Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Part 2 of the Kim Falconer Interview
8/13/2009 8:20:44 AM
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This morning, guest blogger Kim Falconer talks about the joys of that first book deal, her struggles to find a literary agent as well as her writing habits/style and a sampling of book reviews.
LS: Becoming a published author is truly a difficult road to travel, so we’re always pleased when a fellow writer is plucked from relative obscurity to land a book deal. Can you share that moment when your agent told you he/she sold the Quantum Enchantment Series to HarperCollins Australia?
KF: I promise you I was plucked from infinitely deep dark obscurity.
After a year of looking at chapters and changes I was asked to make, Stephanie Smith—publisher of HarperCollins Voyager—‘pitched’ me to the board. I knew that I would get a call, yay or nay and the waiting was catatonically painful. I couldn’t do anything but pace and wring my hands. I didn’t breathing much at all that day. The phone rang at four in the afternoon and it was Stephanie—she had called me herself.
The only words I heard were, ‘Congratulations, Kim . . .’ She said more, much more—probably really important things—but I have no idea what they were. I was too busy trying not to sob and laugh and shout all at the same time. I didn’t want her to change her mind based on the new author’s lack of emotional stability! It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Just thinking about it makes me well up (and laugh and shout!)
LS: We all know how difficult it is to secure representation from a credible agent. Was it difficult for you to land an agent? Do you have any advice you’d like to share with the author struggling to find representation?
KF: My agent came through a wonderful synchronicity--a visitation from the goddesses! (In the ‘hero’s journey’ there is a stage where all seems lost until the goddess or fairy godmother or divine intervention appears—this was mine!) The goddess can appear more than once and in more than one form—which in my case was a very good thing.
I didn’t know what to do next after months of sending out query letters to every agency I could find an address for, and getting either no reply or ‘Thank you for your submission. We are not taking on new clients at this time . . . At that point (of despair) a friend of mine (goddess #1) said, ‘Kim, if you were trying to catch a horse, would you go about it this way?’
Huh? What was she talking about? I wanted an agent, not a horse. She clarified, asking if I were after a wild horse would I chase it with clenched fists and waving arms, in desperation and panic. (Apparently that was her impression of me at the time). I said I would not, and she said, ‘so stop doing that.’ She pointed out that I was struggling towards my desire so fiercely that there was no way for it to happen. She told me to relax, go to the beach, goof off. Something would turn up.
Enter goddess #2. As soon as I took a day off, another friend, an author and astrology client, rang and in chatting she said, ‘Why not send me your synopsis and I’ll see if my agent has a suggestion for you.’ I sent. And he did! He wanted to see some chapters. Then he wanted the whole MS. Finally he rang, asking if he could represent me because he thought he could sell my work!
And no, he wasn’t one of the agents I had queried. His management agency is unlisted!
My logical advice to authors looking for representation is to study the writer’s market guides and query prospective agencies. I would also say, talk about your work. Tell people what you are doing so ‘this’ can lead to ‘that’! You never know when your goddess will show up or in what form.
My non-logical suggestion is to relax, ‘go to the beach and goof off’. When we ‘let go’, something does happen. It takes the ‘charge’ off our desire. It lightens things up. There is much to be said for ‘holding a thing lightly’ and allowing it into our lives!
LS: Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
KF: I like to think of myself as relaxed AND disciplined. I write when it strikes my fancy—which is in the mornings from 7am to 1pm, 7 days a week. With the publication schedule I have now, I will be keeping that fancy up for the next two years . . or more.
In terms of writing style, do you plot out your stories in great detail or are you a pantser, flying by the seat of your pants and allowing your mood and characters to drive the story?
I’m a full panster. I write every day just to see what’s going to happen next. I do have to submit synopses to my publisher but she knows how I work. She trust that even if the story doesn’t go quite (or at all) as ‘planned’ it goes the way it is meant to. I never know what’s going to happen until my characters make their choices in the red hot moment. It’s really more like recording. I close my eyes and watch as the drama unfolds, typing as fast as I can to keep up!
