Today I have something special for my readers, an interview with the talented K.L. Schwengel, founder of WIPpet Wednesday and a multi-published indie author.
First off, please tell us a little bit about your work.
I mainly write fantasy, although I have delved into paranormal as well as dystopian, and there are some SF bits in my notebook. Basically, if my muse throws it out there, I run with it. My writing tends to veer toward the heavy, dark side of things, even when I try to keep it light, though I still try to interject some humor along the way.
When you write fantasy, how do you go about world-building?
The same way I write: by the seat of my pants. Okay, so maybe that’s not entirely accurate. But I don’t do a lot of note-taking or planning for my world. It tends to unfold with my story. My worlds are so complete in my head that I don’t really need to ‘build’ them in the involved way some authors do. For the most part, I like my world to unfold via my characters; what they come up against, how they react, who they are…all those details define my world.
What kind of magic systems do you use?
I’ve always had a problem with movies and books in which magic is the answer to everything, and doesn’t have any real consequences. That’s given magic a bad rap, I think. Especially healing magic. Although I have healers who also possess magic, it’s not the wave-a-wand-or-say-a-spell-and-you’re-all-better type. Magical healers get drained when they help someone, and their patients still need time to recover. My magic always comes with a cost, and is never the first resort in a situation.
Do you have a writing routine?
Not really. I work full-time, and have a busy schedule outside of the day-job, so I have to sneak my writing in where I can. The only constant is music. I have to have music while I’m writing. Usually sans lyrics or I get caught up in those and forget where I’m at.
What made you decide to become an indie author?
Ah…that’s a complicated question. There wasn’t just one thing and, to be honest, I went in kicking and screaming. I had this notion that indie authors and the books they put out were somewhat less than traditionally published books. Go ahead, idiot slap me. My Sage helped me to realize the errors of my way and I jumped in. A lot of it had to do with me being somewhat *cough* of a control freak, as well as my desire to get my stories out there in front of readers. I was anxious for the world to see what I accomplished. I don’t put out anything I don’t love. And if I love it, I want to share those tales with others, hoping they’ll love it as well.
What have you already published?
I have a novella in Best Selling Author Devin O’Branagan’s anthology Witch Hunt: Of the Blood based on the characters from her book Witch Hunt.
There is Greylands … I think it’s being called a serial collaboration … it started as a writing exercise of sorts on Krista Walsh’s blog, and became an intertwined dystopian story that was published several months ago. Nine authors contributed, creating characters that got to play in Krista’s world. It was great fun, and really came together nicely. I was amazed by the final product. Truly.
And then there is my fantasy series Darkness & Light. The first book in the series First of Her Kind was published last year. The second book, Emergence, just came out. I hope to have the third, Edge of Darkness, out by the end of the year.
What are you working on now?
Edge of Darkness, that whole end-of-the-year deadline looms. I also have a sword & sorcery piece tentatively entitled The Coinblade Chronicles, that I’m working on. Those are the two main WIPs. On the back burner is another fantasy I was thinking of serializing, and a contemporary urban fantasy/paranormal romance. As well as…well…others.
Do you make your covers yourself or do you hire a cover artist?
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and worked in advertising for a few years, so I’m cocky enough to believe I can create my own covers. I revealed the full spread from Emergence here and I’m actually quite pleased with it. But I’m also my own worse critic, and can be a bit picky (which is why I’m currently re-doing the cover for First of Her Kind). I think I would drive an artist crazy if I were to hire one to do them for me.
What do you think are the advantages of indie publishing? Of traditional publishing?
On the indie side you have complete control and total freedom. You truly own the entirety of your book’s fate. That’s a bit daunting for some, but I enjoy it.
On the traditional side, there’s that highly touted monetary advance, and the knowledge that you have a whole team of people handling (or at least helping with) editing, marketing, marketing, editing, distribution, all those things you have to figure out on your own when you go indie.
What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Write. No excuses. Every day if you can, even if it’s only a few words. Get that first draft on paper and don’t look back until you type ~Finis~. Yes, it’s going to suck. Yes, it will make you cringe. That’s its job. You can’t fix it until the story is told.
Be true to your characters and their tale. Don’t shrink from something because it makes you uncomfortable, or because you’re worried what others will think.
Most of all, find one or two people who will be truly honest with you about your writing. We all want to be told our writing is phenomenal, and we’ve penned the next great tale. But empty praise won’t help you grow. Yes, it will hurt. You’ll need to develop a thick skin. But when you emerge on the other side, it will be a wonderful thing, and those tears and blows to your ego will have only made you stronger.
How can people get in touch with you?
Thank you very much for joining us here on Indie Adventures, Kathi, and best of luck with Emergence!