Kathleen :: Sacred Scars is off to the copyeditor. So..? A few days of real-world catch-up, then back to work.
Since finishing Skin Hunger (last December!), I've been anxiously awaiting the sequel -- and through the magic of Facebook, I've been able to track Kathleen's progress.
Before I asked Kathleen to participate in the WBBT, I read up about her a bit -- and seriously, you should go and, at the very least, read the bio at her website. (And take note of who took the pictures!) She makes some great connections between historical fiction and fantasy, and there's some info about her many years living without electricity. From that page:
...she knows how to carry a candle so it won’t go out, how to sew by hand and with a treadle machine, to knit and crochet, how to make bread, milk a goat, weave baskets, make yogurt and cheese, and dry fruits and vegetables using only the sun. She once canned 400 quarts of food using a wood stove and used to make bread three times a week, grinding the flour by hand. She knows how to judge baking-heat by sticking her hand inside a wood stove’s oven. She can make pickles, turn a chicken into chicken soup, make tofu—and much more. These skills are of little use in a modern world unless you write historical novels or build fantasy cultures in your mind.
Back when we first became Facebook friends (hee hee!), you asked me who I cared about most in Skin Hunger. Judging from your blog, you feel very strongly about both Sadima and Hahp -- but I'm tossing your question back at you anyway. Do you connect more with one of them than the other?
I connect with the characters differently, but not more strongly to one than the other. That was the reason for the structure of the book—a way to tell two interlocking stories, following two equally-weighted protagonists. I constantly gauge my own level of involvement as I write. I try to make sure readers won’t be too uneven in their response to the characters.
I noticed a September entry at your blog that says: "The ending(s) of Sacred Scarsare coming together. Sadima's story is nearly finished. Hahp's has a little farther to go. He is still alive and I am hoping... " That blog entry, as well as something you said in an interview at Cynsations made me think that your storyline isn't all plotted out... So OF COURSE that made me wonder about your process. Could you tell us a bit about it?
I don’t outline. I never have. Outlining, writing character dossiers, all of those exercises just remind me that it isn’t real, that I am writing it. That kills something for me—clogs something. I do keep notes on stray papers and in files on the machine. Most are things that inform or have sparked ideas. There are over 100 files in the Sacred Scars folder with labels like “Long term effects of fasting and starvation, UCLA study”, “Pick mining and airflow management 1889”, “Terra Cotta Warriors, mercury lake” and so on. I also use a digital recorder, with separate files for separate projects. I had 185 breathless little messages from me to me by the time I finished the first draft. As silly as it sounds, hearing my own voice, excited by some idea, a clever plot-dot-connector, or whatever, takes me right back to the spark. Jotted notes are much stiffer, less juicy.
I tried to try to answer this and have given up. I have stacks of books I need to read, and my fancy shifts frequently. Just now I am inundated with research reading for an upcoming atypical historical collaboration project. I can’t even keep up with close friends’ books. Having said that: the two most recent reads are Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. I loved them both.
What did you read as a child?
Nonfiction, almost exclusively, if horses weren’t in the cast. I inhaled horse books. I also read anything about Native American culture (I am part Cherokee), ancient Irish history and culture (the part that isn’t Cherokee is mostly Irish) Western US history (I grew up in Colorado)—these all fascinated me. In my mid to late teens, I discovered The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris, Marshall McLuhan’s work, Neil Postman, Buckminster Fuller, Noam Chomsky—anyone examining society, war, cultural stuff. And I have always loved poetry. Music Currently in Rotation: Andy McKee, Yo-Yo Ma and friends, Cirque soundtracks, Wayne Krantz—instrumentals I can write with/to. _____________________________________________________ Other WBBT interviews today:
Last Movie Watched: War, Inc. John Cusack’s dark little satire on the here and now.
Pet Peeves: None. I have two dogs. That’s enough pets.
Current Obsessions: Politics, economics, belief, story structure and weather.
Favorite Piece of Trivia: That there is still a world gurning championship every year.
Music Currently in Rotation: Andy McKee, Yo-Yo Ma and friends, Cirque soundtracks, Wayne Krantz—instrumentals I can write with/to.
Other WBBT interviews today: