I’m excited to introduce my good friend K.L. Pierce! I was gonna have her on the blog sooner, but she asked me to wait until “summer” because she’s a super important college student. Lol. Jk.
Kirsten’s book Two Lives Three Choices is a SciFi allegory with themes of hope and redemption. It has a lot of heart, has a very original plot, and ends with a great hook for book number two. One thing I love about Kirsten is that she is always looking to improve her writing craft and communicating authentic hope and truth through her work! Read my full review of her book here.
When did you start writing Two Lives, Three Choices and how long did it take?
I probably started writing Two Lives Three Choices when I was around 15. It took about a year to write the first draft. However, as I was planning on making this into a series, I wanted to make sure I was committed by writing the first draft of the sequel as well. Between writing, school, and editing Two Lives Three Choices, the grand total is probably around six years. I’m committing myself to spend at least a couple more years with these characters, so hopefully they don’t get sick of me!
Without giving anything away, what are some of your favorite aspects of this book?
That’s tough, but I’d probably say the deep bonds between the characters. Krysta’s friends are willing to sacrifice everything for her, and Krysta is willing to make the same sacrifice for them. The love Krysta has for both her friends and her family is what drives her to grow into the person that she’s meant to become.
How far are you on the sequel and what can we look forward to in this next book?
The story is basically written. Right now I’m in the editing phase. Fixing those pesky little typos and figuring out what parts of the story are important and which parts need to be cut out. I do have a title though: Two Lives Two Destinies.
As the title suggests, we’re going to be focusing on Krysta’s destiny throughout the book. What exactly is her destiny? How does her past play a role in that? Both Etans and King Immanuel have a destiny in mind for her. Krysta’s trying to figure out what those destinies are, and whether she has any control whatsoever.
I feel like I should know this, but I don’t: is there going to be a third book?
Haha yes there is. While it’s still Krysta’s story, it’s going to be focusing more on the reactions that a couple characters have to Krysta’s struggles. Specifically Dion, and another character who I can’t say because, spoilers. 🙂
What does your creative process look like? Has it changed over the years?
I’m a pantser at heart, so my creative process is a bit more free-flowing. I usually pray before I write, because God is an infinite source of inspiration for me. Then, I put on some music, and start typing away! Sometimes I have to start over because it doesn’t feel like the story is going the “right way” or could be improved. Once I feel like I’m going in the right direction, it’s a journey of discovery for both me and the characters. There were actually some parts of Two Lives Three Choices that I didn’t know about until I wrote them. I was like “What?! Cool! What happens next?” Other times I have scenes that pop into my head and I think “Hmm, wonder if that’ll fit in anywhere.” Then, five or so chapters later, I realize: “Hey! That scene is next!” I basically get the benefits of being a writer and a reader through this process. It’s fun!
How have you seen yourself grow as an author? What do you still need to work on? And do you have any goals for yourself?
As an author, I have grown in my writing abilities, the ability to use constructive criticism for my benefit, and marketing abilities. I know where my weak areas are and I have been striving to work on them as I write Two Lives Two Destinies. While not all criticism is constructive, a lot of the feedback I’ve gotten from reviewers has been very helpful. Finally, while marketing doesn’t come naturally to me, I am watching other authors, and slowly learning the tricks of the trade. Still, there is always room for improvement, in all those areas. My goals are to continue improving on my weak areas. I still need to work on making sure that all the elements of a good book are there while also being concise. I have a lot of ideas that flow through my head. Sometimes it’s a challenge to sort through them all! But sort through them I shall!
What are three tools you use as an indie author?
I use WordPress for my website and blog, Photoshop for book covers and graphics, and Microsoft Word for writing and editing.
Have you read any good indie books lately?
I’ve been on an indie-book marathon (if such a thing exists), so yes! Most recently I read Branwen’s Quest by Katelyn Buxton, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’ve also read Out of Darkness and Into the Void by E.B. Dawson (that name sound familiar?) Disclaimer: I was not in any way prompted to say this! Go read her books, they’re awesome! I also have a few other indie books/short stories on my TBR list on Goodreads, so the marathon continues!
What sets your writing apart/What is unique about your story?
