Today's Darklight On... is with Kitty Bucholtz. Welcome Kitty!
How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
When I met my husband, he was a skinny college kid who spent his food money on comic books. When we married, he promised me one day those (5000) comics would be worth so much he could sell them and buy a house for us. <grin> I teased him mercilessly for years until one day I was in a funny mood and thought, what if I had my own superhero? I pitched the idea to my agent and she loved it! I figured I’d finish it and send it off and get back into romance.
But last year in one of my master’s degree in creative writing classes, I had to write a fantasy for an assignment. I had no idea what to write! A few hours before class I finally started something – and I loved it! The class loved it! Now I’m re-tooling it to write the complete novel for my final project. It’s turning into a dystopian paranormal and I’m having so much fun! If you’d told me even a year ago I’d be writing something like this I would’ve scoffed.
So now I’m writing about superheroes and dystopian magic. Anything can happen when you’re a writer! :)
Please tell us a little about your road to publication.
I grew up in the country in Michigan in the U.S., an area where artsy things were done on Saturdays. You weren’t supposed to want to do them for a living. Then I moved away and joined a writer’s group and the first piece I submitted (a devotional piece with kind of a Chicken Soup for the Soul feel) was accepted and published! The second piece I wrote and submitted was also accepted and published. I was hooked. I sold a lot of devotionals, magazine articles, web site and marketing copy, was even hired to write a screenplay. But I really wanted to be a novelist.
Since I have a business degree, I looked at the writing business and asked myself where there was room for me, writing something I’d enjoy. With romance novels taking up half the paperback market, and since I was still infatuated with my college-sweetheart-turned-husband, I thought it was a no-brainer. But I kept running into trouble trying to make my voice and stories work for publishers. When I turned one into a chick lit, I got my first agent and two publishers said they almost bought it. Since then I’ve tentatively reached out in other directions in case the problem is that I’m in the wrong genre. The way things are going now, it seems I’m finally finding my place.
Who are your favourite authors?
I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books! We own all of them! I’m also trying a lot of authors I haven’t read before including JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Charlaine Harris, Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman. I like a lot of the storylines from the urban fantasy that’s out – I’ve read JR Ward, Karen Marie Moning, etc. – but a lot of them have too much sex for me! LOL! My favorite romance books are written by Jennifer Crusie, Julie Garwood, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jude Devereaux.
I’m in my last semester of uni, so my reading list is related to school (Joe Cinque’s Consolation by Helen Garner) and research (Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll). For fun, I just finished Soulless by Gail Carriger – sort of a regency romance, steampunk, paranormal.
Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or tv series?
I love TV and movies! Used to work in that industry. But faves include Supernatural, the first six seasons of The X-Files, Battlestar Galatica, Fringe, and Chuck – which is sort of cyberpunk, right? LOL! Soooo many favorite movies – Avatar (have to include it since John-my husband-worked on it!), Lord of the Rings trilogy, all the Harry Potter films – stop! I have to walk away from our DVD bookcase now or I’ll start putting movies on when I’m supposed to be doing homework!
Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?
On a scale of 1 to 10 with Pantser at 1 and Plotter at 10, I’m an 8. I tried a book the pantser way once to see if I could be more creative and – I was, but the book was a mess!! Never again! LOL!
Do have a favourite of your characters?
Tori Lewis, the young woman who finds out she has super powers. She’s so busy trying to protect everyone she loves that she’s all tangled up, not sure what to do. Once she begins to figure out who she really is, who she was created to be, everything else in her life begins to come together. I admire that because it’s something I still work on in my own life.
What are you currently working on?
I’m trying to finish the superhero book before I go to the RWA(merica) conference in New York in June. But I have to write the dystopian book for class, which is also due in June!
What is your favourite part of the process of writing?
I’d have to say my favourite part is the daydreaming and brainstorming and writing down those first few scenes. Everything is so new and exciting and full of limitless possibilities! Then I have to go make some limits. LOL! But it’s also a dangerous time for me. I walk into walls and light posts and trip over dust and end up with bruises everywhere. John is always saying during this period, Dial back into Earth, honey.
Do you have advice for emerging writers?
Two of my writer friends and I started a web site called Routines for Writers two years ago. We were trying to figure out routines for ourselves to help us be more productive and we’d been sharing our ideas with other writing friends. We decided we needed a way to share with more people. So my first piece of advice is – find a routine that works for you, no matter if no one else does it like that. Don’t let others tell you what you *should* do – try a few things until you find a routine that gets more writing done than any other.
I don’t write every day. (I hear gasping in the crowd!) But my process can produce more words at the end of a month than my friend who does write every day. Which leads to a warning – don’t compare yourself to others! Compare yourself to *yourself*. Are you writing more than last week, last month, last year? Not, are you writing more than Susie.
This month I’m doing a 4-part series on how to do a structural edit on your own book. I learned it in one of my uni classes last year and my teacher, who used to work for HarperCollins, allowed me to write about it this month. Larry Brooks from Storyfix is our guest every Tuesday in March talking about structure, his specialty. I hope you stop by!