Writing - typewriter, Writing - pen, Writing

Guest: Interview with Kim Fielding.

Welcome, Kim, today's guest on the blog. I hope you enjoy Kim's interview!


1. When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved to write. I suppose it goes hand-in-hand with loving to read. I wrote short stories when I was a kid but moved away to academic stuff as an adult. It was really only about five years ago that I took up writing again, and now I can’t stop.

2. What inspires you to write and why and what genre are you most comfortable writing?

I get inspiration from all sorts of things: people or things that I see, little snatches of conversation, sometimes even dreams. Sometimes it’s a particular bit of trivia that catches my fancy, or some idea I can’t get out of my head. Travel gives me the most ideas of all, whether it’s travel to the next town or to another continent. For example, my self-published trilogy was originally inspired by a trip to Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, and an hour or so spent clambering around on the historic ship Balclutha. The short story that Dreamspinner published in April was inspired by a visit to Hollywood.

As for genres, a lot of my writing seems to end up with elements of magic in it, whether as fantasy or paranormal or magical realism. I’m also fond of historical writing, maybe because I love doing the research. Not the boring stuff, like when which war was fought, but the fascinating little details like what people ate and what they wore and what they did for entertainment.

3. What inspired you to write your first book?

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’d written a lot of short stories and fanfiction, but somehow got it in my head that I couldn’t write a novel. Then I heard about NaNoWriMo and decided to challenge myself, to see if I really could write 50,000 words in a month. I ended up writing over 60,000 and beginning a trilogy!

4. Can you tell us about your current work?

I have several things going on. Dreamspinner Press published my novel Good Bones in April; it’s a paranormal romance starring a shy hipster werewolf. They also published a short story about a superhero called “Act One.” In June I’ll have a time travel story coming out with Dreamspinner. Right now I’m working on revisions to a new novel, a fantasy about a maimed giant who falls for a prisoner who dreams peoples’ deaths.

5. Your royalties go to Doctors Without Borders, a wonderful organisation. What made you decide to donate to them?

I think their work is truly admirable. The people who work for the organization are brave, and what could be more basic than providing people with life-saving health care? I also liked that they’re a well-run organization that spends most of their money on doing good rather than raising more money or paying salaries. And it’s also important to me that they do their work all over the globe.

As for why I decided to donate my royalties at all, I felt like my first novels were a gift from all the people who had given me encouragement and feedback, and I wanted to give back somehow.

6. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Where do I start? Some of my favorite authors are Isabel Allende, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, Bill Bryson, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. When I’m in the mood for horror, Stephen King hits the spot. Lately in the fantasy genre I’ve been reading Lynn Flewelling, Carol Berg, and Sarah Monette, and I’m especially taken with Amy Lane’s m/m romances. But I’m a pretty eclectic reader—as my overstuffed bookshelves will attest!—and I never know what might catch my interest.

7. You have a novel and a short story coming out with Dreamspinner, what was your favourite chapter to write in each and why?

In the novel, my protagonist, Dylan, is really struggling with the repercussions of having become a werewolf. He’s normally someone who wants everything very safe and certain, and yet now there’s something in him that wants to run wild. He buys a farm out in the boonies so he doesn’t have to worry so much about harming his neighbors, but it turns out he has a neighbor after all: Chris Nock, who seems like a pretty big redneck. I think maybe my favorite chapters to write were early on, when the guys are just getting to know each other, and they’re both learning not to rely on stereotypes.

Dreamspinner also published one of my short stories in April. It’s called “Act One” and it’s really too short to have a favorite part. But in the time travel piece that will come out in June, my favorite scene is when the protagonist, Matt, dreams himself back to 1940s small-town Nebraska, where he meets a distant relative named Joseph.

8. During the editing process, what did you find was the hardest thing to cut from your manuscript?

I was very lucky—I really didn’t cut anything! I write pretty sparely to begin with, I think, and always ask myself whether particular scenes or dialog really add anything to the story.

9. Previously, you self-published, what differences did you find between self-publishing and publishing with a publishing house?

