi Loafer Mysteries.

Jo: Awesome. And so is this, the Lexi Loafer Mysteries, Is this going to be a long series? Do you kind of have it planned out that it’s going to be a long one?

Kat: Yeah. And we’ve got plans for that.

Jo: Wonderful. That’s so cool.

Kat: And Caroline will be in all of them. And she’s the supporting character in a new role as spirit guide. Just at the end of Lost and Lonely, we had that she found out that she was going on a new path in her spiritual journey. So, yeah, it’s her with her first being the first guide to somebody.

Jo: Oh, that is so cool. So I’m highly recommending to all of our listeners that you go read Jacques von Kat books because they really so much fun. So much fun. Now, you’re a busy person. I’m sure I’ve seen like on Instagram and that, I think we’ve chatted and you said that you have a day job and you work from home, is that correct?

Kat: I do, yeah. I work for the local Council in my area. I do debt recovery for them. We have a tax here that’s called Council tax. So I’m in contact with people that don’t pay their tax.

Jo: Oh, that could be a tricky job, I would think.

Kat: It is very tricky, although I haven’t been at work for some time, as I mentioned to you before, and sadly, my dad passed away before Christmas.

Jo: I’m so sorry.

Kat: Thank you. He had a brain tumor and we looked after him from September until he passed away. So, yeah, it’s been difficult year last year. But I will be going, I’m still not back at work, back at work in February. So, yes, I’m going to get back to having to juggle everything.

Jo: Yes. Really tough. And I’m so sorry for what you went through at the last part of last year, too. Very tough. I do want to talk about a little bit of your writing routine then, because I’m like you, I have a day job as well. And I know you’ve got these two gorgeous Bernese puppies, and I’ve got my cats, and we’re obviously animal lovers, they take up a lot of our lives. How do you structure your day to get writing done? How do you make that happen?

Kat: I have an hour dinner usually, so I do some in my lunch hour and the rest mostly in the evenings and weekends, days off.

Jo: Yeah. And I’ve also seen you’re amazingly supportive of other authors, too, because I’ve kind of seen you on Instagram and everything like that. You’re always sharing on other authors and sharing their books and writing reviews, and you’re just such an amazing support in that community. And that’s another thing that you kind of add to your day as well. What has really drawn you to want to reach out and help other authors?

Kat: I think especially because we’re indie authors, it can be very difficult to get out there to get our voices heard when we’re competing against all the traditionally published people. And I just think we should all be supporting each other, not pulling each other down. I don’t see any other indie authors as my competition. I see them as my allies, and some of them have gone on to be my friends.

Jo: I think that’s awesome. That’s just so cool. And I really do want to thank you for that. You’ve been a huge support for me, too, while I’ve been finding my feet in this author world as well, and so I really appreciate it. And I’m sure there are so many other people out there who do, too. Now I want to talk a little bit about mindset because I think as authors, we all kind of stumble across this. So has there been a time when you’ve been writing in that that you’ve really struggled or had to do something to kind of push through, maybe a tricky bit or anything like that? What’s kind of been your biggest obstacle with this writing life?

Kat: I mean, I haven’t really had that many struggles.

Jo: Oh, my gosh. Lucky we’re all very envious right now.

Kat: Yeah. But not up until last year with what happened. Writing the book that we’re doing at the minute was a real struggle. I kept having to push it, and some of the scenes were upsetting as well. We deal with a mother that lost her son, and the book actually had to be in the day that my dad passed away, I hadn’t done it. Things were very difficult. And then I got a bit of an extension, but it was still in the back of my mind what had happened, and then having to write these quite emotional scenes where somebody’s grieving when I was grieving myself. So that was hard.

Jo: Do you think it helped at all, helped with your own grieving, processing it on paper in a different way as well?

Kat: I think it did, yeah. I think once I got the scene out, it did actually help. And also because I do have that belief in the Other Side. I think my dad is in a better place now and that he is at peace and they’ll be watching over us. And I think maybe it was him giving me a guidance to push through the barriers that I faced to get it finished.

