K.C. Finn Author Q&A

6:00 AM

Author K.C. Finn has graciously let the Grownup Fangirl team do a small interview, a way of getting to know the amazing person behind The Secret Star and it's fantastic story.  But now that we know Jeff and Danny's, let's get a sneak peak into the story of the woman who created them.


1)     Since countless people use writing as an emotional release with no intention of getting published, tell us about the moment when you decided you wanted to do it as a CAREER. 

     Unfortunately it is still not my full career, but boy do I wish it was! I spend most of my time teaching actually, which I do enjoy but it’s very tiring for me with my medical problems! If I could make enough sales to stay at home and just write I’d be the happiest person of all time!  
     I decided that I wanted to be published and market my books as ‘proper’ books because I had been writing on and off for nine years, having my confidence knocked and generally struggling to believe that my work had any value at all. Then one day I got a little bolder and thought well, who better to judge whether I have talent than that great, anonymous mass of readers out there? And so I went for it!

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Simon Cadell 
(July 1950 – March 1996) 

2)     How did you come up with the idea for your upcoming novel, The Book of Shade?

     I find it hard to describe where ideas come from usually, but TBoS’s birth was a very specific and memorable moment. I am obsessed with this wonderful British actor from the 1980s called Simon Cadell. I have seen everything he’s ever been in, full fangirl mode you know?
 So I was up late one night chatting to people on Facebook, and my best friend sent me this image of Simon saying ‘have you seen this?’ It was an old theatre still of him with white hair, in this classic Victorian stage makeup. I hadn’t ever seen it before, but once I had I couldn’t get the image out of my head.
‘You know what you’ve done, don’t you?’ Said I to the bestie, ‘This is a novel’.
     She was like ‘NO. You are already working on a novel (The Secret Star at that time) AND you have a 12-part series to write (starting with the Caecilius Rex books). You cannot do another novel right now!’
     And she was right of course. But the idea was there, and I have been filling up notebooks and working on the concepts and plot of TBoS and the characters ever since, and now it’s time to bring them to life and release them out into the world!

2.5) How long has The Book of Shade been in the works?

     From that moment when the picture came through. I’d say I have been in the planning stages of it for at least five months, which is actually a long time for me. I am a compulsive writer, for example it took 24 days to write The Secret Star, so I spend a lot longer planning and organising the story than I do actually writing the words down. I am still planning and plotting right now, every night, the notebooks keep filling up with new concepts and ideas all the time. It’s a very exciting place to be at as a writer.

3)     What were and are some of challenges you fight with when it comes to writing?

     Generally I find it hard to get people to leave me alone! But family and friends are becoming more considerate as time goes on and I become more established as a writer. I think they have finally realised that this is not a hobby any more. This is my passion, my calling, and I will maul them like a wild bear if they keeping getting in the way of that!

     My health is also a big problem when it comes to writing. I have a long term illness known here in the UK as M.E., I think some people still call it C.F.S, which attacks my body just about every day in different ways. So I have to be careful how much time I spend hunched over a laptop for the sake of my muscles. That also means that earning a living has to take the majority of my energy up, so sometimes I get kind of sad when I’ve no strength left for writing. It has taught me to organise my time effectively, that’s for sure!

K.C.'s novel, The Atomic Circus
(Caecilius Rex, #1)
4) When an idea for a new story comes to you, what's your process of developing it?

     That’s interesting actually. Now that I think about it, it starts in different ways depending on the kind of story. Sometimes I just have that first line, or a character in my head, and I just write stuff to get them out on the page and kind of meet them, get to know them. That happens a lot with Caecilius Rex and the other books I am working on set in his toxic little world.
     Other stories fall out of my head, and I mean that literally. The Secret Star had no plan at all, although I had done a lot of research on WW2 and the other time periods featured, so the background knowledge was there. In fact that story didn’t even fall out of my head in the right order, I was jumping about writing different chapters all the time for the first half of the writing process, but when it all suddenly came together it was a very exciting moment for me!
     The Book of Shade on the other hand has been very carefully planned. I have character outlines, visual collages of images for reference and stacks upon stacks of notes and plans. It’s a very different way of writing for me, one that I hope is going to pay off when people read the book!