Self-publishing gives you more freedom but also more responsibility. You have to do everything yourself, and there are a lot of components besides the words themselves that go into making a book. I was very fortunate to have friends who are professional editors and artists, and they helped a great deal.

With a publishing house, there’s more of a sense of elation, because you know your work is good enough for someone to take a chance with it. With Dreamspinner, there’s also a real sense of community, which is great, because writing can sometimes be a solitary task. And of course there’s a greater potential for new readers to discover you. One thing that really excited me with Good Bones was the process of having an artist create a cover for my novel. It was like watching my creation come to life.

10. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing come from?

I learned to read when I was 3 and I can’t remember not having books around. My parents read a lot and I grew up in Portland, Oregon, which is sort of a literary town—and has weather conducive to curling up with a good book!

As for writing, I’ve always had an active imagination and I guess I like to share what’s going on in my head. Writing is also a sort of therapy for me. When I have a rough day, I can beat up my poor characters, when I need a change of pace I can write about some fantastic place, and when I’m feeling down I can give my characters a happy ending.

11. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I have a full-time job as a university professor and two kids, so I do most of my writing in the evenings and weekends. But I’ve become pretty good at snatching writing time in odd places, like while waiting to drive carpool, in airports, or in doctors’ offices. I do my best work fairly late in the evening. At home, I usually write on a laptop at the kitchen table, where I can react quickly if crises occur. I’ve found hotel rooms are really productive places for me to write, maybe because there are fewer distractions.

12. What are three of your all-time favourite books?

Oh, that’s a hard one! The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is possibly the only book that made me burst into tears. I read that one in about a day and half and locked myself away until I was done. Another favorite is Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I love the way he interwove mythology and theology with everyday modern American life. And maybe To Kill a Mockingbird, which I’ve reread many times. Harper Lee transports the reader so well to a particular place and time, and deals with complex situations with such humanity.

13. What do you have planned for the rest of 2012?

I have a few more short stories in the works and that novel to revise. I plan on writing another novel during NaNoWriMo but don’t yet have a clue what it’ll be about. I also have to revise a textbook, which isn’t as much fun as writing fiction but is important. And I have a lot of travel planned, which I know will give me all kinds of ideas.

14. And finally, last but not least, the question I ask all interviewees - if you had to come back as a plant in the next life, what would that plant be and why?

Lavender. It’s pretty and useful and smells nice, hardly any pests bother it, and it can live quite a long time under difficult conditions. It’s not fussy. Who doesn’t like lavender?

Good Bones.
Skinny, quiet hipster Dylan Warner was the kind of guy other men barely glanced at until an evening’s indiscretion with a handsome stranger turned him into a werewolf. Now, despite a slightly hairy handicap, he just wants to live an ordinary—if lonely—life as an architect. He tries to keep his wild impulses in check, but after one too many close calls, Dylan gives up his urban life and moves to the country, where he will be less likely to harm someone else. His new home is a dilapidated but promising house that comes with a former Christmas tree farm and a solitary neighbor: sexy, rustic Chris Nock.

Dylan hires Chris to help him renovate the farmhouse and quickly discovers his assumptions about his neighbor are inaccurate—and that he’d very much like Chris to become a permanent fixture in his life as well as his home. Between proving himself to his boss, coping with the seductive lure of his dangerous ex-lover, and his limited romantic experience, Dylan finds it hard enough to express himself—how can he bring up his monthly urge to howl at the moon?

Buy it: Good Bones @ DSP, Men of Steel Anthology @ DSP and Praesidium trilogy @ Amazon.

Kim Fielding is very pleased every time someone calls her eclectic. She has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space. She's a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full-time. She also dreams of having two perfectly-behaved children, a husband who isn't obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.

Kim can be found on her blogs: http://kfieldingwrites.blogspot.com/ and http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4105707.Kim_Fielding/blog and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/KFieldingWrites. Her email is dephalqu@yahoo.com.
The cover for this book caught my eye on the DSP coming soon page. It sounds really interesting and I think it's admirable that you're donating your royalties to Doctors Without Borders (I had wanted to join them once upon a time). Good luck with the book.