Kathryn Ann Kingsley - Dark Fantasy/Horror romance With a Lot of Twists
Kat has always been a storyteller. With ten years in script-writing for performances on both the stage and for tourism, she has always been writing in one form or another. When she isn't penning down fiction, she works as Creative Director for a company that designs and builds large-scale interactive adventure games. There, she is the lead concept designer, handling everything from game and set design, to audio and lighting, to illustration and script writing. As our Author of the Day, Kat tells us all about her book, Illusions of Grandeur.
Please give us a short introduction to what Illusions of Grandeur is about.
Alice Monroe accepts a job as caretaker of the mysterious Strande Estate. The sprawling, labyrinth of a building was the home of, and now a museum dedicated to, the Impossible Julian Strande. Julian Strande was one of the world's most notorious and famous magicians...before he mysteriously went missing inside his estate. The building has been rumored to be haunted by the ghost of the late Julian Strande.
Unfortunately for her, the ghost of Julian Strande is very real...and he's taken a keen interest in the new caretaker of his estate.
What inspired you to write this book?
I've always loved magicians, especially the old-fashioned ones like Kellar, Thurston, Houdini, and the rest. I also pull inspiration heavily from "The House on the Rock" in Wisconsin and the Winchester house in San Jose. I have always loved ghost stories, spooky buildings, occult magic, and dark and sexy villains. It seemed like a natural fit to bring them all together into one story.
Did you plan from the start to make this into a series? Can the books be read as standalones?
Honestly, I expected this to be one book! It just got too long, so I split it into two. I wrote both books in the course of about a week and a half. Some stories just want out, and some characters push everything else from the stage so they can hog the limelight. Julian is very much that kind of character. The two-book series is complete, but should be read in order.
Tell us more about Alice. What makes her tick?
She's shy. She's always been in the support role in her life. She's a bit nerdy, with a preference for tinkering with mechanics or video games than hanging out with people. But beneath that someone begging for a chance to be set free.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I'm an illustrator, concept designer, and graphic designer by trade, honestly! I do all my own covers and formatting. It certainly comes in handy. But my day job is as a creative director for a company that designs live-action adventure games and entertainment attractions. I've always been a bit of a storyteller. Oh, and I used to do trapeze.
Why did you decide to feature an illusionist in this story?
Magicians are awesome. And inherently spooky. When I wanted to come up with a creepy occult ghost in a big spooky mansion, it just seemed like a natural fit.
Which character did you find the most challenging to create and why?
Honestly? This series just kind of happened and no one character gave me a hard time. There are shockingly few characters in it. And even fewer who live. ;)
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I had a lot of fun creating the cover for these books. The model has cheekbones you can cut glass on, and I've used him for drawing references for a long time. It was great to finally get a chance to feature him on some covers. Photoshopping the card into his hand was a bit of a trick, but I enjoyed it.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
I have always written, just only recently have I had the gall to put it out there in the world professionally. I always have stories bopping around in my head, and characters that are begging to be let out. A story tends to "haunt" me--no pun intended--until I put it down on the page, and then I move onto the next one.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received?
If something isn't working, start over. No matter how many thousands of words you've put into it.
How much fun do you have coming up with these storylines and characters?
It's a blast! I love inventing characters. I often joke that I don't write stories, I create characters, put them into a cardboard box, shake it, and see what they do. I just record the mayhem that ensues.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
Not really! I suppose I write fairly normally. I sit, I go until I can't go any more, and then I go off and think about the next portion. I try to write every day if I can. usually I can get at least two or three thousand words written in a day, but it varies.
What are you working on right now?
I'm currently writing the last book in a five-part dark fantasy/horror romance story set in a sentient and evil circus that eats parts of people to survive. It's titled Harrow Faire, and the first book comes out on September 22nd of this year, titled "The Contortionist."
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can find me in a whole lot of ways! My website is www.kathrynkingsley.com, and from there you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, sign up for my newsletter, and more.