Ask the Author: Kari Kilgore
What would you like readers to know about you?
I’m a typical introverted writer, but if you catch me out in public, I’m actually friendly and like to talk. I’m originally from Wise County in southwestern Virginia where I live now with my husband Jason A. Adams (another writer), and we’re both proud as can be to have Appalachian roots. That combined with living in several different states and being lucky enough to travel all over the country and the world inspires me constantly. I love seeing how different people live, and seeing the world from their perspective.
I was also destined to be an indie author, because I flat love the publishing side. Learning the different tools and technologies, keeping up with the rapid changes in the industry, designing covers and interiors, all of it. I’m a geek at heart, so that part suits me perfectly. I also submit short stories regularly to magazines and anthologies, so in that sense, I’m a hybrid author for sure. We have so many wonderful opportunities right now.
What is Fantastic Shorts: Volume 1 about for those who haven’t read it?
Fantastic Shorts will be out on May 21, 2019. It’s my 21st published title and my first collection of short stories, all in some area of fantasy. It ranges from websites to old houses to black cats with secrets, and from cloning to the multiverse, which I admit might edge on science fantasy a little bit, but not quite into science fiction. That’s another collection someday. The main characters are (mostly) women who start out in the real world before things get strange.
And yes, there will be more volumes in the future. I love writing short stories, and most of them do end up with that odd twist before they’re finished. I write science fiction and contemporary fiction, too, but most of the short pieces end up somewhere in the fantasy genre.
What has been your inspiration for writing Fantastic Shorts: Volume 1?
Some of the stories started from writing prompts for classes or anthology calls, some started from ideas that got into my head and wouldn’t let go. One started with a dream I had, another from a phrase my mother said in conversation years ago. Pets definitely inspired two of them, and a whole city inspired another. They weren’t written to go together, but I hope they have a nice common thread.
What was your favorite scene or part of Fantastic Shorts: Volume 1 to write?
This’s tough because it’s a collection! Of course I love all of my fictional children. 😉 My favorite part was realizing I had enough short stories to put together into a collection. If you write regularly, they add up quick, often before you know what hit you. Then finding the cover image and designing the book to include each story cover, dedication, and blurb was all kinds of fun.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
To tell you the truth, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t at least telling myself stories. My dolls and toys had long, drawn-out adventures. When I started school, I remember using my Crayons or even my fingers to act out stories when I was bored. Same with long car rides, that was prime storytelling time in my head. My first attempts to write stories down were before I got into high school. In fact, I dedicated Fantastic Shorts: Volume 1 to the kids who lived nearby when I was in grade school. They always wanted me to make up the games and the stories when us Seventies kids got told to go play outside all day long. I was happy to oblige.
As far as books, I read constantly and thankfully without much supervision when I was a kid. The Call of the Wild and Brave New World were favorites before I turned ten. I also loved Judy Blume and Anne McCaffrey, and still do. Once I got a bit older, I read all kinds of things, but my favorite since I was twelve or so has been Stephen King. I love how his imagination is all over the place, so much more than horror. And how even with all his success, he continues to stretch and write in different areas.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Read as much as you can, and as widely as you can. I had myself convinced I didn’t like romance until I got the reading list for a workshop last year. I loved every one of the romance short stories! Same with mysteries, which really is crime fiction of all kinds. I was amazed at how many different types of stories fit into that huge genre. Those two examples opened up all kinds of new areas of reading and writing for me. Sure, you’re going to have your favorite writers and genres, and that’s great. But don’t limit yourself. There are all kinds of wonderful stories out there.
When you’re writing, tell the story to yourself first and foremost. Don’t worry about what anyone else will think. I write to make myself happy, to get to read the stories I haven’t read yet. I’m tickled when someone else likes them, of course. But making sure I’m enjoying the stories is the most important thing to keep from getting bogged down and burned out.
Write as much as you can, too. With all the technology we have now, we can write waiting in a doctor’s office for fifteen minutes just as easily as when we have an hour or two to ourselves. All of those words, whether you sell them or publish them or not, are great practice. Just think of the professional painter or musician or athlete, practicing hour after hour. We can do that too, and best of all, lots of times we can sell or publish our practice! Learning our craft is part of that, just like other professionals and artists do. So study craft, and then practice. Write the best story you can on that day, then write another one.
That brings me to the most important thing as far as I’m concerned. Have fun with your writing! If you’re submitting to magazines, your stories will get rejections. Lots and lots of them. For me, the key is to already be writing the next thing, and I’m having so much fun with that those rejections don’t bother me. I shrug, send them out again, and get back to having a great time with the new story.
Thank you for the great questions, Maddie! This was a treat!
My publisher site is www.spiralpublishing.net, where all of my ebooks and print books are for sale (direct from me or from all the online retailers), along with Jason’s fiction and Frank Kilgore’s non-fiction.
My personal site is www.karikilgore.com
I’m on Twitter at @spiralwriter, but I hardly do anything with that. Same with Facebook, though I’m there a bit more often. www.facebook.com/kari.kilgore.1.
I’ll attach a couple of book covers, and they’re all at the publisher site, too.
Not sure how much you want, but here’s my standard bio.
Kari Kilgore started her first published novel Until Death in Transylvania, Romania, and finished it in Room 217 at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, where Stephen King got the idea for The Shining. That’s just one example of how real world inspiration drives her fiction.
Kari’s first published novel Until Death was included on the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in a First Novel in 2016. It was also a finalist for the Golden Stake Award at the Vampire Arts Festival in 2018.
Recent professional short story sales include three to Fiction River anthology magazine, with the first due out in the September issue. Kari also has two stories in a holiday-themed anthology project with Kristine Kathryn Rusch due out over the holidays in 2019.
Kari writes fantasy, science fiction, horror, and contemporary fiction, and she’s happiest when she surprises herself. She lives at the end of a long dirt road in the middle of the woods with her husband Jason A. Adams, various house critters, and wildlife they’re better off not knowing more about.
Kari’s novels, novellas, and short stories are available at http://www.spiralpublishing.net, which also publishes books by Frank Kilgore and Jason A. Adams. For more information about Kari, upcoming publications, her travels and adventures, and random cool things that catch her attention, visit http://www.karikilgore.com.