For today’s interview, we managed to catch up with author KA Laity. With a bibliography the length of your arm, Kate took a few moments to share her thoughts on writing and the business.
He2etic: What is the writing process like for you? If you were to describe the process in what word, what would it be?
Kate: The word would be busy!
I am always working on a lot of projects at the same time because I have the kind of brain that jumps around so this is my way of making the most of natural tendencies.
I wrote my first published novel while I was also writing my PhD dissertation, so it becomes a habit.
Also I write under [cough] four names so I keep really busy. And I’m still not good at saying ‘no’ to friends who have cool ideas. >_<
He2etic: What kind of music do you listen to while you write?
Kate: I listen to a lot of radio lately (BBC 4 Extra mostly) but music varies with the project. Since I’ve been writing crime it’s given free rein to my obsession with The Fall (which I’ve written about at length) and also pinched some titles from their music as well. There’s something both evocative and hypnotic to their music. And awesome lyrics — they always spark ideas.
“Submitting works trying to find those like minds takes up way too much time. It’s such a joy when you find them.”
He2etic: Who are your favourite characters amongst both those you’ve written, and by other authors?
Kate: I love Jane Eyre! She’s great: passionate yet firm in her beliefs. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks but she will not tarnish her principles.
Of my own, hmmm — I do love James Draygo who is the narrator of my current novel White Rabbit because he’s full of lackadaisical humour and self-deceit. I kind of wish I were more literally kick-ass like Chastity Flame but hey, that’s why we write. I kind of adore Alice and Lizzie from The Mangrove Legacy because they still make me laugh far too much.
He2etic: What are your strongest influences when it comes to character creation?
Kate: I have to hear the voices — once I have that, it’s easy to pick up the story and write no matter where I’ve left it, whether it was an hour ago or a matter of days. I’m not one to spend a lot of time in prep — I mash out an outline and then run in most cases — but it’s useless beginning until I can hear that voice. I tend to enjoy first person narratives because of that.
“Don’t get hung up on the ‘do and don’t’ advice. Write your story — as in begin something and, more importantly, finish it.”
He2etic: Are there any dream characters or settings you want to write about? Such as in other franchises?
Kate: I’m thinking about writing a Midian story as Clive Barker has put out a call; since Clive was responsible for my first real publication, I am always grateful to him and I’ve always been a big fan of his writing. I want to write a story set in India, so that gives me an excuse to try to get someone to pay for me to travel there. I’m a big fan of making other people pay for my travel.
He2etic: What are your favourite drinks, both alcoholic and not? Do you occasionally partake while writing?
Kate: I’m partial to a really good beer, so not surprisingly my latest noir, À La Mort Subite takes place in Belgium, the home of the finest beers in the world. In a pinch, Guinness will always do, though it really doesn’t taste as sweet as it does in Ireland (a friend who’s a taster for Guinness confirms the truth of this!).
I’m partial to a good martini (a real one, none of that unnecessary ‘updating’ of the classic, though it can be vodka or gin). But honestly, the fluid that runs in my veins is mostly made of tea — strong, black and bitter like my heart. I am eternally grateful to my sweetie for bringing it to me while I write. We call him the tea fairy. 🙂 That’s love.
He2etic: If you could cast anyone to play the roles of main characters in your work, who would you pick?
Kate: Oh, can I have Jason Statham play Draygo? The movie would need to have a lot more martial arts than the book then, because he mostly gets beat up a lot — or it it could be a new direction for Statham. Of course I bet Tom Hiddleston would do wonders with the role and look great all scruffy. I’d love to have Tilda Swinton play Ro Parker from Owl Stretching — a bisexual accidental shaman. She could do justice to the role!
He2etic: Do you have any long term projects for writing? For example, do you intend to someday spin your own franchise or complete a long novel series?
Kate: I have the beginnings of a franchise in Chastity Flame (working on the third novel now) and I am trying to do more crime consistently, but I have tons of ideas and I want to make as many of them manifest as possible. I have a few publishers who like my stuff and work well with, so that saves a lot of time. Submitting works trying to find those like minds takes up way too much time. It’s such a joy when you find them.
He2etic: Are there any novels you would consider required reading? Are there any movies or television series that inspire your work?
Kate: Oh far too many! I’m a medievalist so I think people should read all the things I neglected for far too long. When I finally read Beowulf, Njal’s Saga and The Tain in one semester, it changed everything, so I recommend that. Films? Go watch all of Aki Kaurismäki’s films! Television-wise, I’m a big fan of Buffy as a show that grew and changed in interesting ways. I just caught up belatedly on Life on Mars which was a lot of fun.
He2etic: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Kate: Don’t get hung up on the “do and don’t” advice. Write your story — as in begin something and, more importantly, finish it. Research to figure out where to send it, send it and get on with something new. Repeat ad infinitum. Persist: more people than ever are writing and publishing. You may never find the monetary success that you dream of, but you will write the stories in your head and find readers. That’s richness. People tend to disparage creativity that doesn’t ‘pay off’ but it always pays off; this is our true nature — creating.
K.A. Laity would also like to give a huge thanks to her cover artist, SL Johnson for her fine work.