Interview with Kit Campbell
Sure! I’m Kit Campbell and I write mostly fantasy, though I stray into science fiction, horror, and straight paranormal from time to time. Besides that, I wrangle a house of ever-increasing chaos and occasionally make up fictional creatures over at my blog.
You have a new book coming out on Dec. 1st, Shards, an urban fantasy/paranormal romance. Care to share a bit about your latest book?
Shards came to me in a dream. I know how corny that sounds, but my brain does this weird thing where, when I realize I'm dreaming, I start to try and organize the events into a narrative. And for some reason, a lot of times I have third-person dreams, where I’m watching, rather than being directly involved.
Shards straddles the line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, in that there is a strong romantic subplot, but there’s also a lot of external factors making life difficult for the main characters. And it twists in a variety of different mythologies, though most of it is based on early Bible mythology and various cultures’ beliefs that accompany that mythology.
You've written several short stories and a novella in the fantasy genre, and have a love of mythology. What draws you to these fantasy settings and mythology?
I've always been more attracted to non-standard settings—fantasy, science fiction, etc. It’s not that I don't think real life can’t be interesting, but it's more like, I know what to expect from real life, so I'd rather explore what would happen if things were different, whether that be magic or technology or changes in society, for good or bad.
As for mythology—these are stories that people made up to explain how the world worked. Why some things were good, and some were bad. Why weather did what it does and where people came from, and where they went after they died. These were stories that people believed. And I think it's really interesting to look at mythological stories and characters and see how they can still be relevant today.
Do you have a preference for writing short stories, or longer works such as novellas and novels? And do you find one form easier to write, or do they both have their own unique difficulties?
If you asked me this a few years ago, my answer would have definitely been that I preferred writing longer works, but since then I have started writing short stories on a more regular basis, mostly for anthologies and to squeeze in some writing when I'm in an editing phase on a bigger project, and they've grown on me. That said, I have to write longer and short fiction completely differently, and I still feel a novel is easier to do.
Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?
For a novel, I normally start with a premise, and then I find some characters and a vague idea of plot, and off I go. And then, about halfway through, I’ll sit down and outline the rest of the story so I can make sure all my loose threads are tied up. Between drafts, I do extensive character and plot work, and I do a lot of rewriting in my edits. As far as a routine, I just try to get a couple thousand words a day, and I never edit during a first draft.
As for my ideas, they come from all over. Dreams, like Shards. A line of dialogue from a TV show, or the chorus of a song. Myths and legends. Photographs and magazine articles. I tend to be drawn to things that can hide mysteries, like old keys, mirrors, overgrown mazes or ruins—things of those ilk.
What is the hardest part of writing fantasy fiction?
I learned the hard way that you need to do your world-building before you start writing, at least to some degree. Otherwise you just flounder around, and it shows, because the underlying structure needed to make your world feel real is missing.
What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
I'm a bit slow. A first draft may only take a few months, but I often spend six-plus months on edits, so I'm not as prolific as a lot of other authors. Also, description and I don't always get along.
Who has inspired you as an author?
My mother has been hugely influential to me as an author. When I was little, she wrote children's novels, and watching her write, I think, is a large reason why I started myself. And she still is incredibly supportive of me today—she's never afraid to tell me when my plot or characters are weak, or when something is confusing, and she lets me hash out plot issues with her as needed.
What’s next for you?
I have a high fantasy trilogy I've’ve been working on for, oh, nine years or so. I think it’s finally time to start trying to get it out into the world, so that ought to keep me busy for the near future.
Kit Campbell has never met a mythology she hasn't liked. This sometimes leads to issues, such as the occasional Norse God of Thunder showing up in the Garden of Eden. She adores weaving in the possibilities forgotten magic can bring to a story, and enjoys making up new creatures, such as large, venomous monsters that hunt in packs.
Kit’s stories have been published in half-a-dozen anthologies, and her YA novella, Hidden Worlds, was released by Turtleduck Press in 2010. Shards is her first full-length novel.
Kit lives in Colorado in a house of ever-increasing chaos.
You can find out more about Kit and her books at these sites: