Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?
It’s always coffee! Something strong or something flavored. I’m addicted to Chocolate Raspberry Truffle coffee.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live way out in the country in a 116-year-old farmhouse. My husband is an organic farmer; we have beef cattle, pigs, chickens, and two ponies. My favorite job was when I worked as a paramedic. My second favorite was working as a surgical nurse in a veterinary clinic.
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
“Well, look at that, Kitty. There’s someone else with as twisted a sense of humor as yours.”
What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?
I’m not crazy about the inherent power imbalance that I still see in M/F, although it’s nowhere near as obvious as it used to be. I like poking at stereotypes, and I like the challenge of trying to explore an experience that I, as a het woman, have not lived through, but so many of my friends and family members have. I mostly write M/M, but I’m toying with a transgender/genderfluid angel story for Christmas, inspired by a recent tweet by John Scalzi.
Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.
I have to choose? I can’t just eat them all?
How many hours a day do you spend writing?
Hard to say. I usually get up in the morning and write about five hundred or six hundred words, then take a break and do housework or errands. In the evening, once my daughter is in bed, I sit down and write some more. Usually, I try to get to fifteen hundred words each day. Some days I go over, some days I don’t make it—I hate those days.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
A little bit of both. When I’m setting up to write, I go back through the part of the manuscript leading into that section and edit for clarity and word usage, to get my head into the game. Occasionally, I add or delete, depending on what I have planned to write that day, so that the piece flows correctly.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
I’m a non-linear writer. Generally, an idea stews in the back of my mind for a while before I sit down to write. By that point in time, I will usually have the opening scene and the ending scene plotted out in my head, plus a few dotted through the middle. As I write these down, more of the story will build up in my head. Like a giant jigsaw, the overall picture gradually takes shape. The hardest part is when I’m about halfway through and I have to start making decisions that have major effects on the storyline.
Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?
It’s a terribly hard choice to make, because there’s something to be said for all of them. I think everyone will like Nathan, my squirrel shifter coming out in Storm Moon’s Forgotten Menagerie Anthology, which is going to be all about non-traditional shifters. He’s adorably dumb. But, of all of them, I’d have to say my absolute favorite is one of the main characters from my werewolf novella Bite Me Tender, which comes out from Loose Id the end of the summer. Glyn is part witch and trying to build a life with Levi, his werewolf boyfriend. He really doesn’t fit in anywhere and he deals with it by being snarky and superior and holding everyone except Levi at arm’s length. He’s funny and terribly damaged and sad at the same time. I’m working hard to find him a HEA, but so far the issues are so deep I’ve only been able to manage a HFN.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
When I get writer’s block, it usually means that I’m not ready to write that section yet, because there’s a decision I need to make that I don’t have enough of the story figured out for. When that happens, I scoot around through the other parts of the story and see if there’s anything that calls to me, or I move to a different project entirely. My subconscious is a much better writer than me, so I’m trying to stay out of its way.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)
I have a corner of the kitchen, with big window on either side of me, where I write in the winter. In the summer, I like to move out to the back deck on nice days.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
I tend to be home alone when I write, so it’s not a big deal. When I’m in the middle of an edit, or running up against a submission deadline, I tell everyone and they’re pretty good about leaving me alone. My husband finds this all very exciting. Which I find hysterically funny, because edits put me in a panic.
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
Oh, snark is definitely my sense of humour. I love plays on words and particularly bawdy humour that doesn’t look bawdy until you really think about it. Science jokes, literary jokes and jokes that lead you down a path and then suddenly yank the path out from underneath you.
What question is your most frequently asked as an author?
“What are you working on now?”
What are you working on now?
I have a huge list of things that have been started and are waiting to shuffle to the front of the queue. Right now, I’m working on an MM paranormal romance called Bite Me, Furface!, which is a follow-up to Bite Me Tender. I’m also working on a steampunk romance between a zeppelin pilot and a male burlesque dancer, set in the Barbary Coast section of San Francisco in 1868 (And, boy, is the research fun for that one! Seriously. YUM!). And then there’s the dystopian biopunk, three different low fantasies, the rockstar romance and two short Christmas pieces (one of which is the sarcastic genderfluid angel). I think I have writer’s ADD. Or no sense of proportion. Your call.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?
Humor keeps me going. There’s some element of humor, even if it isn’t overt, in just about everything I write. The constant “How can I subvert this trope?” that runs in my brain keeps me looking for odd combinations and different ideas. Friends feed me good lines because they like to watch me go cuckoo. And I don’t write anything I can’t enjoy. That doesn’t mean that all my stories are sweetness and light, but the story has to have meaning and purpose. Sometimes it’s to entertain and brighten your day, sometimes it’s to make you think or remind you of issues that have fallen out of the limelight. Picking things I like to soapbox about does, too.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?
Fantasy, suspense, science fiction, and non-fiction. Oh, and I’m reading some steampunk stuff, too, as inspiration for the steampunk novel. And my guilty pleasure is Georgette Heyer’s regency romances.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.
Astronaut is out, because I’m afraid of heights. I could do retail, because it leaves you lots of free brain space for plotting and brainstorming, once you catch on to the routine. I’ve done horse trainer, which is entertaining, but ultimately not for me, although I adore my ponies. I’ve done scientist, too, which was fun. Maybe a retail scientist?
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I’m addicted to Sons of Anarchy. If you want to see some seriously efficient characterization, watch the pilot—Sutter, when he’s not rushed, is a freakin’ god of ‘writing that does more than one thing at a time’. I like to read, obviously. I make a bit of jewelry, shoot bow and arrow, and rescue horses. (My old boy is a rescue. When he arrived at my place, the vet said he only had two weeks to live, he was so starved. He’s fat now, but still suspicious of people. It’s sad, but I love him.) I also put way more energy into avoiding housework that it would cost me to actually do it. No, I don’t get it either. Oh, and I like to pretend to garden, but I don’t really do it.
Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?
I have a novelette called “Nuts About You” coming out this winter in the Forgotten Menagerie Anthology. It’s about a squirrel shifter who gets caught spying on his attractive neighbor. Why a squirrel? Because I’m really contrary and the description of the anthology suggested gryphons and dragons. My mind immediately jumped to a squirrel. There may be a follow-up to this one, too, involving a hummingbird. Or possibly a raccoon. Although, someone did ask for a moose…
Have I mentioned I’m a bit weird?
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
You can follow my Twitter at @Kate_Lowell. I’m relatively entertaining, although it’s mostly jokes and complaining with my writer friends. Oh, and we talk a lot about what we’re eating.
My blog may be found at thebluntinstrument.wordpress.com. You find snippets of my stories there, including a bit from “Nuts About You”, in my Tuesday Tickles.
It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!
Right. You haven’t seen my kitchen, have you?