28 Questions answered by K E Frey

Nicholls Publishing sat down with Author K.E Frey and discussed her book The Nimrods and the Starcluster – Book One of the science fiction series. And here is what she had to say.

  1. Does writing energise or exhaust you? A bit of both, if I stay up until 2 am or possibly later (because I am in the zone) then yes in that respect it can be exhausting but only when I need my sleep. When however, I am in the ‘zone’ I am energised and my creative juices can flow, its quite empowering even if, a little contradictory.
  2. What are common traps for aspiring writers? Not being true to yourself. I think and, of course this is my own personal viewpoint, but each of us have a certain style of writing and if it works don’t change it. It’s like art, two people may create two completely different pictures from the same subject. It does not necessarily mean one is better than the other.
  3. Does a big ego help or hurt writers? I am not sure about other authors. Most, I think write because they have a desire to create. When you put as many hours into anything you do, there has to be a certain element of achievement and personal satisfaction if that is ego then I think we can live with that.
  4. What is your writing Kryptonite? Time
  5. Have you ever gotten reader’s block? Yes and no. Not a definitive answer I realise but sometimes I can be completely under the writing spell and at other times I am wrestling with myself and there may be a lull in my creativity. At this time I find it therapeutic to go for a walk, commune with nature or visit with family and friends. Pushing creativity can make writing become a chore and, this is not why you want to write is it!!
  6. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Yes of course and I have. I also create children’s books, for me I like the separation.
  7. Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want? That’s a good question. Each genre has a connectivity to a reader no matter who the author is. This is why people buy that book because it appeals to their own particular sensibility. I’m a fiction writer so certain scenes or dialogue may appear to have a commercial element to them but it’s only because it’s part of our human nature and this connectivity.
  8. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly? That’s a broad question, it all boils down to the type of book you want to write. One example; If you are bored by romance and have no emotional connection to romance why then write a romantic novel.
  9. Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I am currently creating a series from my first book that is a continuation of certain characters and scenarios.
  10. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? If you have the gift, the need to put pen to paper then go for it. For others sometimes it takes a lifetime of struggle and experiences to write your first book.
  11. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing? I think you become better. It’s like exercising your brain it becomes more astute more detailed in the way you progress through the next book. You know the pitfalls, you may even become more critical of your first book but it’s a learning curve. Ultimately if you develop a following then you are succeeding. That is the goal.
  12. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? My laptop
  13. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? I had a great English teacher, she was expressive and captivated my attention to the written word. Although, I cannot remember exactly what it was from that time in High School, I just realise it impacted on me. In addition, we always had books at home. My father had a study and I would sneak in when he wasn’t there and read his books, he was very much an intellectual and was knowledgeable on many subjects. I must admit a favourite author of mine as a young pre-teen was Agatha Christie amongst others.
  14. What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters? There is always a component of someone you know or have heard about in your characters. This is what makes your character human or perhaps inhuman depending on what you are writing. In your own life experience, there are those characters around you that are ripe for the picking, past work colleagues, family, friends or just fleeting acquaintances. You just need to be observant to turn that readily available knowledge into part of a character without being totally obvious. You may not want to ruin a friendship though by being too blatantly recognisable, at the very least you owe them that.
  15. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Currently, I have three on the go.
  16. What does literary success look like to you? For me it’s simple, to develop a following. If people enjoy my book/s then that’s great. Perhaps a little ego in that obviously but it comes back to personal achievement. I don’t think that is a bad thing.
  17. What’s the best way to market your books? Your publisher should help you with that and, there is nothing wrong with self-promotion, again your publisher can help. EBooks, Libraries, Book Signings and Social Media of course.
  18. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? All types of resources, friends, family, books or online I only research when I reach a particular need in my writing. However, for a Historical novel perhaps you would want to have all that information in place before you begin I am guessing. It all depends on the genre you are writing about.
  19. Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice? Definitely its therapeutic, writing takes you away from the more mundane day to day aspects of life without sounding flaky but yes, it can transport you metaphorically speaking.
  20. How many hours a day do you write? I lead a busy life but it’s spasmodic. I can write for hours and write a couple of thousand words in one sitting and then not write for a few days. It depends on what I’m doing and when my creative juices are stirred. I can be a night owl and stay up for hours writing. At other times I will lock myself away during the day and feel very creative. I don’t say to myself you need to write. If I feel it I write.
  21. What did you edit out of this book? Not much. I suspect however, some people may see un-necessary dialogue or an over plethora of information but it’s how I write. Like moving pictures in my head and, important to me how I extract that and put it on paper.
  22. How do you select the names of your characters? A lot of my character’s names are partly from people that I know. My humble recognition to their support and encouragement.
  23. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? Hmm! You will never please everybody. Some actors never read reviews it’s up to you and, it depends where it comes from. If it’s constructive criticism from your publisher etc well that’s a little different. And, it’s easy to be a critic when it has been written by someone else, but could they create something from scratch? Fifty Shades of Grey was bagged mercilessly by some critics. In the end though E.L. James developed a massive following and movies were an additional outcome. I don’t think she particularly cares about reviews. I think even if you don’t read a book review, someone else will let you know I am sure.
  24. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find? Oh yes! That’s fun. There are some words or names that are scrambled you just have to find them and unscramble them or maybe, I will spill the beans later …
  25. What was your hardest scene to write? A battle/fight scene, but I’m a visual person in my head so it’s almost as if I am there in that moment. If people enjoy the book/s then I assume and hope they’re in that moment as well.
  26. What is your favourite childhood book? Beatrix Potter books I loved the words the illustrations and the size of the books so kid friendly.
  27. Does your family support your career as a writer? Yes and that’s very important, although selfishly at times you can’t always give them the attention they need, on the other hand it’s good to step away and take a break too. Family though, is very important to me.
  28. How long on average does it take you to write a book? My first book is over 108,000 words. That size book can take anywhere from four to six months and then there is the editing on top of that. A book this size may take up to eighteen months to complete from end to end. It all depends on what it is you are writing and how big it is.