KINDRA SOWDER author of the Miss Hyde novellas, The Executioner trilogy, The Permutation Archives, Zombified and many more…
31 (more than that as she is an over achiever) questions in 31 days for 31 authors
The Burning Willow Press authors wish to help you celebrate the best month of the year, October. How you may ask? By giving you a different author from the ranks each day with in-depth answers to questions that our staff have decided to ask them. Many will be generic, others not so much. Let’s get to know the authors of BWP! Oh, and did we forget to mention… the staff there are all authors too so they have decided to chime in with some answers of their own.
TBK: So first, when did you realize that the voices in your head were telling you to write stories or go mad with all that stuck in your head?
KS: I first figured out – really figured it out when I was 15/16 and I came up with the idea of the Executioner Trilogy. The story was literally screaming to be written. When I started, I never looked back.
TBK: I know many writers who jump in all different genres, so what is your favorite to write?
KS: My favorite to write has been science fiction. It takes the impossible and brings it into the realm of the possible. Plus, who doesn’t like blowing shit up?
TBK: Currently, there are over a million books that I want to read… and some I have in the past I wish I had written myself, do you have any that you read that you thought about and said, I wish I had written that book?
KS: I have a couple I wish I had written. The Parasitology Trilogy by Mira Grant, which touches on the hygiene hypothesis and parasites, which I’ve always wanted to write about (and did with Santiago Cirilo). The second is Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. It blew my mind.
TBK: What is your favorite book not written by you? See that question is not the same as the other one above… to follow up, what was your favorite book that you wrote?
KS: As far as a favorite novel not written by me, I don’t really have an ultimate favorite. I like to read a lot of different things. The same novels above are ones that I do love, though. The favorite novel I ever wrote? “The Clash: The Permutation Archives Book 5.” It was dark and intense and packed one Hell of an emotional punch. I am very proud of it.
TBK: When the muse is off doing their own thing instead of pushing you to write, albeit by gunpoint at times, what is your favorite time-waster?
KS: Facebook is number one. It has made it easier to procrastinate. Other than that, I love film and television. I watch a lot of different types of shows to pass the time when the muses aren’t yelling at me.
TBK: What is the one thing that you must do to get into a writing mood? For me, it is listening to 80’s hair metal.
KS: One thing I must do is turn on music, but what kind depends on what I’m writing. When writing a Miss Hyde Novella, I listen to a lot of hard rock like In This Moment and the like. When writing sci-fi and fantasy, I listen to a lot of epic rock. It helps get the creative juices flowing, especially when I write heavily action-oriented scenes.
TBK: Is editing your story just part of the job or does it literally kill a part of you to “kill your children” as it has been said? What about making revisions?
KS: I feel like I’m withering away when I’m editing, but I know it’s a necessary evil. Of course, revisions are a part of the process and must be done, but that doesn’t mean I like them. I want a strong story, which means editing and revising must happen to achieve that.
TBK: When you read a book by another author do you ever look at it and criticize it or edit it in your head as the way you would have done it yourself?
KS: Of course, I do. When I read others’ work, my editor/writer brain turns on and I can’t stop until the book is done. That’s if I can stop thinking about certain aspects of a book I would change after. It’s one reason besides time, that I typically stick to audio. Even then, it’s no guarantee I won’t be editing it.
TBK: What would you like to be chiseled into your headstone?
KS: Here lies Kindra…. Buried Alive. A part of me thinks it would be hilarious.
TBK: What was your favorite candy to get at Halloween as a kid?
KS: Definitely Milk Duds.
TBK: What is your favorite Halloween ritual? And if you do not do that… what is your favorite Halloween movie?
KS: We don’t typically do a lot on Halloween except watch horror movies. My favorite Halloween flick is Hocus Pocus.
TBK: Beach, Mountains, Country, City? And follow up… favorite season… just a hint here… you should say, Autumn.
KS: I’m a city girl, but I do like the mountains sometimes. Preferably not during allergy season. Also, my favorite season is Autumn. That’s when Halloween is! Okay, it’s not the only reason. The trees are beautiful and the air is slightly crisp, but not so much it sets off my asthma. It’s, quite literally, perfect weather.
TBK: I know my “To Be Read” list is never ending and grows daily… how is yours? And do you prefer paperbacks or e-books? Notice I did not ask about audio?
KS: My TBR list is massive. There is quite literally no hope that I would ever finish it. As far as format, I prefer print, but don’t have the time to read a print book these days. Because of that, I stick to a lot of audio because I can work and read at the same time.
TBK: If you could not be an author then what would you be?
KS: Well, when I was going to school, I originally wanted to be a profiler with the FBI. It’s one of the reasons I got two Criminal Neuropsychology degrees. Now I just use them to write complex characters, which is less dangerous… ha, ha.
TBK: What was your childhood ideal job to be as an adult?
KS: Since I dressed up like this on Halloween when I was in Kindergarten, I’m pretty sure I wanted to be Super Girl.
TBK: Cats, dogs, both, other?
KS: Cats – their soul matches mine. Completely black, and they don’t care about anything.
TBK: Most newbie authors are told to write emotional state in what they already know… so how did you break away from that newbie status of writing what you know in the beginning?
KS: I’ve always broken molds since day one, so for me, it was extremely easy to break this. I write in genres where most is unknown and speculative, so that made it a lot easier.
TBK: Advice in one sentence to a new author who is not published yet?
KS: As an author, everything you say or do matters, so don’t be a dick…..
TBK: Do your siblings or other family members support your choice to write horror? Fantasy? Erotica… if you do? SCI-FI? Other genres?
KS: I think most of my family tolerates what I write, especially the erotic horror stuff. I know I have family like my sister and mother who fully support anything I write, are very proud, and even have their own favorites out of what I have written.
TBK: Do you ever use writing as an excuse to get out of doing things with the family… especially the in-laws?
KS: I would say I’m sorry, but I’m not so… of course, I do! It is my job as well as a passion, and my family that supports my career choice understands. And those same people are usually willing to come to me if I can’t come to them.
TBK: If you had written a sex scene in your book, would you be embarrassed to have your mom read it?
KS: HA! I got to tackle this one, and it was done early in my Miss Hyde series. My mom really wanted to read them, so she did, and she loves them. I was embarrassed at first but quickly got over that when she absolutely gushed over them. Now, what was embarrassing was my uncle reading a sex-scene out loud amongst other family members. Of course, that may have been more embarrassing for them than it was for me hearing about it later.
TBK: Beta Readers, Proofers, Editors… all are important to produce a better work of literature. So, who would you say is the most important in your team? Or do you not have those in place and are working on that?
KS: I have all of these, and I don’t believe one is more important than the other. All of them, and I mean ALL, are important to crafting a spectacular story… and ALL are vital.
TBK: In your day of writing… do you push through it all day or do you take mental breaks?
KS: I take mental breaks. Sometimes you just need a moment, especially if you’ve just written a particularly emotional scene. I’ve killed a few characters or written difficult things where I needed to step away for a little bit, but then I come right back.
TBK: Do you ever get to travel as an author? Do conventions? What have you learned in those endeavors? Book signings? Necessary evil even for the introvert?
KS: I do travel, but not as much as I used to, but do wish to do a lot more. I’ve done conventions because I feel they are necessary for networking and getting your work out there. I have learned quite a lot, including who you can trust with your babies (your books) when they have to be unattended by yourself or your trusted partner or assistant. I have learned how to pick out which person would like which books, and I have figured out how to tell who will come to your table and who will not. I have also learned how to talk to current or future fans, plus so many other lessons.
Book signings, even in my opinion as an introvert, are necessary. I used to be nervous doing them, but have really begun to love them. I love interacting with the people that come to talk to me about my work.
TBK: What do you have coming out in the next year and who is producing it?
KS: The only thing I have coming out in the next year right now is my short story “The Deliverance of Desiree Tanner,” a short story about a girl that is an assault survivor battling PTSD coming out in Crossroads in the Dark IV: Ghosts. The proceeds go to suicide prevention and awareness. I am very excited about this anthology. As of right now, I’m writing new things as well as the remaining Miss Hyde Novellas, but they do not have release dates yet.
TBK: Ideas come from all over. I get mine everywhere… so my question is what was the inspiration for the last (or upcoming) book you released?
KS: When people ask me this question, I shudder. My answer is quite literally the same when it comes to my work in general. For what I’m currently working on? Catholicism is my biggest inspiration, but I’m doing something totally new with it. I have a feeling I’ll piss a lot of people off, which I’m perfectly okay with.
TBK: Who would you compare your work to and would love to have them read and give you a review of or even better, a tweet and post about it?
KS: I try not to compare myself to others because we all have our own style. Other people compare me to Anne Rice, Stephen King, and Charlene Harris, but I digress. I don’t think I’m nearly as great as they are. Now, if any of them wanted to read any of my books and review them? And post about them? I’m all for that!
TBK: Are there any horror or thriller novelist that you admired when you were younger?
KS: I’ve always admired Stephen King, but I also loved RL Stine when I was a kid as far as horror. When it comes to thrillers, I’ve always been a massive fan of Koontz as well as Patterson.
TBK: While writing, has any of your own stories given you nightmares?
KS: If anything, my nightmares inspire my stories.
TBK: Have you ever had any supernatural experiences? If so, have you ever used it as source material?
KS: I have had supernatural experiences growing up. A very close family friend passed from a heart attack when I was very young. The night before his funeral, he appeared in my grandparent’s bedroom. I believe it was to say goodbye. I’ve had others since, but that one is still most prevalent.
TBK: Have you ever seen a movie that was better than the book? If so, what was it and why?
KS: I haven’t seen a movie that was better than the book….ever. For me, the book is typically better because a film can’t display every aspect of the story. The internal thoughts of the characters matter just as much as their actions.
TBK: When writing a novel, do you have an intended audience (i.e. adult or young adult)?
KS: When I first started, I wanted my novels to be suitable for everyone. Now, my ideas are so dark and controversial, I strive for a more adult audience. You can explore a lot more as far as themes and objectives than in YA novels. I’d still write for them, of course.
TBK: Do you ever base characters on people that you know? If so, do you ever kill said characters and feel bad?
KS: I haven’t really done this much. One comes to mind and it’s Edd from “Dead Edd’s” in “The Head Hunter: Zombified Book 1” that I wrote with Santiago Cirilo. No, I did not kill him off. I’d feel bad for killing my husband, even if it’s fictional.
TBK: Have you ever written a scene so scandalous that you hoped your mom doesn’t read it?
KS: Same answer as the sex-scene. My mom, I believe, read the third Miss Hyde Novella, which is scandalous and very very dark. Even got a couple 3-star ratings due to content…they loved the story, though!
TBK: As a reader, what are some ways that I can discover new independent authors and novels?
KS: What helped me find new independent authors was actually befriending a few. Also, I started looking for new authors when I started getting sick of the established ones that seemed to be regurgitating the same old thing in every story.
TBK: I cannot live without Chapstick. What is one comfort item that you must have?
KS: Headphones. I always have a pair of them with me. I think it’s because I know, that if I don’t like something, I can always tune it out as long as I have my phone with books loaded on it.
TBK: What is your ideal writing space?
KS: The recliner next to a bookshelf with my laptop in my lap, a beer or cup of coffee in the cupholder, and my massive Maine Coon cat at my feet.
TBK: Do you ever feel that your characters have a mind of their own and change the course of the planned storyline?
KS: All of them do. Plenty of them have strayed from the path I had laid out for them.
So, we went on to ask Kindra some questions about her role at Burning Willow Press. This next section is about that mainly. Enjoy.
TBK: What is your actual role at BWP? Okay now that you have answered that… what else does Edd make you do daily?
KS: My role is that I’m the one in charge of everyone, even Edd. I get to delegate, which is what bosses do, right?
TBK: How did you get your position there? Is it worth it? (Realistically, we are not going to tell them. Haha.)
KS: Kind of started the company, but don’t want to toot my own horn or anything. Is it worth it? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on what day you catch me on,
TBK: We hear that Edd can be a pain in the ass at times so that being said, he treats us pretty good but what’s he really like?
KS: He’s okay. I mean, I like him and all……lol
TBK: Does he bug you with changes, process or otherwise, new schedule updates, calls when you wish to not talk, email overload like he does us?
KS: All the damn time, but it’s a part of the gig. Especially when you run a company together.
TBK: When not slaving for BWP and your other projects, what else do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
KS: What is free time? Between running BWP and writing, I don’t do much else besides work a day job and work on getting my Master’s. I’m pretty boring, actually.
TBK: What is your favorite genre to read?
KS: The same that I write…speculative fiction.
TBK: What future works are you doing for BWP that you are really enjoying? (We checked with Edd it is safe to name them here).
KS: “Unbreakable Mind” by myself and Bryan Tann that releases in December, and Bryan’s other novel titled “Concussion.” I’m really looking forward to it!
TBK: Name three things on your bucket list and why.
KS: Visit the Taj Mahal, go to Germany as well as the UK. I pretty much just want to travel and visit the countries of my lineage.
TBK: Where do you see the position you have at BWP leading you to in let’s say five to ten years?
KS: Hopefully still viable. I’d love it if we lasted that long, or longer.
TBK: So, when the post was made about doing this interview, you wanted in. Can we ask why you wanted to do it?
KS: I wish I had a better answer for this other than recognition for myself as an author, and recognition for BWP. We have worked so hard to keep this place going, and I am grateful for the exposure.
TBK: Where can we stalk you at? Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, website?
KS: I can be found everywhere: Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter, LinkedIn, and my website www.ksowderauthor.com
If it’s not obvious, I’m attempting to take over the interwebs. Just look for Kindra Sowder and I am there.