Monday, January 28, 2013

Writer Interview: Kami McArthur

As promised from my last post, here is my first author interview! I'm excited for this one because I consider Kami McArthur a close friend. I met her a few years ago when we were in a writing group together and I always looked forward to her well-written and witty submissions. I promise you, keep an eye on Kami, she is certainly going places.

She just started blogging and you can check that out here: Kami McArthur's Blog (Follow her, you can thank me later)

Also, she just did a great guest post on one of David Farland's Daily Kicks on making character strengths into weaknesses, which you can see here: Kami's Daily Kick

JD: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Kami McArthur: I usually feel strange telling people this because it’s cliché and sounds too romantic, but I was in first grade; I’m one of those “always wanted to be a writer” people. I wrote a story about chickens having to go on a long journey to find water. I even edited the plot (go first-grader me). And then I couldn’t stop writing. I have a binder full of stories I wrote as a kid.

Confession: I’ve felt so weird answering this question in the past that I’ve often answered indirectly. I’d say, “I didn’t start taking writing seriously until college.” It’s true. But I also wrote all growing up. College is just when I really devoted myself to the craft.
Kami McArthur

JD: What do you enjoy most about writing?

KM: That moment when everything in your story—setting, character, plot, theme, style, everything—works together just the way you intended. It’s like you finally got the cosmos aligned, and in a way, you have, because this is your own world you’ve created. We get to be little gods. And all the sweat, blood, and tears are worth those moments of perfection, when you fully control language to create something that didn’t exist before.

JD: Conversely, what do you enjoy the least about writing?

KM: It changes from time to time. But at this time, I’ll say coming up with a title. Sometimes titles just pop out for me, other times…they don’t. I still don’t have a title for the piece I’m working on right now, and the story has been blossoming in my head for years. A great title catches attention, sounds good, implies something about the story or implies the genre, and works on multiple levels. Titles set up readers’ expectations and add emphasis to certain aspects of your story.

That’s a lot to manage in a few words.

If anyone has any advice on coming up with titles, let me know.

JD: Who are your favorite authors? What is it about them that really makes you enjoy their writing?

KM: Hands down, J.K. Rowling is my favorite author. I love how she is so detailed, and how she makes so many parts of her story connect and work on different levels. I’ve read Harry Potter more times than I can remember, and each time I catch something new.

Although I wanted to write stories before I read Rowling, her work has definitely influenced my plotting and character creation.
Kami Rubbing Shoulders with J.K. Rowling

JD: Are you willing to share anything about your current writing project?

KM: I’m working on a young adult fantasy that plays with the whole angel and demon concept, but in a way I haven’t seen before. It doesn’t really have the religious aspects traditionally attached to angel and demon stories.

The set-up is that an angel has to go into hiding among humans after the demons invade his country. But angels in this story are naturally attached to humans—they feel a great need, impulse really, to help and serve them, even to the point of putting themselves at risk. So the protagonist has to deal with his tendencies towards humans while at the same, trying to keep his identity hidden from them and the demons who want to wipe out his species.

I’m still on the first draft, but hoping to finish it soon. I’ve published short fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, but this would be my first novel. I hope to publish it traditionally. Wish me luck!

JD: What genre of books do you enjoy reading? What are you currently reading?

KM: I’m open to just about anything well-crafted. With that said, I have a soft spot for good YA fantasies. Science fiction and dystopians novels are fun too. Right now I’m reading Les Miserables, having fallen in love with the recent film adaptation to the point that I began secretly considering naming one of my future children Valjean. But to save the poor kid, I’d probably give it as a middle name. Time will tell. I recently finished Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. I loved it! Marion nailed that story.

JD: Are you a plotter or a pantster, and why?

KM: I’m definitely a plotter, but if I get better ideas along the way, I don’t have a problem deviating from my outline. I produce better stories as a plotter. I like knowing where I’m trying to take my characters, and it makes it easier for me to control my story.

Does anybody have any questions for Kami? Leave a comment and maybe she will be nice enough to stop by and answer it.