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K.J Colt

SpotlightPosted by Ellena Jennings Fri, August 02, 2013 14:21:46

For the second day of my Author Spotlight I have the fabulous K.J Colt. Please remember to support all these awesome Authors by buying their books and LEAVING A REVIEW. Blood, sweat and tears go into all of our novels and the reviews help us to get noticed and it’s the greatest thanks you could ever give us!

So ladies and gentlemen I now give you K.J Colt and an exclusive cover reveal…

Kylie J. Colt lives on the west coast of Australia in the sprawling city of Perth and has been writing for three years. Her favourite writers are Kristin Cashore, Robin Hobb, Trudi Canavan and Maria V. Snyder. She has an honours degree in psychology and counselling, enjoys road trips, gaming (Skyrim/Civilisation/Assassin's Creed), music festivals (electronica), playing pool, yoga, bushwalking, and gobbles up anything fantasy-related. Her favourite fantasy shows include Game of Thrones and Trueblood, and she is currently reading Robin Hobb's Blood of Dragons.

Do you write as yourself or under a pseudonym? Why?

I write under a pseudonym that is very close to my own name. K.J. Colt is my pseudonym, and my name is Kylie and my middle name does start with a J (good luck in guessing what it is). The only thing different is the last name although it is very similar to my real last name. Why did I bother changing my name at all? I have a background in mental health (blogging, article writing etc) so I try to keep fiction and non-fiction separate. I should note that I intend to write under another pen name in the future for contemporary fiction and new adult fiction (that’s more of a business choice so readers aren’t confused about my genres).

What made you want to be a published author?

Why wouldn’t I want to be a published author? I love what I do and I cannot stress that enough. Love it! I love people. I love watching them (in a non-creepy way), listening to them, analysing them and I find humanity in general, fascinating and wonderful, so my style of writing is intensely character focused.

Given my education in psychology I tend to find beauty in both the dark and light side of our emotional experiences and this fuels my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing action as well. There’s nothing like a suspenseful fight scene with swords and daggers. But mostly I strive to peel back the layers of human nature and show its raw complexity and beauty.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write in the Epic Fantasy genre for the moment. Why? Think of these movies. The Dark Crystal, The Labyrinth, Fantasia, The Neverending Story, Willow, Alice in Wonderland, The Princess Bride, Jack the Giant Killer, The Chronicles of Narnia, Watership Down, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter. Not to mention the works of Hayao Miyazaki – Spirited Away, Ponyo, Arriety, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro.

See? I love fantastical themes because they are fun and out of this world.

I love making everything up from scratch. Granted, I do use a lot of very familiar human themes and I often write in medieval times based settings. But it’s when I add a twist of magic that I get drawn into the wonder of my books. Magic changes the structure of the societies, the customs, the priorities of those in the world as well as sending my protagonists on grand voyages they never expected to go on (and often taking me along for the ride). My worlds become a place of discovery and it’s that sense of adventure that excites me about fantasy. It’s also why I don’t like sticking to the conventional rules of Epic Fantasy, if you read my Healers series, you’ll find out why.

If you could talk to your 12 year old self, what advice would you give?

I was raised by strict Christian parents, and while they encouraged my reading it never occurred to me to write about anything but God. Even as a teenager it never occurred to me to write stories (even though I wrote dark angsty teenage poetry about love and all-consuming dramas *sigh*). It was only when I was in my early 20s a friend put the idea in my head. So I guess I’d go back and tell my 12 year old self to start writing then, because my head was constantly filled with fantastical ideas that as a young girl I had trouble separating from real life by writing them down

Have any other authors influenced your writing through theirs?

My favourite authors are Kristin Cashore, Trudi Canvan, Maria V Snyder, Robin Hobb and I’m slowly building up my admiration for other authors. Those four are the core influencers of my style. In terms of emotionality of my writing, I’m constantly influenced by Imogen Heap’s courageous creative style. For anyone who doesn’t know her, she’s a musician who uses sounds from real life to make her music (she recently added her newborn niece’s heartbeat into one of her songs). Even as a musician she writes and sings about humanity in a very profound way. She captures humanity in her songs and in the future I wish to do that with my writing.

