Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
kc dyer Interview & Enter to Win an Autographed Novel!
12/1/2009 7:45:53 AM
An interview with this talented author, kc dyer and a chance to win an autographed novel of your choice by this YA author!
For the fans of YA time travel fantasies and the Surrey International Writers Conference, I have a wonderful treat for you! Popular author and jet-setting (regular modes of travel, folks) researcher kc dyer is here today to share in her adventures in writing and publishing. I first met kc back in 2003 when we were sitting next to each other during a book signing at the Surrey International Writers Conference. Since then, kc has risen from the ranks of attendee to the coordinator of the SIWC. It is rated by Writers Digest as one of the top three writers conferences in North America.
I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers. I know you were born in Calgary, but what else would you like to divulge?
kcd: Hmmm… Let's see. I was born in Calgary, but have lived in Toronto, Richmond Hill and Seattle, Washington. However, I've lived just outside Vancouver for nearly 14 years.
LTS: To your growing fan-base (which includes my daughter, by the way), your works need no introduction. But for those in search of excellent novels with a wonderful blend of historical facts, ‘Seeds of Time’, ‘Secret of Light’ and ‘Shades of Red’ definitely falls into this category! Your latest novels, ‘Ms. Zephyr’s Notebook’ and ‘A Walk Through a Window’ have also found an attentive audience wanting more. With so many works in print, am I wrong to assume writing stories have always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a life long dream?
kcd: No, you're right -- I've been a writer for a long time. Having my books published was an endeavor hard-won for me, but it feels very natural, I have to say. The thing I have been best at all my life is reading, so being a writer has always seemed an intuitive choice.
LTS: I understand your debut novel ‘Seeds of Time’ is more than a story about time travel. My daughter loved the Darrell character, but she also found the historical tidbits, like information about the black plague so interesting, and she felt it really added to the story. Can you tell the readers how this novel and its main protagonist differ from your latest release, ‘A Walk Through a Window’?
kcd: Oh, these stories are very different. I mean -- I love time travel, and I am very respectful of the conceit -- I try not to use it lightly. My first series involved a very intricate form of world-building, with more or less the end in mind to use the story to engage the readers with the time periods involved by catching them first with the contemporary elements. In WALK, the worlds I build are very different as is the use of time travel. WALK is more of a ghost story -- with the ghosts being the contemporary characters who appear in the past without having corporeal effect...very different from the techniques I used in the Eagle Glen stories. WALK and its sequels also address a vastly different question -- the idea that we are all immigrants, and that our shared experiences bring a richness to our culture that needs to be celebrated.
LTS: With five books in print, I’m going to put you on the spot by asking you which one of your titles is your personal favorite and why?
kcd: Oh, my favourite is always the book I am working on at the moment -- the one that captures my heart and attention. I've finished the sequel to WALK [still mulling over a title, though!], and am now working on a steampunk time travel story set in the UK. I've had this story in mind for about 5 years, so it's time to get it down and give it a life of its own.
LTS: As you well know, the road to publication is difficult at the best of times. 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?
kcd: In Canada, at least, if you write for children or young adults, you don't need an agent to get started. I think this holds true for many genres in Canada. We have such a small industry here, most of the houses are willing to look at your work if you submit according to their guidelines. I was not agented for my first four books -- did it all on my own. We are very lucky in Canada that we can still do this. And starting at a small house is never a bad idea -- we have loads of people passionate about good writing in our country.
LTS: 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 you sold your story to Dundurn Press?
kcd: I belong to an on-line writers forum, and a friend of mine -- also on the forum -- and I both finished our books at about the same time. She'd written a romance and was looking for an agent, and I'd written an historical fiction novel for teens, and was looking for someone...anyone!... to publish it. Some time earlier, I'd had a discussion with another friend and mentor of mine, author Marsha Skrypuch, and she'd told me she was rejected at least 100 times before she was published. So my friend the romance writer and I decided we would have an on-line competition to see who could become the 'Rejection Queen' -- first to 100 rejections. We did this on-line, of course, in front of hundreds of writers from all over who were members of the forum: Public humiliation, plus a little camaraderie to take away the sting of rejection, and to keep us going when things seem at their darkest. In the end, we made it to about 26 or 27 rejections each before she was picked up by an agent. Within a week of that -- while we were still discussing who was going to take her place in the competition, since I still had a long way to go to get to 100 -- I got a call from the acquisitions editor who picked up my book. One of the happiest days of my life, I must say.
LTS: What an excellent story! You’ve just inspired a lot of writers not to lose hope. As for writing, I’m curious about your style. 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?
kcd: Let's just say I wish I had more discipline. I'm hoping it will come to me with age!
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
kcd: Total panster. No question. I know when I begin where I think the story may end up, but I never have any idea how I'm going to get there. I'd lose interest if I knew what was going to happen!
LTS: With the release of ‘A Walk Through a Window’ in the spring of 2009 and work underway for the first novel in a new series of ghost stories, where do you find your inspiration?
kcd: Ha -- I find inspiration in everything. I have so many ideas ... well, most of them will never see the light of day. I love telling stories. And I always want to find out what happens, so I keep writing more!
LTS: Some meditate, some listen to music, others fuel up on coffee, etc. 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?
kcd: Uh -- spider solitaire? No -- that's more of a distraction than a ritual. I don't think I really have a ritual. Writing is an organic part of my life. If I can go for a run, and knock out a couple of thousand words, it qualifies for an excellent, excellent day.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
kcd: I don't really have writer's block. I almost always have at least one back-burner story going, so if I get stuck, I can work on one of those. But I do suffer from letting other stuff get in the way of my writing time. I am a terrible over-committer.
LTS: Who is your favorite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
kcd: Oh, Lorna -- I really struggle with this question. I have SO many favourite authors. Graham Greene, TH Whyte, Enid Blyton, Kurt Vonnegut, PD James... it's tough for me to say. I often blame LM Montgomery for what I do, since I grew up wanting to be Anne, and she was a writer.
LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
kcd: Hmm. I've had many lovely, wonderful experiences with my writing. It is astonishing and humbling to hear tell that my stories have made a difference in someone's life. I think the most important thing I've learned is that what you put out in the universe comes back to you. I really believe it, and have seen evidence of it time and again.
LTS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
kcd: Keep trying. Learn from those who are willing to share with you. And where you can, help others.
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
kcd: Right now I am indulging my PG Wodehouse addiction for pleasure, and surfing the time-space continuum with the shades of Douglas Adams and Mervyn Peake with regard to my work. Eclectic influences for sure.
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from YA into other genres? Can your fans expect another book to ‘The Seeds of Times’ series featuring Darrell?
kcd: Darrell Connor's story is complete, for me, but I'm not sure I'm done with Eagle Glen just yet. We'll see. I've recently finished a satirical murder mystery for adults, so that's a little departure for me. I'm working on a podcast/radio play version of that story right now. And I'm really excited about my new series -- it's a little edgier than some of my recent work. Lots of projects on the go!
LTS: And one final question: To me, the SIWC has become synonymous with the name kc dyer, being that you’ve been the coordinator of this very popular writers conference for the last three years, I cannot imagine it without you at the helm. It takes an incredible amount of time and personal dedication to pull this conference off with the degree of success it has each year. For those lamenting your departure from this role, can you reassure us that you’ll still be a presence at future SIWCs?
kcd: You are so kind! SiWC has been a part of my life for so long, I can't imagine not being involved. I'll still be on the Board, and will pretty much remain a fixture for as long as they'll have me. As you've seen, the Surrey conference is different than anything that's out there, and that spirit of collegiality and professional development -- not to mention the fun -- is what brings people back year after year. I plan to be there next year with my bright tights on, no question! Thanks for having me, Lorna!
LTS: Thank you so much for taking the time from your very busy schedule to do this guest blog. I wish you luck and many more research trips to the UK as you tackle your next novel. Undoubtedly, I’ll see you at the next conference or book signing, kc! And for those wanting a chance to WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF kc dyer’s NOVELS: Check out the details below!
For more information about kc dyer and her novels, check out: blog: http://kcdyer.blogspot.com
Website: www.kcdyer.com [we're working on a very cool upgrade to the site, launching soon]
Follow on Twitter: .kcdyer
Where to buy the book: Chapters.ca or Amazon.com, or just ask for it in a bookstore near you!
Win an autographed novel by kc dyer!
Just visit kc’s website at www.kcdyer.com and click on the “contact kc” to email her. On the subject line enter: Win a Book Contest.
Tell kc you read her guest blog on the Imago website and you’d love to win a copy of one of her YA novels. Also include the title of the book you’d like to win and kc will be happy to autograph the book of your choice, if you’re the lucky one!
The contest begins Dec. 1st and closes at midnight on Dec. 7th, 2009. One entry per person. The winner will be chosen by random and contacted by the author on Dec. 8th. The prize (an autographed book) will be snail mailed to the lucky winner.
This contest is not restricted to entries from the USA and Canada. kc invites all readers, wherever they are, to enter for a chance to win. Due to the volume of entries, only the winner of this contest will be contacted by the author. The winner’s name will be posted on her website as well as the Imago website. Good luck!
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