Interview ~ with Sloane Kady
Interview with Sloane Kady ~ "Irreparable Deeds"
BCP: How is it that you came to be a writer?
When I was 8 years old, I wrote an entire horror novel, but I never put it on paper. I never told anyone about it. I thought about it incessantly. I had the setting, characters, dialogue, and a damn fine plot nailed down. I worked all the pieces around in my head for months, mentally rearranging them when something didn’t fit, tweaking this and that, even imagining the score that would accompany my book. A haunting bit of classical music. Why didn’t I write it? Let’s just say I didn’t think it would be met with a warm reception. At that time, creativity wasn’t high on the list of priorities in my home, nor was reading. This was particularly difficult for me, since creativity and art were always in my blood. I learned to squelch my inner-writer, burying her deep down, where she would lay dormant for years.
When I married my husband at 18 years old and we moved into our first military house, we began filling it with books. Glorious, beautiful books. Since then I’ve gone to sleep every night with a work of fiction—something gritty and grimy, dangling from the underbelly of the literary world. Suspense and horror. I love it, down to my marrow. As years went on, books and reading became a significant part of my life, and writing again became a spark in my mind. But that spark didn’t flourish into a raging fire until my husband spoke words that would breathe life into it. “Of course you can write a book!” All it took was some encouragement and someone who believed in me. Since that day, I’ve been a writer.
I love stepping outside reality, placing myself in the landscape of someone’s mind. More than that, I wanted to invite people into my mind. Not that everyone wants to see what’s lurking in those corners. I became a writer, not just because I love writing, but because if I didn’t write, if I didn’t find some outlet through which to rid myself of the endless chatter in my head, my days would be about surviving my thoughts instead of taking part in the beauty that surrounds me. All deep thinkers need an outlet.
BCP: When did you come up with the idea for your novel “Irreparable Deeds”?
Fall of 2009.
BCP: The title sounds a bit sinister, is the story based upon a fictional story or characters, or is this a bit more personal? You need not answer that if you find it too personal.
The title is most definitely sinister. I’m a bit of a recluse and tend to be incredibly private about certain things, but I also greatly appreciate my readers, and I feel it’s fitting to offer a bit of myself here. Irreparable Deeds is personal for me. It’s a work of fiction, but as we all know, writers pull from their surroundings and experiences. Without delving too deep, I’ll just say that I didn’t suffer from a shortage of inspiration when writing the characters. As for the harsh realities found in my book…well, much like Laura says about Danlyn’s birth, my childhood wasn’t painted in soft pastels.
BCP: How would you describe yourself as a writer as far as technique is concerned? When you write, do you follow a prescribed method when laying out the story, and creating your characters?
For the most part, I allow my characters to enter the story as skeletons. As you know, characters always get fleshed out along the way, growing in time with the story. Even when we heavily characterize them, they take on lives of their own. They’re a bit like children. You provide the foundation, but you can’t control every move they make.
As for plot, I need structure. I’m a big believer in outlining. It’s sometimes a thorn in my side. I often find myself wanting to throw caution to the wind and say the hell with it. But I know I’d inevitably go off the rails. I like to know where each chapter is taking me and what my goal is.
BCP: Can you talk about how you came to choose independent publishing over traditional publishing houses? What were the deciding factors for making that choice?
For me it boiled down to time and freedom. I chose to self-publish because tomorrow is not guaranteed, and I wanted to see my dreams come to fruition, only I didn’t want to wait for some gatekeeper to determine when and if that would happen. I wasn’t willing to wait years for a publisher to find worth in my work, nor was I willing to wait several more years to see my work in print. In addition to that, I don’t play by the rules when it comes to art. Writing is one of the most personal forms of artistic expression. Placing parameters around your creativity is a bit like giving a box of crayons and a blank sheet of paper to a small child and telling them they can only draw a black box. Your mind won’t open when placed in a position that doesn’t allow it to express itself. I’m a colorful person with a lot of personality, which I plan on bringing to my writing. I will write what I want to write, and what I hope others will enjoy—not what the publishing houses think will sell. And if in the end I fail, I will have failed on my own accord. But it won’t be because I was never given the opportunity.
BCP: With “Irreparable Deeds” now in print, and ebook, have you another work you are ready to begin working on?
Yes. But I don’t think the follow-up to Irreparable Deeds is going to let me get to it. The follow-up is begging to be written. Danlyn Hallow is bursting at the seams, screaming to be let out.
BCP: As an independent author now, what are your thoughts on the advances in digital publishing, and how that has affected you as a future author?
I think technology is amazing. I appreciate the freedom digital publishing offers both new and established authors. What’s not to love? Having said that, they’ll have to pry my physical books from my cold, dead hands.
BCP: Do you have a writing philosophy or what might be called an artist's statement that describes you, or your method of writing?
My philosophy, were I to say I have one, is to hurry the hell up and write before you realize how bloody hard it’s meant to be.
