For your Tuesday treat, we are lucky enough to be speaking to another Award Winning Author in the Author Interview Series.
May I present and introduce to you all author Kim Cleary, as she graciously talks to us about her own fantasy series and gives us some very useful writing tips. Another world of mystery and intrigue awaits.
Hi there Kim, thank you for agreeing to talk about your creative processes and what motivates you as a writer.
Thank you for asking me David 🙂 it’s always a pleasure to meet other authors, interviewers, readers and book reviewers.
Let’s start with your novels, you have a series called “Daughter of Ravenswood” and have just released the second book in the series earlier this year. Who is this enigmatic daughter, what role does she play in the story in this series and what sort of fantasy world, elements and character story arcs are we going to discover for ourselves when we start our journey with your protagonists?
My heroine, Meagan, is a necromancer – that’s someone who has the ability to command and speak to the dead. At first she just wants to fit in, but she comes from a long line of necromancers and finds herself drawn into situations that require her to use powers that frighten her.
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 tried to paint Meagan 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, undead 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. Meagan accepts that she has a responsibility for the dead, she not only speaks to them she cares for them as well.
Meagan drives the story forward with her decisions and actions when new undead appear in the small town she has made her home. The story really spirals around her. It’s very much an urban fantasy rather than a sword and sorcery epic.
I find it fascinating how Fantasy Authors build their worlds and the things that inhabit them. How do you go about picking and choosing the names for your characters, objects and the places in your world? Do you base your choices on any particular love or preferences for certain things and adapt them accordingly or do you have other methods that you employ?
I really struggle with names! Building the world was actually relatively easy. As a child we used to holiday in a caravan in North Wales. I loved it. We were surrounded by an old oak forest and agricultural land. For a kid who lived in a very big city, the forest seemed really magical and special. My setting is vaguely Welsh, but a Wales not really recognizable, as it’s been battered by climate change and the population decimated by the plague several decades ago.
When I’m really stuck trying to come up with a name I’ll often play around with one of the many name generators available online. I rarely end up using any of the suggestions, but I sometimes find that it works like a mini brainstorming and it will kick off ideas in my brain. Many of which formulate themselves into something usable in the middle of the night!
If your novels were to be made into movies, who would you cast in the lead roles?
Funnily enough my last blog post was on this very question! The ages are correct but these two actors represent the characteristics I most would like to see represented, I would cast Claire Foy as Meagan and Ewan McGregor as Captain Buckley.
Who are some of the authors in general that inspire you?
I read widely, not just from the speculative genres. I love Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith, Nora Roberts, Deanne Raybourne to name a few.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
It’s an interesting question for a fantasy writer. After all it is fantasy – it’s totally made up. I realized very early on though, that we have a rich legacy of fantasy fiction. A rich mythical history that over many centuries has built up our expectations, as readers, as to what to expect in a fantasy story.
I researched witchcraft through the ages, as well as pagan beliefs. I tried to get beyond a western Christian interpretation and get back to belief systems before the church rewrote them through good / evil dichotomies as defined through a narrow Christian interpretation.
It’s all just a backdrop though in the Daughter of Ravenswood series, as the focus is very much on the individual rather than society, and personal relationships rather than political maneuvering.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing a short story called “The Darkness” when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune illness which caused permanent damage in my hands and stopped me from typing. I had to teach myself how to use voice software and a good friend gave me an opening line to get me started. (The opening line was: The darkness surrounded me, enveloped me, I felt strangely warm, as if a quilt had been wrapped around me. This line has been edited out, what is left of it is now halfway through chapter 3 of Path Unchosen and is worded: Warmth encircled me as if someone had wrapped me in a downy quilt, but it was a fleeting sensation before darkness surrounded me.)
I’ve always loved fantasy and science fiction stories and found myself gravitating to the style as soon as I started writing. I shared pieces of the story with my sister and a small number of friends, received positive feedback and encouragement, and I just kept going with it. By the time I was retrenched from work, I had 35,000 words written and several ideas of how to keep the story going.
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
To be honest I’ve never experienced writers block. Due to fatigue, I find my brain only functions properly for a few hours a day. My main issue is frustration that I have so many ideas, and so much I want to do, but I get fatigued too quickly.
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
I love making things. I can’t handle much detailed finger work anymore, but I enjoy short bursts of crochet and paper crafting for example. I also adore pottering around in my garden when I can.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I am working on several specific projects. I’m writing:-
• A novella with Meagan and Glynn, but in a city rather than a country setting.
• A non-fiction work on how to manage fatigue.
• A historical suspense set in Victorian England and Australia.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
Yes. Keep Writing!
I have found the writing community supportive and generous. There really aren’t any rules as to what makes a good writer or what’s best practice as everyone has to find what works for them. But I received advice early in my career that I have found helpful:-
• Make a daily habit of writing.
• A blog is a great way to establish a discipline around writing with focus and discipline.
• Learn to finish. Finish the first draft, then finish the first round of edits etc.
• Join a writing group.
• Give to the writing community and you will find that it will give back.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for all of your generous advice Kim, we can’t wait to check out your books 🙂
Kim Cleary is the award-winning author of Path Unchosen, the first title in the Daughter of Ravenswood series, which earned a bronze IPPY award in 2015. She grew up in Birmingham, United Kingdom, studied medieval history and psychology at Adelaide University in Southern Australia, and has worked all over Australia and in London.
Forced to leave a successful career in marketing after multiple sclerosis damaged her hands and prevented her from typing, Cleary learned how to write using voice software.
A self-described chocoholic, Cleary loves writing, gardening, cooking, playing with her dogs, and spending time with friends. She lives with her husband and two dogs, an adorable cocker spaniel and a mischievous moodle, in Melbourne, Australia.
You can connect with Kim on the following Social Media channels:-
Amazon Author Page:- Kim Cleary – Amazon Author Page
Blog/Website:- The Blog & Website of Author Kim Cleary
Facebook:- Kim Cleary Writer (FB)
Goodreads:- Kim Cleary (Goodreads Author)
LinkedIn:- Kim Cleary – Writer (LinkedIn)
Pinterest:- Kim Cleary (Pinterest)
Twitter:- Kim Cleary – Author (Twitter)
You can buy the books in her Ravenswood series here:-
Canada:- Buy Kim Cleary’s books in Canada
UK/Europe:- Buy Kim Cleary’s books in UK/Europe
US/Rest of the World:- Buy Kim Cleary’s books in US/Rest of the World
Still want more? Well, Kim’s heroine Meagan is in fear and awe of her power but must master it for her own survival and that of her people. For more articles relating to the theme of ‘Survival’ then check out the links below:-
1. The Gad About Town – Elvis Costello’s ‘The Last Year of My Youth’
2. Great Blue Heron with a Fish – 1kayaker
3. Marjie L. Roddick Counseling, LLC – 3 Stages of Survival: Moving from Victim to Survivor and Beyond
4. Saving Dory: An unforeseen side effect of Disney.
5. I am a Survivor! – byindiablue
6. Mainline_Matter – Ultimate Survival
7. Dogs of Mumbai – MyBlog
8. Chase’s Thoughts And Viewpoints – Survival Is Never Enough
9. Vexing Point – Survival
10. Living with cancer; because I refuse to get mad at it! – Running for survival
11. My Weekly Wishlist: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle – onturningpages
12. The Murhardeen Strike on the 258 F.A – True_George
13. Hydrology and the Environment – Survival of us all
14. Writer’s-den – League of The Lost Empire
15. twinspiring – “Well it’s easier for you with twins. They can play with each other.”