As for authors, I mostly relate to Kristin Cashore whose life just seems so completely perfect (I have read all of her blogs). I think she understands people extremely well and has a fragile yet beautiful sense of what it means to be alive. She writes characters with real and relatable emotional experiences. Robin Hobb speaks to the intellectual in me. Her world building is fantastic and the world is reflected in every character she writes. Trudi Canavan reminds me of Robin Hobb but with a focus on extensive magic building rather than world building (not that her worlds aren’t convincing also). She also captures the tense relationships between cerebral characters perfectly, especially diplomats and political figures. Maria V. Snyder writes colourful worlds with warm characters with strong morals and belief structures. Yes, colour, Maria knows how to write richness rather than depth.

So all of these writers influence me in different ways… although my style is more like a mix between Maria and Kristin.

If you are a self-published author what made you take this route and what was your experience (good or bad)?

I think the majority of self-published authors would tell you the experience can be both positive and negative. The onus to work hard and produce is all on you, the writer, and so you should not take that role lightly. My experiences have been great so far, I’ve only been published for about 7 weeks, and I have low expectations as a result, but already I’ve had excellent reviews, heartfelt fan messages and a lot of praise for my stories (I honestly became teary when I got my first fan praise). I want my readers to connect with my characters and to see parts of themselves reflected in my protagonists.

If I make any sort of living from this down the track then I will be the happiest person in the world. I’ve always felt like it’s a calling for me to either tell other’s stories, or listen to people’s stories, both fictional or real.

How would you rate your writing?

I’m not really sure what this question means. Rate in regards to what? If we’re talking a 0 – 10 with ten being the best writing ever… then it’s probably my job as a business owner to say 10 and also to shout “Quick! Buy my books!”

But the genuine part of me, the artist who is attempting to discover the truth in the world, sees herself as a developing author with a good fifty years of writing left (I’m 28). And so compared to the writer ten-twenty-thirty years into the future. My writing is probably at a 6. As a story-teller, I would say my rating is much higher already. I know people. I know conflict. I know the western societies traditional story arc structure like the back of my hand. Can I write good stories? Yes. Can I write them as well as they could be written? No. But not because I don’t try, but because I’m still developing – and probably always will be developing—the techniques of a proficient writer.

How do you react to poor reviews of your book?

I haven’t actually received a bad star rating at all. I’ve received negative feedback but people still seemed to really enjoy my stories. I think I’m quite insulated from the disappointment experienced by other writers in regards to reviews so far because I haven’t received a 1 or 2 star review. If I ever worry about them though, I’ll go to a book listing by Robin Hobb, Kristin Cashore, Maria V Snyder or Trudi Canavan. I’ll read their bad reviews and laugh, because I know they are brilliant writers and I aspire to be like them. So if someone can give them bad reviews and be nasty to them, then I think I am just as likely, if not more, to receive a bad review. It’s a matter of when, not if.

What influences your choice of book covers?

I pick my covers but my cover artist puts them together. I have some idea of what my covers should feature, but I have no idea what I want in them until my cover artist designs it. He gets it right every time and if you are curious as to who my cover artist is it’s Glendon from Streetlight Graphics. Phatpuppy art does my Klawdia series. Both are extremely talented and I’m lucky to have worked with them.

How do you balance your writing with your real world responsibilities?

(This is a lot of questions at this point, I hope you’re picking and choosing the best ones because I’m going to just keep on answering them at length :--)

Real world, what’s that? *grins* Okay okay, well, up until recently I ran my own online business. I intend to begin a PhD next year so I’m taking a hiatus to write full-time, but it will end soon and up until that point I’m writing and publishing like a mad woman.

Do your characters drive the plots of your stories or do you plan out your plot?

Both. I get a vision of one or two scenes, a feeling will spread through my body and completely captivate me until I start writing and the muse creates an all-consuming flow state. But the muse is fickle and will fade the more I write, once that happens my characters take over and write the story under my logical and critical guidance.

Do you ever write what you dream? Give an example.

Rarely do my dreams influence my writing. I have an overactive imagination and don’t need dreams to guide me in creating ideas. I have had an idea for a short piece of sci-fi fiction before. About a young girl wandering a post-apocalyptic landscape and is protected by a robot that kills everyone she comes into contact with. It’s probably been done before, and I’m probably not going to write it, but I really felt her sorrow and it’s the kind of passionate, yet strange, feeling that spurs me into writing my books.

Do you market yourself or pay a professional?

I try to market, I do it all myself. I think I’m a pretty personable and chatty person and I think that kind of warm engagement is what readers are looking for. I try to invest time in both my readers and my beta readers. I’m a very introverted person and while I love people, and I am totally energised and fascinated by them, in general I don’t seek out a lot of human company.

What are your tips for editing?

Push through. Be meticulous. Be ruthless. Editing is the hardest part, it sucks, but you need to do it so no complaining… your fellow writers understand your pain.

What inspired you to write your current WIP or current published work?

The idea for the Healers of Meligna series came to me while I was at the doctor's office for my annual check-up. An impression imprinted on my mind, and I realised I wanted to write something controversial, yet still in the genre of Epic Fantasy. I wanted to build a world full of loveable characters, and interesting societies, that when forced together, create conflict and tension based on differences of beliefs, rather than alluding to cliches of good and evil.

Do you prefer to write stand-alone novels or a series? Why?

I have no preference. I just write what needs to be written.

If you could change one thing in the publishing process what would it be?

The editing. I wish I could clone myself and have Kylie.2 (that’s pronounced Kylie-point-two) come in and take over so I can put up my feet and catch up on television shows or books (of which I have hundreds!)

What advice would you give to a new author?

This is not for the faint hearted. Dig deep and pull out every ounce of hard work you have within you, and use it to improve your craft, learn the industry, and write, write, write. Don’t think you’ll find relief on the other side of publishing your book, you won’t. When one goes out, there’s the pressure of releasing the next in the series. Don’t procrastinate on your work. Set time schedules and take care of your health, but mostly, don’t ever give up.

A small blurb of what your current WIP or published piece is about.

"There was an illness much worse than anything I had ever seen, and that was the sickness of my country."

Fourteen-year-old Adenine is the last carrier of the Death Plague that wiped out thousands of her country's people twenty-five years ago, she must avoid contact with the outside world.

When her mother fails to bring her food one day, Adenine begins to starve. Driven by hunger, Adenine ventures into the house and discovers her mother bedridden and sick. Despite her terror of infecting others, Adenine fumbles her way out into the streets of Borrelia in search of the town's doctor.

Soon, she is surrounded by new friends... and enemies she never knew existed.

Share a favourite quote from your book.

“I know you don't want this, Katsa. But I can't help myself. The moment you came barreling into my life I was lost. I'm afraid to tell you what I wish for, for fear you'll... oh, I don't know, throw me into the fire. Or more likely, refuse me. Or worst of all, despise me," he said, his voice breaking and his eyes dropping from her face. His face dropping into his hands. "I love you," he said. "You're more dear to my heart than I ever knew anyone could be. And I've made you cry; and there I'll stop.”
Kristin Cashore, Graceling

Po from Graceling is one of the most beautiful male characters I’ve ever read. He’s truly a marvel.

I agree so much with You K.J Colt! Being an Indie is hard work and stumbling onto this world was purely by accident. I have had many days when I’ve thought ‘woe is me’ but I carried on. I’m also relatively new to all this but I’ve found so many great Authors like yourself. As for editing, well I feel your pain. I wish you all the luck in the world with whatever you write because you love it just has much as me!

As for what she’s writing now…I have GREAT pleasure in unveiling her new cover. You will all be one of the first in sharing this cover as by the time this is posted it will be Saturday in Australia!

Seriously how awesome is this cover???

Please go and check out her other books...the links take you to her Amazon Author page...

Promotional links:

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