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Creative Edge – Author Interview – Kathrin Hutson

May 28, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Author Photo 2

What attracted you to write Fantasy/Sci-fi? Did you choose it or the other way around?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Fantasy and Sci-fi, because that’s what I grew up reading, for the most part. I still read a little bit of almost everything, but these two genres captured my heart even more when I started writing in them. I’m not sure which one of us did the choosing, but I’d say we make a pretty great pair when all things are said and done.

My favorite part about writing Fantasy is the fact that I can take what I like from reality, get rid of everything else (within sub-genre tropes, of course), and replace it with something completely new, magical, dark, mysterious, and complicated enough that it provides a rich world yet simple enough that I can keep it all straight in my head. Sci-fi is a bit harder. For me, it requires a lot more research too, which I really just don’t enjoy. But it’s not enough of a pain to keep me from writing it. And that’s the part I like about it—plus the fact that I can change a few things (particularly with Dystopian Sci-Fi) about reality and augment them, so to speak, to create the types of stories that reflect what’s happening in the world while putting my own special spin on it.

What inspires you to write your stories? Where does inspiration come from?

Literally everything. Sometimes I get a spark from a dream or a movie clip, a song, a conversation with my kid. Sometimes I read a book that touches on an idea and then I start thinking about how I could expand upon it and make it my own. Sometimes, when I’m at the crossroads of taking a story down one road or the other, I’ll pick one, and the other one gets turned into a different story. Sometimes I keep writing without any inspiration at all, and the story inspires itself.

Do you prefer to write a series rather than a stand-a-lone novel?

All of my series so far were originally intended to be standalone novels. Until I got to what I thought was the end and realized I just wasn’t finished. The Blue Helix series, though, is the only series where each book can be read on its own without having read the previous books in the series. But I think they’re better if they’re read in order 😉

Right now, I’m almost finished with the first book in an actually planned series of five and a quarter of the way through another planned trilogy. That’s definitely a different process, and I’m excited to see how the results of planning series ahead of time differ from… well, not planning it at all.

Are you a plotter or a panster?

I’m a plantser—I do both. I used to be all pantser all the way until I started ghostwriting fiction in addition to writing my own stories. Then I started writing up beats for contracted novels, and I discovered that there’s definition something to be said for writing a loose “summary” of 5-10k words (depending on books length) before I dive into the writing the actual story. I don’t get stuck with where I’m headed, and that helps me write a lot faster. Somehow, though, I’ve never quite been able to stomach chapter-by-chapter outlines or intense character sketches before writing the book. In my mind, there is such a thing as doing too much work before the fun begins. If my plotting gets any more detailed than a few thousand words of beats, I lose interest. 80% of the fun is surprising myself with how to fill in all the blank space after finishing the beats. It’s like a giant puzzle that I get to create and fit together at the same time.

Can you tell us about your newest book? The characters and their journey.

static

My newest book, Sleepwater Static, is the second book in my LGBTQ Dystopian Sci-Fi Blue Helix series. This was a monster of a book to write and tackle, just like its prequel, because there was so much I wanted to say through the characters’ journey and the continuing storyline in general. And there was much potential for saying the right thing in the wrong way that I really had to pay attention to how I was writing the story and especially how I was representing different minority groups and marginalized communities through this huge cast of characters.

Beat

Sleepwater Beat focused on Leo Tieffler as the main character, and Sleepwater Static focuses on Bernadette Manney—a seventy-one-year-old white woman from South Carolina who fits a sort of “tough and uncrackable matriarch” role within the group of people called Sleepwater with the storytelling ability of “spinning a beat”. Bernadette really fascinated me in the first book, and she was the perfect character to dive into for the second in order to approach the other sociopolitical topics I wanted to explore while still making this a fantastic story with characters readers had already come to love and a whole cast of new ones.

Bernadette grew up in the South, found her independence and her freedom through standing up for what she believed in, created a family with the man she loved despite racial tensions and facing discrimination from her own family and so many others within her home state. In this book, we learn about who she was before Sleepwater was formed, how and why Sleepwater was formed, and the ways in which she’s been trying for twenty years to redeem herself after an unforgivable yet inevitable mistake drove her away from her past, her partner, and her child. This book is meant as a sort of “breath of fresh air” on the surface, where the characters stop to go into hiding and regroup (plus one Sleepwater member needs somewhere to give birth to her child that isn’t in the back of a van), and they all end up learning more about the past while trying to fight for the future. I can’t wait to hear what people think of this book, and I’m so excited to start diving into Book 3 when the time comes.

