Author Interviews

* you can find the original interviews and much more on my 'everything writing' blog (http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com), including author spotlights, guest posts, book reviews, flash fiction or poetry - new items posted 6am UK time Monday to Saturday and writing exercises at 6pm very weekday.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Author interview no.277: Kiran Hunter (revisited)


Back in February 2012, I interviewed author Kiran Hunter for my WordPress blog. I hope you enjoy it...
Welcome to the two hundred and seventy-seventy of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with dark erotic and horror writer Kiran Hunter. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Kiran. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Kiran: Hi, Morgen. Firstly – many thanks for having me!
Morgen: You’re so welcome. :)
Kiran: I’m Kiran and I write dark fiction in a dimly lit room, somewhere in the East of England. I’d always written as a kid – partly because I couldn’t get my hands on the sort of fiction I wanted to read and partly as a way of exploring the other worlds I knew existed outside my own. I started writing again a couple of years ago, and decided to try and get published.
Morgen: Wow. You knew what you wanted back then, didn’t you. I’m so impressed. :) What genre do you write?
Kiran: I mainly write dark and erotic fiction but I’ve also written some horror. I enjoy exploring what goes on in the murky places in the human mind – the bits some of us would rather no one knew about. I like experimenting with my writing and I also enjoy the challenge of writing outside of my comfort zone – so I may well try other genres in the future.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you have a favourite of your books or characters?
Kiran: My first short story, Bedevil, was published by Etopia Press in November last year. It’s a paranormal suspense about a young couple, Gareth and Tim who are struggling to rebuild their relationship in an old and mysterious house. It has gained some good reviews – so I’m very pleased. My favourite character from Bedevil is Luka – he’s a tease and manipulative, but also vulnerable. My favourite story is still a work in progress, and currently on hold.
Morgen: Oh dear. That must be really frustrating. Speaking of which… :) have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Kiran: Rejections are part and parcel of being a writer. The best rejections are the ones that give you feedback, either positive or negative. My first ever rejection was a handwritten note from a well-known magazine stating the submitted story was ‘well written but too emotional for our readers’ – I was strangely pleased with that. :)
Morgen: I would be too, especially getting a personal reply – a rarity these days. Are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all? Do you have any plan to write any eBook-only stories? And do you read eBooks?
Kiran: Bedevil is only available as an eBook and I write all of my short stories with a view to them being e-published. I have a Kindle and read more eBooks than paper books at the moment. If I really, really love a novel I will buy a physical copy, but that happens rarely now.
Morgen: It’s funny. I’ve always been an advocate of paper books but since buying a Kindle I’d rather receive them on that format although it won’t stop me buying paperbacks. :) Did you have any say in the title / covers of your book(s)? How important do you think they are?
Kiran: Bedevil was submitted with that title – it sums up the story pretty well, I think – a relationship bedevilled by doubts and distrust as well as a real, live ‘demon’. My publisher asks for ideas from the authors for the covers. I love that part of the process of producing a book / story– when you see the cover for the first time it suddenly seems more real and you also get to ‘meet’ your characters. I was thrilled with the image of the male couple the artist has used. Bedevil isn’t a romance but it is about an established relationship going through a dark time, and I think this comes across well.
Morgen: I think it’s a great cover. Classy. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Kiran: I have three WIPs. What can I say… I’m a flighty writer :). I’m working on: the follow up to Bedevil (currently entitled Devilment), a contemporary gay suspense, Siege, and another short story that is giving me all sorts of trouble! :)
Morgen: They can have a habit of doing that. And writing different things is bound to stop you getting tired of one project. Do you manage to write every day?
Kiran: I try to write every day, aiming for 1000 words. I used to be envious of authors who can knock out thousands of words a day – but everyone has to work at their own pace. However, if I really get into it, I can be writing into the early hours of the morning and have to be dragged away from the desk to sleep.
Morgen: :) Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Kiran: A bit of both. I have to have some idea of the direction I’m going in, but I generally let the story develop itself rather than try to plan the entire thing out step by step. If a scene comes to mind that might not have a place to fit yet, I’ll still write it while it’s in my head and then find the right place for it later. Of course sometimes that completely changes where I thought the story was heading.
Morgen: Because your characters take over? Do you have a method for creating yours, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Kiran: I do need to have some idea of what they look like – even if I never really describe them in detail in the story. I usually start developing the characters by asking lots of questions about what led to them being where they are when the story itself starts. Names can change as I get into the characters and I realise someone isn’t a David but they are a Ciaran, for instance.
