Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Kim: Hello, Fiona, and hi to everyone reading your blog. I’m Kim Michelle Ross, and I’m somewhat reluctant revealing my actual age, other than saying my age is double and bit more to the years I’ve been married (almost 25).
Fiona: Where are you from?
Kim: I was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, and I still live there.
Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
Kim: I’m married to Paul, and we have 3 boys, Daniel, Ryan and Caiden, and a golden retriever named Benny. I graduated from high school with a HSC, and though I matriculated to university I didn’t attend. Instead, it was easier on the hip pocket to study at Newcastle TAFE, WEA and Hunter Community College (basically one’s technical education and the others are adult education community colleges).
In late 1981 I undertook a 4 month laboratory traineeship at the University of Newcastle, and by early ’82 I was offered the position of research assistant to the senior lecturer in Genetics – and overseer his cancer research projects. I began first year of Laboratory Technician (that’s equivalent to a science degree) at Newcastle TAFE but sadly, three years later my boss passed away.
After that I took on a few different lab positions and even a stint as a landscape gardener labourer. In 1990 I gravitated from biology and into pathology and worked as a laboratory aid in a private pathology lab – department of cytogenetics (chromosome studies). Sadly by ’91 that lab closed but I was quickly snatched up by the Royal Newcastle Hospital as a Laboratory Technical Assistant, Grade 2, in the Blood Bank. Eighteen months later ( Nov ’92) I got married and 13 months after that (Dec ’93) I left the blood bank just prior to the birth of my first son, Daniel, son number 2, Ryan, quickly followed (Oct ’94) and a third son, Caiden, 3 years later (Apr ‘ 98). By then I was content to be a stay-at-home mum yet I still had aspirations of being a writer—that was, as soon as I found the time.
However, the time didn’t arrive till 2005 when my youngest child started kindergarten, and I finally began writing. I joined the Hunter Writers’ Centre, facilitated a writers’ group and joined another writing group dedicated to speculative fiction. Writing is a passion but it’s not my only passion, I also belly dance. Soon after my mother passed away in 2008, my good friend Libby, she’d been belly dancing for awhile, encouraged me to take it up—she thought I was a natural. Though I’d began dancing before I was 5, my mother taught me some ballet and tap before I started taking jazz ballet lessons, but I hadn’t been in a dance class since I was 18. Turns out my friend was right and after only 12 months of classes with Silk Caravan Bellydance School, I was invited into Silk Caravan performance troupe. Since then I’ve been performing as a professional belly dancer. But also dividing my time between writing and dancing. In late 2008 the troupe started planning a tour of Egypt for 2010. I then took on a causal job with Australia Post as a mail officer to pay for the trip/costumes. Egypt was awesome. It was pretty surreal being fitted and having costumes made in Cairo. The troupe is still performing in Newcastle and make regular appearances in Sydney.
And even with devoting time to motherhood, homeduties, belly dance, causal work and various writers groups, I somehow managed to complete 5 novels, start another 3, plus write many short stories and flash fiction pieces and I’m published in 7anthologies, plus 2 flash fiction pieces are published on an online web journal. I won NaNoWriMo 2013 and Camp NaNoWriMo 2014 with a paranormal-vampire Beatle themed romance romp. Recently our BGS Fantasy/Paranormal group released sample anthology, title ‘Tales of the Fantastic’ and it features 4 of my previously published stories. Another short story (it’s a Viking mini-epic) was accepted into the Iron Doves Charity Program Anthology and is due to be published by the Dragon’s Rocketship Publishers in Oct 2017. Another short story is also being publish Oct ’17 in the ‘Limitless’ anthology published by McGrath House. So the anthology count will be 9 before 2017 ends.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Kim: My latest news is, I submitted the first book of my unpublished ‘Netherrealm’ trilogy to Pantera Press, and I’m waiting to hear back. But I also joined an online writers group via Books Go Social. Our group formed BGS Fantasy/Paranormal, there are 12 members worldwide. Daccari Buchelli is the mastermind behind a sample anthology ‘Tales of the Fantastic’ and six of us, namely, Daccari Buchelli, Alex. E. Carey, Grant Lieshman, David Gilchrist, Caitlin Lynagh and myself contributed previously published work, novel excerpts and complete short stories.
