By Maggie James
I'm delighted to welcome author K.M. Weiland to my blog today! K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY Award-winning and internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.
Let's get going with the questions!
So far, your books have covered a diverse range – medieval epic, epic fantasy, Western, with a future excursion into diesel punk. Is this a trend that’s set to continue, and if so, in what genres would you consider writing? Are there any you wouldn’t consider?
Oh, yes. I’m a Mexican jumping bean when it comes to genre—although all my stories seem to end up under the historical and speculative umbrellas. I have plans for a historical superhero story and lots more epic fantasy. I don’t see myself ever exploring straight-up mysteries or romance, but you never know!
From your website, I see that your future books are set for publication in 2018. Does your work typically take years to come to fruition? What’s the longest you’ve ever taken to produce a book, from first idea to publication? And the shortest?
I like to plan three years between novels, since this gives me time to let a story “rest” for a while, so I can come back to edit it with fresh eyes. It also allows me to provide beta readers, critique partners, and editors enough time to read at their leisure and get their thoughts back to me. To date, that schedule has held true for all of my books.
A bright future ahead
Many authors are deeply indebted to you for the help you give in your excellent blog ‘Helping Writers Become Authors’. How do you split your time between writing and mentoring your fellow authors? Is there ever a conflict?
My non-fiction writing how-to does like to try to take over my fiction. But I’m firm about making sure the fiction is given its two hours every day. My fiction is why I do what I do, so I always try to keep that in mind. In general, I use mornings for social media, then divide my afternoons between my non-fiction and my fiction.
How do you see the future for self-publishing? Have you ever been tempted to seek a traditional publishing contract?
As a matter of fact, I have my first traditionally published (if you don’t count the Japanese and Korean versions of Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel) coming out later this summer: Jane Eyre: The Writer’s Digest Annotated Classic. But I’m actually very happy staying in self-publishing. It's been good to me, and I see nothing but a bright future for it.
Another world we live in while we sleep
What was your inspiration for your epic fantasy ‘Dreamlander’? Do the sources for your ideas vary, or are there certain things that always produce ideas for your work?
The premise for Dreamlander was actually my brother’s idea. He came up with the concept of another world we live in while we sleep. Most of my ideas are born out of intense emotional experiences with other people’s art (books, movies, music), which are then juxtaposed with several other such experiences or ideas until they become full-fledged stories in their own right.
Which book, either fiction or non-fiction, has been the most challenging for you to write, and why?
Probably Dreamlander. All stories are challenging in their own way. But Dreamlander was not only my first foray into epic fantasy, it was also the first (and last) book I tried to write without an outline. I learned so much in writing it.
Leading on from that, which has been the most difficult character to write, and why?
Hmm, I’m going to with John Quinn, a character from a currently unpublished manuscript. He was always a bit of a cipher to me, and I had a hard time figuring him out until I started digging into his backstory and figuring out his motivations.
An unusual and intriguing idea for a series
Is there anything in your writing journey so far you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I hadn’t bought an entire print run of my first book A Man Called Outlaw. I still have boxes sitting in my barn. POD is so much easier (and cheaper). But, really, I love my mistakes. I’ve learned from all of them.
So far, your books have mixed historical topics with fantasy themes. Do you ever see yourself journeying into the future instead of the past, to blend fantasy and science fiction and give it your own unique twist?
Not science fiction per se—not in the sense that it takes place in our universe—but I do have an idea for a mechanized fantasy series based heavily on World War II.
You recently produced an annotated guide to the classic novel ‘Jane Eyre’. Is this a one-off or would you like to do more annotated guides to other classics? Is so, which one in particular, and why?
It’s a one-off for me. But Writer’s Digest Books will be publishing an entire series of annotated classics, written by various other authors. Dracula, annotated by Mort Castle, will follow Jane Eyre.
Thank you, K M Weiland, for letting me interview you for my blog!
If you'd like to know more, click on the link to Ms Weiland's website in the first paragraph.
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