I take aspects from different genres, insert my own spin on them, and synthesize something original. For example, in Two Lives Three Choices, while the protagonists and her friends are around 16 (typical YA novel age), there isn’t as much emphasis on romance. Instead, there’s more emphasis on familial relationships and friendship. Another example is, while there are super powers involved (arguably more Sci-Fi), those that have them aren’t going to be saving this world. My writing blends elements that people are familiar with but shifts the emphasis for a fresh take.
Has your major (computer science) helped you with your writing? 😉
Yeah, it has, although in more subtle ways than you would expect. When writing programs, my professors strongly emphasize elegance, time efficiency, and space efficiency. There are many ways to solve a problem, but some ways are better than others.
Writing is similar in a sense. You can write the same story in a number of ways. But what makes that story good is how elegant all the aspects of a book are developed. As well as how much space (e.g. pages or word count) it takes to tell your story. I’ve started considering my writing under a Computer Scientists eyes, and I think my writing will become stronger because of that.
Thanks so much for answering my questions (and thanks for that unsolicited shout out)! I loved learning a little more about you. If you want to learn even more about Kirsten, go follow her on Twitter: @KLPierceBooks
Or check out her blog/website: http://www.klpiercebooks.com/
Her book is available on Amazon.
Tell us a little bit about your other works (published or in process).
What is one area you’ve seen yourself grow in as an author?
What is one area you’d like to improve in and what steps do you plan to take to get there?
Have you read any good indie books lately that you’d like to recommend?
Where did the inspiration for Threadbare come from?
Have you read any great indie books lately that you’d recommend?
What is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring indie authors?
What are three tools you use as an indie author (or that you’d recommend)?
Me: When did you start this series?
Katelyn: I started the Warriors of Aralan series five years ago, when I was fifteen. It seems a little strange to think that I’ve been writing the same series for five years, but I have.
Me: How have you seen yourself improve as an author?
Katelyn: There’s a quote by Ernest Hemingway, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master,” but I’ve seen myself improve so much from my early years of writing, and even from Branwen’s Quest to book nine of the Warriors of Aralan series. Writing is a learning process, so I think I’ll always be learning more every time I open up a new document, but characterization and writing authentic dialogue is an area I’ve worked hard to improve since beginning.
Philbrick: Readers of Where the Woods Grow Wild can look forward to a whole lot more snark from the original cast of characters, as well as some new (yet familiar) additions that I’ve had a blast fleshing out (let’s just say Percy and Mr. Stump both get a lot more stage time.)
Purrazzi: Revelation is a prequel novella to a Biopunk post-apocalyptic trilogy. There are some functional things it needs to do as the first in a series, such as setting up a pretty complicated world and introducing some major concepts. In all my work I try to marry the best of classic fiction (character development and strong themes), with the best of modern fiction (an addictive, fast pace). What I really hope readers will be able to take away is an excitement for the world that leaves them wanting more, while not making them feel like the story went unfinished.
I’ve had my eye on The Beast of Talesend for a while now. But I only recently got around to reading it. I enjoyed it so much that I just had to feature it on my blog and author Kyle Robert Shultz was kind enough to give me an interview!
For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s set in the post-magic world of fairytales. The protagonist Nick Beasley is a private detective who makes a living from disproving anything that appears magical. But his neat little worldview is shaken when he is hired to help retrieve a magic artifact. I don’t want to give away any more, but this book is full of action and a whole lot of fun! You can read my review of it on Goodreads here. Let’s get to the interview!
Me: What does your creative process look like? (Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you have a daily routine?)
KRS: My process is a mix between plotting and pantsing. I lean more toward the plotting end of the spectrum–I don’t begin writing a story until I have at least a rough idea of the major plot points and know how it’s going to end. But I try not to plan things too meticulously, as sometimes ideas occur to me while I’m drafting which are better than what I have in my outline. I like to leave some wiggle-room. I don’t exactly have a daily routine, as my work schedule tends to be unpredictable, but I’ve found bullet journaling to be a big help in keeping track of all my tasks and projects.
Me: From start to finish, could you estimate how long it took to write “The Beast of Talesend”?
KRS: About six months…not counting the three months I spent thinking that it was an irredeemable mess that should never see the light of day. I shoved it away in a dark corner of my Dropbox after finishing the first draft and tried to switch to other projects, but I just couldn’t get the characters or the premise out of my head. Then I tried to “fix” it by re-writing it from scratch, and ended up losing all the charm of the first version. Finally, I took the original draft, made minimal edits, and published it. So far, I haven’t been sorry. Here’s hoping future books come a little more easily.
Me: Can you name three books that have impacted you?
KRS: The Magician’s Nephew may not be everyone’s favorite Chronicle of Narnia, but it’s definitely mine. It was the book that sparked my love for speculative fiction in the first place, and introduced me to higher concepts of the genre (like the multiverse) which eventually became a part of my own writing. The books of P.G. Wodehouse, such as Right Ho, Jeeves, have been a major influence on my writing style. In the nonfiction realm, James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure is my favorite craft resource. It helps authors find the logic of their stories without stifling their spontaneity.
Me: What are three tools you use as an indie author?
KRS: Like many other authors, I don’t think I could do without Scrivener. It’s definitely the best writing software out there. I use it for my blog posts and newsletters in addition to my fiction. The website One Stop For Writers, with its many thesauri and story-planning tools, is an extremely helpful resource I’ve discovered recently. I also rely heavily on Adobe Photoshop for designing my book covers.
Me: Have you read any great indie books lately?
KRS: I’m currently reading Beggar Magic by H.L. Burke–it’s fantastic. Great characters and an enthralling magic system. I’ve been fortunate enough to beta-read her upcoming fairy-tale novel Coiled as well. That’s definitely one to watch out for; it’s probably the best work of its kind that I’ve ever read. Another indie gem I’ve been enjoying is Marc Secchia’s Dragonfriend. His worldbuilding and description are breathtaking.
Me: What area do you need to grow in as an author and what steps are you taking to get there?
KRS: I’ve been told by a number of people that I need to spend more time and effort on descriptions. Lately I’ve paid close attention to how other writers handle this in the books I read. It’s easy for me to get too eager as I write and jump ahead to the action while skipping details, but if I get myself in the right headspace by reading a well-written book, it helps me to do better in this area.
Me: If you had to branch out into another genre, what would it be?
KRS: I have a number of genres on my author’s bucket list, though they’re all more or less subgenres of speculative fiction. I’d like to tackle superhero stories at some point; I have an idea for an unusual twist on the genre that might generate some interest. I’d also love to try my hand at something in the space-opera realm. I don’t really feel inspired to write anything without sci-fi or fantasy overtones. I wouldn’t be able to commit to creating a story set squarely in the real world.
Me: What are you working on right now?
KRS: The Stroke of Eleven, a sequel to The Beast of Talesend and a very unusual take on the tale of Cinderella. It’s all outlined, and it’s currently my Camp NaNoWriMo project…though I’m severely behind on my word count at present, so we’ll have to see how that goes. 🙂 I’m also planning some spin-off stories set in the Beaumont and Beasley universe. I have a novella prequel to The Beast of Talesend in the first draft stage, and some companion short stories outlined.
Me: What can we look forward to in the next book?
KRS: More magic, more monsters, and quite a bit of timey-wimeyness. 🙂 The Stroke of Eleven deals directly with the fallout of The Beast of Talesend while telling a whole new story at the same time. There’s another creepy old castle involved, but it’s very different from the one in the first book. A dark secret behind the story of Cinderella is revealed, and some other characters from classic tales make surprise appearances…not to mention a mysterious stranger whose identity will come as an unpleasant shock to Nick and Cordelia.
Me: I know you are a Doctor Who fan. Which Doctor and Companion is your favorite and why?
KRS: On TV, definitely the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble. There’s just nothing like their hilarious, heartwarming chemistry. But I’d have to say my all-time favorite Doctor/companion team is the one featured in Big Finish Productions’ Doom Coalition audio series: the Eighth Doctor, Liv Chenka, and Helen Sinclair. They have a very unique dynamic and deal with a fascinating mix of story elements and characters from both the classic and new series of Doctor Who.
Thanks again, Kyle!