Let’s just dig right in, shall we?
1. Since most writers never achieve their dream of having a full-time writing career, what is your best advice to authors on how to make it happen?
Kim: I think the most important advice for going full-time writing is planning for it. This is not something I just up and decided to do. I planned ahead, put away savings in a nest egg bank account. You also have to have a strong support system, whether this be family or friends or both. For me, this is something that I had been working, planning and saving towards for a quite a few years already. When the time comes that you decide to take that big step, you will know. Signs will just show up confirming this decision. This is what happened for me. It is the best decision I ever took. I am now happier and more fulfilled than I ever was trying to squeeze in time to write.
You also need to treat your full-time writing like a proper job. You have to show up for it every day. For me, I also put a plan of attack into motion and scheduled a writing projects plan. Also, make sure you get out into the real world and away from your writing at least once a week. It is very tempting for us writerly types to lock ourselves away at the back of a writing cave and get lost in out created worlds. But don’t shut yourself off from the social world. There is nothing stopping you sometimes other than yourself.
You can go full-time writing with the right amount of planning, determination, decisiveness and discipline.
Dicey: Good advice, Kim. I know some people have been hit hard in this economy and may not be able to save right now. But that’s where all the other things you mentioned will help. Having a plan and support system and being determined and disciplined during the difficult times will make way for a full-time writing career once times improve.
2. Your short story Ring of Fire is included in a charity anthology Tales For Canterbury where all profits are donated to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. How did you get involved with this project, and what has it been like to share your art AND give back to the community?
Kim: Well, a writing buddy of mine alerted me to this anthology. I contacted one of the editors and then the ball started rolling.
This project was particularly special to me for two major reasons. One, it was my first published short story included in an amazing line up of authors. Two, 100% of all proceeds were going to Christchurch for the RedCross Earthquake appeal. This was incredibly important for me to be part of as not that long ago Christchurch had been my home. There is something particularly special about that city and the way the whole country rallied behind Christchurch in the aftermath of two major earthquakes just goes to show that I am one of many who feel that way about Christchurch.
In times of crisis, one feels so helpless but still you want to reach out and help in any small way you can. This anthology gave me the perfect way to reach out and help. Writing is what I do and to be able to write a story that will shine with hope and be read by people who need hope, there is no greater reward than that. I was honoured to be included in this anthology and I am pleased that a story I created helped even in a tiny way by being part of such a fantastic anthology.
Dicey: Kudos to you! You can always tell what people are made of during times of crises. The fact that you had the spirit of giving rather than selfishness, despair, superiority, or ambivalence says a lot about you.
3. As a YA dystopian writer, please explain what that is and what inspires you to write in this genre?
Kim: Strangely enough, The Ring of Fire was my first foray into writing YA dystopian. I had not thought of it as that. I write paranormal specializing in ghostly tales and suspense. But at the end of the day I write stories that speak to me regardless of their genre. The story came to me in a specific scene and developed from there.
Dystopian fiction is about a controlled or repressed society often built upon the guise of creating a Utopia or a perfect society. However in every dystopian I have read, there is a resilient evidence of hope that shines through in the actions of the hero or heroine. For me that theory resonates with raw honesty.
YA is a natural conducive for dystopian as teens do find themselves living in a controlled environment where all they are trying to do is struggle to find out who they really are and what their place is in the world. I think we all sometimes feel like we are being controlled, either by circumstance, finances, society, work or personal lives so we can all relate to a dystopian world. But more importantly I think we all need hope and the best place to grow hope is where you have to dream of a world that is better. That is what dystopian fiction means for me.
The Ring of Fire published in Tales for Canterbury is a prequel to a full length novel I will be working on in 2012. I also don’t think The Ring of Fire is the only novel I want to do in dystopian fiction. I definitely see myself writing more YA dystopian fiction in the future. There is just something about this genre that just speaks to me.
Here is the link to the Anthology…Remember 100% of all profits go to the RedCross Earthquake Appeal…Buy an ebook or print copy to own stories by the likes of Neil Gaiman and Jay Lake and my debut short story – The Ring of Fire.
Dicey: Thanks for explaining what dystopian is. I can see how it would appeal to YA and adult readers. For some reason, I want to call it disturbia…but that was a 2007 movie with Shia Labeouf. So, never mind. 🙂
Good luck as you write the full length novel. And thanks for the interview.