What age did you start writing?

I started writing on my tenth birthday. When I discovered that I could create a story, a situation, a relationship, or an outcome to be absolutely whatever I wanted to be, I just couldn’t stop.

Where do you write? Can you describe your writing space?

I write in my home office. I’ve had four home offices in four different homes since I started my Indie career in 2015. It’s a requirement for every new house we move into (obviously, there have been many), and it will continue to be that way for as long as I’m living in a house with an ability to keep writing.

I have a standing desk and a heavy-duty “sit in my chair all day” cushion for my office chair. Bookshelves stuffed to the brim to the point that they’ve spilled into piles on the floor, my desk, and on and in my cabinets. My office is actually the only room in the house that’s been fully “decorated”, because my husband and I have intersecting tastes, but everything he doesn’t like, I put in my office! It’s also the only room in the house where no one else but the author is allowed to enter. No dogs, no three-year-old, no husband. Okay, fictional characters may make an appearance, but I draw the line with physical bodies. I like bright colors and clashing patterns and hanging art on the wall (my own or created by friends). More often than not, it’s a complete mess, but at least I know where everything is.

What has been the highlight of your writing career so far?

I’d say the highlight so far has been writing the Blue Helix series. Sleepwater Beat got such a phenomenal response, and it really blew me away. It made me an international bestselling author, got me on live television, has been the topic of more radio-show and podcast and blog interviews than I can count, and was both an award-winning Sci-Fi Finalist in the 2019 International Book Awards and a Literary Titan Gold Award Winner this last April.

Sleepwater Static is heading very much in the same direction, and I have really high hopes for the second book in the Blue Helix series too.

Who is your favorite author and why?

It’s not just one (is it ever just one?). My list includes: Stephen King, Jacqueline Carey, George R. R. Martin, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, Cormac McCarthy, William Gibson, and John Irving. With these favorites, I get to cover a wide range of brilliance in so many different elements of good storytelling—characterization, world-building, rich plots, expansive landscapes and history, phenomenal relationships, twists and turns, grit, beauty, humor, surreal parallels to reality… this second list goes on and on. Overall, I love these authors because even when I haven’t read them for quite some time, I find myself thinking about their books, characters, and worlds with a nostalgic longing to return. That, to me, is what makes great fiction.

Who is your most loyal supporter?

Hands down that’s my husband. Without this guy, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m with my writing right now—which is writing 60+ hours a week and absolutely loving every minute of it. And there’s the added bonus that my work as a full-time writer of fiction supports our family of three with a single income. It’s pretty much a dream come true.

He hasn’t actually read any of my books all the way through. But he knows how much I love what I do and has facilitated my ability to keep writing since the very beginning, all the way up to the point where he was able to stop working so he could be a stay-at-home dad and do more of what he wants to do during the day. So yes, it’s been a win-win for everyone. And he never misses an opportunity to tell people what I do for a living and give them my card (yes, I have business cards) with a well-timed, “Check out her books. You’ll love them.”

Where can we find you on social media?

I’m most active on my Facebook page: http://facebook.com/kathrinhutsonfiction

And you can also find me here: http://instagram.com/kathrinhutsonfiction; http://twitter.com/exquisitelydark

Do you have a blog/website?

I sure do! I just had my website completely revamped and am in love with what it’s become. This was very recent, and I wasn’t much of a blogger on my author site, but I’ve written a few things on this new site that are more “reflections of life as a writer” and are not, in fact, fiction. But I’ll be building on that. You can find almost everything else about me and my books on my site: http://kathrinhutsonfiction.com

Bio:

International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson has been writing Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and LGBTQ Speculative Fiction since 2000. With her wildly messed-up heroes, excruciating circumstances, impossible decisions, and Happily Never Afters, she’s a firm believer in piling on the intense action, showing a little character skin, and never skimping on violent means to bloody ends.

In addition to writing her own dark and enchanting fiction, Kathrin spends the other half of her time as a fiction ghostwriter of almost every genre, as Fiction Co-Editor for Burlington’s Mud Season Review, and as Director of TopShelf Interviews for TopShelf Magazine. She is a member of both the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association. Kathrin lives in Vermont with her husband, their young daughter, and their two dogs, Sadie and Brucewillis.

