The Book of Shade by KC Finn Q&A

     The Book of Shade, KC Finn's latest and greatest fantasy masterpiece, is slated to release December 20th, in ebook and paperback form.  But before then, take a look at the behind-the-scenes glimpse at some questions we had for Ms. Finn.


     1) When writing, how did you come up with the legends and mythology behind the shades?

     As you know the concept of beings with elemental powers is not a new one, so the trick with developing the shadelore and the shades' own belief system was to find fresh twists on the genre in any way that I could. Anyone who knows a lot about superstitions will pick up a lot of little hints in this book towards traditional European beliefs from the medieval period. Shades really do believe in good luck and bad luck so there are a lot of old theatre superstitions dotted into the scenes at the Imaginique. 

     I particularly enjoyed reading about the old beliefs centred around the stars and changing them to suit my own purposes. The idea that a shooting star signifies the birth of a new shade is one of my favourite concepts that I developed in this book.

     2) Was there any personal inspiration behind the Illustrious Minds?

      I have belonged to a few literary and poetic societies over the last couple of years and I've always been surprised by how they always turn out to be full of people who don't really care about books! Gone are the old days of traditional English book clubs and such; now these clubs are just another social sphere for people to meet and snag freebies from the funding body, so that's where that society came from!

     3) From our first Q&A with you, you mentioned that The Book of Shade got it's start with the single picture of Simon Cadell.  Now, this book is very mysterious.  How much was the outcome of this book influenced by your affections for Simon's legacy?

Displaying photo.JPG
Simon Cadell 
(July 1950 – March 1996) 
     He is always the figure in my head when I write Novel, particularly his voice which was, in my opinion, his greatest talent. Seriously, go buy an audio-book narrated by him, you'll see what I mean. That hypnotic and mysterious quality to his speech really helped me to get Novel's diction and word choice right in my head, because when I tried to do him any other way he became very difficult to 'hear' mentally. I also think there is something deeply British about the book which I hope has come across, again that 
stems from that original image and the theatre tradition, the concept of the old Victorian theatre is so irresistible to me. 

     My portrait artist S.R. Esprit drew from many different sources to create Novel's look for the front cover, but one of those sources was that original photo of Simon Cadell. You can't see much of him in the finished work, but if you study the right hand corner of his mouth, you'll see there's a little droop in his lip. That's the real homage to Simon, his trademark lopsided mouth made the most subtle of appearances in the finished work!

     4) Favorite scene to write?

     For me that was in the 'February' section, the two chapters on the shade's funeral. I know it sounds weird if you haven't read it, but I was so desperately looking forward to writing that funeral! The day I got to it was a 15 thousand word writing day because I reached it and the words just exploded from me. The song in particular was something I was excited to share with everyone as those lyrics came to me one morning when I was late for a bus and a train. I almost missed my journey rushing to scribble it down before they escaped my head! The dancing and the music in general really inspired the whole scene for me. 

     In case anyone is interested in it, the music I always imagined that Lily and Novel danced to was the instrumental section from The Smith's 'Please, please, please, let me get what I want', which you can listen to as part of the original TBoS playlist here:

     5) Least favorite scene to write?

     Generally I enjoyed writing it all, even the gory bits, but any time I had to write Mother Novel I found I always came away with a knot in my stomach. I don't think I've ever written such a stern, hard-faced character before, she was a real piece of work to get onto the page. I felt bad when she spoke to other characters and hurt their feelings! And yet, at the same time, she is also a fantastically creepy creation to paint a picture of, with her black lace, rasping whisper and her bony hands. "Tea With Mother" was a particularly unpleasant chapter to have sitting in your head waiting to come out!

     6) Did you become emotional when writing any particular scene?

British comedy, Hi-De-Hi
  I shall try to explain this in a non-spoilery way so that people who have read the book will still know what I mean! The scene near the very end of book where Lily is 'looking down', shall we say, on Salem and Novel, that was a very peculiar thing to write. I have never written a scene from that emotional or psychological perspective, although I did have an out-of-body experience when I was about nine or ten years old that has stuck with me for a long time! Channelling those old feelings to tell the scene from Lily's view at that time was a strange experience. I had to go and watch a lot of episodes of Hi-De-Hi afterwards to shake those shivers off!

     7) Which character do you relate to the most?

     In this book, it has to be Novel. He has the same aspiration for perfection driving him in his core that I have struggled with all my life, the continuous feeling that you aren't good enough, that you can always strive to be better. Thankfully I don't have his mother though! Quite the opposite in fact. In a lot of ways Novel is perhaps the kind of character I might have turned into without the support of my nearest and dearest, so in that way when he meets Lily it's easy for him (and me) to begin to soften and yearn for something more than his own self-obsessed quest for inner perfection. 

     Having said that, the character who really comes from my heart is Baptiste. He doesn't play a huge part in this first novel, apart from being mysterious and generally fabulous, but you just wait until the series gets going and he has his time to shine. Oh boy, are you going to see a real troubled soul emerge there! Baptiste carries every drop of pain and insecurity that I have ever felt, so when all of that hits the fan you'd better get the Kleenex ready. 

     8) Was the finished product of the book what you intended from the start?

     The main events were meticulously planned for six months before I started writing. I actually wrote The Book Of Shade in 15 days, for NaNoWriMo this year, so it's been a very quick turnaround to get from plan to text to finished product. In a lot of ways the plot came about as planned, what I didn't expect was all the extra concepts and beliefs that developed as I was writing. Little ticks and signals that particular characters give off, some of which will play much larger parts in later novels. One of these is Baptiste's bracelet that Lily spots the very first time she meets him. 

     For anyone who noticed it too, it's made of tiny bat bones and will feature again in 'The Bloodshade Encounters' in 2014. Salem too was a big surprise; he became very different once he started going onto the page as opposed to the smooth criminal he was in my head. He gained a deeper meaning and some very strong insecurities that he's currently hiding. Don't worry though, they'll all come out eventually for you to see!

     9) Will there be a sequel (please say yes)?

     Yes of course! You can expect the first full length sequel 'The Potioneer' later in 2014, but before that I intend to release two novellas in the Shadeborn series. The first is called 'The Bloodshade Encounters' which gives you a little insight into the history between Lemarick Novel and Baptiste Du Nord (because you'll all be wondering about him by the end of this book, right?). The second is called 'The Songspinner' and this one is the untold history of Salem Cross.

     I am really looking forward to working with these stories as they'll give me the opportunity to play in some of my favourite historical sandboxes whilst also bringing you shade-y delights! For those of you who are familiar with my other work, I promise there's no World War 2 this time. I'm having a break from living in the 40s at the moment!


     Now if this Q&A doesn't make you want to log your sorry butt onto Amazon and read this book, I'm sending a host of angels to your house, each with a hardcopy, because honestly, you don't want to miss this book.  You'll regret it, and they don't have support groups for criminally negligent.  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 latest comes out December 20th.  Hang out a bit for an ARC review, coming December 16th. 

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

1 comment:

  1. Simon is a PERFECT inspiration for Novel. Perfect. ...And for those of you who haven't read it, yes the funeral scene is amazing, as is the entire book. Get it!!!


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