5) Do you have a writer's ritual?  IE: Cozied in PJs, cup of coffee in hand, some chillstep playing in the background, etc. 

     Definitely not a chillstep person, let’s clear that up right now! I pretty much just grab any and every moment I can to write. I never write with music on, but I always do ideas and note taking with music on. I usually have a playlist set up for the book I’m working on to get me thinking – some of that playlist for TBoS has already been shared out there actually (link: http://8tracks.com/kim-finn-986/the-book-of-shade). 
     The only really essential thing is to be left alone without interruptions and distractions like phones, Facebook and the internet in general. Sometimes when I’m in what other writers call ‘the zone’ I can just produce stuff regardless of the atmosphere, but that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it to! 

6) What do you do in your personal/free time?  Any hobbies - other than writing - that you love?

     I just recently got back into reading actually. I hadn’t picked up a proper book and just enjoyed reading for a long, long time, so I’m very much into that again now. I think it’s only right really for a writer to be aware of other people’s styles and see what’s happening in contemporary fiction right now. 
     I’m pretty boring in the way of hobbies really, everything I do is an artistic pursuit usually, of course I am quite physically limited a lot of the time, so no sports and things, but that’s just as well since I don’t really enjoy exercise! Writing is both my hobby and my calling, my great love and my great hate in life. Most other things that I do in life, I’m usually just thinking ‘Why can’t I be writing right now instead?’

7) What are you currently reading?

     A lot of work by other independent authors, because I have made some great friends in the book world lately and I want to give back to them by taking the time to appreciate their work. Plus there’s a lot of fascinating, original work out there by indie authors who are not constrained by the market for ‘what’s popular’ and that’s very exciting to me. 
     Authors I have just read or am in the process of reading are people like Matt Posner, Dominica Malcolm, Michael G. Williams, Megan Curd, Lloyd G. Francis and of course the sensational Amy Freeman. They are all very talented people with unputdownable books! Google them, I command thee!

(GFG: We did the googleing part for you.  You're welcome)

8) For those reading who are new to writing or want to start pursuing it, can you give them some advice as to where they should start?  Things they can do that will help them?

     Write what you love regardless of what’s cool or on trend right not. I always work by the ethic that if you like your story, there’s bound to be someone just like you out there who will like it too, so write for them, put your stuff out there and trust that you’ll find them eventually!
     Also be prepared for a heck of a lot of work when it comes to self-promotion. It’s a full time job on top of your full-time writing and any other full-time jobs you may have! Don’t just think you can put your book out there and people will flock to it, you’re going to have to do a LOT of pounding those virtual pavements to get noticed. Be ready for that challenge!


1)     Coffee or Tea?
How very dare you! I am British dear. It has to be tea. There is no other option.

2)     Least favorite household chore?
I hate them all equally, and therefore I ignore all of them!

3)     Zip-up hoodie or pullover?
First the latter, then the former over the top. I am a very cold person!

4)     Pro- or anti-bugs?
Anti Anti Anti!

5)     Favorite junk food?
Chili Heat Wave Doritos!

   K.C. Finn is also the author of the amazing The Secret Star, a romantic, time-travel adventure, that I LOVE.  Lot's of action, and plot twists.  Take a look at her GoodReads and try out some of her amazing novels.

     The Book of Shade, her latest piece of art, is being released on December 20th, and we're going to bring you along for the ride.  Take the day off work, stock up on lots of instant hot chocolate packets, and refill the cat's kitty litter, because you're gonna love it.  Her tour starts December 1st, so be prepared!

K.C.'s Life Before Writing:

     K.C. Finn grew up in Cardiff, South Wales as an only child with a small group of friends but a huge imagination. She always wrote stories and went off into daydreams, but was also a talented academic who achieved a BA (hons) Degree in English Language, Literature and Creative Writing. 
     She is now half way to achieving her Master’s Degree in Education and Applied Linguistics whilst working as a private teacher. As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., life is not always easy for K.C., but her illness affords her long periods of reflection and time to imagine the worlds of science fiction and fantasy from which she develops her novels and novellas. 

-Grownup Fangirl

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