Interview by Kimberley Shead
I had the privilege of being interviewed by Kimberley Shead, an urban fantasy author who lives in South East London. We've been fortunate to have connected over our love of reading, writing, and learning about the writing industry; and are enjoying being on this journey together.
Below is a copy of the interview that Kimberley posted on her website.
Writer's Secrets (part 1)
Being a full-time writer is the desire of many who pen every day and send their words out into the world with one wish, to have an impact.
Our guest today is no exception. Yvonne Carder is a writer, with a full time day job, who I was fortunate to meet through our mutual online mentor Joanna Penn, check out The Creative Penn website for more on Joanna.
Yvonne kindly offered to share her writing journey with us as well as an insight into her life and a peek into her mind. This is the first part of a two part interview.
Q1. How would you describe your writing journey so far to readers?
Honestly my journey is a little convoluted. I started writing poetry in high school to help me figure out and deal with my feelings and thoughts. It started after one of my best friends, Chris, committed suicide. I had just turned 15 when my Mom and I got a frantic phone call from his sister; my best friend at the time. She was calling us because her parents weren’t answering their work phone and she didn’t know what else to do.
I’ll never forget that phone call or the drive across town. That was the first death I experienced and I sunk into a deep depression and went deep into myself. Art was a way for me to work out the swirl of emotions followed by the mind numbing void I was floundering through. I joined both the art and poetry clubs at school and found that I was able to express myself through painting and written words when I didn’t want to talk to anyone.
I was fortunate that the teacher who oversaw the poetry club encouraged us to submit our work to local anthologies and the county fair. I got my first publication during my junior year of high school. I wrote poetry for several years; but once I finally got to a place where my psyche was healed enough I stopped writing as much. At the time I was in college and working on an Art Major. I realized that art probably wasn’t going to pay the bills, so I switched to a more ‘traditional’ job.
I became a licensed veterinary technician (or nurse) and have done that now for over 14 years. But my need for creative expression has never left me. If I’m not creating visual art, then I’m singing or writing. I have to create something otherwise I get a little stir crazy!
I started writing my current novel Luminata about 10 years ago. I wrote about 30 or so pages over about 2 or 3 years and then it went into a file stored on my computer somewhere. In August 2016, I obtained my specialty credentials (Veterinary Technician Specialty in Small Animal Internal Medicine) which was an intense 2 year process. Once I was done, I felt a vacuum and was searching to figure out what I wanted to do next. I signed up for completing my Bachelor’s degree, but as luck would have it, my transcripts were delayed so I couldn’t start for about 4 months. Lightning struck and I said that I was going to finally finish writing my novel.
I set myself daily and weekly goals of about 5,000-6,000 words a week. These were very lofty, but I told myself that even if I didn’t reach them I would be in a better place than I was before starting. I was excited when I finished the first manuscript, on myself imposed 10 week deadline, and I had ~89,000 words.
I’m on a little bit of a break in my novel writing since I started back at school and have day job commitments that are requiring a lot of my time and creativity at the moment. But even when I’m not working on editing my manuscript I’m learning about the publishing industry. I’m reading books, articles, listening to podcasts, and absorbing everything that I can.
Q2. What has influenced your choice of genre?
My choice of genre is influence heavily by what it is that I want to read. I love fantasy fiction. I love a strong female protagonist and epic adventures. Magical creatures and worlds are super fun to discover.
I’m also a sucker for urban fantasy. I love the idea that the world we live in could be magical and maybe the mundane people just aren’t aware of it. I feel like the imagination is the only limitation to what can happen in a book. I have plans ruminating for writing an Urban Fantasy in the future.
Q3. To whom do you aspire?
I aspire to be like some of the strong women in the publishing industry today like Joanna Penn, Patricia Briggs, Diana Gabaldon, and even JK Rowling. They have all overcome major obstacles in their lives to get where they are today. The publishing industry can be a treacherous one and I can only hope that I can learn from them. I want to become self-sufficient and create passive income so that I can focus on my writing even more. I also love the idea of giving back to a community, and I’d love to follow their leads.
Q4. When are you at your most productive?
I think I’m the most productive during the day. I do so much better when I can binge write. I’m not really satisfied if I haven’t written/created for more than an hour at a time. It almost feels like the set up and take down is longer than working on the project unless I can spend some in depth time on it.
I was a serious procrastinator in school and I know I work much better under pressure. That’s probably why my self-imposed deadline worked so well.
Q5. What can you tell us about your present project?
The novel that I am in the process of editing is called Luminata. The book centers around a young girl named Jessica Kleinfeld. She discovers magic when a Romani curse mingles badly with sorcery and sinks her village below the waters of a lake. Humans, Fairies, Sparks, Kynafyl, and Romani all come together to defeat the sorceress bent on becoming the most powerful being in the realm. But at what price?
Romani are better known to most of us as gypsies. They are nomadic families that are rich in culture and heritage. They are an amazing group of people to learn about. Believe me I’ve learned tons about the culture and language researching for what I envision becoming a series.
Sparks are some of my Dad’s favorites. They are fireflies and they live among the fairies. They’re a little more fun loving and don’t follow nearly as many rules as the Fae do so they can do whatever they feel like. They are a little mischievous.
The Kynafyl are an ancient race of shape shifters with immense powers. They’re also an endangered race.
My plan is for this to be a series. I do not as yet have a specific number of books in mind for the series. It will depend on my characters and the trouble they get into.
The setting and gypsies were inspired by the ‘Kushiel’ series by Jacqueline Carey. The story was loosely inspired by a German folktale surrounding a volcanic crater lake near my families’ home town. Jessica was inspired by the many great female characters I’ve read over the years.
Look for part two next week. We continue the interview with questions about my characters, my ideal reader, where I see myself in five years, and advice for fellow aspiring writers. Find out which influential people I'd invite to dinner (and who I'd sneak in).
May Magical Adventures Find You!
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On Goodreads Kimberley Shead Goodreads
Or visit her website to explore and indulge your imagination at www.kimberleyshead.com
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Hi, I'm Yvonne Carder.