This is the thirteenth outing of a new blog series, as I dabble my toes into the mysterious waters of author interviews!
Having watched so many fantastic interviewers (Tricia Drammeh and her Authors to Watch, AFE Smith (see below), Katrina Jack and her New Authors section and Susan Finlay’s Meet the Author to name a few of the best – please check out their wonderful blogs), I’ve always been a little reluctant to throw my hat into the ring…but here goes!
One of my all-time favourite worldbuilding PC games, is Sid Meier’s ‘Alpha Centauri’. So, in homage to that (and a shameless rip off of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ and AFE Smith’s brilliant blog series Barren Island Books), here is my own author interview series – Distant Worlds.
The Distant Worlds strand started a few months ago, focusing on fellow fantasy and sci-fi authors from ultra-cool UK publishing house, Grimbold Books and their imprints, Kristell Ink and Tenebris Books – a bunch of uber-talented and whacky characters who I am also proud to call friends. Check out their cool titles while they’re still at bargain prices! hyperurl.co/GrimboldBooks
But now we’re branching out and will be zoning in on an extraordinary group of people, The Alliance of Worldbuilders (AWB), who I am also very proud to call close friends.The AWB – a bunch of uber-talented fantasy and sci-fi writers and artists who I am VERY proud to call my friends, met on the HarperCollins writing site, Authonomy, back in 2010. We formed The Alliance of Worldbuilders, a friendly, inclusive and wacky group and our collective friendships have seen us through some very hard times, including the sad loss of one of our own, Lindsey J Parsons. In honour of Lindsey, our dear friend who tragically died in January 2014, the AWB have created an awesome anthology of short stories, which was published in glorious paperback and e-book on 4th September 2015! It makes the perfect prezzie and ALL profits go to charity, the World Literacy Fund, fighting illiteracy around the world, so grab a great book and help a great cause too! Amazon UK & Amazon US
Right, now to our thirteenth author interview, and our first AWB interview, the princess of fantasy…
Kay, YOU find yourself cast adrift in deep space, your colony pod’s life support is failing, your only chance of survival is a distant habitable world…
What 5 essentials would you choose to help you survive?
I’ve seen enough episodes of Naked and Afraid for this to be an easy question! I’d take an extra large pot with a lid, a fire starter (because Fire Whisperer Cody Lundin I am not), a machete, a mosquito net (so many uses!), and 500 feet of heavy-duty climbing rope.
What 5 personal items would you salvage from your crashed ship before it explodes?
I’d have my survival items in a backpack, all ready to go. I’d also grab a laptop full of music and family photos for those quiet, lonely moments; all the paper and pencils I can lay my hands on; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (travel tips for the win! J; and one towel large and thick enough to double as a blanket.
Would you seek life-forms for help or go it alone?
Chicken that I am, I think I’d play it safe and observe said life forms first. Then, if they seemed friendly, I’d approach them. If not, well, I’d head for the hills at warp ten!
What 5 fantasy/sci-fi books would you have to keep with you and why?
Pathways by Jeri Taylor, because I love Star Trek: Voyager and this book got me through some rough times in my teen years; an omnibus set of The Banned Underground books by Will Macmillan Jones, because I’m sure to need a good laugh at some point; an omnibus set of Caroline B. Cooney’s The Time Travelers books, because – in a word – they’re awesome (despite the fourth book being rather less awesome than it could have been); The Princess Bride by William Goldman because it’s just so darn quotable, not to mention a classic; and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (yep, you guessed it, an omnibus set) because I’ve been meaning to reread them and I may actually have the time if I’m stranded on a remote alien planet.
What 5 songs or albums could you not live without?
“A Way Back Into Love” by Haley Bennett and Hugh Grant and “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles because they’re both uplifting, feel-good songs; the complete works of Gaelic Storm because…well, do I really need a reason? 🙂 “The Longer the Waiting (The Sweeter the Kiss)” by Josh Turner because his voice makes me melt and this song is just…I have no words to describe the epicness of this song! The same goes for “How Did I Fall in Love with You” by the Backstreet Boys. And I’d also have to take their album Unbreakable because…Well, just because. 🙂
You are all alone on a distant world with little chance of being rescued…do you choose water, vodka or coca-cola to drown your sorrows?
I’d take the Coke – after all, I’ll need the caffeine to keep me going. And if I need to clean a battery terminal or something, I’ll be all set.
On the other hand, crash-landing on an alien planet is bound to be stressful, and vodka might help me relax. But I get sleepy when I drink.
Of course, if I had both Coke AND vodka, I’d have the best of both worlds… 🙂
Random comet question: If you had the choice, would you live in Westeros, Middle Earth or Narnia?
If I had to choose among those three, I would probably have to choose Middle Earth. Westeros sounds much too rough for my liking, and Narnia, while beautiful, also has the White Queen, whom I really don’t care to tangle with.
I’d settle in the Shire, I think. Lovely scenery, lovely people, lovely food – what more could a girl want? 🙂
You have 30 seconds (max 100 words) to tell the alien approaching you about your latest book. Remember this is more pressurised than an elevator pitch – screw up and he’ll eat your brains! Go!
In Tuesday Daydreams and A Song for All Seasons, I use words to paint pictures of frost-covered windowpanes, snowy prairie vistas, rolling green fields, and bright blue skies. But if poetry’s not your scene, then check out my short stories in A World of Their Own and see what happens when a cancer vaccine goes terribly, horribly wrong.
How would you choose to spend your time on this distant world?
I’d spend my time writing. After all, without my day job and all the usual interruptions, I might actually get a fair amount done!
Unless, of course, I’m plagued by unusual interruptions. In that case, I’d probably be too busy cowering in a dark cave somewhere to do much writing.
What 5 things would you miss most about Earth?
I’d miss all the usual things – my family, my friends, electricity, indoor plumbing, and the view from my hammock. Or rather, the view from my hammock seven years ago. But then, I already miss that.
What 5 things would you NOT miss about Earth?
I would most definitely NOT miss politics (Can the 2016 election be over already? Please? Pretty please? No? Boo.). I wouldn’t miss petty drama or the people who thrive on it. I wouldn’t miss being in debt (lookin’ at you, student loans). I wouldn’t miss money or the things it does to people at all. And, last but not least, I wouldn’t miss those TV commercials for prescription drugs. They make taking the medications sound ten times worse than the diseases they’re supposed to cure. Jeff Foxworthy has a whole bit about them, and it’s funny cuz it’s true.
Time-traveller questions (for Dr. Who fans): What is the one thing you wish you could turn back time and change?
Every embarrassing moment in my life.
Seriously, though, if I could change my college experience without it affecting the life I have now, I would. I would have stayed on campus instead of going home every weekend, I would have studied abroad, and I would have finished my bachelor’s degree. At least.
If you had the chance again to go on this deep space adventure, would you take it?
I think so. Shows like Star Trek (all incarnations) and Futurama left me with an incurable desire to know what else is out there.
What 5 indie authors and books you would recommend to any carbon based lifeform – and why?
Well, since I already mentioned Will Macmillan Jones, I suppose that means I need to talk about other authors, don’t I? All right, then – how about Emily McKeon/C.W. Farley? Who Will Dance With Me? and What the Town Knew are both amazing; she really can write it all. Inquisitor by R.J. Blain isn’t the sort of thing I normally read, but this book grabbed me at the start and never once let go. Harriet Goodchild’s After the Ruin was a tapestry of a book – richly layered, full of details, I could reread this book a hundred times and find something new to enjoy every time, I just know it. Chasing Azrael by Hazel Butler was another such book, and I can’t wait for the next instalment in her Deathly Insanity series. And finally, Lindsey J. Parsons’ novel Vortex, the first book in her Return of the Effra series, was utterly wonderful. Again, not the sort of thing I normally read, but it was just a load of fun from beginning to end, and I wish she were still here to write more fantastic stories. (I totally agree, Vortex is one of my all time favourite reads and I SO wish dear Lindsey was still with us!)
What advice can you give to fellow space travellers (writers and readers) out there?
Never underestimate the power of a friendly smile. 🙂
That said, one should also keep in mind Ferengi Rule of Acquisition No. 48: The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
Before we leave you and blast into another parallel universe, please tell us about yourself, your inspirations and your publishers!
“I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world…”
Wait, that’s not me! I’m a legal secretary by day and a determined word wrangler by night. I sometimes play referee for my four kids, who keep me on my toes and a little bit out of my mind. I love a good romance and I adore bad jokes. I live in the middle of an Iowa cornfield (okay, so this year it’s a bean field, but that’s beside the point) with my handsome, handy husband, our kids, and an assortment of furry creatures both tame and wild. The geek is strong in our family, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂
A mild-mannered secretary by day and a determined word-wrangler by night, Kay battles the twin evils of distraction and procrastination in order to write fantastical tales of wuv…twue wuv…with a few bad haiku thrown in for good measure.
She is currently hard at work on the first book in a fantasy trilogy. Kay resides in the midst of an Iowa corn field with her devoted husband and his mighty red pen; four crazy, cute kids; and an assortment of adorably small, furry animals.
Care to save her from the chaos? You can find Kay in the all the usual places:
At her blog, where she shares random pictures and silly poems; on Facebook, where she shares things about cats and books; on Twitter, where she shares whatever pops into her head; on Pinterest, where she shares delicious recipes and images from her fantasy world; on Instagram, where she shares pictures of pretty sunsets; and on Tumblr, where she shares all of the above.
Natural poetry at its finest.
In addition to intimate portraits of family life, A Song for All Seasons paints vivid pictures of the Iowa landscape in all its glory. From frost-covered windowpanes and snowy vistas to rolling green fields and bright blue skies, each poem is a peek into a fading world of untamed beauty.
Tuesday Daydreams: A Journal in Verse by Kay Kauffman
Natural poetry at its finest.
Capturing the life and imagination of the author in vivid detail, these poems touch on joy and loss, life’s everyday hassles, and the many faces of Mother Nature.
Amazon UK (paperback)
Amazon UK (Kindle)
Thank you, Kay. Congratulations, you are survivor! A passing pleasure cruiser has honed in on your distress beacon, you’re going home!!!
Happy Horizons! 😀 xx