Welcome back. This might be a slow month for the blog as I work on my standalone for November, but I will still upload interviews here and there. Today’s interview is with Kirsten M. Corby, author of the book Daughter of Atlas. What’s wonderful about SPFBO is it gives a chance for authors who aren’t that well known to show themselves to the world (like me as well!) I’ll post a link to the book down below.
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write? My name’s Kirsten Corby, I’m 52 years old, and a librarian by trade. My husband and I live in New Orleans, LA, USA. I write science fiction and fantasy. Different kinds, I don’t limit myself to one niche or market. I love most speculative fiction, and I like to try my hand at the different types. The book I have in SPFBO, Daughter of Atlas, is historical fantasy about the Fall of Atlantis.
How do you develop your plots and characters? It tends to be pretty organic. I’ll get a suden inspiration, and then run it out and develop it, see how it goes. Sometimes I start with characters, soemtimes plot, sometimes something else. I usually have a good idea of what plot would suit a given character, or vice versa. I don’t do a lot of fine detail plotting, I keep it loose. But do like to do in-depth character interviews while developing a story – once I already have a good idea of who the character is.
Tell us about your current project. As mentioned, my first book I published is about the Fall of Atlantis. I’ve been obsessed with Atlantis since I was a kid; I finally wrote and published the book I’d always wanted to write. I’d like to write more books about the survivors of Atlantis. I call the series Atlantis Fallen. Growing up Generation X in the height of the Cold War, I’ve always been drawn to post-apocalyptic fiction; it helped me contain and conceptualize my fears. So it’s not surprising I would write something like that, even if it’s completely fantastic.
Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them! The book I’m working on right now isn’t a direct sequel to Daughter of Atlas, but more of a follow-on. There is only one character that appears from the first book, but he has a big role. His name is Innu; he’s a priest who escaped the destruction of Atlantis. The MC of the first book is a priestess, Herata, who is trying to stop the Fall.
What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction? I think Heinlein’s Rules are a good framework to follow: write consistently, finish what you write, submit your writing to market, keep submitting, and don’t re-write except to editorial order. The “submitting” part of that is complicated these days by independent publishing. But the basic message is, take your writing seriously and keep at it. Be professional.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book? Well, my book takes place in the real world, so there’s not much worldbuidling to be done. For the culture of Atlantis, anything and everything in world history that I liked. Why not? I imagine it as a syncretic, world-spanning empire, a forgotten mother culture to all of human culture. I’ve been much inspired by the works of Graham Hancock, his books on lost civilizations such as Fingerprints of the Gods. Love those boks!
What inspires you to write? It’s tough. I don’t really enjoy writing, the actual physical act of sitting down and writing, that much. It’s work just like any other, it’s taxing. But I have this gift, this ability to tell stories with words, and I feel like I would be wasting my life if I didn’t use it, this free gift from the universe. Gift are rare. Don’t squander them. I feel better about myself when I’m writing consistently.
What was the hardest part of writing this book? Having to admit to myself that I had to make certain changes that I didn’t want to make, because all my workshoppers and beta readers were telling me the same thing. Well, I did. Once I resigned myself to the inevitability, it wasn’t that bad.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? The actual Fall of Atlantis. I had been aiming toward that since the moment I started writing the book, it was such a relief to actually get to it! Oops, did I just give away the ending? No, of course I didn’t! That was one of the challenges of the book, telling a story everyone already knows the end to.
Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? Yes, I learned that there comes a point when you have written the book to the best of your current ability, and you have to call an end to it, and let it go out into the world to be read and judged. You could tinker with any given manuscript for the rest of your natural life, if you let yourself. But that wouldn’t make it better, just different. You have to know when enough is enough.
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it? I guess, I don’t find it difficult? Just empathy. Be empathetic. Everyone imagines they are the hero in their own story. Even villains have reasons for what they are doing, even if those reasons are self-serving. If I am struggling, I like to do a “character interview,” where you pose a bunch of biographical questions, and answer them as that character. You always learn things that way, sometimes quite fundamental things. You can find sample character interviews around the net if you Google them.
What are your future project(s)? Right now I’m working on the second Atlantis Fallen book. I was working with some writer friends on a shared universe anthology, but that’s kind of fallen apart. So I’m wondering what on earth to do with that completed manuscript I wrote. I’d also like to try my hand at some big-ass space opera like the Expanse series.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do? Well, I’m far from being a full-time author, so I do have a day job, librarian. I’m a library branch manager. Librarian pretty much is my ideal job. It uses all my skills. I stumbled into librarianship ass-backwards, as most do. But as I look back on my life, I see I was destined to become a librarian. I won the Summer Reading Club at my library branch one summer when I was a kid. I met my husband in a library. Stuff like that.
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 have a blog, www.atlantisfallen.net. That would be my favorite way. I also have an author page on GoodReads. I’m on Twitter as @kmcorby, but I hate Twitter. It’s the worst. Don’t use Twitter, kids.
My book on Amazon: