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Monday, 24 February 2014

'Is there one of your characters you did not like...?'


So, it's been a month since launch date for my d├ębut e-novella, 'The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife'. In that month, I've been fortunate enough to have received six reviews from book bloggers, and six interviews, with many more in the pipeline. I'm very grateful to them for their support, and thrilled at how positive the response so far has been. I'll provide a full list of links at the bottom, but for now, I'm just going to say thank you for taking a shot on an unknown indie author, and I hope you decide to stick around, because there's plenty more where that came from... 

Also, thank you to the people kind enough to have left customer reviews on Amazon or Goodreads - positive reviews from paying readers are the life-blood of a new release, especially one like mine that doesn't have a massive publisher behind it with squillions of marketing dollars, so thank you to each and every one of you that left a star rating and/or some words. It really does mean everything.

So here's the thing about the interviews: You do get asked some of the same questions, but one of the pleasant surprises of doing a series of these now is that there's a lot less overlap than you'd think. So far, each interview, I've had at least one or two questions that have pulled me up short and given me real pause for thought.

The one I want to talk about today, which came from an as-yet unpublished conversation, was this: 
"Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?"

Why was that such a stumper, you may reasonably ask? Well, here's the thing. I've written about murderers. I've written about psychotic torturers, and sadistic thugs, and creatures that eat children, and all manner of vile horrors, but I've never actually disliked any of them.

Now, if I can just stop you before you complete that call to the emergency services that will lead to a knock on my door, permit me to explain. Please.

My first prolonged period of creativity was not based around writing, but theatre. I was very lucky to be involved with a local youth theatre project between the ages of 10 and 14, run by insanely talented and dedicated people, and it had a lasting impact. I got to play both heroes and villains (spoilers - I preferred the villains). And one piece of advice I got that I held on tight to was 'never think of the villains as villains when you play them'. Because, let's face it, they don't, as a rule. Or as Neil Gaiman's Death would put it 'no-one is scary on the inside'.

If it applies to playing someone, it probably applies to writing about them.

So, I've written about some people I'd never want to meet in a darkened alley, or frankly in broad daylight in a crowded shopping centre (there's this one cat who calls himself Jacob, and if I ever get my novel in shape you will one day get to meet him, and you may just recall this post and shudder), but I've never disliked any of them.

Does that make me a sociopath?

And you, fellow writers - what say you on the question of dislikeable characters?

Talk soon.

Kit Power

PS - Welcome to the book review and interview URL forest! Enjoy!

REVIEWS: 
Notebook Of Books (four stars)
Twisted Book Junkie - 4 star review PLUS interview
Author Ingrid Hall - 4 Star Review
Frank Michaels Errington's Horrible Book Reviews - 3.5 Stars
Author L M Langley - 4 star review 
Long and Short Reviews - 3 Stars 

INTERVIEWS:  
You are entitled to my opinion
IndieAuthorLand - Why you MUST read Kit Power's 'The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife' 
Milton Keynes Citizen newspaper - 'Debut e-novella for city writer' article + interview 
The Bookie Monster 
authorsinterviews 

And don't forget you can buy your copy on 'The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife' for Kindle RIGHT NOW from Amazon.

KP

PPS - So busy, I didn't have time to tell you about my latest acceptance of a short horror story to a new anthology! Check back later for all that news. Good times.  :)

K


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Women in Horror Month - a shameful confession

As I type, we're just over halfway through 'women in horror month'. If that's news to you, you are not Derick Jacobi alone. If it hadn't been for Facebook, I wouldn't have had the first clue. I'm not even a tiny bit proud of that, but it is what it is. Ignorance is never a defense, but it still beats malevolence, in my book.

 Here's the more worrying thing - one of the practical consequences of this is that I've realised I know basically bugger all about female horror writers.

That's a travesty.

I mean, okay, I know Poppy Z. Brite made Thomas Harris look like an amateur, that Anne Rice proved to me that I basically will never dig on vampires no matter how well they are written, and... that's it. Oh, wait, no, I'm also familiar with the work of Mercedes Murdock Yardley, whose short fiction is astonishingly good and whose debut novel I devoured in less than a week. Still, when I think about the hundreds of genre novels I've read, that's a pretty shaming strike rate.

This is profoundly embarrassing, for me. I was raised as a feminist. I self-identify as a feminist. I have a daughter and a step daughter and a wife and a mother and a sister and I need the world to be better and safer and kinder and more robust than it currently is for them. I need that. I follow @EverydaySexism on Twitter (and fellas, if you don't you need to - trust me, you have no idea what the world looks like for half the population otherwise). I try really hard to write strong, complex, real female characters. I'm trying to raise my daughters to believe that they can be and do anything they want. And yet, here I sit with this big old blind spot right in my own wheelhouse.

Oops. Also, sorry.

(I have a silver lining with the above, and it's this - I do believe I've successfully answered the question 'Do we really need Women in Horror month'? Because clearly I bloody well did, and I can't possibly be the only one.)


So, good and kind blog readers, I cry your pardon, and beg your assistance in rectifying this sorry state of affairs. The first five named female authored horror books I see in comments, I will buy the recommended book on Kindle and read - they will be my next five books. I need to broaden my horizons. Famous, indie, self-published, novel, novella, shorts collection, don't care - if it's broadly in the horror genre. and you recommend it, it's good enough for me (no series please, and yes, of course you can recommend your own work). Assuming I have nice things to say (and if you're recommending them, I'm sure I will), I'll report back here.

Number two, all my profits from the February sales of my debut e-novella are going to my local women's shelter. Because I need to do better.

And by the way, thanks for sticking with this, and with me. I remain grateful, and feel more humbled than ever.

Kit Power

PS - I realise there's a whole gigantic can of worms lurking behind the question 'why did it take Women in Horror Month for you to think about this issue?' That can of worms is, I strongly suspect, labelled 'male privilege', and I hope you'll forgive me for keeping my thinking on that subject off-line for the moment. Believe me, I am thinking about it, long and hard.

KP