For updates on new releases, exclusive deals, and dark surprises you won’t find anywhere else, sign up to Kathrin’s newsletter at kathrinhutsonfiction.com/subscribe.

Author@kathrinhutsonfiction.com

kathrinhutsonfiction.com

Facebook.com/kathrinhutsonfiction

Twitter: @ExquisitelyDark

Instagram: @KathrinHutsonFiction

 

Creative Edge

Author Interview Konn Lavery

April 20, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Author-Interview-Button

konn-lavery

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Depending on the phase that the book is in and what other projects I have going on. Usually writing energizes me, it is often fuel for the soul. The times that it doesn’t are when it is in the heavy editing phase, that uses a very different, critical-thinking part of the brain which can be exhausting.

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Time:)

  1. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I initially did  in the past, thinking that it might be good to not share what I do in case it was too graphic for people in my work life. However, I think the benefits of being transparent outweigh risks.

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  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’m friends with many authors and keep tabs with as many as I can. Most of them are in the local area of Alberta, some are elsewhere, and I have only met them online. Some of the local ones I keep touch with are Matthew Gillies, M M Dos Santos, Adam Dreece and Suzy Vadori. We frequently run into each other at conventions.

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

The grand plan is to build a connection for each and every story that I write. Some of the books read as stand alone and others are part of a series. For the diehard fans, they’ll notice small hints that connect the stories together. This opens up many questions to the reader since there are large time period differences in the novels.

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  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I’d say getting an editor, it makes a world of difference. A second one was paying for consultation advice from a successful indie author who was able to provide insights into the indie author world.What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Most likely when I was reading the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. His work painted detailed imagery in my head and I realized the power of how words could transcend one’s mind into new worlds.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

That’s a tough one, I think there are a lot of them in the indie author world. If I had to pick a personal choice, it’d have to be a non-fiction book. Specifically  Looking In, Seeing Out: Consciousness by Menas Kafatos and Thalia Kafatou. It is a powerful book and offers great insight into science and spirituality.

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  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Well, my Chinese Zodiac birth sign is a horse. I think that animal best summarizes my creative process – a work horse.

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have a lot of book outlines and short stores on the go. Currently no finished manuscripts.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

To me literary success is being able to make a stable income from your work.

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  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I spend a lot of time researching, before plotting, during writing and during editing. Questions arise that never crossed my mind until I am at that moment in writing the book.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

It is pretty spontaneous. Some months I write every day around 2,000 words and other months I will barely write a total of 5,000. Of course with the blog I do write fairly consistently on a weekly basis.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

The process varies based on the genre I am writing. Fantasy names are often combinations of a couple words or have some sort of historical background to them. Other names are based on age, ethnicity and time period. Basically something that will make them believable to be in their world.

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

I’d say the battle scene in my upcoming fantasy novel, Mental Damnation III. It contains a pretty lengthy fight between some powerful characters. It had to elaborate on what magic they had while remaining fast paced.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

Genre often becomes a second thought for me. I have an idea book filled with concepts for stories. Once I find one that I have a hunch on where it can go I start jumping into the plot outlines and then the genre becomes clearer. Usually my work fits within the horror or fantasy realms.

  1. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing all my life, professionally I haven’t really started until 2012 with the first release of Mental Damnation Reality.

  1. What inspires you?

Movies inspire me, books, video games and my own life. It’s like being a sponge and absorbing as much around you as you possibly can.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I don’t know! Ultimately though you just have to make time for it. You either have to cancel on some previous plans or power through being tired or push through a creative block.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

Currently I have a slasher in the works. I have notes for a number of short stories and the fourth Mental Damnation installment. Not 100% sure what order these will come out in though.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

For immediate release, YEGman is coming out along with Mental Damnation III later this year.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

http://www.konnlavery.com

Bio:

Konn Lavery is a Canadian horror and dark fantasy writer who is known for his Mental Damnation series. The second book, Dream, reached the Edmonton Journal’s top five selling fictional books list. He started writing fantasy stories at a very young age while being home schooled. It wasn’t until graduating college that he began professionally pursuing his work with his first release, Reality. Since then he has continued to write works of fiction ranging from fantasy to horror.

His literary work is done in the long hours of the night. By day, Konn runs his own graphic design and website development business under the title Reveal Design (www.revealdesign.ca). These skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.

Links:

http://konnlavery.com

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