1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written stories from being little, so I suppose I didn’t really look at it as a serious career choice until after my first novella was self-published. Once I entered the social world of online publishing, I realized that I’d found my kind of people, and I wanted to stay in that community and thrive there, so I just kept going after that!
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
2-3 months at the most, 15 days at the least. It depends on how well I’ve planned the story to begin with, and then how many real-life things are going to interrupt the process as I go along. I usually find that once I’m over the half-way mark, things move a lot quicker. I wrote the last 30,000 words of my latest novel in ten days on holiday, whereas the first 30,000 had taken me more than a month to do at home. It differs from project to project, but 3 months is my current maximum.
2a. Writing a series, how hard is it to stay true to the characters from Book One to The End?
I have a much challenge with this than most writers, because the Synsk series jumps forward in time with every book. You start with Kit when she is fifteen in 1939, but in Book Four which I’m currently writing, she is now 51 with children of her own! I think if you’ve created a strong enough character at the start, then they will endure until the last book pretty well.
2b. With a series, how do you decide when the story will be completed?
With Synsk, it’s easy, because Book Six will bring me almost up to the present day, so I can’t actually jump any farther ahead in time than that. You have to know the end before you embark on the journey with any of these projects. If you don’t know what that great struggle is that your characters are charging towards, then they’ll never have convincing intent and purpose when you write them.
2c. How hard is it to keep track of various storylines and characters when you have more than one series being written at a time?
My family says that I don’t live in the real world because I have too much stuff crammed into my head from my imaginary ones! I don’t find it that hard to keep track actually. I am an avid planner and I always have tons of notes to refer to, to keep my memory fresh.
3. What do you think makes a great story?
An intriguing storyline with mysteries to be unraveled. I like works that confuse me and keep me guessing, throwing curveballs every few chapters. If I can predict the end when I’m reading chapter one, then that’s an author who’s not doing their job right.
4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Sporadic. I don’t just write for the sake of it, or to ‘put the hours in’. If I’m not in the zone, then the writing is awful, and it never gets used. My usual style is to keep my mood up and do lots of creative things, so that when I sit down to try and write, the zone kicks in and I can get a good chunk done. Once I’m going, I’ll go for hours if there’s no interruptions, and I can get a lot done in a short space of time when the mood is right.
5. Has your medical condition affected your writing?
Yes. A lot of people think that C.F.S./M.E. just makes you feel ‘a bit tired’, but let me give you a new perspective on this. If you imagine that you haven’t slept all night, and you’re dragging yourself around in the morning with a sore head, aching body and no co-ordination or any ability to think straight. That’s how I wake up every single day of my life, and that’s AFTER a full night’s sleep. So it take a lot of work to motivate yourself and get going each day before you can even think about being creative. Some days I can manage it, and some days are just better left unmentioned.
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I like to buy obscure books from other cultures, like myths and legends or books about language and word origin. I get a lot of ideas from those kinds of books. Plenty of my ideas also come from my travels. Instead of spending my student loans on cigarettes and alcohol, I saved up every penny and saw a lot of world. Exploring other cultures and seeing beautiful places really inspires me, and it’s funny how trips I took years ago can suddenly become useful when I have a new idea.
7. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I could commit to completing such massive projects. For people who have never written a book, it might seem like 60 or 70 thousand words is no big ask, but when you actually sit down to write it, you realize that you’ve let yourself in for something huge. That sense of completing a project and sending it off to the publisher is what drives me to carry on.
8. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Right now, I have 3 novels with Clean Teen Publishing, 4 self-published novellas, 1 self-published novel, 1 non-fiction book about my medical condition and 1 collection of horror stories released. I also have 5 books scheduled for release next year so far already!
9. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
My characters always take a part of me with them. I don’t like to borrow traits from other people, because it influences the way the characters behave too much (and also how I treat them as a writer!). But if I can give a character one of my own qualities amongst their personality, I can relate to them and give them some authenticity. Steven Bickerstaff in The Mind’s Eye has a lot of my less pleasant traits, but that allows me to show him some sympathy and find a way to redeem them!
10. Do you have a favorite place you love to write?
Because of my condition, I just like to be comfortable. It has to be a quiet place that’s free from distractions, and it has to be the right temperature, without too much bright light. I usually sit at the table in our living room with all the window blinds drawn. The table is in an alcove, and it makes me feel kind of contained and separate from the rest of the room, which helps me to zone out.
11. How hard is it to get published?
I accidentally landed on my feet with this one. I have only ever pursued three publishers, and two of them accepted me right away! I think it is a tough business, but the trick is to start small and work your way up to bigger names. If you have some good books going with great small presses, you can only grow from there.
12. What do your family and friends think about your books?
I have some real gems among my family who read everything I write. My Mum, Dad and my grandmother are by far my biggest supporters, and they all give me radically different feedback on my books, which helps hugely.
13. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
At the moment, I watch a lot of TV and old British comedy movies. I’m also learning to draw anime, designing videogames and improving my skills with video editing and graphic design. Learning may not sound relaxing to other people, but I really enjoy discovering something new every day.
14. Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?
Study Vladimir Propp. His Morphology of the Folktale and Character Archetypes have helped me to subvert the normal narrative paths of storytelling and create plots and characters that are not the typical ones you see in a lot of books these days. If you don’t want to be run of the mill, then look at what’s out there now, analyze its formula, and do something to switch it all up. That’s the way to mark your identity in the vast world of writing online.
15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I had a lot of ideas about that when I was younger. I did want to be a writer when I was very small, but I also wanted to be a paleontologist, which never quite got off the ground. When I was thirteen and my illness struck me down, I started to think that I wasn’t going to be anything at all, and I went into teaching years later because it came easily to me and I had all the right qualifications for it. I never wanted to be a teacher when I was a kid, that’s for sure!
16. What are your favorite books and which authors inspire you?
Books that I adore and have read more than once include: Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov), Dracula (Bram Stoker, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson), The Harry Potter Series (J.K. Rowling) and The Discworld Series (Terry Pratchett). I find all of these authors to be inspiring, particularly Nabokov, who has an incredible way of portraying deep characters.
17. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?
DO research your publishers and make sure they’re suitable for your book. DON’T just send your book to everyone. DO tailor your covering letter to suit the individual publisher. DO read their other books and show them that you’re interested in them personally, not just as a means to get fame. DON’T expect to make a lot of money right away – it takes years to create income from your books. DO promote yourself like crazy, collaborate with other authors and engage with your fans on social media. And most importantly, if you believe in yourself and your story, then DON’T give up!
18. What are you working on now?
I have just finished a YA dystopian novel for a big publishing contest here in the UK, and now I’m back to working simultaneously on a Middle Grade fantasy novel and my new zombie YA adventure for Clean Teen Publishing in 2015. I have plenty of exciting new releases coming next year, so stay in touch!
19. In one Tweet, describe the book we’re promoting:
One girl's struggle for #strength and #love in World War II leads her to a life she never dreamed of living. The Mind's Eye by K.C. Finn.
Five For Fun:
What is your favorite drink?
TEA! I’m British, don’t you know?
What is your favorite cartoon character?
Sebastian from the anime show Black Butler.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
It varies, but right now I’m watching Spice World a lot! Now THAT’S a guilty pleasure movie!
What TV shows do you like to watch?
Right now I’m enjoying ‘How To Get Away With Murder’, but my all-time favourites will always be Doctor Who, Hi-De-Hi and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
What do you like to do for fun or just to relax?
I draw anime, make videos and graphics, build Lego and watch a lot of TV!K.C. Finn Recommends…The Top Ten Things You Need To Know To Be A Successful Writer
1. Get Some Narrative Structure. I studied Vladimir Propp’s ‘Morphology of the Folk Tale’ for my final dissertation at university. It taught me an awful lot about how typical stories are structured in order to tell a successful tale, but it also allowed me to see how to adapt narrative structure to make exciting and unexpected twists in my plots
2. Practise Self-Discipline. Writing is not about how creative you are, it’s about how committed you are to producing the finished, polished product. You have to be able to set a target and meet it. You also have to be prepared for the stages of editing and re-reading that follow that first monumental draft. The end is never the end for a writer.