16. A bird takes a fish to the nest – 1kayaker
17. Sacrificial Chain Breaker – SURVIVAL
18. Survival – ladyleemanila
19. Sandmanjazz – Somewhere the tea’s getting cold….
20. Poem: Tankas – “The Killer” – Mandibelle16
21. Carmela Snelbaker – Memory From Past Contains Wisdom and Clarity for Today
22. the grizzle grist mill – Between The Ditches
23. Purposive Writer – A Tip On Surviving Life’s Storms.
24. The mouse among the wolves. – blossomsworld
25. Survival of indifference. – blossomsworld
26. Ethics and Spirituality – Survival, Friday The 13th, Doctor Who, and Black Cats
27. The Diligent Dilettante – Red Pill Blues
28. Comet – Looking back to see forward
29. Survival – Hershey’s World
30. COW PASTURE CHRONICLES – Survival
31. Is Your Daughter Survival Ready? – mojitowithatwist
32. Giggles & Tales – Survival – The Daily Prompt
33. Survival of the fittest! – bluepigletblog
34. Survival Is For The Strong? – Witty Wheelz
35. olessial – Survival in Russia
36. Memories of a Different Me – Rita Has Opinions
37. Goldfinch – Jane Dougherty Writes
38. Journey of Roo – Survival
39. Saga of INS Vikrant – atrangizindagieksafar
40. THE ICONOPHILE – Sex and the Damsel
41. TBF – iPush, iTeether, iCrash, iRest, I endure.
42. sandandelion – run
43. Surviving the Ages – Avid Thinker
44. Radically Distinctive – Survival
45. The Black Economist – Move over Darwin.
46. Career Dilemma – Help needed – Shantanu Chandra Photography
47. My Words are Lost – Nicole Martin
48. MyEatPrayRVing Life – A rose by any other…?
49. Her Survival – Thoughts Do Count
50. Hope Filled Reads – Survival
51. The Lurker’s List – When Survival Is The Only Choice
52. The New 3 Rs: Retire, Recharge, Reconnect – Survival
53. Smile – Pen Pals…
54. helen meikle’s scribblefest – Daily prompt: Don’t worry, it won’t happen overnight
55. This is supposed to be happy news, right? – doghouse1623
56. Fluffy Pool – Agony Ant: Perfect Storm
57. To live or to survive? – A Chaotic Calm!
58. Voice in Me – Survival
59. The problem with Tower of God is that Rachel . . . – Intense Mode
60. inspiration in progress – Survival
61. Believe in Miracles – Mac’s World
62. OKAY, I DETOXED, NOW WHAT?? – Holy Addiction
63. A Slightly Better Wife – Survival Mode
64. Reality is Reality! – Pebbles
65. Playing for Survival – tell me LUNA
66. The Daily Post – Progressing into Solitude – Generation Survival
67. I Survived – blogbyourlife
68. Chasing Life and Finding Dreams – Blooming out of Decay
69. Un blog random – 12.05.2016: Sobrevivencia
70. Wormhole (Survival by Chance) – StrangeLander2015
71. Writing The Girl – Survival Tip #1
72. Survival Beach…(Walk with me chapter #1) – Singledust
73. pennyforyourthotsblog – Are You Alive or Merely Existing?
74. stubbornrainbow – Menopausal Survival
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76. Survival of the Fittest…. – PTSD – The Long Journey Home
77. findmeinsanfrancisco – Survival: A daily prompt
78. theworldplusme – Survival
79. Needle Thin – iambecomeme
80. Survival is my name surviving is my struggle – toriskarma
81. lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown – Old Flame (A Maiden Aunt’s Testimony of Survival)
82. My Mother – The Heroine. – Oh My Gad
83. One day at a time – Willow’s Corner
84. SPILLS – What My Mind Spins
85. The Not So Little Pea! – The Wonderful World Of Will
86. Playlist: Survival – The Christian Owl
87. Surviving Today – This Pilgrim’s Progress
88. Survivor – Eye of The Tiger – ThoughtsnLifeBlog
89. Snot & Tears…..or…..Survival – Mrs. Completely
90. MC’s Whispers – Five minutes to survive
91. Jennifer Terry – Breath
92. Surviving the Norm – Just Because…
93. Musings and My Two Cents – I Will Survive
94. Original-Dante – Daily Prompt – Survival.
95. In A Fight For My Life – Flying Above Lupus
96. Instincts in the Jungle – writealineblog
97. She survived – Wandering Thoughts
98. new2writing – Grandma’s Secret – #Writephoto
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102. Anton’s Ideas – MATER FAMILIAS
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104. Survival And The Quest To Teach – THE SKYS THE LIMIT
105. Hurtafew – A story of survival-poem
106. Faith Unlocked – Souls’ Survival
107. blendedlifestyleblog – Survival:Natural Instinct
108. Perfection Addict – Real Survivors : My parents
109. happymeerkatreviews – I Choose…
110. Indira’s Blog – The Daily Post- Survival
111. Survival as My Revival – OneAndNone
112. The chapter of survival – A Beginner’s Blogger Diary
113. The Lark’s Roost – Stone Face
114. a cooking pot and twistedtales – Be still, for I’m your survival…
115. Cancer Healed by Jesus. Angela McCauley – Oncologist Friend Surprised at my Survival from Cancer.
116. Apparently I’m Funny – Survival And The Ideal Bedroom Layout
117. Survival – wordsareallihavesite
118. The Gad About Town – ‘The Last Year of My Youth’
119. First Five Years – Thirty by Thirty
120. My scars are my story of survival – When I thought I was fat
121. The Diligent Dilettante – Budget
122. Survival – Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!
123. Writer Sanctuary – Go Beyond Your Abilities as a Freelance Writer
124. Wallie’s Wentletrap – Wallie on Survival
125. SERENDIPITY – SURVIVAL VS. VALOR – A FEW THOUGHTS
126. I will survive! ⋆ Obsolete Childhood
127. Minor Survival – This Family Anderson
128. The Lost Generation – timeandreflections
129. Jenuine Memories – Survival
130. Survival of the dead – 20 day world
131. debooWORKS – Crash
132. B_ up to date – If not …
133. Spot In The Road – Transcending Family Dysfunction
134. Creepy Reflections – Survive the House of Poe?
135. Crossing Colorado – How Much Weight Can You Lose If You Don’t Eat?
136. 83 Unsung Heroes – How To Win In The Battle To Survive
137. thelonerose – IT IS WHAT IT IS
138. How do you do it? – elbowsandtongue
139. The Key – A lot from Lydia
140. Blame it on the Boss in Roma – Miracles happen: Women as Deacons
141. pinkish reflections – Survival
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143. People, Places, and Perspectives. – Thrive, Not Survive: My Journey towards Nature
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145. Your Nibbled News (c) 2016 – Survival of the fittest on soccer field?
146. Survival #TheDailyPost #amwriting – Of Glass & Paper
147. 5′ 4.5″ Above Ground – along the side of the road
148. The Cat Chronicles – Daily Feline Prompt: Feline Survival
149. Moving in The Direction of Survival – jennydeaneblogs
150. How To Help A Person Survive Depression – curiousitygotmecom
151. coldhandswarmheartsblog – The Never Ending Queue of Survival That Leads to Thriving.
152. Mary 2.0 – How We Survive
153. Survival – permacultuur
154. Surviving the generations – lifehomeandaway
155. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO – Survival
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157. Survival – The Addict In My Basement
158. Midnight Parrot – Staring Blankly
159. kwesi – Survival
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162. THE QUIET ONES – Future Chapters
163. gathergrowdevelop – Don’t forget to share
164. debooWORKS – Game Over
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168. Bob’s Blog – Daily Prompt – Survival
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170. Life with Jess – I’m Not Dead Yet
171. Coloring Outside the Lines – Survival
172. Martha L Shaw – SURVIVAL IS NOT MY JOB
173. The Long Awaited Journey – Sonu’s Search
174. Flowers and Breezes – Surviving Loneliness
175. Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones – He Restores My Soul
176. I Am a Survival – Peaceful Journey
177. Hope* the happy hugger – Survival of the Mind
178. Survival in the Wilderness – tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
179. Daily Prompt – Survival – Dutch goes the Photo!
180. Jacki Kellum Juxtapositions: Read My Mind – I Survive from A Place Inside Myself
181. Midnight Parrot – Lost
182. A Sunken Thought – In Our Instincts
183. Survival: Stories of the Rich & Famous – SUCCESS STRATEGIES
184. kStan(ly) kSays – what happened?
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186. Survival – The new-ness
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188. Zombie Flamingos – And it’s….Kitten Thursday!
189. La Tour Abolie – HOW MANY LEGS HAS A THREE-LEGGED STOOL?
190. shame – A Southern wedding
191. Survival Vs. Living Whole-Heartedly – Lance Price Blog 2016
192. A Fish Out Of Water – Weirdly Wired
193. Survival – alabamacottoncandyskies
194. Koke Re-booted – Crossing out ain’t working, Mr. Twain!
195. the15thday – (****.) that.
196. Only 100 Words – Serial Cuppa Maker
197. Relax – And a slice of moon!
198. Another Multiple-meaning Word – Just Writing!
199. Survival to Transformation – Simply Love Joy Peace
200. Finding Hope Ness – Just keep going
201. Travel Much? – Tokyo much? Addendum
202. Rockandrollmama’s Blog – Take The Most From Living
203. Unpredictable Life – Steps to my kind of survival
204. Designer Sophisticate – I’m a total wimp.
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208. the FLAVORED word – How to get over being lonely – hint, rum helps.
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211. The Biggest Jungle – Blog of Hammad Rais
212. Hot White Snow – Dad’s Stories