In my adventures into writing – and specifically, learning to blog – I have “met” some wonderful people, some authors, some not. One of the authors I have had the privilege to talk to is Kirsty L Jennings, who is the author of Soulblade: Forgotten Souls; The Dragon’s Slumber: Whispering Souls; and the upcoming novel Dark Magic: Living Souls.
Kirsty was kind enough to agree to an interview that I can share with you, so we can get an idea of her work, writing style, and creation process.
What genre(s) do you write in? Tell us about your books.
Fantasy and possibly sci-fi.
I started to write fantasy because I was brought up around that genre through books, board games, console games and films. But what really intrigued me about fantasy and even science fiction, is that you can create any type of world and its characters and belief systems that you could image, (provided that a lot of research has been woven into it to give it that extra believability).
What book are you promoting right now? What is it about?
Soulblade: Forgotten Souls is the first book in the Dragon Order series which focusses around an elven princess, Tari. With the death of her mother long ago, she turns into this strong, loving and caring heir to her people. But things become difficult for her as the book progresses and her life is thrown in absolute turmoil.
Here’s an excerpt from my Inkshares page:
With her sudden visions of a strange man, an equally strange spirit and events of a great battle long ago, that no records or accounts have ever been recorded, except for a book which is found in her father’s possession. But her life is thrown into chaos as sudden events unfold after her abduction. Kidnapped by a group of mercenaries, she learns the wealth and knowledge of human magic and that her fate is tied to an ancient creature, which until recently, she had only known in stories.
And when Tasbi, Tari’s closest friend, follows closely in her footsteps to find her, she is immediately plunged into a city that is rife with murder and betrayal. Histories, myths and legends start to reveal themselves and the fate of the mysterious Soulblade lies within the hands of an unsuspecting assassin.
With Tari’s powers growing, she is soon thrust into the unknown world of human magic and she must learn to control her powers fast in order to protect her friends and loved ones from a malicious God bent on destructive dominance.
How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
A lot of games, films and books gave me ideas to expand upon but the real inspiration came to me when I bought several reference books for my mother at Christmas. I actually snuck a few sneak peeks into the books to see the quality of them and I just thought at the time, ‘right, I’m going to write a novel.’ And, well, here I am.
Tell us about your writing process. How do you fuel your writing?
When I first started writing it was just a general idea that I had from the top of my head and then it became a much bigger idea that evolved around several sub-plots that it became too overwhelming to just have it stuck completely in my head. So I began writing down notes and those notes became a excel worksheet that outlined every chapter – plot – which characters were in each chapter – where the chapter took place – and finally any other important information that was either discussed or a plain reminder for a sub-plot for within the chapters.
I then devised several excel worksheets for each book I have and am writing. I can tell you, it certainly helps you to plot out what is happening in each chapter, which characters are in each chapter and also where they are.
But it’s not all easy going though, a lot of effort goes into the editing and marketing of your book. The editing is there to help flesh out your book and of course expand it too because when you have written the draft version there’s nothing that will make you slower if you end up trying and trying to get it right the first time. This simply does not have to be the case, my motto is “if you have it in your head, get it down fast” don’t go messing around and spend absolute ages trying to get everything right the first time.
My sister and I both have different ways of doing it, she would try and do it the slow way where as I am more of the “think of it, put it down, go back to it later” kinda person. It’s just logical for me to do it my way, of course people are going to have their own way of doing things, and that’s fine. But I managed to make whole drafts of 2 of my book in under a year and edit the first and managed to partly write my way through a third, so you can see why it’s easier and quicker.
As for pitfalls, the only thing I can think of is the marketing. It’s tough going, I won’t lie. Marketing through social media is great as long as you can keep your followers happy by changing your posts about once a week. I’m saying this because I have my book currently crowdfunding through http://www.inkshares.com/ and had 6 months to fund it, so make sure you use different pictures, quotes or passages from your book and keep things lively and interesting. Just don’t give too much of what is happening in your book, don’t try to ruin it, it can be easily done.
For my banners, my sister kindly created through her Corel Paintshop software and my covers I used a very old Adobe Photoshop CS2 which you can acquire for free off of their personal website (just create an account with them and you can download any older versions of the software, they do have a list of the software and product codes for you so don’t worry about that.)
What new projects are you working on or are excited about right now?
Other than the first book in the series, I have written book 2 (but still needs editing) The Dragon’s Slumber: Whispering Souls and book 3 Dark Magic: Living Souls showcasing on Inkshares. There are several chapters that have been uploaded for anyone to peruse at any time.
I have also created two ideas – one based on science fiction called ‘The Dreamers’ – which is about a small community living in 2353, who have the ability to not only control and shape their dreams but also other peoples and a police force called ‘The Dream Catchers’ devote their lives in catching these people – and the second is another fantasy called ‘Dragonborn’ and this idea revolves around dragon’s being given the ability to change into human form (some were even born as human) and live secretly amongst human society.
What do you read? What are your favorite books and who are your favorite authors?
Although a lot of people who wrote in the fantasy genre would always point out how JRR Tolkien would inspire them (though he did help to inspire my imagination) but my heart lies with two distinguishable authors – Robin Hobb and Bernard Cornwall – one wrote historical fiction and the other fantasy – but both wrote such inspired novels that I fell in love with how they write almost immediately. Not only could you fall in love with their writing styles but also with their immersive worlds in which you felt entrapped with the characters that they wrote so well into the novels.
I love the last kingdom series by Bernard Cornwall and also Robin Hobb’s Fitz and the fool series too.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out as a writer?
Never give up. If you have written a novel already but are finding it tiring to find someone who would take it on or failing at several crowdfunding sites, never ever give in. You will be amazed at what might happen if you keep on pushing.
You will find that other authors you will come across will help you, whether it be feedback, sharing or even helping by buying a copy of your work, the people you will meet will help in more ways than one.
I suggest that if you don’t use Inkshares to crowdfund you work, at least upload your draft and several chapters, gather followers to your work and generate helpful comments and feedback. The new authors and even the readers on Inkshares are lovely people to get in contact with and there are even forums to help support you even more.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A lot of people would normally think “you don’t need to do research for a make believe world” but I can’t stress how much that is wrong. Doing research within the fantasy genre is essential to making a believable world even if it is practical research that you do. Historical history is a must to gleam insights into what your world could be like and it could even give you ideas for your story but another must read is actual events that have happened, religion, societies and communities all give you that edge to your believable world.
For my book I actually took up horse riding to be able to write in detail what and how it felt and even to fasten up or clean the tackle, saddle and girth. But I actually wanted to do horse riding my whole life, so that fulfilled a dream of mine at the same time. Doing this just gives you that more of an edge to your new book.
I would like to thank Kirsty for her time.
Copyright: Kirsty L Jennings