Hello everybody! This is a bit of a break from my traditional SPFBO binge-fest, but you will get your interview as promised, but on Thursday!
Today’s interview is with Kaitlin Bellamy, who I approached a few weeks back about interviewing her with her debut novel’s launch. Kaitlin Bellamy is a freelance performer and writer residing in Central Florida, with a theatrical history spanning more than twenty-five years. And it turns out she’s damn good at writing as well!
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
I specialise in YA Fantasy! It is my favourite genre to read AND write!
How do you develop your plots and characters?
Quite frankly, they tend to take on lives of their own. My writing style is as chaotic as my personality, which isn’t always easy to wrangle. Oftentimes I sit and outline an entire book, and then two chapters in, something comes to me, and I derail the whole thing. The book I’ve just published, Windswept, is the perfect example. That piece of story represents two pages in a 42-page outline.
Tell us about your current project.
I have never been a “one project at a time” kind of girl, so I am currently working on several stories at once. Mainly, I am tackling the sequel to Windswept, called Inkspice! It follows the three main characters from the first book as they continue to learn more and more about Fox’s powers, and themselves. In addition, I’m very excited to be getting further in my Victorian Christmas Demon-Hunting tale. Yes, that sounds VERY strange, but it’s actually coming along quite nicely!
Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
Forric Foxglove, nicknamed “Fox,” is the main character of my Mapweaver series. He is the son of a trapper and fur trader, and all set to follow in his father’s footsteps. He’s always had incredible instincts when it comes to tracking, but when he discovers that his gift is magical in nature, everything changes. Fox is the only child in centuries to be born with magic in his blood, at least in this corner of the world.
What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
READ. Every chance you get, read. Never stop exploring new worlds and new ideas. Take classes, REAL writing classes, not just “let’s only say nice things” classes. Listen to other writers, and other readers. You’ll learn far more surrounding yourself with other storytellers than you ever will just writing by yourself.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
So many little things shaped the world I’ve created within The Mapweaver Chronicles, but I think the biggest thing was learning about old theatre troupes during the Italian Renaissance. They influenced the nomadic Shavid that my series focuses on, and helped me build a more specific time frame for my book, rather than just generic “Medieval.” The fantasy version of the Renaissance I’ve built is allowed to have more technology than the Dark Ages. I can include fountain pens, and spectacles, and pocket watches, and indoor plumbing … my Theatre History class was the accidental catalyst for my whole world, and I am grateful for it.
What inspires you to write?
I grew up surrounded by artists and writers, and I always admired my uncle in particular. He is a writer himself, and I always loved his lifestyle. His house was filled with books and movies and artwork, and he could afford to travel and eat out and fancy restaurants, all while being highly invested in his family life. For me, that was always the dream. I knew that, as a successful writer, I could make not only my own world, but my own schedule. I could have an office at home, and be surrounded by family or friends or pets. I could create the stories I always wanted to read, or star in as a performer. My over-active imagination could be my greatest strength, and I could live wherever and however I pleased. That dream has kept me going for years, even when the inspiration occasionally dries up.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
This book as a whole was NOT easy to churn out. It took me the better part of a decade, and I even had to start over completely once, as I changed the main character altogether. However, fighting through my own perfectionism was definitely the hardest part. I don’t do “drafts,” I write a chapter to perfection and then walk away from it. Nowhere will you find early drafts, first drafts, etc … I either fix a problem in the moment, or start over completely. It is EXHAUSTING.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Everything involving Farran’s backstory was SO much fun for me. I love my pirate god, and something about his chapters just came very easily to me.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
I learned so much about my own storytelling style, and what it takes to actually get through my own tale. However, I mostly learned that I CAN NOT TAKE TEN YEARS TO WRITE THE NEXT ONE! I have learned that I have to change my methods if I ever want to make this my living. That means carving out a writing schedule and sticking to it, not simply writing when the mood strikes me. It’s going to be rough … I genuinely hope I can make it work.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I’ve been very lucky with my character development, as I am an actor by profession, and I can put myself into the shoes of anyone in my book. I would highly recommend taking acting classes for any writer who has problems in that area. Learning about tactics and desires from an acting perspective is FAR different than learning about them as a writer, and it has helped more than I can possibly describe. Even an improv class might help some of you out there, and I can’t recommend them enough!
What are your future project(s)?
Soon, I hope to be producing the audiobook for Windswept, with myself as the narrator. I’d also love to dive into a standalone book about Farran, the Pirate God. He plays a rather large part in my series, and we catch glimpses of his past, but I think he’s worthy of his own tale.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
I love acting and performing, as I do now. I hope I can always continue being an actor, but I’d love to branch out into more projects. Film, TV, etc.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
I prefer Facebook for the moment, however I’m tied into a lot of different Social Media outlets, so hit me up wherever you like!