The race really is on to Christmas now, and if you’re looking for some great fantasy books, then you’re in the right place. Last week I interview Patty Jansen, an Aussie author with a huge back catalogue of gripping fantasy and science fiction novels to devour. This week we’re bringing back to Britain and meeting Kate Aaron – Liverpudlian, parrot owner and fantasy author.
It’s about 50-50 at the minute, although I do have a day job: believe it or not, in construction project management. I’m the only woman working at my company, which is great when I write predominantly about men – I’ve got an insider insight into how they interact!
Favourite food, place, colour and writing zone, please.
Oooh, I’m a bit of a foodie, so that’s difficult. I’m horribly addicted to Man vs Food at the minute, which I know is trash TV but I just can’t stop myself. I’m a big fan of sushi, but I’m also pretty awesome at baking (if I say so myself). My pear and almond cake has to be eaten to be believed (slight aside – please can I have some?! Sounds delicious – Geoff). My favourite place is probably a little croft my family owns in the Scottish highlands, it’s the ultimate writer’s retreat and I keep threatening to move up there and become a hermit. My favourite colour is purple and I’ll write anywhere as long as it’s quiet. I’m not one of those pretentious types who takes their laptop to Starbucks!
You write in the fantasy/supernatural genre….who’s been your inspiration? Favourite books? Movies? TV Shows?
I’ve always liked fantasy, from Bram Stoker to Charlaine Harris. Give me vampires and I’m happy! (Just as long as they’re not the glittery kind…).
Who’s your favourite all time fictional character?
Has to be Heathcliff, I just love, love, love him. So dark and brooding and tortured.
That’s a difficult one. I’ve got a soft spot for all of them, but probably in my fantasy my favourite character is Fenton, my tortured asexual vampire who’s desperate to find love on his own terms. He’s such a divisive character, but I adore him. Writing his story breaks my heart.
Let’s talk superpowers….there’s no denying we’d all love one. What would be your choice, and why?
Teleporting would be awesome – no more time wasted travelling! But I think everyone wants the gift of invisibility, it’s the ultimate superpower.
Inspiration’s a funny thing. Where do you find yours? Is there one particular moment that stands out?
Not particularly. I don’t plot or anything, I just sit down and write. It’s like an itch that needs to be scratched, but I’m never sure quite what I’ll produce in advance. I’ve written my whole life, but the first book I published – Blood & Ash – I wrote as a sort of reaction to the books I’d been reading. I love fantasy, and I generally prefer to read books with queer MCs, being gay myself, but I didn’t buy the way m/m romance writers combined the genre with fantasy: the worldbuilding in the books I’d read just fell flat. (I’d like to add that I’ve read some really, really superb m/m fantasy books since then!). Because I couldn’t find the book that I really wanted to read, I wrote it.
I’m definitely a ‘sit down and write’ gal. When I’m on a roll I can barely keep up with myself, but when I’m stuck there’s no getting around it. The entire plot resolves itself somewhere in my subconscious. It’s an interesting process from my perspective; when I wrote Blood & Ash, for instance, I knew it would be the first of a trilogy but I didn’t have a clue how the story arc was going to pan out. I included certain things in that book that I knew were foreshadowing something to come later – but I didn’t know what! When I came to write the second book, Fire & Ice, a lot of things suddenly came together in a way I’d never consciously envisioned, but clearly somewhere deep down I’d already got it all worked out.
What’s fresh about your books? Quirky and different? Likely to entice readers and keep them coming back for more?
I like to think that I write something a bit different to the usual m/m style – in fact, I don’t consider my Lost Realm series to really be m/m anymore, it’s definitely more high fantasy with a strong gay side-story. In my world homosex is punishable by death, which makes a change from the usual m/m trope where it sometimes seems that everyone is gay. I’ve also got a bit of a succession crisis in the fae royal family, and an asexual vampire. So I’d say that my series is pretty unique!
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on a number of projects – first the third novel in the Lost Realm series, which is almost finished (eek!); a spin-off to my contemporary romance The Rest of Forever called When Forever Ends, (bit of a weepie, that one); and I’m also working on sweet little tale of forbidden love in Victorian England.
How can readers connect with you? (Facebook/Twitter etc).