3. Know Your Character Archetypes. I often refer to Propp again here, but Robert McKee’s ‘Story’ is also an excellent book for learning how to create heroes, villains and everyone in between. It is essential to make your character recognisable to the audience, but also give them suitable depth and reality that keeps people intrigued.
4. Learning Doesn’t Stop At School. The most successful writers I know are those who are constantly pushing themselves to improve. Just because people like your work doesn’t mean you should be complacent and keep doling out the same thing all the time. Pursue new techniques, explore new horizons and keep your creativity fresh.
5. Be Different. The age of carbon copy literature is dying out. People don’t just want a re-hashing of Twilight of The Hunger Games any more, they are looking for the next big thing. Twist the classic ideas, subvert well-known storylines and mash-up genres to produce something that’s original and unique to you.
6. Be Representative. I’m sick of reading about good looking, straight, healthy white people in teen literature. Bring me your races, cultures, disabilities, orientations and identities that are present in the real world every day. Write a story about someone who doesn’t fit the Hollywood stereotype, and there will be an audience hungry for it.
7. Engage With Your Readers. In the new world of social media marketing, you as a writer are just as important as your books. You are a brand, and you need to be out there showing people who you are, so they can connect with you personally and become invested in your career.
8. Write, But Don’t Forget To Live. Writing is not everything. You may want to write every day, but you should not always be writing. Be social, be creative and be out exploring the world and learning new things, or your stories might become stale and all start to sound the same.
9. Don’t Expect To Make A Lot Of Money. Most writers make sod all from their work, myself included. I don’t write because I want a luxury townhouse and a private chauffer someday. I write because it’s my passion to create the stories in my heart. Remember that, and you’ll always feel fulfilled, even if the bank balance doesn’t equate.
10. Keep At It. The world is full of knock-backs and nasty, jealous people. When you express yourself creatively, there will always be someone there to knock you down again. Don’t let them into your world. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve created, and others will be inspired by you and you work too.
Top Ten Ways To Stay Creative:
1. Read a lot of different things. As writers, we do forget to get out there and read once in a while. Reading plenty of different genres expands your creative potential. I know that every time I delve into a new story type, I think to myself: “How could I put my own unique spin on this?” It’s very inspiring!
2. Explore a different culture. Writers in Western society can get very formulaic about their storytelling approach. Explore stories, myths, legends and locations from other cultures to see how their narratives differ from your own, and be inspired by a new perspective.
3. Find some new music. Listening to the same playlist over and over may be fun, but it won’t help you access a new mood or atmosphere for your stories. Youtube and Last FM are great places to go on a musical journey and listen to inspiring songs you never knew existed.
4. Write something random. Seventh Sanctum does some amazing random story generators to challenge your writing skills. To break up the monotony of manuscripts and wake up your brain, try writing something totally new.
5. Set goals. Achieving a small goal, like ‘Complete Chapter One’, can feel really good when you tick it off your list. Make small goals that add up to bigger ones, and enjoy that moment of achievement and pride when you see yourself making progress towards them.
6. Don’t beat yourself up. We all know that a writer’s life is filled with deadlines and pressure, but if you’re not in the mood to write, then don’t waste time worrying about it. Instead, follow another creative pursuit to get yourself back in the inspired mood!
7. Step away from the computer. There’s nothing more uninspiring than a cursor blinking on a blank document. Get away from the screen once in a while. Write by hand, make notes, draw diagrams and record voice memos to access your creativity in a new form.
8. Collaborate with creative people. Find yourself a nice little band of writers and discuss your ideas with them. Be involved in their work too, because you never know what lessons you can learn about your own writing from looking at someone else’s.
9. Try something new. Don’t just stick to what you know. Experiment with new genres, new perspectives and new ways of telling your story, but do it with the help of good guidance from books and other writers online. The best writers are those who aren’t afraid to tackle any new challenge.
10. Get up on your feet. Writing isn’t just about the typing. Get up and become your characters. Act out a scene, imagine yourself within in, or just have a general flail to get your blood pumping and your brain circulation active again. Too much time spent sitting still only leads to stagnant prose!
