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.

42 comments:

  1. Great start James - looking forward to more :)

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  2. This is the first interview I have ever read on a blog and would have to say JD, you have brought Kami to the forefront of the conversation by allowing her to expressive and articulate, brilliant work and surely not your last interview.

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  3. Fun interview. My question would be what was going on in Kami's life when she was in the first grade had her thinking about chickens? As a city girl, that was not the first thing that would come to me mind. ;)

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    1. haha, my siblings and I all got baby chicks for Easter one year, and they grew into chickens. I didn't grow up on a farm or anything, but we had a lot of different kinds of pets. I wrote a lot of animal stories about them.

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  4. I've never heard the term pantster before this, so thanks for making me look up something new. Probably good to know as a writer myself. Great interview and answers here.

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  5. Great questions and great interview, James. I'm getting ready to go to the publisher with my first book, so this was helpful!

    ~Erin

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  6. Great start James! Great interview and beautiful guest! Good luck in continuing!
    ~Kvvinto :)

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  7. James...that was a great first interview. Formulated very well and organized. Kudos buddy. Glad I stopped by.

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  8. Very enjoyable. Thanks for sharing :)

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  9. Very nice interview James, Thank you

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  10. since I am more a visual person I would ask Kami what actors she could picture playing the roles of her heroes / heroines

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    1. I would love to answer this! But I don't usually think of actors when I think of how my characters look. The person I know who looks most like my protagonist is a somewhat distant friend from high school...

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  11. Awesome. Best of luck James!

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  12. Very nice blog James! Let's stay in touch, maybe do a guest blog for each other!

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  13. I'd never heard of Kami, but her story is eerily similar to my own story. And her novel she's working sounds very interesting, as well. Thanks for the interview!

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    1. It's creepy when those moments happen... And your story wouldn't be the first I've unknowingly overlapped with. :)

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  14. I always enjoy hearing more about other writers. Great interview!

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  15. The premise of the story sounds interesting.

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  16. This is really good to get the inside story! Enjoyed it!

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  17. Thanks for sharing. It was a great story and a good read.

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  18. Its really enjoyable. Thanks for sharing :)

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  19. Knowing both of you for a few years now, it's nice to catch up on where exactly in your writing careers you’re both at currently. Good piece James, and I wish Kami the best of luck on getting her novel placed—that’s the hardest part in my opinion.

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  20. Thanks everyone, and thanks for the support. :)

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  22. Kami, love the premise of your new novel. And Les Miserables is one of my favorite reads. I remember the exact moment I read the description of Fantine's thoughts of her struggle. The tears were unstoppable, because of how she trusted, she did the best she could and it still went all so wrong.

    Good luck with your novel. Looking forward to the story. :)

    -Amy
    www.amyjalapeno.com

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  23. good luck James, give it your all and pen your story(ies), cheers

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  24. Insightful questions, James. And, Kami's answers were helpful too.

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  25. Best of luck James!! :)

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  26. Superb first interview, squire. Well done, that man.

    What was the main factor that made you break out and seek down authors to interview? And would you recommend it?

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    1. I've been wanting to do it for a while because I've seen other blogs do it and I thought it would be a fun learning opportunity for me. Sometimes I have other questions but they rarely returned to answer my questions to those blogs, so here was my chance to get mine own in. Ultimately, I'm trying to learn the road to publication by those who have already traveled it and know where the roadblocks, potholes, and drunk drivers are.

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