Posted on | August 1, 2014 | 1 Comment
By Zakiya N. Jamal
Kieran Scott, Kate Brian, and Emma Harrison. Combine these three amazing writers and you get one amazing woman: Kieran Scott. Writing two New York Times best selling series along with over 50 books Scott has taken over the young adult literary scene.
As Scott churns out about two books per year and always seems to be working on her next project, it’s amazing that she does anything but write all day. But she does. Scott is more than just an extraordinary writer; she’s also a regular, every day person just like the rest of us. Scott took me through the history behind her names, what she does when she’s not writing, what she’s got planned next, and how we can somehow become her someday.
The Secret Behind the Names
Many young readers have heard of “Kate Brian” but not everyone knows that Brian and Kieran Scott are the same person. Many have tried to figure out what prompts the change in names when it comes to Scott’s writing but the truth is probably less complicated than you think.
Scott, who began as an editor, had a friend who worked for Alloy Entertainment (best known for their work on Pretty Littler Liars and The Vampire Diaries). The company had a book in the works, The Princess and the Pauper, which had been assigned to a different writer at the time.
“The author wanted to have two different names and she wanted to keep her name for her adult books,” said Scott. “[The publishers] came up with this fake name, ‘Kate Brian’, for this work. The work came in very late [however] and it was badly written. My friend called me and asked me if I would be willing to rewrite it for them but I had to rewrite it under this name because they already printed the commercial material.”
Thus began Scott’s transition into “Kate Brian”. “Then the publisher wanted more books by ‘Kate Brian’ and that was me,” said Scott. Scott now uses “Kate Brian” for all her Hyperion published books and Kieran Scott for all her books published by Simon & Schuster.
Besides Brian there is one other pen name that you can find Scott’s books under that many people don’t know about. “Emma Harrison was a name I came up with to write TV tie-ins and things that weren’t my original ideas,” said Scott. “I wrote things like Charmed, Everwood, Alias, Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen books and Disney books under that name, and then a few paperback romances.”
Different from her pen name “Kate Brian” Scott came up with this one all on her own. “Emma Thompson is my favorite actress and Harrison Ford is my favorite actor,” she said. “I’m not sure whether I’ll ever use it again unless someone comes to me with a great job that I can’t refuse.”
“It seemed like an impossible thing to achieve.”
Though it may seem crazy to us now, Scott didn’t always think she would be an author. “I never really considered that I could be a novel writer when I was growing up,” said Scott. “It seemed like that type of thing that a lot of people aspire to but only a few achieve, like being an actor or president or something.”
Although Scott grew up in a household where reading and writing was the norm Scott still feared that being a novelist wouldn’t happen for her. Therefore she set her sights on a different goal. “I set out to be a journalist,” said Scott. “I was an English and journalism major and I didn’t really like it that much. I just never had the self-confidence to go up to someone and ask for an interview. That was always really hard for me.”
As Scott got closer to graduation and realized journalism was not for her she began to wonder what she would do. That’s when she saw an ad for a job that was perfect for her.
“I answered an ad for an editorial position at this book company,” said Scott. “It was really the first time that I considered that people edited books. It’s not just the author; there are editors also. And that’s sort of how I got into it. And I thought if I could make a living by reading, how great would that be?”
Through her experience working as an editor Scott began to learn how making a book worked and started writing her own fiction again. “After a few years of working for hire I broke out on my own to see if I could make a living out of it and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
She’s Just Like Us
Many people know Scott as “Kieran Scott” and “Kate Brian”, the writers, but what many of her fans don’t know is who is Kieran Scott, the person? Besides being an amazing author, Scott’s biggest role is being a wife and mom. Scott has two sons, ages six and three, who keep her busy and when she’s not doing that (or rather during that) Scott is just like anyone of us.
“I spend a lot of the time at the gym,” said Scott. “I also like to bake. If I have a free Saturday or Sunday afternoon I’m always baking cookies or cake or something and then going to the gym to work them off.”
Outside of the gym, Scott is also an avid reader and TV watcher, though she may not be watching what you’re into. “I love to read and I’m a huge TV addict although whenever someone says to me, ‘Do you watch Game of Thrones?’ I say, ‘No’ or ‘Do you watch Breaking Bad?’ and I say, ‘No,’ then there seems like there’s twenty TV shows that I don’t watch but I feel like I watch so much TV.”
When it comes to Scott’s reading habits she can’t help but stray back to her own genre of fiction. “I end up reading a lot of teen fiction because I do all these panels and I hear all these people talk about their books and I really want to read them because they all sound amazing so that’s kind of an occupational hazard.”
Some of her recent reads include The Darkest Minds series, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, and various thrillers to help her try her hand at writing a thriller novel. “I like when a book surprises me even when it’s not a book that’s supposed to surprise you.”
So far this year, there is already two books by Scott scheduled for release: Endless, the last book in the Shadowlands trilogy and Only Everything, the first book in her newest trilogy that ties in some mythology into a romantic series. Only Everything focuses on a teenage female Cupid who is banished to Earth and must match three couples in order to save the love of her life from the wrath of the gods. And she has to do all of this powerless.
“I just imagined what it would be like for a goddess who is so used to getting what she wants and being able to do whatever she wants, and counting on these powers to be thrust into Earth without these powers,” said Scott. “Really she has a complete inability to act as a human and so that was so much fun to write.”
Now that you know exactly who Kieran Scott is, it’s no surprise that you’re wondering how you can become her. Well here’s her advice for one of the most well known struggles of an aspiring writer: getting stuck. “Go back and reread what you’ve written and see if there’s something in what you’ve written that made you get stuck,” she advised. “Sometimes [there’s] an answer in what you’ve already written.”
Also, Scott advises to just write, even when you’re not sure what you’re writing about. “If you have a day when you have time to write but you can’t seem to get started just write whatever,” she said. “Write something even if it sucks or you think it’s the dumbest thing ever. I have done that where I start out and I write some really lame dialogue and after a few paragraphs, I get into the groove and I start writing stuff that’s good.”
Zakiya Jamal is a junior at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She also writes freelance articles for Georgetown’s The Voice and USAToday College Blog in her free time. This article was originally published on her own blog called, Books, TV, and Me.