The Top Ten Writers That Influence My Work
K.C. Finn is currently part-way into her six-part Synsk series at Clean Teen Publishing: a series of paranormal historical novels set at various points in British history from 1939 to the present day. Her other novels include themes such as time-travel, urban fantasy, science fiction, crime and horror.
#10 – Russell T Davies, OBE
“Russell T Davies is best known to the world as the man who brought back Doctor Who in 2005, but he’s also the writer of such daring and prolific works as The Second Coming and Queer As Folk. I admire Davies’s work because he’s unafraid to push the boundaries of gender and sexuality regardless of the historical or cultural parameters he’s working in. In my own work I always aim to be as diverse as possible and to deviate from the normal expectations of genre wherever I can to provide something fresh and new for readers.”
#9 – Sir Terry Pratchett
“A true eccentric who lives in the worlds in his head much more often than reality, Terry Pratchett is exactly who I hope to be in later life. He presents works of sci-fi and fantasy that always look simple and whimsical at first, but upon closer inspection they are always back-grounded by a serious level of cultural and social knowledge. Pratchett has a real knack for understanding society and pointing out its flaws in a humorous, realistic way despite his work often being set in a world very different to our own. And he’s never afraid to wear a bold statement hat. Respect.”
#8 – J.K. Rowling, OBE
“There are many things to love about the works of J.K. Rowling, but for me the most inspiring thing is the love and affection with which she treats her supporting cast. I am a great believer that a writer should never just rely on that one central character to carry their tale: it’s the ensemble that allows all different types of readers to find a character they can cherish, no matter how small their part is in the grand scheme of things. I always aim to give my side characters their due respect and attention in true Rowling style.”
#7 – Sir J.M. Barrie
“Author of Peter Pan, Mr Barrie brought me my very first literary love. And if you’re thinking that great love was Peter himself, then you don’t know me very well! I adore Captain Hook for his depth of character and the feeling that, had the story been told from his perspective, you might just have ended up on his side after all. Barrie was the first writer to teach me that a villain is only a villain because you call him thus for your audience. As a writer I believe you need to find something to love about the villains you create to make them truly three-dimensional people.”
#6 – Charles Dickens
“I am fanatic about Victorian Britain, and there is no better place to start a love for this subject than with the works of Dickens. I started my journey with this wonderful author when I was about ten years old and have never regretted the hours I spent immersed in the gritty, harsh realities of Victorian life with his characters. When I work on creating a truly historic atmosphere for my books, Dickens always springs to mind as the master of weather, colour and the physical materials around him in a scene. You don’t just read Dickens; you live Dickens when you pick up his work.”
#5 – Jane Austen
“Unlike many readers of Austen, I don’t love her for creating Mr Darcy (Mr Bingley’s my guy all the way in Pride and Prejudice, no question), but for stepping over the boundaries of what was expected from drama and romance in the time that she was writing. Austen was witty and ironic about the society in which she lived, daring to show us a character whose attitude was way ahead of her time in Lizzie Bennett. Presenting characters that are radically different to the norm is something I aspire to do in my own work; for me there is no better example of how to do this well than in the works of Jane Austen.”
#4 – Bram Stoker
“For me at least, there is no greater horror story ever told than Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is a book I have devoured many times over the last fifteen years, one which terrified me as a youngster and intrigues me as an adult. I am taking my sweet time perfecting my own gothic horror works, because I know that Stoker is the impossible standard to which all such things should be compared. If I can create even a tenth of the suspense, terror, depth and atmosphere that Stoker achieved, I will be a very satisfied writer!”
“No list of inspiration would be complete without the great bard himself. I never had to work at loving Shakespeare when I was a child: his words came to me very naturally and filled me with a deep love for twisting narratives, history and beautifully crafted language. There are plenty of people who’ll tell you that dear Will is old hat and overrated. To them I say: You don’t know him like I do. Shakespeare is the true master of human emotion; the only writer I have ever known who can take the most indescribable of feelings and find a way to express them that touches every part of the audience’s soul.”
#2 – Mark Gatiss
“Mark Gatiss is everything I want to be in the world of modern writing. Whilst most people recognise him for his role as Mycroft Holmes in BBC’s Sherlock and as one quarter of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen, Gatiss is also a writer whose words I could drown in quite merrily. The Lucifer Box trilogy showed me that historical fiction, action, romance, crime and LGBT are not separate pigeon-holed genres of fiction: they are parts of a whole which, when combined, produce one of the best modern series I have ever read. Gatiss also writes for Sherlock and Doctor Who amongst many other television series and dramas; the concepts and language in his scripts is so inspiring that sometimes I will genuinely pick up the scripts and start reading them rather than watch the programme itself. Now that’s good writing!”#1 – Vladimir Nabokov
“I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a writer. I knew I liked to tell stories and that language was a talent of mine, but I only really started to take the idea of being a writer seriously after I read Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’. Before that day, writing seemed like a frivolous thing that you could enjoy in your spare time, but after I finished the most iconic read of my life, I knew that words had the power to do so much more for a person’s own morality, tolerance and understanding of others. I am a socially aware writer in the sense that I like to portray personalities that are not the norm and show readers that characters they don’t expect to fall in love with can truly surprise them. Nabokov’s portrayal of Humbert Humbert is the sole reason for this decision and the spark that led me to study sociology and later sociolinguistics, which constantly influences the way I choose to shape my work. If you do only one thing after reading this list, let it be a google search of this, the greatest writer known to man.”
“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamouring to become visible.”Vladimir NabokovTour Schedule -
One month Tour for The Synsk Series by K.C. Finn from Oct 27 to Nov 27, 2014Oct 27Word to Dreams - Promo & Author InterviewNight Owl Reviews - PromoOct 28Books, Authors, Blogs - PromoBooky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom - Promo, & Top TenOct 293 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!- PromoShayna Varadeaux - PromoOct 30Coffee Books & Art - Promo, Dream Cast, Playlist, Top TenWhat Shall We Blog About Today? - Promo, Dream Cast, Character Bio's, Book Soundtrack & PlaylistOct 31MI Bookshelf - PromoBook Club Sisters - Promo, Book Soundtrack & PlaylistNov 3Deal Sharing Aunt- Promo2 Girls & A Book - Promo, Dream Cast, Character Bio's & Top TenNov 4Lindsey Gray - Promo & Character Bio'sNov 5Sweet Treat Reading Reviews - Promo & Dream CastNov 6Babu's Bookshelf - Review AllBeckstar Reviews - Review AllNov 7Bookworm for Kids - Review - Book 1 - The Mind’s EyeNov 10JeanzBookReadNReview - Promo, Author Interview, Dream Cast & PlaylistMy Book Fairy - Promo, Character Bio's, Book Soundtrack & Guest PostNov 11A One-click Addict's Book Blog - PromoBook Lovers Life - Promo & Top TenHooke On Books Forever - Promo, Dream Cast, Character Bio's, Playlist & Book SoundtrackNov 12Pretty Little Pages - Promo & Top TenAvid Reader Amy's Reviews - Promo, Dream Cast & Book SoundtrackNov 13Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog - PromoNov 14Kelly P's Blog - PromoThe Wonderings Of One Person - Promo, Author Interview & PlaylistNov 17Cajun Book Lover - PromoNov 18A Little Bit of R&R - Promo, Dream Cast, Character Bio's & PlaylistNov 19Portals to New Worlds - Promo, Character Interview, Dream Cast, Character Bio's, Playlist & Book SoundtrackNov 20Eclipse Reviews - Promo, Author Interview, Dream Cast, Character Bio's, Playlist & Book SoundtrackNov 21A Cauldron of Books - Promo, Top Ten, Dream Cast, Character Bio's, Playlist & Book SoundtrackNov 24Angels with Attitude Book Reviews - Promo, Top Ten, Book Soundtrack & PlaylistNov 25Dalene's Book Reviews - Promo, Review All, Dream Cast, Character Bio's, Playlist & Book SoundtrackNov 26The Avid Reader - Promo, Dream Cast, Character Bio's, Book Soundtrack, PlaylistVeduny Writer - Promo & Review - Book 3 - A Place HalfwayNov 27The Idle Musings of a Writer's Mind - Promo, & Author Interview, Dream Cast, Character Bio's, Book Soundtrack, PlaylistB.A.S.E.D. Press - Promo & Review AllDisplay Link: