Hey there everyone.
Have I got a fantastic treat for you all! (You bet I have!)
Tonight, I have the immense pleasure of sharing with you all an action packed, entertaining interview with author Kathrin Hutson, as she spends some quality with us discussing her various books in her Dark Fantasy/Dystopian Thriller series, while spilling the beans on what motivates her as a writer.
Let’s get right to it and hear what she has to say, all you Fantasy book lovers are really going to enjoy this! Thanks for reading folks and have a fun evening 🙂
Hi there Kathrin, a sincere pleasure to have you here today to discuss your novels, along with your own passions, influences and writing experiences.
Let’s start first with all of your published books. You have three different Dark Fantasy/Horror series for us to check out. Please begin with telling us about the plot and themes of all your books.
I actually had a new reader a few months ago ask me which of my books would be the best to start reading and get a feel for my work. Of course, I couldn’t decide which one, so instead, I wrote him a breakdown, in my own eloquent words, of each series. I feel like this pretty much sums all three of them up pretty well.
Gyenona’s Children Duology (Dark Fantasy): Daughter of the Drackan is my first book and my first bestseller, and it’s probably the most robust of the fantasy I have out now (tied with its sequel, Mother of the Drackan). “The Jungle Book meets Kill Bill with dragons.” Check. It’s dark, feral, bloody, a little sexy (why not?), high-intensity with fight scenes and assassins and conscienceless murders…Keelin is a total badass with a heart of stone and a wicked sense of loyal retribution.
The Unclaimed Trilogy (New Adult Dark Fantasy): Sanctuary of Dehlyn (and the whole The Unclaimed trilogy) is a lot lighter and “toned down” in terms of graphic violence and brutality and butchery. Way more internalized on Kherron’s part, because he has no idea what he’s doing or where he is or who he is. He just kind of bumbles along with occasional moments of badassery until book 3. I pummeled this character into the ground—literally killed him 48 times (you’ll have to keep reading for that one). This series is magical, terrifying, lots of mystery and confusion and frustration that all gets resolved… eventually. And some seriously awesome characters. I love that there’s not really a “bad guy” per se.
Blue Helix Series (LGBT Dystopian Thriller): Sleepwater Beat is my latest book and recently became an international bestseller. It also placed as a Sci-Fi finalist in the 2019 International Book Awards. And it’s totally different. Dark, gritty, noir-feeling Dystopian in the real world, like 20 years in the future. Genetic mutation, government conspiracies, guerrilla warfare, a totally wacko and awesome combo of present narrative, scenes from Leo’s past, and news channel reports. Lots of cigarettes and fistfights and cussing and explosions.
If you could invite any one of your characters to dinner, which one would it be and what would you cook for them?
This is a hilarious question to think about answering, because honestly, I’m not sure I’d want very many of my characters to come over for dinner. Maybe it’s because most of them are “loners” in the traditional sense (and I guess I should admit that I’m a passionate introvert myself). They learn how to get past their issues with other people through their journeys. But I do have a few I think I could tolerate (and more importantly who would successfully tolerate me).
From The Unclaimed trilogy, I’d invite Uishen the ferryman. First, because he’s eccentric and inventive and creative, and he rides that line between genius and insanity. So he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of him. We’d have baked fish for dinner with a bunch of rice.
From the Blue Helix series, I’d have Brad and Mirela over for dinner. This couple is probably the only example (at least in Sleepwater Beat) of what a healthy relationship looks like. And they’re generally happy people, despite what Sleepwater has been and continues to go through. We’d have lots of steamed vegetables, maybe chicken, definitely a few bottles of red wine. And cheesecake.
I should also mention that I don’t cook. Period. So I’d be leaving the cooking to my husband, who is actually quite the talented chef. And he and Mirela would probably handle the food while Brad and I got to work on the wine.
If any of your novels were to be made into films (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
This is really hard to pin down, because I have such clear pictures of who these characters are in my head. Hard to find a lookalike, right? The only one that really stands out is the main character of Sleepwater Beat, Leo Tieffler. She’d be a mix of Noomi Rapace (as Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish films of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium books) and a young Katherine Moennig…
What would you choose as your own personal mascot or spirit animal when it comes to you and your style of writing?
Is it weird that the first thing that comes to mind is a badger? I surprised myself with that one. Ha! But then when I really think about it, it makes perfect sense. They live underground, digging around in all the dirt and the darkness. They’re omnivores—so a little bit of everything—and they’re known to either be solitary animals or live in small packs. And we all know that “honey badger don’t give a…” Well. You know. I’ve had readers describe my writing as “fearless” and “unapologetic”, which is exactly how I imagine a badger would go through its life.
What do you think most characterizes or defines your writing? Do you have any writing quirks or themes that constantly crop up in your stories?
Well, there’s definitely a reason that I write specifically dark fiction. Happy Ever Afters have never really been my thing. I like to go with this description of my writing: wildly messed-up characters, impossible decisions, excruciating circumstances, and Happily Never After. In general, I like to take my characters (and hopefully my readers) into the deepest, darkest places of their hearts and give them the opportunity to figure out for themselves how to find the light again. Is it uncomfortable for them? Incredibly. Do they fight it? Over and over again. Do they always learn their lessons? No way. Then again, neither do real people. I’ve been through my own seriously dark places in my life, which is also how I found what I consider to be the best years of my life right now. Happiness, fulfilment, family, a job I’m head-over-heels in love with. That darkness, if we let it, brings out the best in us in the end. I’m well aware of the fact that I really drag my characters through the muck. But sometimes, they need a good head-bashing to get the point.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
The most difficult thing about writing is always the beginning of a new book. I mean, the thing has to start somewhere. It’s up to me to pick the perfect place for diving right into my characters’ stories, and sometimes that takes a while.
The easiest part is…well, everything after that! When I get into that flow of writing, everything else disappears (to the point where sometimes I forget to eat, and then it’s suddenly dinnertime and my husband and kid are asking me to come out of my office and join them already). It may sound strange, but dialogue is specifically the easiest element of writing, I think. Don’t get me wrong – it took a long time to develop natural-sounding dialogue that flows and sounds like real people. But that’s when I have the most fun, bringing the characters and the scene to life through their words and the way they speak.
Who are some of the authors, musicians, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you?
Stephen King is probably #1. I’m not a huge fan of horror per se, though I’ve always been in love with his writing style. His Dark Tower series (which is dark fantasy itself) was probably the single most influential series of books both on my writing and my life in general. Any DT fans out there will know exactly what I mean.
Diana Gabaldon, with her Outlander series, convinced me that it totally is possible to combine romance with action, magic, Celtic lore, history, intrigue, and heart-wrenching stories all at once.
George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (even though he hasn’t finished writing it yet… AH!) restored my faith in glorious writing styles and the fantasy genre as a whole. Which was something like ten or eleven years ago, when I’d almost given up finding any new fantasy that wasn’t a worn-out, exhausted trope.
Do you listen to music when you are writing and if so, then what type of music do you listen to?
I DO listen to music, because any other little sound in my house, which is where my office is located, is completely distracting. Especially with a two-year-old and a husband with a voice that projects like he’s onstage and two 80-pound dogs who bark at the wind. I’ve sorted through my favorite Spotify playlists, depending on the mood of what I’m writing. What do all these playlists have in common? No lyrics. I used to be able to write and listen to music with lyrics all day long, when I was in high school. But now those end up distracting me too. So it’s usually something like epic fantasy instrumentals or “beats to think to” or something with a little bit of techno feel and epic intensities. I can’t really get into a writing groove listening to classical music. Probably because it doesn’t pump me up enough. The only music I can still listen to that does actually have lyrics is Metallica’s S&M album. Symphony and metal, together forever. It’s been one of my all-time favorites since I was 12.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I read all the books. That’s basically it. If I’m writing something based in the real world, I’ll have to look up things like regional environment, maybe a real town, just for authenticity’s sake. Most of my stuff is completely made up in my own worlds, though, so I don’t have to research too much. I do have to draw maps sometimes, just to remind myself what town is where in which direction so my characters don’t end up running around in circles. I’m not a visual artist by any stretch of the imagination, so my maps are squiggly lines and incomprehensible words. But they are for reference only, so I guess the pretty factor doesn’t matter so much.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
I started to write when I was ten, which was basically the product of an epiphany I had that I could just “rewrite” the ending to my favorite movie, seeing as it didn’t end the way I wanted. Then I kept writing because it was fun, and I got really passionate about it, and the ideas just kept floating through my head in a nonstop stream.
Today, I write because not writing makes me cranky and anxious and kind of a mess, honestly. I’ve discovered in the last few years that writing is literally my superpower. Which is a seriously cool thing to discover, right? Not that I’m saying I’m the best writer that ever lived or the “superhero” of fiction… just that writing fiction is the one thing I could and can do all day, every day, 50-60 hours a week and never get tired of it. I’ve found my dream job writing fiction, so this is paying the bills, utilizing my skills, and fulfilling my own personal existence in a way few other things do. I’ve found the trifecta!
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
Because I’ve been in the practice of writing every single day (okay, 99% of the days; sometimes I get sick), I seldom experience creative slumps. Don’t get me wrong, they happen, but they are few and far between for sure. When I come up on a block, I find that the best thing to keep me moving, second to “just push through it”, is to pick up whatever book I’m currently reading and seriously enjoying and give myself a bit of time to enter someone else’s world. More often than not, just seeing words delivered brilliantly on a page (or twenty) helps get my creative motors turning again. A little bit of physical exercise never hurt, either, whether that’s a walk or some yoga or dancing or whatever gets my body moving. I have a standing desk in my office, which means I’m standing (with a support mat) for the majority of my day. That’s also hugely helpful, just because I’m not sitting in a literal “slump”, which also helps stave off the creative kind.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Oh, the time machine! As an introvert with a tendency toward misplaced anxiety, I’d go back to my younger self, wrap my arm around her shoulder, and tell her, “You realize everything’s going to be okay, right? The world isn’t ending, you haven’t failed, and all the things you’re worried about right now are literally specs in the ocean.”
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
I have less free time right now than I’d like, which is inevitably what happens when you’re running your own business and walking that line of barely being able to keep doing everything yourself and seriously needing to hire a virtual assistant. Ha! With a two-year-old, though, all my free time pretty much goes to her and my husband. We read tons of books, paint, make silly things, take hikes—my kid is an epic hiker and hasn’t needed to be carried since right before she turned two last October. Oddly enough, I love going to live concerts. I think that’s the only time I can be in a huge crowd and not find myself with severe anxiety bordering on panic attacks. Mostly because I just get into the music and start dancing, and everything else melts away. I’ve been playing piano since I was five, too, so whenever I get a chance to get in front of my keyboard and belt out some tunes, that’s always fun.
I’m also in love with Latin dancing—salsa, merengue, bolero. And there’s nothing like settling down on a back porch in the summer with something cold in a glass and a really good book to read, is there?
What are you views on audiobooks and would you consider having your novels made into audiobooks? If so, then who would you get to narrate them?
Up until last year, honestly, I hadn’t really spent much time considering audiobooks. Then an old friend from high school reached out to me with the coolest proposal. We were both in theatre in high school, and he went on to become a professional actor before steering his career toward voice acting. He told me he’d read my Gyenona’s Children duology and had fallen in love with it, and he wanted to work with me as an audiobook narrator for any and all of my books. It literally just fell into my lap!
So, actually, I have one completed audiobook right now, which is in the process of being uploaded and published to all the audiobook sites. Sanctuary of Dehlyn, the first book in The Unclaimed trilogy, was the lucky winner for this one. I haven’t said much about it, because the audiobooks aren’t quite available yet (I’m hoping they’ll be up and ready to go by the beginning of July). But this narrator, the incredible and extraordinarily talented Brandon Palmer with VoiceWav, did a phenomenal job of capturing the feel of my writing and the voices of my characters. Yes, he did character voices! I’d always thought it would be embarrassing and feel a little silly to hear someone else narrating my books (no way could I ever do it myself), but every time I listen to snippets of this audiobook about to release, I get goosebumps. It’s an entirely different way to experience something I created, and Brandon brought it to life in a way only he could. So I’m incredibly excited to keep working with him for probably every book I ever write, as long as he still wants to narrate them for me.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I always have projects! Right now, I’m working on finishing up the first book in the new Vessel Broken series titled Imlach Fractured. This is more Dark Fantasy, perhaps the darkest I’ve ever gone, and will technically fall into LGBT Dark Fantasy, which is super exciting. I’m planning to release that first book later this fall—hoping for the end of October. I’ve also got a prequel to this series, The Summoner Thief, coming out in the Playing with Fire boxed set by Fire Quill Publishing this October as well. There are twelve USA Today and international bestselling authors writing new stories exclusive to this set, ranging from Paranormal Romance to Dark Fantasy to Sci-Fi, all with the theme of ‘Forbidden Love’. Of course, with my propensity for darkness, The Summoner Thief won’t have any of the happy endings some of the other stories in this set will have, but that’s the way I like it. I can totally own being one of those outliers that adds a little variety to a set. But I’m so excited to get to read all these other exclusive stories.
And then, once the Vessel Broken series is finished (which takes place in the same world as The Unclaimed trilogy, so it’ll be a blast to see readers pick up on the connections), I’ll get back into the Blue Helix series and write the sequel to Sleepwater Beat. These are all meant to be standalone novels as they continue the story line through multiple character perspectives. I’d love to say whose perspective I’m jumping into for the next book, but that might spoil some of the surprise until I get a bit closer to actually writing it.
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
First and foremost, though it’s been said time and again by so many other authors, I have to stress how important it is to just keep writing. No matter what. If this is what you want to do, and you have a passion for it, don’t give up. There are obstacles and struggles, of course, whether that’s in finishing your first novel or trying to land an agent and a traditional publishing contract or choosing to go the Indie Author route and do it all yourself. Trust me, I’ve received hundreds of rejection letters and a handful of negative reviews (thankfully, not too many, but they’re always going to be there). I started my Indie Publishing career in 2015 and only really started to see it taking off about a year ago. The thing to remember is to keep going—keep writing, keep honing your craft, keep putting yourself out there and delivering the stories you want to deliver.
The second piece of advice is to know your limitations and defer to other professionals in the process. While all of my writing so far has ended up with romantic elements throughout the story, I know for a fact that I cannot write romance for the sake of writing romance, where it drives the plot and everything else is secondary. I just can’t do it, and I don’t enjoy it, anyway. So I’m not even going to attempt it anymore ha! And even though I’ve been editing fiction for longer than I’ve been Indie Publishing, I always send my manuscripts off to an editor for that extra pair of eyes before publishing anything. A good editor who will work with you on your voice, maintain the integrity of your story, and (if necessary) help you find some wiggle room with budgeting is invaluable, really. I also don’t even pretend to touch cover art…or art of any kind. That’s another one of my limitations, and it is so worth the investment to work with talented cover designers to make these things pop. I guess that’s more advice for Indie Authors, so I’ll return to my original statement. Know your limits and find those people who can help you improve them. Also know your strengths and play to those. That’s where the real magic happens.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for a wonderfully thought provoking and engaging interview Kathrin, we look forward to exploring all of your Fantasy worlds soon 🙂
Thanks so much for having me for this interview!
Kathrin Hutson has been writing Fantasy and Sci-Fi since 2000. She can’t get enough of tainted heroes, excruciating circumstances, impossible decisions, and Happy Never After.
In addition to writing dark and enchanting fiction, Kathrin spends the other half of her time as an Independent Editor through her company KLH CreateWorks and as Fiction Co-Editor for Burlington, Vermont’s Mud Season Review. She finds just as much joy and enthusiasm in working closely with other fiction authors on their incredible novels as she does in writing her own.
Kathrin lives in Vermont with her husband, young daughter, and two dogs and is constantly on the lookout for other upcoming authors, great new books, and more people with whom to share her love of words.
You can connect with Kathrin via the following Social Media channels:-
Facebook:- Kathrin Hutson (Author) – FB
Instagram:- @kathrinhutsonfiction (Instagram)
Twitter:- @KLHCreateWorks (Twitter)
You can buy her books here:-
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.