K.J.Heritage - Sci-Fi and Fantasy Stories About Death and Dying
"K.J.Heritage's uncanny sense of pacing and story puts him at the forefront of today's speculative fiction writers." - Samuel Peralta, Amazon bestselling author and creator of The Future Chronicles Kev is an international bestselling author mostly writing mystery, horror and sci-fi. He was born in one of the more interesting previous centuries. He is a tea drinker, avid Twitterer (@MostlyWriting) and autisic (ASD) human being. As our Author of the Day, Heritage tells us more about his book, The Lady in the Glass.
Please give us a short introduction to THE LADY IN THE GLASS.
It’s a collection of sci-fi and fantasy horror stories all based on the theme of ‘death and dying’. Why so dark? Those just happen to be the stories I write. Especially short stories. I usually get ideas for stories in the early morning when lying in bed worrying about the nature of existence… and jot them down. Or from some of my more extravagant dreams.
The stories are ‘told’ by the ‘Lady In The Glass’, a dead woman preserved in once molten glass after some future apocalypse.
What inspired you to write this book?
Peculiarly, THE LADY IN THE GLASS has been a feature of my own dreams since I can ever remember. Sometimes a startling and scary presence, sometimes welcome and reassuring. She regularly crops up and whispers her stories to me, or appears in dreams that have inspired stories. So when it came to putting my stories together it seemed obvious to make her the narrator.
Which story in this collection is your personal favorite and why?
WHITE NIGHT. It’s about a loser. We all feel like losers at some time in our lives—or at least I do. I felt very sorry for Anisha. I still often think about her wandering her ice moon alone. The story is also a metaphor for modern life (not that I set out to write such a thing), and how a single event in our lives can lend us hope or at least give us something to hold onto.
Readers are drawn to the cover art. Tell us how it came about.
I do all my own cover art. The covers come about in the same way I write. I throw something on the canvas and move all the colors around until I find something I like. Sleep on it and repeat until I’m happy with it. The cover for THE LADY IN THE GLASS was more difficult than the others I have done, mainly because I have such a strong mental image of her. In the end, I went down another route—looking for some cool stock images that had the right ‘feeling’ and started again. Once I’d freed my mind it fell together very quickly.
How are the tales in this book connected?
By death and dying. I love endings and beginnings this book is peculiarly about both. I’ve already mentioned the Lady and it’s possible she may turn up in one of the stories…
What aspect about writing shorter stories do you find most challenging?
In many ways, I find them easier. And they are a lot of fun to do. I usually write a short when I get a particularly good idea—stopping everything else I’m doing to get on with it—and writing from beginning to end with as few breaks as possible. Getting that first draft out of the way is the trick. After that, I can leave them for months and get back to them when I have time or the inclination. I like to have as many fingers in as many different writing pies as possible, as I get bored easily. Having a short to work on can be a useful break when I’m in the ‘hating my work in progress’ phase of my writing process.
Do you remember the first short story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was awful.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I write and record uplifting trance under the pseudonym Tripp’d Lizard.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I'm a pantster, which means I start off not knowing where I'm going or whom I'm going to meet - writing by the seat of my pants! A real journey of discovery.
This means that I regularly hit brick walls. But I just move on to something else for a while, until my subconscious can come up with a solution—which it usually does. However, it can freak me out when I get really stuck. But I've learned to trust that other part of my brain working in the background. I'd be lost without it!
I can work anywhere. I'm not bothered by noise—unless it's high-pitched. I have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which means certain sounds drive me crazy—anything that beeps for instance. But I can sit in a loud pub and tap away lost in my own little world without any problems.
I regularly change where I write, as I get easily bored. So sometimes I pop out with my trusty laptop, find a new cafe, order a large mug of tea, power up and its 'tapping plastic' time. I also listen to music—Drum ‘n’ Bass or Trance does it for me. Gets me fired up and increases my words per minute.
As for inspiration? I sometimes design the book cover first. Other times I just have a single idea and start—finding it out as I go.
It can take me a while to discover characters. They emerge from the mist as I write them—although I feel that they are there all the time, just waiting for me to come get them. They slowly become very much alive in my mind and I can hear them speaking to me.
Once created, they are as real to me as actual friends. And I think of them like that. Even when I have to kill them...
Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
At age twelve I discovered Robert E. Howard, Philip K. Dick, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Stephen King, Asimov, Clarke, Tolkien, Frank Herbert—the list goes on. I was astounded by the imagination behind these novels. They contained worlds undreamed of. I really enjoyed thinking about these worlds and wanted to create my own.
I have an over-active imagination, which means that given the time and the inclination (and without something to keep my mind occupied) I can convince myself of pretty much anything—and it all makes perfect sense! As you can imagine, overthinking in this way can be quite a serious flaw to a happy productive life.
Writing is a perfect heat-sink for all of that extra thought-time I seem to need. Instead of worrying about imagined illnesses, plane crashes, bills, social situations and the present apocalypse, I use my thinking time to come up with the next cool idea, solving plot problems and trying to make sense out of the nonsense of my first draft.
What do you read for pleasure?
I tend to read two or three things at once depending on my mood. I read a lot of contemporary mysteries (at heart I’m a mystery writer), horror, sci-fi, classics, anything really. The search for stuff to read is never-ending...
Describe your desk
A pristine mess.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book—out later this year (2020)—is book three of my space noir action mystery series: VATIC. Working title is ‘RIVEN’. But that may change. Part one was inspired by... who knows? I had this idea about a guy waking up from hypersleep with no idea who he was or what was happening. It was supposed to be a short but was soon a full novel. A thrill ride. I love it when that happens. Part three is a closure to this trilogy, although there will be more Vatic books to come.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
All over the place!
Amazon: Click the +Follow button under my mostly sexy photograph to receive updates of all my latest releases. http://smarturl.it/amznkev
Website: All my books and my mostly useless blog: ‘Mostly Tapping Plastic’ http://mostlywriting.co.uk
BookBub: A very useful site to find all the latest cool book deals. Sign up and click the Follow button to get alerts whenever I publish a new book. https://www.bookbub.com/authors/k-j-heritage
Goodreads: The world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations! Click the Follow Author button under my photo. https://www.goodreads.com/kjheritage
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Email: For all media inquiries, event/booking information, signed copies, and more. Or perhaps you just want to say ‘hi’? I’m listening... [email protected]
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