‘Tales of the Fantastic’ a Paranormal/Fantasy Sample Anthology and it’s available to download for free on Amazon.com.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Kim: It began as a child. I’ve always had an overactive imagination and made up some unbelievable stories or I’d re-image the ending of movies and books if I didn’t like the way they ended. As a teen my grandmother gave me her cast-off Mills & Boon novels and I was hooked on romance. So at 16 I decided to be a romance writer. However, the stories and bad poetry I scribbled down in the back of my schoolbooks weren’t entirely about romantic fluff. Instead, supernatural creatures made their way into my tales and I thought maybe speculative fiction was my calling. When I was in my twenties I had an idea for a historical speculative fiction novel but then life got in the way and my writing was shelved till after my youngest son started school.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Kim: I submitted a flash fiction piece to the ‘Hunter Writer’, the Hunter Writers’ Centre’s monthly newsletter. The piece was accepted into the Dec ’08-Jan ’09 edition. But I didn’t feel like a real writer, even though my work was in print. It wasn’t till I held ‘Novascapes, A Speculative Fiction Anthology from the Hunter, Vol 1’, in my hand that I finally felt like a real writer and realised my YA sci-fi story was included alongside several award winning novelists and a host of local emerging talent.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Kim: I had a dream and the concept of that dream breathed life into a story about reincarnation. I eventually settled on calling it ‘Netherrealm’, since then the story kept on evolving and it’s gone through many changes, as well as maybe ten drafts. I really thought it’d be a novella and I’d struggle to make it reach novel length but I astounded myself and the story turned into a trilogy- approximate word count for each book 90-97k.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Kim: Oh, I have a long list of corny and bad romance-cliché titles before it clicked that the title should be a single word. There are two storylines, one set in 12th century England the other in the 21st century. I’d merged historical-contemporary with a dash of intrigue, romance and sci-fi/paranormal. I was mostly influenced by Norse & Celtic mythologies—the nether world, the underworld and the nine realms so I joined nether and realm to make ‘Netherrealm’.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Kim: I have been told that my style is unique but quite charming and I have a knack for speculative-romance. I do find it challenging at times, not so much the subject, but once I’m ‘on a roll’ I tend to forget grammar and put commas where they shouldn’t go—editing my own work is a total nightmare.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Kim: Well it is a work of pure fiction, but I have slipped in a few personal things based on real incidences and created a character that’s a combination of every mean girl I’ve ever known.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Kim: When I first began my Netherrealm journey I didn’t travel but made good use of my imagination and weekly trips to the library to research historical facts and exhausted the internet to find photographs of the places I set the medieval and contemporary world. It wasn’t till ten years later that I finally had the opportunity to visit Derbyshire, England, and to stand inside the stone circle where my story actually begins.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Kim: Netherrealm is still unpublished but 3 anthologies featuring my work , Novascapes, Vol 1 & 2, and Sproutlings: A Compendium of Little Fictions were designed by a local Newcastle artist, Tallulah Cunningham. And the editor of The Three Drops from a Cauldron anthologies, Kate Garrett, chose the covers for those anthologies.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Kim: The message I hope to convey when Netherrealm is published: though the past cannot be changed you can learn from it, and never let anyone manipulate you into believing you’re not enough. Being beautiful isn’t about having a pretty face for true beauty is how you treat others.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Kim: There are a few new authors that’ve grabbed my attention, Alex. E. Carey, Daccari Buchelli, David Gilchrist, Grant Lieshman, Caitlin Lynagh, Nyasia A. Maire, Amanda Markham, Tammy Loshaw-Berg, Chris Walters, Natalie Bennet, Rachel McGrath, Ivy Ireland, Sheree Christofferson, Morgan Bell. I have a long list of favourite authors, Anya Seaton, Nora Roberts, Sean Williams, Garth Nix, Michael Crichton, Stephen King, Marc Olden, Dean Koonz, Randolph Stow, Kate Forsyth, Jenny Blackford, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, but I have to say it’s Anya Seaton because, her books ‘Green Darkness’ and ‘Smouldering Fires’ had the greatest influence on my writing and helped plant the seed for my ‘Netherrealm’ trilogy.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Kim: It’s hard to name one person, there are 3. Brian Joyce, playwright and former director of Hunter Writers’ Centre, he accepted my first story for publication into the ‘Hunter Writer’, and awarded me the 2010 Lit-Link Mentorship. I was mentored by award winning speculative fiction author/poet, Jenny Blackford, she’s a not only a great teacher but a firm friend—in fact, it’s like having the best of both worlds as well as a perpetual mentorship that just keeps giving. Then there’s Cassandra Page (aka. C.E. Page) owner/editor of Invisible Elephant Press, Hunter Anthologies, she read my YA sci-fi story and asked me to expand it because, she wanted it to be included in Novascapes Vol 1, and she also included a paranormal romance romp story in Novascapes Vol 2.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Kim: Yes, I hope to. I have managed to earn royalties from the 2 Three Drops from a Cauldron anthologies, but I’d much prefer a steady income. Bestselling author is also a longed-for dream.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Kim: No, as I mentioned, ‘Netherrealm’ has undergone a few changes and I’ve added diverging storylines, yet the main story has never altered. However, it was first a duality and due to keeping it to a reasonable length I needed to split it into three. I also must rewrite the third installment simply because the world has changed since it was finished and it’s in need of a few updates and forwarded by ten years.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Kim: I’ve learned quite a lot since I first began writing. I seriously roll my eyes at my earliest amateurish offerings, especially the first drafts of ‘Netherrealm’. Although, I’ve surprised myself when I’ve found a few gems that have remained the same from when first written.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Kim: Good question. ‘Netherrealm’ is set in 12th century England during the 1135-54 civil war between King Stephen and Empress Maud, and in Australia and England between 2003 to the present day.
When I first wrote ‘Netherrealm’ I could see someone similar to Isla Fisher but she’d need to be blonde to play the protagonist Bethany de Lise, and her contemporary counterpart Dayna Barnes is a brunette (Bethany reincarnated). Dayna is Australian and she must be quite short but also curvy and Isla kinda fits being Australian and she could play a convincing medieval damsel. Though I doubt she’d be able to get away with being 15-22 but she’d be perfect as Dayna who ages from mid 20s to mid 30s. The same can be said for Alex O’Loughlin, he too is Australian and I see him as Beth’s great love and medieval knight, Gerrat de Ashbore, and Gerrat’s reincarnation Jared Ashbourne, he’s half-Australian-half-English but also too old to be 18-26, and Jared 19 to mid 30s.
I could picture either Kate Beckinsale or Angelina Jolie, maybe Megan Fox as the antagonist, Elena de la Chatelaine, but those actresses are also too old to get away playing 15-23 year old medieval lady. I can see Gerard Butler as Gerrat’s father Baron Tissington and his reincarnation James Ashbourne, Jared’s paternal grandfather. I can definitely imagine Sean Bean as Elena’s father, Andrew de la Chatelaine and his modern counterpart, Duncan Armstrong (he’s a Yorkshire man) and Cate Blanchet for Mistress Miriam and her reincarnation Marion Armstrong (also an Australian).
Now to only get it published.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Kim: Just keep writing. Don’t worry about how good or bad it is, just write. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Like everything the more you practice the better you become. Of course, it never hurts to take a couple of writing courses if you want but it’s not necessary. However, in my opinion no-one can truly improve or fully hone their craft without feedback. Join a writers group. Critique is a vital key to improvement and helps pave the road to publication. Plus, you can’t put a price on the importance of meeting likeminded people that you can forge lasting friendships with.
Also, attending writers festivals keeps you abreast of current publishing trends, attain valuable advice as well as meeting published authors, making contacts and getting your face known.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Kim: I’ll be grateful to have a following when ‘Netherrealm’ is published and people like it and can identify with my characters.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Kim: At the moment I’m reading ‘Phoenix’ by Daccari Buchelli.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Kim: That’d be a tossup between Little Golden Books ‘Alice in Wonderland’ or ‘Peter Pan’.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Kim: Comedy movies, books, TV shows, and sad movies, books, TV and oddly the news makes me cry—simply because it’s real. Also being happy makes me cry, and it doesn’t take much to make me cry. I used to cry whenever a publisher rejected my stories, but these days I just shrug and say ‘meh’ or ‘whatever’.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Kim: Earnest Hemmingway. That man knew how to live. It’d be great to pick his brains and absorb his knowledge of life. I think he’d have amazing insights, not simply about human nature but it’d be like plunging yourself into history. Then talk about great research—great characterizations you could create. Plus Hemmingway understood the writing process, the good bits and its pitfalls.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Kim: As mentioned belly dancing, reading and binge watching ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Walking Dead’.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Kim: I love comedy romances, fantasy, paranormal and horror movies, stuff like Bridget Jones’s Diary, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises, Robin Hood, and as mentioned, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Ripper Street, Fear the Walking Dead, Lucifer. I’m also sadly addicted to Aussie reality TV programmes, The Block and Master Chef.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Kim: I love Asian, French, Italian and Mexican food.
I’m quite partial to hues of blues, pinks, reds, and black.
I really like listening to music of the 60s, the Beatles, the Hollies, Herman’s Hermits. 70s, Bread, ABBA, Elton John, David Essex. 80s, the Cars, INXS, Cold Chisel, Blondie, 90s, Eurogliders, Baby Animals. I also get into a bit of swing and I love crooners, Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr and David Campbell.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Kim: I can’t imagine not being able to write down the things that pop into my head—what a nightmare, but if I couldn’t write maybe I could dictate it instead. Or, maybe I’d just concentrate on belly dancing.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Kim: She made stuff up and could shimmy up-a-storm.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Kim: I don’t have a blog but I can be found here:
Facebook author page: https://facebook.com/KimMichelleGroette25/
Twitter: @KimMichelleRos1 https://twitter.com/kimmichelleros1?lang=en
Amazon Author page: http://amazon.com/author/kmross
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kim-michelle-ross-5719a4102/ Smashwords Author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/edit