What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Kaiya Hart, Central Illinois, England
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I've run through a lot of obsessions in my life, but writing is the only thing that ever stuck.
When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
About ten years ago, when I started my trilogy.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Actually, I hadn't been trying real hard to get published; I just wrote for myself. Then another author suggested that I self-publish and, when I saw how many people would have access to my book immediately, I decided it was a wonderful opportunity. In all I spent a couple months cleaning up Getting Thin, which was a few years old at that point, and then I published it.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The Broken Tomb will be out within the next month. It is the second book in my trilogy, 'The War For Inisfail'. It is a continuation of the adventure of a group of friends as they try to rescue their world from enslavement and domination by an evil Halfling.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Well, so far I've only been publishing books that I'd already written, so I don't have a true timeline. I know a rough draft can take anywhere from a month and a half to three months, depending on the length and depth of the story. Research can take me another month. Then the rewrites can take another three months. I'd say, if I was to really focus on a new story it would probably be anywhere between seven and twelve months from the first word written to the last edit. I know it sounds like a lot. I believe every story is worth a lot of work. I don't just want to put out a book. I want it to look as professional as anything you might find on the shelves at Barnes and Nobles.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The trilogy has been my hardest so far. I've been writing it and rewriting it for over ten years at this point. It is an example of overwriting; I'm ready to be done with it, but I want others to be able to read it. So, sometimes, it feels a little like I'm swimming in quicksand, trying to remain interested while keeping the characters true to their original design and not losing the train of the story along the way. Still, I wouldn't trade it for anything simpler. I love the vastness of epic fantasy. The amount of detail I'm allowed to have is amazing. I had to trim a lot of Getting Thin to keep it a normal size. With epic fantasy, the readers want a world they can live in and I'm trying to give them that and enjoying myself while I'm at it.
What can we expect from you in the future?ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I'm all over the place. There is more epic fantasy, a dark fantasy that will come out a few months after The Broken Tomb, and a rough draft I am working on at the moment that is something of a steampunk fairytale. I also have a horror novel planned, but it is still only in the idea stages. Writing is something I live my life around. It keeps me sane. And I have a lot of stories to tell.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I always have plans for a new book. I have to be working. I'm not happy if there isn't some story going on in my head.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I don't choose favorites. Each one is an individual to me and worthy of its own spot in my heart.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
The answer usually surprises people; they always assume it's Eva, from Getting Thin or Shea from the trilogy or even Galen, my elf. The truth is, Mithala is my favorite character and always has been. She is so fun to write. She isn't complicated or moody. She is just going along, killing anything that gets in her way, and having a grand time doing it. When I was younger, she was always the kind of character I was most drawn to. She is just happy, even if her job is a bloody one, and I like happy people.
If you had to choose to be one of your characters in your book/books which would you be? and why?
I'd either choose Mithala or Shea. I have always liked swords, fighting, and horses. If I had a choice, I'd live in a place and time where magic is real and every problem can be solved, so long as the determination is there. Sometimes, our world just feels too complicated and full of injustice. Sometimes I think what the world needs is an honest to goodness superhero and I'd love to live in a world where that was possible.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I was eighteen when I started. So that's a long time. We won't talk about how long. My best friend was the person who put the pen in my hand. My dad had been saying for years that I ought to be a writer, though. I never listened to him; what teenager listens to their parents? Now, I look back and see he planted that seed, my best friend watered it, and I'm extremely grateful to them both.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
Each book has its own soundtrack. I tend to pick the songs out as I go along. Whenever I get really stumped, I start searching through my music, which I have a lot of, looking for a song that fits the mood of the book. It isn't always what I expect it to be. For Getting Thin I had everything from 30 Seconds to Mars to Phantom of The Opera sung by Sarah Brightman.
I don't tend to sit in one particular spot, but I do write in the mornings. I'm not a morning person, but, for some reason, when I am writing something new or editing, that is the time of day when I get the most work done. If I don't get up and get to work before eight, then I know I won't get anything done at all.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Sometimes I do. My husband is in charge of that part. Recently, he's started looking for people on Goodreads that review a lot and offering them books. He tells them they don't have to review it, but an honest opinion is appreciated.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Not when I'm working. Even the best reviews have a tendency to leave me unable to write. I don't really know why. My husband is great. He reads them and tells me when to go look. I appreciate every single person that reads my books and takes time to comment on them. I'd love to thank them all personally. One of these days, when I am not working, maybe I will spend a day doing just that.
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No. I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion and the chance to let everyone else see what they thought, even if they hated it. Criticism is always there. I'm okay with that. I'm confident in myself and my books. Even negative reviews are welcome; it would be a pretty boring world if everyone liked the same things.
Both. Sometimes, like with Getting Thin, I know the title before I know the story. Other times, the title is a struggle for me. Sometimes, the story is done and I have to sit around running through ideas for the name. Some of my short stories are still untitled because I just can't find one that fits.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
My characters have a habit of popping up inside my head already whole. I don't get a lot of say in how they are. Some of the secondary characters I do get to choose, though. I always make sure they play with the story before I put them in. Usually, if I'm creating a character from scratch, I write a couple short stories about them just so I have a grip on what they are like. An example of this is 'The Red Cloak', a short story you can find on my live journal blog.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I have a horse. I've always had horses. I don't really know how to live without them. When I am really stressed out, I find going for a nice, long ride cures it. I don't know if hobbies are supposed to be so much work, though. I think it is more like a lifestyle. I also draw. I'm not very good at it, but I like to do it.
Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Of course. By the time I'm finished with the book or story, though, no-one recognizes themselves or the events that led up to it. I think there always has to be a shred of truth in a book, if it is going to be any good.
Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Many. Peter S. Beagle, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Anne Rice are the first ones that jump to mind. There are so many that have paved the road for me, I could be naming for days and never find the end, but I'll keep trying because I feel like I owe each of them something.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
Tamsin, by Peter S. Beagle. I love the way Beagle writes. He has such a wonderful, lyrical style. I've read it too many times to count.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
I hope not. I love my kindle, but I still love real books too. I like the smell and weight of them. These days, I tend to buy the e-book and, if the book really strikes me as special, I go buy a really nice hard copy. I had to start doing it this way; I have three large bookshelves and they are packed to capacity. We are military and we move a lot. Moving my books has become an issue because I'm so picky about how they are handled. I have to say, I love bookstores. I love wandering up and down the aisles, picking up books I might never look twice at or find in an electronic store. I've found a lot of great authors doing that. For that reason alone, I hope that we never see e-books completely take over.
If yes, what is it?
Of course. Anne of Green Gables was my favourite book. I actually read the cover off it. There were a few others, like Little House on the Prairie, but Anne was the character I always connected with best.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
There is no book I will not try. There are many I've never finished, but I won't turn anything away until I've given it a fair shot.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Patrick Rothfuss is fairly new. If you like fantasy, you should definitely check him out. I've been reading 'The Name of the Wind' and it is full of wonderful characters and good writing.