On this sixth day of Interviews with the authors we have
Tell us about yourself?
Hi everyone, I’m Kay MacLeod. I live in Nottinghamshire in England with my husband and my cat. I’m a massive fan of all things fantasy related. I love to play RPGs like Dragon Age, Neverwinter Nights, Stardew Valley, and World of Warcraft. I’m a huge Pokémon geek too!
When I’m not writing or gaming, I enjoy being creative. I paint miniatures, draw, and also play bass guitar at my church. Oh and I’m way too invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
What changes did 2019 bring to your writing?
Towards the end of 2018 my writing took a huge shift. I started setting more goals, learning better techniques to push the speed and quality of my writing, and looking at it more of a business than a hobby. I released one novel in 2016 and one in 2018. I’m on track to release four novels and my anthology novella this year, with at least the first draft of another novel completed. I’m so much more confident with what I’m able to achieve now, I’m finally starting to feel like less of a newbie to this industry!
Why did you do an anthology? Was it harder or easier than writing a full out novel? What was the hardest part?
I decided to join this anthology for two main reasons. Firstly, to push myself. The only things I’ve worked on before were 135K epic fantasy novels, so being asked to do a 15K paranormal romance was immediately terrifying! But I knew it would make me think outside my normal style and techniques, I really wanted to see if I could pull it off.
The second reason I joined is because of the people. I’ve worked with most of them on other projects and these guys are some of the most hard-working and genuine people I’ve met in the writing world. They put every effort into making whatever they do something special and incredible and I love what we’ve achieved together.
As for the difficulty, some things are harder and some easier. It definitely took me a lot less time to edit and proofread than my usual work! The length of the story was a challenge too though, I had to make characters that people cared about and fit in an interesting story into an infinitely smaller space than I’m used to. The hardest thing though… uh…*mumble* wrote my first ever ‘steamy scene.’
How did you come up with your story?
I read Bulwark for the first time knowing that I was going to write an interlinked story, I was on the lookout for inspiration as I read it. Without giving too many spoilers in case you haven’t read it yet – a certain family in there emigrated to America from England. I figured it would be fun for me to bring an English character in to search for that family who had all their records erased. From there I thought it would be sweet for her to have a slightly geeky love interest that she meets during her research. Bad boys are awesome but it’s nice to have a change sometimes.
What is the hardest part of being an indie?
The hardest part is also the best part – you have the final say in every part of what you do. Yeah, you hire cover designers and editors but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to choose them and to say when something is complete. The creative freedom is incredible and terrifying at the same time. You have to research and learn so many skills and be confident enough in your own decisions to push forward.
Do you stay with one genre, or jump around?
I think that fantasy will always be part of everything that I do. But there’s so much within that I’m planning on experimenting with. My current series is YA fantasy, lots of cool powers and a medieval style setting, but with plenty of snark and banter. I have the first two books out and the third coming in Summer.
I have a gamelit novel coming out in a few months. It’s about people that got really addicted to monster capture games and ended up creating real animals with elemental superpowers. It has a bit of a dystopian feel to it with monsters rampaging the wilderness.
My other new series starting in Autumn will be a more traditional fantasy setting with a huge world and different interconnecting stories with several groups. Characters so far include a frost mage, a werewolf, a siren, fairies, a baby Sphinx, and a half-elf. It’s going to be fun!
Share the process of this collaboration? What inspired you from the original story and how did you marry it to your own work?
This whole project has had a great family feel. We’ve set up a Facebook group to share ideas and collaborate on the characters and the setting. Everyone is bringing their own set of skills to help out the entire team, whether that’s in designing covers, formatting, proofreading, or promotion.
Of course, Brit Lunden wrote the original Bulwark book, which has been the source of inspiration for everyone. She’s been so on board with letting us take her world and shape it in totally new ways and always been there if we needed more information on anything.
I think my main inspiration came from the magical element of her original story, I am a total magic and fantasy addict! That along with the connection to my home country brought the first sparks of The Missing Branch to mind.
Would you do another anthology?
As long as it’s with people this awesome, yes!
What trends do you see in indie books?
The great thing with indie books is they don’t have to stick to a trend. People publish in all the little niches they are passionate about, and that’s a great thing for authors and readers. Trad publishing works well for some people but if that was the only option then there wouldn’t be the great variety you see in the reading world now.
Of course, you still get reading trends. Reverse harem romances are absolutely massive right now. But because I’m independent, I can quite happily go write about superpowered animals and know there’s still a readership, even if it’s smaller.
What makes your books stand out from the sea of indie authors out there?
I focus quite heavily on character development and dialogue. I believe that even if you have the most exciting and intense storyline if you don’t have a character you care about going through it you won’t be invested. I need to show more than what they are doing, I like to explore their vulnerabilities and little quirks. Maybe it’s just something simple like they love junk food, or they draw in their spare time, but it gives a more three-dimensional aspect and a real connection to who they are. I love to see the quips and teasing and tangents in a conversation that give characters bonds with each other.
And once you’ve fallen in love with my guys, I send in the twists that break them 😉