Welcome to the Author Spotlight, Kim , and congratulations on the release of ‘Path Unchosen’.
Thank you. I’m very happy to be here.
What was the first story you ever wrote? Can you tell us about it?
I wrote voraciously until my corporate career swallowed up all my time. The earliest story I remember was when I was seven years old. I wrote a story about ratty and mole on the riverbank. Ratty had to save mole when he toppled out of their little boat. It was Wind in the Willows fanfiction though I didn’t know it at the time! My teacher gave me A+ and had me read it aloud to the class. I was in heaven.
You write Urban Fantasy, can you please give us a description of your style?
I call it slightly darkish new adult urban fantasy. My heroine is a necromancer and throughout the series she gets embroiled in all sorts of battles with all manner of dead people. She finds herself, finds new friends, struggles in love and wrestles with her emotions and her own power.
Is there any other genre(s) that may attract you further down the track?
Yes! As a matter of fact at the same time as marketing book one and writing book two in this series, I am researching for a new series – which will be a romantic suspense with paranormal elements.
Plotter or Panster?
A Pantser by nature, but now I am trying to do at least an outline upfront to save time with revisions.
How do you come up with inspiration for your stories?
I’ve loved fantasy stories all my life. My heroine was always going to be a necromancer. I’m not sure I can explain why! Even as a child, I was interested in the culture of death and the dead. I’ve also always been a bit contrary; perhaps I just wanted to go against the norm. I‘ve tried to paint her as a compassionate character from the start of the story, and to show her own conflict with her power over the dead. In this story, it’s just one generation on from a man-made plague that killed more than half of the world’s adults. After the plague, zombies rose and attacked survivors. In this world, people are comfortable with magic and witchcraft; they accept, and fear, life after death in a variety of forms. Judy accepts that she has a responsibility for the dead, she not only speaks to them she cares for them as well.
Are Urban Fantasy heroes and heroines different from heroes and heroines in other genres?
In some ways yes, they are clearly defined by their difference and stand apart from the rest of the community.
How do you go about world building for your stories?
Where do you start – do you have a clear visual in your mind and then set about transferring that to the written word? To be honest, and this is because I am a pantster I think, I have a clear vision for a scene and I build the world around the characters as the scene plays out in my head. In the first draft I can struggle a bit to clearly articulate the visual into words! But as I revise I layer in the world elements so it builds slowly and intuitively for the reader. Or at least that’s what I’m aiming for.
What books would we find on your shelf/e-reader?
An eclectic mix of fantasy, science fiction, horror, crime and suspense. And of course romance. I’ve recently finished reading The Scrivener’s Tale by Fiona Mcintosh, Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn, and Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie – and I very much enjoyed them all!
Your book is made into a movie – choose your star cast.
Judy – Clare Foy
Purah – Sebastian Bach
Rose – Katie Perry
Boyce – Philip Glenmaster
Evelyn – Lily Allen
Shelley – Kate Hudson
Glynn – Ewan McGregor
Father Andrew – John Hurt
Can you please provide us with an excerpt from Path Unchosen?
He’d brought me here to kill me. What other reason could Father Andrew have for driving me to such a remote spot? He dragged me toward a circular stone monolith. It stood close to the cliff edge, like an oversized dirty white doughnut that dominated the otherwise flat landscape. Waves crashed in the distance, and salt coated my lips.
I tried to pull my arm free, but he gripped my wrist even harder. There were no buildings in sight, not even a copse of trees to shelter in. Even if I could escape his grip, where would I run? I’d freeze to death before I could find help.
The stone seemed to watch me.
My heart froze and then pounded. Blood rushed around my body. I knew this place. I breathed in its faintly familiar smell, and my ears tingled to the thunder of the sea. I was too far to measure it, but I knew the stone stood twice as tall as I did with a round hole at hand height.
How could that be? I’d never been here before.
The stone called to me, teased me with sweet laughter. For a fleeting moment, I smelled flowers and saw children dancing. Was it trying to communicate with me? Telling me to trust it?
Father Andrew seemed oblivious to its power. At its base, he pushed me to my knees and droned out another prayer. I lowered my head and folded my hands but didn’t say the words.
“Father.” I coughed and cleared my throat. “What’s happening?”
He stopped his muttering. “I should have put you back years ago.”
A heavy weight pushed against my chest, the same weight I felt in the chicken shed. “What do you mean?”
He pressed his palm on the top of my head. “I found you here. It is best, for the sake of us all, that I bring you back.”
“But you said someone left me in a box—”
He squeezed my scalp. “You were left in a box, but here. I found you here.”
My leg muscles tightened, ready to carry me away, but my intuition told me to wait. I gulped deep breaths to calm the pulsing in my veins. He licked his finger, traced a cross on my forehead, and then trudged back to where Moppet waited in front of the wagon.
Father Andrew grabbed the blanket, strode back, and hung it around my shoulders. Tears tracked down his cheeks. He didn’t wipe them away. This time when he got back to the wagon, he climbed in and set Moppet to a fast walk. They grew smaller and smaller in the distance and disappeared.
He hadn’t killed me. He’d abandoned me here, where he found me. Was he giving me chance to live, or did he expect me to die here? Delicate crystals of snow drifted to the ground in this surreal landscape. A pale gray sky hung so low a sudden urge to jump up and touch it filled my head.
I climbed to my feet and slumped against the monolith. Something clunked against the weathered stone. I pulled the forgotten watch from my pocket and traced my fingertips over the initials. BG—was this watch, these initials even connected with me?
Whiteness stretched out in all directions like a crisply ironed sheet. Snowflakes fell in my hair and eyelashes. The coldness of each one stung as it landed on my face.
At least the weathered stone blocked the wind. Where could I find shelter? Where could I go? Not back to St. Stephen’s that was for sure. Never back there.
Hunger gnawed at my stomach. Fatigue dragged my eyelids down. My legs gave way, and I fluttered into semi-consciousness. Hot breath brushed against my neck, and strong hands lifted me from the snow. Warmth encircled me as if someone had wrapped me in a downy quilt, but it was a fleeting sensation before darkness surrounded me.
Kim is giving away a signed copy of her debut novel, ‘Path Unchosen’ , or an Ebook copy, to one lucky reader! All you have to do is answer the following question:
This competition is open worldwide and will be drawn on the 2nd of December, 2013.