D.E.; How long have you been writing, or when did you start writing?
K.A.; Recently I was going through some boxes I had stored on an upper shelf, and I found a "book" written in crayon when I was six years old. I also found a sci-fi book I wrote when I was sixteen - pretty trite and terrible stuff! My mom taught me to type on an old manual Royal typewriter when I was six or seven, so she could read what I'd written (to this day I still pound on my keyboard like it's a typewriter!). She was an English Literature graduate from William & Mary, and she encouraged me to write as soon as I could do it. However, I didn't publish anything until 2005.
D.E.; Do you write primarily in one genre?
K.A.; I do at the moment - fantasy fiction. But my first published works were non-fiction short stories, and I'd already written a mystery (not published) at that time. Now I've got three fantasy-fiction and one book of short stories out, as well as shorts in four other anthologies.
D.E.; Where do you get your motivation or inspiration from?
K.A. I think from all the stuff my mom read to me when I was a kid and the stuff I continued reading as a young adult. I throw together the Oz books and Carlos Castaneda, Tolkien and Asimov. But I also get inspiration from music. Sometimes I'll be listening and a storyline will just start to evolve. Sometimes I ask myself a question, and the answer becomes an entire book!
D.E.; Tell us about your first publishing experience.
K.A.; After I adopted two rescued cattle dogs, I saw a request for the submission of stories about rescued animals on the rescue organization's website. I submitted two stories, one about my two dogs and one about another dog I had rescued. Those two were published in "Happy Endings One and Two", edited by Bonnie Marlewski-Probert. One of them, One Wet Dog, is available as a single now, too, and also was included in the Snow Deer anthology.
D.E.; How many books have you written?
K.A.; Well...I've written five, but only three are out. That first one, a mystery, may never see the light of day! Let's call it a practice piece...I also have four short stories and my own anthology of shorts out.
D.E.; Are you self published or do you use a publisher?
K.A.; Stolen and Crypt of Souls, the first two of a trilogy, were published by the Chimera Tales imprint of Malachite Quills Publishing. But The Snow Deer and Cornerstone are both self-published.
K.A.; Everything's available in both print and ebook form. I read both, myself, and I like having copies of my books with the nice cover art to look at!
D.E.; As a writer is there a particular obstacle you face?
K.A.; Hmmm. One of my dogs likes to put his face on my computer and bring up hundreds of calculators...of course, there's the day job and all that other stuff, like walking the dogs, eating, sleeping, and chores, that I would sometimes prefer not to do. But I don't face any serious obstacles, fortunately.
D.E.; What is the most difficult for you to write about?
K.A.; Sex! I don't like reading graphic sex scenes and I don't like writing them either. So I usually just...don't!
D.E.; Do you self edit or do you hire an editor?
K.A.; Stolen and Crypt of Souls were both edited by a professional (Suzanne Baldwin) and I learned a TON from that experience! Some of my shorts were edited by the editors of the anthologies they were included in. But Cornerstone went through alpha/beta reading and not a professional editor. If you can afford it, I think it's important to use an editor, but I've also discovered that editing is a very subjective thing. One person can edit a section completely differently from another and come out with a whole different feel.
K.A.; I was driving to town listening to The Hazards of Love, a Decemberists album, and the short story that became the first chapter started to form in my mind. I wrote it down that evening, but I knew there was more. Over the next month, I wrote the first draft of the first book, and went directly to the second one after that. I was actually kind of surprised. I finished the third one about nine months later and started submitting it.
D.E.; Tell us something about this trilogy we won't find on a preview page.
K.A.; The trilogy ends with a very strange relationship.
D.E.; What are you working on now? What's next?
K.A.; I'm working on a short story for an anthology, the proceeds of which will benefit Water Aid. I'm also beginning to put together my ideas for a sequel to Cornerstone, and I'm hoping to start working on editing the third book of the Stolen trilogy soon. I've got a few other ideas, as well.
D.E.; Do you have any tips or tricks to help keep your ideas in order or at least from being forgotten?
K.A.; I've recently started using Scrivener, which I really like. But of course, there's good ol' pen-and-paper for when I'm driving around or otherwise can't get to a computer.
D.E.; Do you prefer pen on paper for drafts or do you stick strictly to your computer?
K.A.; I type on the computer. I can't go fast enough with handwriting!
D.E.; Do you have a favourite place to write or do you write anywhere and everywhere?
K.A.; I used to write exclusively at a desktop with a full-sized keyboard, but after my desktop crashed, I started using my laptop more. Now I sit in my recliner with my laptop on my knees, usually the TV on and my dogs hanging around.
D.E.; How do your stories unfold? Are they plotted first and then filled out or do they simply unravel as you go?
K.A.; Both. I like to have an ending in mind, but the middle often just comes as I head out towards that ending. I do often write out character sketches, family trees, and I hand-draw maps and timelines so I don't get lost and mess up my consistency. I also write lists of words, places, and names and create documents as background. For the Stolen trilogy, some of those are available on the dedicated Stolen website, www.stolenworld.com.
D.E.; Do you have a writing schedule?
K.A.; Nope. I figure it happens when it happens. However, my most productive time seems to be early evening, around 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., so I try to at least write something in that time period.
D.E.; Let's hear some shout outs.
K.A.; I recently read several books by Indie authors that I really enjoyed and can recommend: two by S.J. Hunter (Longevity, a sci-fi novel, and The Ruthlessness of Cats and Dogs, a kind of cozy mystery); a sci-fi by Eric Dulin (Condemned), and a historical romance by Michele McGrath (Manannan's Magic - really a lot more than a romance). There are some good Indie authors out there!
D.E.; Where can readers find you and your work?
K.A.; I have a couple of websites. My main site is at www.kakrisko.com. I'm also on Facebook, I have a tumblr (www.castlestones.tumblr.com) and I'm on Pinterest, Shelfari, LinkedIn, and, of course, Goodreads! I recently started a Twitter account, but I'm not doing much with it at this point.
D.E.; My wife's dog has recently learned how to bay like a coyote when she wants more attention. Tell us about your dogs.
K.A.; That's funny! I bet it does get her attention! I have two Australian Cattle Dogs (sometimes called cattle dogs, heelers, blue heelers, or red heelers). One is an 11-year-old female. She is "red", has one floppy ear, and is a real sweety who loves people. She has her little quirks and she has eaten several of my plants and the spines off a bunch of my books. The second is a slightly-troubled drama queen "blue" heeler male, age three. He is currently on Prozac due to a little mis-wiring. He would be a great agility dog if he didn't forget what he was doing in the middle of it. I've had two other heelers in the past, too, and I've loved them all, although they are a real pain sometimes!
Well, that about wraps up my questions today. Thank you very much, Kathy, for your time. I do greatly appreciate it. I wish you all the best in your future.