This week I have another author interview, and it’s with Kay MacLeod. Kay, like me, plans before she writes, but she plans more than me, by the looks of it. The Pinterest page is a good idea. I’ve also looked around for images of my characters and found random pictures online where the person looks like the character I am creating; it’s’ a good way of keeping consistency. I won’t chat on, I’ll let you read Kay’s interview and please click on her links and take a look at ‘Heirs Of Power,‘ her first novel.
Hi, Kay! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background
Hi everyone, I’m a self-published author with an unhealthy obsession for epic fantasy, and tea. I come from Nottinghamshire in England where I live with my husband and adorable tuxedo cat. I’ve been creating stories and characters for most of my life. So, now it’s time to share them.
If I’m not attached to my keyboard doing author-related activities, I’ll be devouring books, playing RPGs, or listening to much heavier music than most people would expect.
Who, or what, first inspired you to write?
I think I could read before I could walk, so I’ve always had a love for books. Even at primary school part of me wished I could write my own, but a lack of confidence, and a lack of determination, held me back from doing more than a few short stories for fun. I have piles of drawings, plans, family trees, and character bios from years of work, but it took a big push to finally start my first novel.
Sat in church one day, our message was about passion. ‘What are you passionate about?’ All I could think of was my stories, my characters, my worlds. Of course, I was mortified that I should have been contemplating something much more noble, but the speaker said that we shouldn’t discount the passions we do have, we should do something with them. So, a year later Heirs of Power was completed. Now I don’t think I could stop.
Where does your inspiration for a story come from?
The tiniest places. A fragment remembered from a dream, a wistful thought of ‘I wish it had happened like that instead.’ One day I heard a dad shouting his daughter and I loved her name, and it made me think- what kind of character would have that name? What would she do? What powers would she have? What kind of world would she live in? I’ve created an entire series from that one spark. I guess names must be a powerful catalyst for me because I drafted a novel in my mind one afternoon after randomly coming up with interesting name.
What is your writing process?
Plan. A lot. I know some authors can rock up to a blank page and see where it takes them, but I am not one of those authors. I do work on each character, making sure they have unique traits, even finding pictures of people that look like them (you can see them on my Pinterest page). My plot is all laid out, even by chapter so I know I have a decent hook at the end of each one. I’m not saying it all stays this neat and tidy during the process though, things get shifted and characters grow out of the little boxes I’ve put them in. It just helps me so much to have a point to start from, otherwise I find myself staring at that blank page and struggling to know where to start. Oh, and there must be tea. Lots of tea.
Can you list your favourite books (by other authors) and say what attracts you to them?
That’s always a hard question, and there are so many, so I’ll just pick out a few.
I love the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky, mainly because it isn’t predictable. The characters are all different shades of grey and have realistic motivations and flaws in their personalities, and no-one is safe. There are plenty of hard-hitting moments, to the point that it gets scary when someone you like turns up! And the world is one of the most original I’ve ever come across.
I really enjoyed the Matthew Swift books by Kate Griffin, again this is a pretty unique take on the fantasy genre and the story will keep you hooked. The urban magic system in this series is truly fascinating, and funny in some places, and the setting in London is so imaginatively described.
I’m a big fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series too, it’s absolutely hilarious and the characters are brilliant. It’s surprising how many little morals there are buried within it, and great lines that get you thinking. He had such a distinct voice, and talent for intelligent humour.
What have been your experiences with publication, indie, self, traditional or otherwise?
I’ve only had the experience of self-publishing my first book. I have to say that there are positives and negatives with all types of publishing, I decided to go this route because I wanted the freedom to not have to conform to current trends. I wanted to write the book that I wanted to write and I understood that would mean a huge amount of work, but it was worth it. The hardest thing is having to learn all the skills that are involved with taking a story and transforming it into a book, it made it a lot easier to get a team of amazing people to help me out. I would have been stuck without them!
What are you working on now and what’s coming out next?
Right now, I’m working on the last few chapters of the second book of The Constellation Saga, that will be my next release. I’m so excited, there’s some big moments that I hope people won’t see coming, and we get to dig a bit more into the characters. Maybe meet some new ones too…
Where can we find out more about you and follow you?
You can visit any of these links. I have a lot of great stuff on my website, including news, reviews, and interviews. The Constellation pictures I mentioned are on Pinterest, and I do daily getting to know you questions on Facebook if you want to find out more about me and answer them yourself.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope to hear from you all soon.