Today I am interviewing indie author K. L. Schwengel. She recently released her fantasy novel, First of Her Kind: A Darkness & Light Novel.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Kathi.
Ergh…um…let’s see, I’m the youngest of nine children. Everyone thinks that means I was spoiled being the “baby of the family”. Yeah. Not so much. I didn’t get spoiled until I was in college and all my siblings had moved out. My mother was a librarian, and that’s probably the reason I love books. I always wanted to be a writer, it just took me a while to get here. Although I always wrote, other things took my life over. You know, falling in love, getting married, pursuing an art degree (BFA) which led me down a couple different paths, most of them creative, some not. I have what has been termed a dry sense of humor, and have been told I wield sarcasm and non-verbal communication like weapons of warfare. I raise Australian Shepherds and Katahdin sheep, pine for a horse of my own, and would really love to actually learn how to use a sword.
A sword! That would keep competitors on their toes. What ignited your idea for First of Her Kind ~ A Darkness & Light Novel?
This line: “There was nothing for it. In another turn of the glass, Meriol would be dead.” It popped into my head one day and I ran with it. I’m a pantser so I had no idea where it would lead me. That original line didn’t make the final cut, but what an adventure it’s led me on!
Isn’t it interesting how a germ of an idea turns into a full-length novel. In your heroine Ciara’s words, please tell everyone why they should read this book.
In Ciara’s words, “Look, I can’t make you read it — well, I probably could, but I don’t want to. You should read it because then you’ll understand how absolutely frustrating certain individuals can be.” Glares at Bolin. “Oh, and because it’s a tale of coming to grips with who we are, and accepting that. Something I’m still working on.”
I like Ciara already. She’s fiesty. As an aspiring novelist myself, I’m always interested in how other writers balance writing and life. How do you do it, Kathi?
Sometimes not very well at all! Thankfully I have a husband who doesn’t need a lot of constant attention so long as he’s equipped with the couch and a remote. That helps. He knew I was the independent type when he married me. I write on my breaks at work, and ONLY on my breaks. <cough> I try to write every day but, honestly, it just doesn’t pan out that way.
Not only is there the day job, I’m very active with my dogs and competing in herding trials throughout the spring/summer/fall as well as teaching others to do the same. My laptop is pretty much my constant companion. But I have many, many, many stacks of post-its, scrap paper, napkins (seriously), with scenes, notes, etc. written on them.
If I’m deep into something, I tend to get annoyed by distractions. I’ve learned to take a deep breath, put myself in the other person’s shoes (usually my husband’s, and coincidentally, we wear the same size), and hold up a finger. (See, non-verbal communication.) It means, “Give me just another minute to finish this thought, then I’m all yours.”
During the winter months I have all evening to write. During the rest of the year I usually write in the late afternoon. There’s a 2-hour window between when I get home and my husband gets home. That’s the time. Weekends tend to get gobbled by everything else.
Oh boy, you are a busy gal. Maybe you can use that sword to bushwack through your day. What writing projects are you working on currently?
I have a short story that will be published in an anthology due out this spring. And, of course, there’s book two in the Darkness & Light series, tentatively entitled Emergence. I’ve actually got bits of book three written as well. Crazy characters won’t let me be. I also have an urban fantasy/romance on the back burner. I diddle with it when I’m stalled on book 2.
I’m thrilled that you’ll have more books for us to read. Why did you decide to go the indie route?
I believe in the story I’ve written. That’s what it boils down to. That, and I’m a control freak. The idea of being in charge of the entire process from start to finish is too much for me to pass up. I just read an excellent article about self-publishing. The author likened it to being an artisan. I like that. The fact is, I created First of Her Kind from scratch, just like a painting. And now I’m sharing it.
Your reasons make sense, and I’m excited that you took the plunge. Thanks so much for hanging out at 4am, Kathi. I wish you all the best with your novels. And sword.