Thursday, May 19, 2011

Published Author Interview with: Kate Gordon.

Author: Kate Gordon.

Bio: Kate Gordon grew up in a very booky house, with two librarian parents, in a small town by the sea in Tasmania. She spent her childhood searching for fossils at Fossil Bluff, wondering about the doctor who rode his horse off the cliff at Doctor’s Rocks, and eating the best chips in the world at the fish and chip shop at the wharf. She also spent much of her time dreaming about being a writer, and spent many a lunch hour walking around the playground reciting poetry. The other children thought more on Kate’s website.

On with the show,

  1. What do you love about writing?
What's not to love? It's the best job I've ever had! What other job can you do in your pyjamas, at any time of day or night, and not have to answer to anyone but your inner critic? (oh, and your agent and editor, but my experience is that working with these people is extremely fun and fulfilling). Being a control freak, I also love having complete control over characters and worlds. It's kind of like playing god. Plus, on my anti-social days, I can go to work and not have to talk to a single soul. I can work with my cat on my knee … I can eat corn flakes while I work … There is absolutely nothing bad about being a writer!

2. Is it emotionally tough to write some scenes?

Oh yes, definitely. I have been known to cry after “killing off” a favourite character or working on a particularly harrowing scene. I often have no idea in advance what will happen to characters so sometimes they die unexpectedly. That can be a bit distressing! I find chocolate helps ...

3. What type of characteristics do you think are necessary for a strong heroine?

Oh, that's a tough one. I think the number one requirement for any strong character is complexity. Nobody is just “tough” or “strong” or “feisty” all the time. As human beings we can be any number of people on any given day. Characters should be no different. I hate reading books where I feel like characters are a cliché, or that the writer has set them up to represent one particular character trait. And I hate, hate, hate reading about female heroines who are unrelentingly “gutsy”. That's not realistic. The strongest woman on the planet has her off days, and as a reader I find it much more rewarding and affirming to read about strong females who also have flaws. Makes me feel less insecure!

4. What sort of tools or routine do you use to create a story?

I often feel I am the worst writer on the planet because I really have no tools or routines. I kind of run on instinct. When I start a novel I will often have an idea or a character germinating in my head for awhile, kind of “living” with me and taking shape. Then, all of a sudden, a first line will pop into my head. I usually race to write it down. Then, once I have the first line, the story just plops out after it. It's a lie to say I don't plan at all. I do kind of roll things around in my head for awhile before starting, but once I start writing, I try to just let the characters grow organically. I am a hopeless plotter so, after I've written the rough first draft I often have to go back and painstakingly edit to make sure things make sense. It's probably not the best way to work but it's the only way I know!

5. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write. Please don't think I'm being patronising or flippant when I say that, but it's the best advice I know. In any other profession, in order to call yourself, say, a teacher or a lawyer or a waitress, you need to actually be getting up and going to work at that job to earn the right to call yourself that. To be called a writer, you have to write. No point just thinking about it. No point deciding you want to be the next JK Rowling, or Stephenie Meyer or John Green and then not putting one finger on a computer keyboard. It may seem like a huge step, actually starting but trust me, it gets easier. Just start and see where it takes you. If it's crap, don't get rid of it, just push on. Go back and edit later. At least you'll have words and ideas and characters there instead of a blank page to work with. My other piece of advice is: make friends. Make real-life writer friends, make friends on Twitter, join a writing group. Being a writer is a solitary profession and one most non-writers just don't understand. The more people you have around you, supporting you and guiding you, the better!

6. How much research was needed to create your story?

All of the books in the Thyla series have and will require much more research than I'm used to doing. In Thyla, two of the characters spent time in the Cascade Female Factory. I had been to the Factory once before, but had to leave because I was so spooked (I'm sure there are ghosts there!). I didn't know much about it, though, so I had to spend time at the library, on the internet and talking to people who maintain the Factory to get a sense of what it would have been like to live there in the 19th century. In the second book, Vulpi, a crucial part of the story occurs in Elizabethan England, so I needed to learn more about that era. Sarco looks at some incidents in the history of the Tasmanian aboriginal people, and the final book, Diemen, looks at the free settlers and convicts who created Tasmania. All in all, I'm much more knowledgeable about both Australian and world history than I was when I started, which couldn't be a bad thing!

  1. What type of story you’re reading draws you in immediately?
Obviously, I have a bit of a thing for paranormal fiction. If a book has angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, fairies, immortals, ghosts or any other kind of paranormal creature in it, I'll give it a go. That said, the quality of writing and character has to be top notch for me to rate one paranormal book over another. I adored Claudia Gray's “Evernight” series, for example, because the characters are so strong. I also really loved Lauren Kate's Fallen and the sequel, Torment. And Liar is just amazing, of course! I am also a sucker for a good YA chick lit. I adore Sarah Dessen. And a good quirky, male-protagonist story can also be a winner for me. John Green, Nick Earls, Nick Hornby and Barry Lyga are huge idols of mine. I love delving into the male psyche via their books! Lately, I have also got into autobiographies, which is a new genre for me. It all started with Mia Freedman's Mamamia. Then, I read Portia De Rossi's Unbearable Lightness and now I'm on the hunt for another great memoir, so if anybody has any recommendations they'd be more than welcome!

8. Why were you drawn to the genre you've written?

I like to think I have two genres – paranormal and straight contemporary young adult. I love working in both genres and I go through phases of being obsessed with one over the other. If I get sick of writing supernatural books, I can spend some time writing straight YA or vice versa. I love writing in both these genres because I love reading both these genres! I grew up reading Tamora Pierce and Anne Rice, and classic paranormal like Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe, which is where my passion for paranormal fiction was born. I also loved Brigid Lowry, Sonya Hartnett, Judy Blume and Libby Hathorn. And I was obsessed with The Babysitter's Club. I write books I'd like to read, I think, and since these are the genres I like to read it makes sense for me to write them!

9. Is there a message you would like to convey through your writing?

I don't think there is a message I consciously try to convey but I know that, subconsciously, I do put messages into my books that are important to me, like the importance of imagination, self-acceptance and finding your own unique path in the world. Hopefully, when you read my books, these messages aren't rammed down your throat, though!

10. What do you hope your readers experience while reading ‘Thyla’?
I hope they enjoy meeting Tessa. I hope they're intrigued by her story. I hope they laugh! I hope, if they're Australian, that they enjoy reading a paranormal book set in their country. Most of all, I hope they are entertained!

  1. What inspired your novel ‘Thyla’ ?
Tasmania. I grew up here. I am intrigued by this place. It's beautiful, mysterious, full of the most complex, dark, rich history. I am very proud to be Tasmanian and I'm committed to sharing my love for this place in the books I write. When I was little, my dad wrote me a story about a thylacine called Tessa. Ever since then I have been fascinated by the Tasmanian tiger. My mum took me on bushwalks in the Tasmanian forest and I was invent stories about the incredible creatures that lived in the shadows. There is so much of Tasmania that feel wild and unexplored. I made up my own version of what is out there, hiding in the darkness. Now I've started, I'm finding it difficult to stop! Each of the “Thyla” books delves a bit deeper into the forests of Tasmania and I hope what I've found there is as intriguing to you as it is to me!

Thankyou Kate for being apart of She Known As Jess BlogSpot.

Check Out Kate’s Novel: Thyla.

Title: Thyla.

Blurb: My name is Tessa. I am strong. I am brave. I do not cry. These are the only things I know for certain.

I was found in the bush, ragged as a wild thing. I have no memory - not even of how I got the long, striping slashes across my back. They make me frightened of what I might remember.

The policewoman, Connolly, found me a place in a boarding school and told me about her daughter, Cat, who went missing in the bush.

I think there is a connection between Cat, me, and the strange things going on at this school. If I can learn Cat's story, I might discover my own - and stop it happening again.


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