Kat: That is so beautiful. I love your belief that, yours and your husbands, that there are spirits or guides or guardians, or whatever you want to call them, the universe, out there helping us, helping us to do these things that we’re so passionate about. And for us, it’s writing and getting these words and these stories down. I just think that’s absolutely amazing. Do you have any advice you wanted to give authors, anything that’s helped you? You put your books out quite fast. Feels like you’ve done a lot in a very short time, only really a couple of years. So is there any advice you could give other people if they wanted to follow that kind of route?

Jo: I think for me, I’m in a writing group, there’s four of us, and we all just like a sounding board for all of us for having a bad day. We just chat in that group. We actually all joke that we actually talk morel to each other in this writing group, than we do to our friends, family. But yeah, I would recommend anyone to find their little group of people that will push them through or that’ll be their sounding boards. That’s one of the things that I would recommend with getting them out quickly. I don’t think I get them out that quickly. I think some artists can do a book a month. How do you do a book a month? Ridiculous. Well, I think everyone has got their own time scale and how they want to do things. And like I said before, other authors aren’t your competition, just go things at your own pace. Don’t try and rush it because you might not be putting out something that is as good as you want it to be. Just take your time and always get an editor. If people always say to me, I can’t afford an editor, don’t skip the editing phase. Our editor is just invaluable, especially when it comes to the developmental stage of editing. They are absolutely brilliant and don’t skip it.

Jo: Yeah, I totally agree with you with that. My editor is a godsend as well. And I thought I was pretty up on the English language and grammar and all of that. And it wasn’t until I got a professional editor that I’m like, I have no idea. This woman just blows my mind. She’s just able to take what’s really a mess and make something good out of it, which is just so cool. So, yeah, I totally agree with you there. I so appreciate you being here and it’s been so lovely chatting with you. Please, can you let us know how people can connect with you and where they can find your books because I’m hoping after listening to this, people go out and read your books. I highly recommend them.

Kat: So all of our books are on Amazon Kindle Limited so we’re not wide. We’re just purely on Amazon. If you want to connect with us on another way, you can find our website which is www.jacquesvonkat.com. Like you said, we’re on Instagram.

Jo: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much and I’m so looking forward to your Lexi Loafer series, so I’ll be the first one to buy those as soon as they come out. Awesome. Thank you so much, Kat.

Kat: Thank you so much for having me.

Jo: I really enjoyed chatting with Kat today. Not only is she such a lovely person, but as you can tell from this interview, I’m a huge fan of her books, so I hope today’s episode has entertained and inspired you as much as it has me. Here are some of today’s takeaways:

  1. Pay attention to your dreams. They may actually be messages from your guides as to what you should write next.
  2. To connect to these ideas from your guides, take time away from social media and TV and stay away from the news.
  3. When writing stand alones consider using crossovers or Easter eggs from your other books as gifts for your loyal readers.
  4. If possible, work around your day job to get your writing done. Make the most of lunch breaks, evenings, weekends and your days off.
  5. Be a cheerleader for other authors. Support each other. Other authors are not your competition. See them as your allies.
  6. Consider joining a writing group for the camaraderie, support and as a sounding board when the going gets tough with your writing.
  7. Again, remember, other authors are NOT your competition. Write and release your books at your own pace.
  8. Always invest in an editor!

So if you’re looking for some light-hearted, entertaining reads, I really do recommend you check out Jacques Von Kat’s books on Amazon, and as always, you can find show notes and links to connect with Kat on my website: www.jobuer.com. And while you’re there, if you fancy something a little bit darker, be sure to check out my own Gothic Supernatural Suspense novels or download a free copy of my short story collection, Between the Shadows.

And if you enjoyed this show, please subscribe, rate review and share the show with others. This helps me grow my audience and reach other people who want all the tips and tricks to supercharge their writing lives too.

So, until next time, happy writing!