When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I could first pick up a pen. Anything I wrote about was always fantasy, and it always featured a dragon and a fearless warrior who would always save the damsel in distress. I even managed to save a few pieces of my earlier work (I was probably 10-12 years old at the time), but most were lost or thrown away.
My love of writing stemmed mostly from my mother (who has co-written a book with my sister), who also loves writing fantasy and crime fiction. Although the school I attended never really allowed me to diversify or tell any of my stories, I never left my love of writing behind.
I read, watch and play science fiction, fantasy, and horror and crime fiction a lot in some spare time so that I can clear my head whenever I am unable to progress with my book. Long walks also help to clear the mind and help to generate all those important ideas that pop up.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I started to write fantasy because I was brought up around that genre through books, board games, console games and films. But what really intrigued me about fantasy and even science fiction, is that you can create any type of world and its characters and belief systems that you could imagine, (provided that a lot of research has been woven into it to give it that extra believability).
What have you written so far?
I am currently crowdfunding my first book Soulblade: Forgotten Souls (Book 1 of The Dragon Order series) through Inkshares, as well as drafts for both book 2 (The Dragon’s Slumber: Whispering Souls) and book 3 (Dark Magic: Living Souls). There are several chapters that have been uploaded to Inkshares for anyone to peruse at any time.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
When I first started writing it was just a general idea and then it became a much bigger idea that evolved around several sub-plots. It became too overwhelming to just have it stuck completely in my head. So I began writing down notes, and those notes became an excel worksheet that outlined every chapter (including plot, characters, setting) and any other important information.
I created several excel worksheets for each book I have and am writing. I can tell you, it certainly helps you to plot out what is happening in each chapter, which characters are in each chapter and where they are.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Never give up. If you have written a novel already but are finding it tiring to find someone who would take it on or failing at several crowdfunding sites, never ever give in. You will be amazed at what might happen if you keep on pushing.
You will find that other authors you will come across will help you, whether it be feedback, sharing or even helping by buying a copy of your work. The people you will meet will help in more ways than one.
I suggest that if you don’t use Inkshares to crowdfund you work, at least upload your draft and several chapters, gather followers to your work and generate helpful comments and feedback. The new authors and even the readers on Inkshares are lovely people to get in contact with, and there are even forums to help support you even more.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
Soulblade focuses around an elven princess, Tari. With the death of her mother long ago, she turns into this strong, loving and caring heir to her people.
Here’s an excerpt from my Inkshares page:
With her sudden visions of a strange man, an equally strange spirit and events of a great battle long ago, that no records or accounts have ever been recorded, except for a book which is found in her father’s possession. But her life is thrown into chaos as sudden events unfold after her abduction. Kidnapped by a group of mercenaries, she learns the wealth and knowledge of human magic and that her fate is tied to an ancient creature, which until recently, she had only known in stories.
And when Tasbi, Tari’s closest friend, follows closely in her footsteps to find her, she is immediately plunged into a city that is rife with murder and betrayal. Histories, myths and legends start to reveal themselves and the fate of the mysterious Soulblade lies within the hands of an unsuspecting assassin.
With Tari’s powers growing, she is soon thrust into the unknown world of human magic and she must learn to control her powers fast in order to protect her friends and loved ones from a malicious God bent on destructive dominance.
What role does research play in your writing?
A lot of people normally think “you don’t need to do research for a make-believe world,” but I can’t stress how much that is wrong. Doing research within the fantasy genre is essential to making a believable world. History is a must to glean insights into what your world could be like, and it could even give you ideas for your story.
For my book, I took up horse riding to be able to write in detail what and how it felt and even to fasten up or clean the tackle, saddle and girth. But I actually wanted to do horse riding my whole life, so that fulfilled a dream of mine at the same time. Doing this just gives you that more of an edge to your new book.
Who or what inspires your writing?
Although a lot of people who write in the fantasy genre always point out how J.R.R Tolkien inspired them (and though he did help to inspire me), my heart lies with two distinguishable authors: Robin Hobb and Bernard Cornwall. One wrote historical fiction, and the other wrote fantasy. Both wrote such inspiring novels that I fell in love with how they write almost immediately. Not only could you fall in love with their writing styles but also with their immersive worlds.
How can you discover more about Kirsty and her work?