Welcome to Lavender Lass Books, BR. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview!
BR Kingsolver, author of Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction, grew up surrounded by writers, artists, myths, and folklore in Santa Fe, The City Different, in the Land of Enchantment.
After living all over the US and exploring the world–from Amsterdam to the Romanian Alps, and Russia to the Rocky Mountains–Kingsolver, a passionate lifetime skier, currently spends time writing and enjoying the view in Albuquerque. With an education in nursing and biology and a Master’s degree in business, Kingsolver has done everything from construction to newspaper editor and silversmith to computers.
All BR’s books are exclusively with Amazon, so Kindle Prime and Kindle Unlimited customers can read as many as they wish.
My name is Danica James. I’m a cop with the Arcane Division.
Most mages have the ability to manipulate the elements – fire, water, air, earth, electricity. My magic only works on machines and electrical devices. They call me a magitek. That doesn’t help much with demons and vampires, let alone criminals with lethal magikal powers.
And now to the interview:
1. What do you want to share with us about this story? What really stands out about it and made you want to write it?
This series was heavily influenced by the pandemic, but I didn’t want to write a pandemic novel. Too much of a downer. So, I envisioned a pandemic where the survivors’ children manifested magical powers. And then, the misuse of those powers created a rift in reality and a flood of demons coming into our world. Perfect setup for urban fantasy.
2. Why do you write in this genre? What makes this genre particularly appealing to you?
I’ve been reading fantasy and science fiction since I was in junior high school. Although I read a lot of different genres—from romance to mysteries to SFF—I enjoy reading urban fantasy, and stories in UF seem to come easily to me. And there is a massive and hungry audience for UF books. SFF is the third-best-selling genre on Amazon, behind only romance and mysteries.
3. What made you decide to become an author? Can you tell us a little about that journey?
I’ve always made up stories in my head to entertain myself. I first tried to write a book when I was fifteen. It was awful, and I gave up after about twenty pages. When I was in college, I worked as an editor on several local newspapers, and occasionally had to write a story when I didn’t have a reporter to assign. That convinced me that I was a boring writer. Then about ten years ago, when ebooks and Kindle started to hit it big, my partner encouraged me to try and write a story I told her about. Six months later, I published it. I sold $24 the first month, and got some four and five star reviews (and some notably worse ones), and that encouraged me to write the next book in the series.
4. Why did you choose to self-publish? Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
I grew up in Santa Fe, and knew a lot of writers—some successful, most not. But even the successful ones rarely made any real money. I always knew that even getting a publisher to look at a book was almost impossible. But in the fall of 2011, a young lady named Amanda Hocking was selling 5,000 books a day on Amazon at 99 cents each. And they were terrible. That’s when I decided to try and write a book.
Advantages to self-publishing? Money. I make a lot more than most traditionally-published authors (obviously not Stephen King or Nora Roberts, but more than traditional midlist authors).
The challenges are that it’s a lot of work, and a steep learning curve. Along with many authors, I hate marketing, but most trad-published authors have to market their books, too.
5. Where do you get ideas for your stories? Do they come to you over time, or do you suddenly think of an idea and realize it would make a great story?
Most of my books started either with a character, or with a setting. I’m a pantser—I don’t outline or plot my stories ahead of writing them. Dean Wesley Smith calls it “writing into the dark,” and Stephen King also writes that way. My current project started with an idea I’ve used before—that there are infinite parallel universes, and all the mythical people and creatures people have told stories about for ages are real, but from another place. The main character is a triplet, with an identical sister and fraternal brother.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I have an unpublished space opera with a developmental editor right now, and the first book in an epic fantasy trilogy with another editor. I might be able to publish them in 2022. I wrote and published a cozy paranormal mystery last August, and started a sequel to it, but have set it aside. I really wasn’t happy with it, and decided it needs to be rewritten from scratch.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in your genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, research, etc.?)
Especially in UF, people read for characters first. If they like or identify with a character, they’ll read everything with that character. World building is important. The author is asking the reader to suspend disbelief, but the world must be consistent and make sense. If it also inspires wonder, so much the better. And the author must tell an entertaining and engaging story. If the reader feels “I’ve read this before,” then they are disappointed. They want to be taken for a ride, surprised, thrilled, and excited.
8. What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
How to market a book. I wrote ten books and published seven before I published one that really sold. And when I say market, I don’t just mean advertising and promotions. The content of a book has to be something people want to read. “Writing to market,” means finding a market for a particular story, and then writing it. A lot of people—me included—start out by writing what they want, without understanding what readers want to read.
9. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
Here’s the blurb:
When a man came into my shop and tried to kill me, it completely ruined my day. Not only did I have to clean up the blood, but disposing his body made me late to meet my friends for drinks. But a nagging little detail kept bugging me. As he died, he said he was hired by my mother’s family—people I hadn’t seen for twenty years. Then I discovered that assassins had made attempts on my brother and sister as well. As much as I didn’t want to, I decided I should find out who wanted us dead, and put a stop to it. Talk about stepping out of the pan into the fire…
As I said before, the main character is a triplet. She’s also half-Elf and half-Smith, i.e. a magical metal smith. She’s a World Walker, an interdimensional traveler. The three triplets are a Smith who owns a market stall in the Great Marketplace at the Crossroads of the Worlds, her identical-twin sister who is a Scholar at the Great Library, and their fraternal-twin brother who is married to a queen in one of the Worlds. The first book features Diana, the Smith, who in addition to her business at the Great Marketplace, has an apartment in Dublin, Ireland, on Earth.
I’m about half finished with the first draft, so it will come out early in 2022.
10. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish?
Read about self-publishing. There are a number of good, cheap books on the subject. I particularly like David Gaughran, Craig Martelle, and M.D. Cooper. Know that you’re going to have to build a mailing list and market your books. Learn to discern the difference between good advice and bad advice. Work on your craft. A good, well-written book is much easier to sell than a hot mess full of grammatical and spelling errors. Find a good editor that makes your writing better. Stay away from people who promise a get-rich-quick approach. You can usually tell who they are because they have their hand out. It does cost to self-publish, but the people who want thousands to do it all for you are just scammers.
You can find BR’s book at Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Magitek-Rift-Chronicles-Book-1-ebook/dp/B08FMY56JV
Thank you so much for sharing all this with us, BR. You can find out more about BR’s books, including the new Crossroads Chronicles series, at the links below:
Website – https://brkingsolver.com/
Binge Books – https://bingebooks.com/search?q=br+kingsolver
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