Morgen: :) Do you write any non-fiction, poetry or short stories?
Kiran: I’m concentrating on short stories at the moment. I’ve always enjoyed reading shorts and they’re also ideal for eReaders, I think.  I’ve had some poetry published in the past, both in print and on the internet.
Morgen: I went to the Verulam Writers Circle’s Get Writing conference yesterday and needless to say the subject of eBooks came up and the general consensus is that they are making novels shorter. As a short story author, that pleases me no end. :) Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Kiran: I try to write as polished a first draft as possible then go through again...and again...
Morgen: Four edits are my limit then off it goes to my editor (as she’ll hack it around again). Some writers like quiet, others the noise of a coffee shop etc., do you listen to music or have noise around you when you write or do you need silence?
Kiran: If I’m writing during the day I tend to do so in silence. I write more intense pieces at night – and then I have music. Loud music. I don’t disturb the neighbours though, I plug myself into my iPod! My stories do contain some erotic scenes and I’ll listen to music to help me to switch moods quickly – it makes me type faster too. :)
Morgen: :) What point of view do you find most to your liking?
Kiran: I’ll try writing a piece in a variety of ways - first person, third person, present and past tense – and see which way works best for each story. I don’t have a preference; it just has to feel right for telling (or should that be showing?) that particular story.
Morgen: Absolutely ‘showing’. :) Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Kiran: Yes. I think some of my writing is too honest for me to share – it’s also some of the best stuff I’ve written.
Morgen: That’s a real shame. My NaNoWriMo 2010 was a therapeutic novel and it the one I’d say won’t go anywhere (not helped by using real names :)). What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Kiran: Favourite: I like shutting myself away and concentrating on getting the stories out of my head and on to the paper / screen. Least favourite: My days are quite broken up at the moment so sometimes I have ideas swirling around in my head with no opportunity to get them out, which can be frustrating.
Morgen: Time. That rarest of commodity. :( What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Kiran: Read. Find a couple of people who know your chosen genre and will give you good, honest feedback on your writing. Persevere.
Morgen: Absolutely. Writing groups are brilliant for that. What do you like to read?
Kiran: I enjoy psychological thrillers. I also like all things sinister and creepy... anything that leaves me unsettled really, although it takes a lot to unsettle me.
Morgen: Me too. I’m a Roald Dahl fan. :) If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or invite three people, hiding the takeaway containers)?
Kiran: Hephaestion and Alexander the Great – the story of their life-long friendship fascinates me, and Caravaggio – he intrigues me. Erm... I enjoy cooking – but can I cheat and have Marco Pierre White come and cook for me?
Morgen: Sure. If he’ll do it. :) Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Kiran: “...a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.” Stephen King
Morgen: Ooh, I love that… as a short story author and Stephen King fan. :) Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Kiran: I was a creative writing tutor for a while. Although I have stopped teaching for the time being I do still enjoy helping other writers when I can.
Morgen: Isn’t it such a sharing / caring industry. It’s amazing. What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
Kiran: Well, I’m not telling you my party trick ;-)
Morgen: Oh, that’s not fair. :)
Kiran: I have a fascination for abandoned buildings, particularly churches, and allegedly haunted or mysterious locations – so will often go off into the countryside in search of ruins to photograph. :) Bedevil was partly inspired by an overgrown house not far from where I live. You could only see the windows and hints of something stunning behind years of plant growth. Since I finished writing Bedevil the house has been uncovered and is being renovated. And it is stunning.
Morgen: Ah… one of my non-writing friends (Ashley Shepherd) loves exploring old nuclear reactors – maybe you could compare notes. :) Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Kiran: You can find me at www.kiranhunter.com and I am occasionally on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/KiranHunter
Morgen: Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Kiran: Yes – how on earth do you find the time to do all this? :)
Morgen: <laughs> not enough sleep, understanding friends (and dog) and a systematic Word table. :) Thank you, Kiran.
Kiran’s early years were spent living in Cyprus and, later, in Hertfordshire and Kent, England. Cambridge is home now, but the mountains of Wales often beckon. Interests include psychology, philosophy, literature, art and music. Psychological thrillers fill the bookcase and rock music fills the iPod.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know. :)
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) :) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays. and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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