LS: Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
KF: I start every day with a twenty-minute meditation. I’ve been doing that most my life. It clears out any stress or worry and centers me for the work ahead. It’s also a great way to call in the muse! Because I write first thing, morning tea is a daily ritual before getting started as well. I have it at my desk, usually a cat in my lap, while pursuing emails and messages. It eases me into the day. Then I put music on (instrumental, Spanish Guitar, classical) take the phone off the hook and begin—more cups of tea, snacks and possibly coffee follow.
LS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
KF: My most profound discovery is that writing is only half of the equation—a fragment of the process of storytelling. The narrative isn’t complete until read—the act of reading making it meaningful. For example, everyone will re-create the The Quantum Enchantment series in their own minds in a slightly different (or radically different) way, and that’s the magic. That’s the whole point! The reader completes the work—reading as much into it, or not, as they like.
LS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publications?
KF: Enjoy the journey! By finding challenge and hope and optimism at every turn, by allowing the muse her sway, by writing and rewriting and rewriting again, (and being open to rewriting some more) the journey takes you to your goal. No point in missing out on that—it’s what makes the destination all the sweeter. Enjoy the journey!
LS: I understand you are a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, Ann Rice to name a few of your favorite authors. What are you reading now and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
KF: I’m reading Tanith Lee. My first experience of her came as a gift from an editor at HarperCollins Voyager. She sent me a copy of The Silver Metal Lover when we were discussing non-human sentience on the blog. I am so glad she did! I love Tanith’s prose and she has some profound insights into human character—and non-human being! I’m now reading another of her novels (she’s incredibly prolific) called ‘Biting the Sun’. I am totally immersed in it!
LS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years?
KF: Since I’ve signed another three book deal, I’ll be basically in front of my computer every morning, and organizing myself for a lot more travel, talks and conferences/festivals. I imagine my world will get a lot ‘bigger’—after being a wizard in her tower for the last ten years, that’s a refreshing thought! I also plan on completing my masters degree in writing and starting my PhD. A holiday will fall in there somewhere too. A big one!
Thank you so much for inviting me here, Lorna. It’s been wonderful to discuss these topics with you!
LS: You are welcome, Kim! It’s been a fascinating introduction to you and the your world of fantasy! For our readers wishing to learn more about the Quantum Enchantment Series:
Follow on Twitter: .KimFalconer
Where to buy the book: http://www.harpercollins.com.au/authors/50025997/Kim_Falconer/index.aspx
The Spell of Rosette:
Rosette is a child of two worlds: Gaela, steeped in magic, and an Earth choked with failing technology. The key to their survival is literally in her blood, a spell passed down through her family line to preserve the one they_re sworn to protect.
Unaware of her lineage, Rosette runs scared when her family is murdered. She takes refuge with Nell, a shape-shifting high priestess of the ancient blood, who teaches her the arts of witchcraft, stars and sword.
Shadowed by the fabled Kreshkali, queen of the underworld and mistress of the wolf-like Lupins, Rosette and the temple cat, Drayco, find themselves little more than a step ahead of those who will do anything to control the portal that links the many-worlds.
_At last -- a writer who is right up my alley. This debut novel from Kim Falconer is a magnum opus of originality and insight into Earth_s technological future and occult past. This intricate and intriguing tale perfectly blends the physical, quantum, cyber and spiritual realms into one of the best fantasy books I_ve read in ages!_ Traci Harding, author of The Ancient Future
Arrows of Time
When a portal spins Rosette and Jarrod off in different directions, Rosette is caught in a loop of repeating events. A strange bard helps her find a way back home, but things have changed -- Jarrod is missing, her mentor is a child and women are forbidden to carry swords.
While Kreshkali leads the survivors on Earth, Rosette and her Temple Cat turn to the future for help -- but which future?
Time is their only hope, and it_s playing tricks ...
. . .Not content with the multiple realities that are the setting for the book, she now has the characters separated and moving in time as well. The story is revealed in out-of-sequence pieces, and to her credit Falconer keeps it together and makes it work well. The characters are deeper in this book, and their struggle against the forces of corrupt technology which threatens all realities more intense. I would recommend this series to fans of Jennifer Fallon, Karen Miller and Bevan McGuiness.
This review from Australian Bookseller & Publisher magazine (March 2009, Vol 88, No 6.)
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