Friday, 9 July 2010

K. A. Stewart - Author Interview

Novel: A Devil in the Details


What's A Devil in the Details about?

It is about a modern-day samurai who fights demons for a living, wagering his soul in order to retrieve the souls that others have sold.

What are your favourite three books (not by you, either in the field or out of it)?

This changes on a weekly basis. I would list pretty much anything by Jim Butcher, both his Dresden Files series and his Codex Alera series. My newest favorite is Stacia Kane's Unholy Ghosts.

What made you want to be a writer?

The first "real" book I ever read was Tolkein's The Hobbit, when I was in 1st grade. And I distinctly remember wanting to be able to DO that, to be able to draw people into a completely different world with just the power of my words.

In the books you’ve written, who is you favourite character and why?

In the Jesse James Dawson series, my favorite would be a toss up between Jesse and Axel. Really, they're two sides of the same coin, one light and one dark.

If you could, would you change places with any of your characters?

No way! Have you seen what I do to them?

What was the first novel (published or unpublished) that you wrote and how long did it take to write it?

My first novel (never to see the light of day) was written when I was in middle school/high school. It was an embarrassingly cliched fantasy epic, and if I recall, it took me about a year to write it. I've since scavenged a few salvageable characters from it for other things.

What was the hardest scene for you to write?

So far, Jesse hasn't put me through the emotional wringer yet (it's coming, I promise!). But on another project I'm working on, I had to write a scene where a child died. And that one was...rough.

If you still have one, what’s your day job?

I work in the banking industry.

What is your university degree in and does it help with your writing?

I have a degree in English with an emphasis in literature. I find that, in order to write well, you have to learn to read well, too. Being able to identify the building blocks of any story helps you in constructing your own.

When and where do you write?

I manage to write at my Real Job on my lunch breaks, or in the evenings at home, while my kiddo is in karate class, wherever I can fit a few moments in. I prefer to write on my computer, but when I have to, I'll scrawl things down in the notebook I always keep with me.

What’s the best/worst thing about writing?

The best thing is having someone say "Oh my god, I was so freaked out/mad/scared/etc." Knowing that I was able to make them feel those emotions is amazing.

The worst thing is the times when I know I'm almost there, it's almost how I want it, but not quite. And I can bang my head against that wall for days before it clicks into place.

What is something you didn’t know about the publishing industry before you had your first book published?

How unbelievable SLOW everything moves. Publishing time is like NFL time, it doesn't really follow the normal laws of physics.

Do you have any advice for hopeful authors?

Don't be afraid to write crap. You can edit anything to make it better, except the words you haven't written yet.

Any tips against writers block?

I find that reading tends to loosen up my brain cells. When I'm feeling stuck, reading someone else's words helps a lot.

How do you discipline yourself to write?

Part of it is just putting my butt in chair and forcing myself to get X number of words every day. Another part is accepting that sometimes, it just ISN'T going to come, and you can't beat yourself up over it. Agonizing is only going to make it worse.

How many rejection letters did you get for your first novel or story?

I wrote five novels before A Devil in the Details, but Devil was the first one I ever felt brave enough to submit. Out of 28 queries, I had 9 outright rejections, and another 4 that were rejected after they'd requested more material. My results were not typical, though. I have friends who racked up over a hundred rejections before they found the right one.

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