Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Hello Kristan Cannon!
Week three of the Summer Splash Blog Tour!
This week, I'd like to welcome back Kristan Cannon. You may remember her from “Boldy Going Where...”, as the proprietor of the Lone Wolf Bookstore. Today, I've asked her some questions about her work as an author.
Tell me now; who are you?
I suddenly feel like I should be singing that opening to CSI:Miami.
Haha! I'll cue the theme music! In the meantime, why don't you tell us more about what you write?
I write mostly speculative fiction, which means I bounce around from post-apocalyptic to near-future sci-fi, and low-magic urban fantasy. Worlds that are recognizably our own with minor changes. I ask a whole lot of "What if? What would be different in our lives?"
So tell me a bit about yourself; What else do you like to do?
Lots. I have a weakness for chocolate and coffee, and I like to sail and spend time in the outdoors. I paint and draw, sometimes mixing the two into mixed media... pictures that are not 100% drawn and paintings where the drawn part is easily seen. I use watercolour, so much of the painting is used to highlight the pencil and ink work.
I've seen pictures of your sailboat! Completely gorgeous. I love mixed media art, you can achieve so many textures and details that would be lost otherwise.
What is your favorite way to story build and brainstorm?
I start with building and creating my characters. People who are living life like you or me, and perhaps, if the story calls for it, they may have magical abilities or something that only exists in the realm of hard sci fi right now. Afterwards I ask what kind of world these characters live in. Why are they the way they are.
And then I create drama for them to react to.
How do you create your characters?
I used to play a lot of the game Rifts, or even D&D, so I typically create a character using those rules. It gives me a fair idea of their abilities and limitations. Even when I create characters based on people I know, I still use the same template and method. I just recreate them using Beyond the Supernatural (a Palladium game book) with a bit of the game Dead Reign mixed in so they are as realistic as possible, even if not perfectly a clone of their inspiration. Actually, there are usually some key differences between the character and the inspiration behind that character. Changes I twisted to match the environment or to hide key facts about them to protect their privacy from strangers.
Normally, though, the characters are more or less randomly created using the rules from BTS, with personalities using other generators. This creates random people that breathe life into the books because they're not all clones of each other but instead are their own unique individual.
What was the best feedback you've ever gotten from a reader?
That they believed the characters were real, even if they knew that a few of them were based on real people, the fact that even the bit characters were so different instead of cookie cutter. When I manage to suspend belief over a character being real to someone or not, I've done my job as a writer.
That is absolutely fantastic. And not easy to achieve.
Tell me more about your writing: What was your first published work?
I can't even remember that anymore. It was a short story in a magazine I didn't expect to get published. It might have even been Blue Star (a fan fiction piece I wrote before fan fiction was a thing) that got published in a fanzine.
Do you have a favorite project so far? What makes it so?
So far, it's the Kingdom of Walden series. The first book wasn't even supposed to get published--I had written it on a lark--but people liked it too much. Soon, others liked it and wanted more, so I continued it with the intent of it being only a trilogy. Now it's a series, with a fourth book already written and ready to for editing and plans for more. It's my favourite, so far, because it's a book series that takes place where I live. I live in a city that has played host to many a Hollywood star and movie, but never as the city itself. We've always stood in for somewhere else. This series actually showcases our city and the surrounding area... front and centre.
What's next on your agenda? What can we look forward to in the coming year?
The third book of the Kingdom of Walden series is coming out at the end of August, and it's called Between Silence and Fire. I know there's been a few readers eagerly waiting for it to hit shelves. I might finish a painting, or perhaps even a sculpture, or two before the end of the year. We'll see.
Why did you decide to write and publish?
I don't remember ever thinking I wouldn't. It was just a matter of what was going to end up on shelves and when.
What do you think is your driving force behind your writing? What keeps you going?
I can't imagine doing anything else, so it would be what keeps me going when other things are too much.
The mother of all questions: Tell us about a favorite book?
I have too many, but right now my favourite is Hunting Party by Elizabeth Moon. Horses, space travel, a space navy and two strong badass women leading.
Anything else you'd like our adoring masses to know?
I will be opening a bookstore soon in Sudbury. (Lone Wolf Bookstore) Keep an eye out for that! We welcome indie authors for signings and other events, even a NaNoWriMo event or two. Bring us your write-ins and cafe crawls! We're hoping to be open in time for NaNo 2016.
The Kingdom of Walden Series
Between Silence and Fire