I wrote an entire article on this very topic for my blog. I equated writing to learning how to drive a stick. The very first time I got behind the wheel of a manual transmission, I drove it beautifully. But apparently that rubbed my instructor the wrong way. She sat in the passenger seat, mouth agape, completely perplexed by my ability to drive a stick without having popped the clutch. This bothered her so badly that she made me pop the clutch…on purpose! She wanted me to be prepared for what the vehicle would do. So I did as instructed and popped the hell out of that clutch. And I popped it again, and again, and again. Lo and behold, by evening’s end, I couldn’t stop popping the clutch. I had completely lost my ability to smoothly transition between gears, and to this day, 18 years later, I still can’t drive a stick. Had my instructor allowed me to grow more comfortable with maneuvering between gears before teaching me to fail, I might have fallen back into the groove of things.
Moral of the story is: Writing a book is damn difficult, but you don’t have to go into it knowing that. There are thousands of articles, blogs, books, posts, and forums dedicated to this very subject. You can meet struggling writer after struggling writer, all more than willing to tell you how incredibly difficult writing a book is. But when first setting out on your writing journey, why fill your heart and head with enough discouraging words to swallow up all your passion?
Every writer learns how hard writing is. If you stick with it long enough, finding out that truth is inevitable. But it’s best to jump in head first, before realizing how hard it’s meant to be. Let your naivety and drive blind you, just long enough to get the book written. Then, and only then, should you fill your head with all the realities of editing and re-writing, because once you’ve written the damn thing, you’ll transition back into the groove of things, even after you pop your clutch.
BCP: One question I am always interested in asking another artist or writer that I will ask here. Is there a writer who's work inspires you to emulate? Someone who might be considered a literary mentor?
While the list of writers I admire and respect goes on and on, I wouldn’t say there’s someone I wish to emulate. I want to make a name for myself. When someone reads my work, I want him or her to know exactly whom they’re reading. If my writing conjures up thoughts of another writer, so be it. But it won’t be because I emulated their work, at least not intentionally. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen writers emulate Stephen King. This drives me nuts! Be yourself. Write your own thoughts; use your own inner voice. If you can’t write from a place of honesty, don’t write at all.
BCP: Is there anything you will do differently the next time around?
Absolutely. I’ll be less reserved in my writing. I’ll bring even more thunder. I plan on taking advantage of being an indie author. So watch out!
BCP: As a final question, have you any thoughts or advice for other independent authors that might be useful to them as writers, and independent authors?
My Lord. I could fill a book with the things I’ve learned along the way. I’m going to make this snappy, in no particular order.
Believe you’re a writer, even when you feel you’re not. Don’t pop your clutch too soon. Write, all the time. Read constantly. If you haven’t the slightest grasp on grammar, start studying. When writing, write like you would in your diary—honest and unfiltered. Have something to say, and if you don’t, have an entertaining story. Start marketing immediately, even if you haven’t finished writing your book. Market hard, even when you feel like a dirty whore, but don’t be annoying. Never be annoying. Don’t shove your book down people’s throats. Set a certain amount of time away to write every damn day—actually DO IT! Get some exercise and eat right. Get yourself an understanding spouse. If you don’t have an understanding spouse, order one online. They can bring you coffee and stuff. You don’t need a mahogany desk. You don’t need a pipe. Ponder. Let yourself sink into your thoughts—then write.
Realize everyone produces shit. EVERYONE! Remember that you will get better. But never be cocky. Cocky people suck, especially cocky writers, and you can spot them a mile away—they’re the pretentious ones. Be humble. Be prepared that once you’ve written your book, you’re nowhere near done. Editing is a bitch. Editing is evil and horrible and God-stinking-awful. Editing is the most important thing you’ll do. Editing will possibly take longer than it did to write the damn book, and that’s okay. Re-writes are the devil. Oh well, suck it up, buttercup, ‘cause you’re a writer now. Be fierce and say what’s on your mind. In other words: don’t be a ninny. Find a good editor. FIND A GOOD EDITOR. You will pay dearly if you don’t. Find a good cover designer. FIND A GOOD COVER DESIGNER. People DO judge books by their covers. It’s a reality of life. Your book cover is the amazing pair of breasts, and that gaggle of drooling men…yeah, those are your potential readers. Don’t go cheap here. Did I mention never be annoying?
When you start building your platform, think moderation. Make at least 70% of your posts about you—not your book. Readers love to relate to you, so don’t be a robot. Oh yeah…build your platform. Don’t know what that is? Google it! Do your homework, because no one will do it for you. When you start to announce your book’s release, mean it. Don’t dangle a carrot and then take it away. Don’t give all your work away for free. When you finally publish, know that you won’t strike it rich, nor will you push thousands of copies right out of the gate. You’re not Stephen King. I’m not Stephen King. Tough shit. Most importantly, don’t neglect your family or forget to live life.
So…be awesome. Be honest. Be humble. Know your worth. Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Work hard. Live with as few regrets as possible, which includes never giving up. So finish what you start, because there’s no honor in quitting. Respect: dish it out and demand it in return. Learn to laugh at nearly everything, including yourself. Set high standards for yourself. And while I’m dishing out advice…stay away from tattooed women, ‘cause we bite. Don’t tug on Superman’s cape. Don’t spit into the wind. Love fiercely, because being an asshole never pays off. Laugh boisterously. Again, be honest. Dodgy people blow chunks. Don’t text while driving. If you do, I hate you. And for the love of God, stay away from glory holes.