Author Spotlight
K.M. Vanderbilt


1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!

A: Hello. Thank you for having me. I classify myself as Kay, meat suit wearing Lizard Queen. I like bad puns and good coffee.

2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!

A: Uh…do people decide those things? I just kind of started telling stories as soon as I could speak, writing them when I could halfway spell. Somewhere along the way, I had a book for sale. I mean…is that a decision? I didn’t choose the writing life; it chose me. As for the best part, I think that’s really dependent upon the alignment of the planets. Some days, it’s…retrograde or whatever, and nothing is appealing about it, but the need drives me anyway. Other days, it’s all fun. Words. Words, everywhere. Characters that are more real than me. Wait…am I real? Adenoids. The meat suit is malfunctioning.

3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it (for those of us that haven’t, 😉 ) and why it will capture us?

A: My work is dark, sprinkled with dry humor, and deeply indicative of the human condition. I swim in the gray areas which make up life: right and wrong are subjective; morals don’t necessarily make you a “good” person. That being said, I like to think plot and flawed characters collide with a unique universe to create something…different. I always liked the idea of religions the world around coexisting from a singular point that humanity had warped. I kind of picked that up and ran with it in a fantasy setting. But you shouldn’t read it if you have a weak stomach…or so people tell me. You should read it if you like twisted mythology and an entire universe to explore in written form.

4: Now, you write primarily under the fantasy umbrella of genres. Why did you choose this over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?

A: The book I first published, Skeins Unfurled, had been with me for nearly a decade in some form or fashion. It refused to let go, so there was no choice. I had tried my hand at other genres outside the fantasy realm—alt-history, horror, southern noir, sci-fi, romance, etc. None of them had staying power. Dark fantasy kind of grabbed me by the throat and slammed me into the wall a few times; I had no choice, I tell you!

5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?

A: It’s hard? WHO SAYS?! I don’t think it’s hard, to be honest. I think it’s…challenging at times because you have to be open to change. You have to keep learning. You have to maintain that spark that started it all. I think the worst of it comes from outside influences. If I had a dollar for every time somebody today me writing isn’t a career, that I wasn’t good enough, or that I needed get serious about my life… Look, I’m not saying I’d be as rich as Bill Gates, but I’d have way more money than I do now.

6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?

A: The easiest part is writing the first draft. Honestly, that is where the best and worst ideas flood onto the page. It’s what I call the “rage-spark.” That aspect of creativity is the best, the easiest to hang onto. I love it—getting sucked so deeply into a project your forget your name sometimes.

7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?

A: I’m not saying my situation is atypical as an author—we come from all walks of life—but I am saying I don’t have the time to push into my writing the way some people do. How do other authors pump a book draft to publish in a month? That blows my mind. I birthed a tiny meat suit two years ago, and the spawn takes up the majority of my days. I write for maybe five hours during nap and bed time. So my life is kind of…domestic. I find support from the hetero life-mate. Family and friends are hit and miss; some of them really couldn’t care less. Mostly it’s ghosts of friendships past who pop up and have a mini wow-fest over the fact that I did what I said I was going to do ten years ago. So…I dunno…did I answer that question right? Wait…yeah. So it’s generally one of two reactions from the people I come across, whether those people be acquaintances or strangers: condescension or unbridled yay. The rest of them are vaguely disinterested.

8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft and enduring the downs/lows of the career?

A: This is going to make me sound like an a-hole, but…whatever. I like to succeed out of spite. Every time I finish a draft, edit it, look at a new cover for MY work, or push the publish button; it all stems from a deep pit of bubbling haha-I-showed-you toward those people who have tried to squash my dreams. *shifty eyes* And uh…I really just like to write, so that helps too.

9: What do you love about the genre you write and what others appeal to you?

A: I love that I can bend the rules of reality when I’m writing fantasy, create things that people only dream about. I can bring figments of cobbled personalities together and make people, expand those people to create new races, put those people on new worlds drawn from my imagination. It’s kind of like playing god in a way: creation and destruction at the stroke of a key. It’s beautiful really. I did mention I had dabbled in other genres, but I don’t know that I’ll ever take them as seriously. Maybe once I finish this series? I might pop back over to the southern noir. That was a lot of fun.

10: What can we expect from you next? Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.

 

A: Well, to use a cliché, Skeins Unfurled was only the beginning. I’m currently in rewrites on Book One of the Breadth Key Cycle. Looking at a late April publication date. The first draft for book two is written and pending alpha. My website launches in December. I’m in talks for audiobooks. It’s just…forward. Ever forward.

11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?

A: I think it’s both good and bad that things have shifted from the hands of the Big 5. More of us can get a foot in the door, and we don’t have to deal with the stodgy old gatekeepers who say there’s no market for what we write. That being said, it also means there are BAD books out there, and a lot of them. I think as more people take the craft seriously and treat it as a business, there will be less of those, and I think the stigma attached to the indie label will gradually lessen as it already has. I’m not sure what the future holds, but as a reader I hope it involves a splintering for the Big 5 that forces more focused marketing and more diverse material for those they do represent.

12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!

A: Kate Elliott, David Farland, and George R.R. Martin are some of my favorites. I can reread their work over and over. Two of my favorite books are Frankenstein and Snow Crash; I read these once a year, to the point Snow Crash is held together with Scotch Tape and hope. It’s on its last leg. Currently, I’m on hiatus from reading, though. Five hours to write every day, remember? *sad face*

13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?

A: I don’t know that I have one word I use in my writing a lot. I probably do and just don’t realize it. *squints* As for a word I say a lot? Poo. Just sounds funny. Great alternative to shit, which is coincidentally my favorite curse word, but tiny spawn likes to repeat everything now.

14: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!

A: I can be found on

Facebook

Twitter

Blogger

Amazon 


jd

The author known as Vanderbilt is an avid smoker and a lover of words. She draws inspiration from beer bongs, empty toilet paper rolls, and the almighty chicken wing, using her experiences to pen stories infused with all the bits and pieces that make life interesting.

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