Name K. A. Laity
Age Old enough to know better and to have forgotten why I knew not to do it
Where are you from A mystical land of wolves and trolls. We call it Michigan.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc I live in Dundee and New York so I spend a lot of time traveling. I’m a tenured English professor without ever being an English major and a Doctor of Philosophy whose philosophy is get away with whatever you can.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’m delighted to say that my Chastity Flame sexy thriller series has come out in print from Tirgearr Publishing with faboo covers by the awesome S. L. Johnson and my spooky crime novel White Rabbit from Fox Spirit Books has been racking up some fine reviews at Crime Culture and Crime Fiction Lover and just out now the anthology I edited for Fox Spirit, Drag Noir.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when Clive Barker chose my story ‘Revelations’ to win a contest and wrote me the most beautiful letter praising my writing.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Pelzmantel was inspired by my love of fairytales, something that continues to inspire me because I’m writing a fairy tale book for Fox Spirit for next year.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
No, I write all kinds of styles and genres, which is why I also write as Graham Wynd (noir crime), C. Margery Kempe (erotic romance) and Kit Marlowe (historicals).
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Most of White Rabbit is realistic. It just has ghosts! Which most people can’t see but the protagonist James Draygo can. Then again, he is known to ingest a few questionable substances…
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Everything I write is true. Or lies. I forget which. I teach a course on films about writers and you’d think from it that that’s all authors do, write down their adventures. I lead a very dull life.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
So many! White Rabbit embodies both the dark crime I love from the greats Hammett, Hughes, Cain and Chandler but also more modern folks like Ken Bruen – his Jack Taylor shows up in the back of a bar scene. Of course Alice in Wonderland is also a huge influence on this book and so much that I do.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Richard Godwin’s Meaningful Conversations, Paul D. Brazill’s Exiles collection, The Big Midweek by former Fall member Steve Hanley, and Jo Thomas’ 25 Ways to Kill a Werewolf and a bunch of books on Aki Kaurismäki because I’m writing about him. Oh and the Scarfolk book – what fun!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Lots – the whole Fox Spirit skulk is amazing: writers from all over the world and mixing up genres with wild abandon, including Joyce Chng, Alasdair Stuart, Joan de la Haye, Jo Thomas, Alec McQuay, Chloë Yates and Paul D. Brazill.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m working on several things: a new historical novel as Kit, a modern fairy tale as CMK, a stomping wild tale of sex and crime as Graham and an old school fairy tale under my own name as well as a couple of non-fiction projects.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Fox Spirit Books skulk: writers who support each other and together have forged an identity for fiction that often crosses genre boundaries, which makes it difficult to be noticed by trad publishing and media. Only two years old and nominated for best small press by the British Fantasy Society – well done, Adele Wearing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely – my writing has got me where I am today. Everything has come to me through writing: work, love, friends, connections and so much satisfaction. If only it also came with huge wads of cash but hey.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, never look back.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Here’s the opening of Kit’s medieval adventure, Blood Moon, inspired by Marie de France’s Bisclavret:
He was wolf again.
As much as it frightened him every time he had to admit the pure joy of it. As the moon waxed his skin began to itch and he knew he could not be satisfied until he found some quiet spot in the woods, hid his clothing under some rock and fell asleep in the moonlight.
And every time he woke as the wolf his limbs sang with the joy of it. He knew he ought to be ashamed of this terrible transformation — so unnatural, surely wrong — but as he stretched and felt the power of his remade flesh and bones he loosed a howl of utter abandon.
It just felt so good. Surely it could not be wrong?
Bisclavret ran into the darkness, his eyes bright and his tongue lolling and the woods were alive with scents. Over there a rabbit, over there a stag, and soon he would hunt but not yet, not yet. Nose in the air he sought the real quarry. They had to be here somewhere.
As he ran the rich glow of the moon transfixed him. It felt like velvet upon his fur. Fur! How incredible to feel so warm yet not swaddled in layers, light and free.
That was the main thing. He had never felt shackled as a man. He was wealthy, his lands covered these woods and the farmlands beyond, he had a noble wife from a good family and the exploits from the last war he had fought for the king had filled his saddlebags with gold and gems.
Yet as he ran along the woods, naked and alone, Bisclavret felt richer than any man alive, as if the whole wide world were his. The woods enveloped him and the strength in his legs made him certain that he could run to the ends of the earth without tiring.
There! He scented them at last and let out a howl of welcome. The other wolves responded with enthusiasm and they ran to meet, upping and barking with delight. No need for the formalities of human contact, the elaborate rituals of courtly behaviour that divided people as much as it united them and made everyone feel suspicious.
The wolves had welcomed him as a brother from the first. They had followed the lead of the old grizzled lady who headed the pack. She had greeted him with soft whines as if he had been a long lost pup returned to her side. Even now she nipped his shoulder as if to admonish him for staying away so long. The easy familiarity brought him such joy and he felt as surely at home here as he had anywhere, so he did not question the strangeness but wondered if given a choice he would ever remain in this shape, give up his human life and run forever in the woods and the night.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The only real challenge is finding enough hours in the day. I’m a bit impatient to get on to the next thing, so I’m lazy. I have really good editor though, so I stay lazy.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Have to? No, maybe not. I just find excuses to do so because I have itchy feet. Inherited from my granddad.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Depends on the publisher: I have had two fantastic cover artists at Fox Spirit, S. L. Johnson who does the Noir series covers and did White Rabbit, and Sarah Langton who did the cover for Graham’s Extricate – sexy pin-ups. I was just at NoirCon and got to sign a few of those so the covers really sell them!
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My bad habit is a short attention span so I’ve made the most of it by working on lots of different things at the same time. Wouldn’t work for a lot of people but suits me. As long as I make lists and have due dates >_<
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Persist. That’s Octavia Butler’s advice. Find her essay Furore Scribendi and read it. I can’t improve on that.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably something by Dr Seuss!
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laugh: Peter Cook, Tony Hancock, Ab Fab, Black Books, Mr B, Morecambe & Wise – classic British comedy in general. Cry: Now Voyager, Holiday, Sense & Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, sappy sad films.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
At any given time I am too far from someone that I love. I want them all to be where I am.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
No head stone for me; I want to be exploded.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
What’s a hobby? Kidding: I play music. I have an all-percussion Fall tribute band called Me and Your Granny on Bongos, but I’ve fired all the members so we don’t perform.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love films and see as many as I can when I have a mo. Television, I just got up to speed on The Walking Dead so I can finally watch the current season.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website http://kalaity.com as well as https://www.facebook.com/GrahamWyndWriter, http://cmkempe.com and http://kit-marlowe.com and you can find my major publishers here:
Buying link for White Rabbit
Brendan Gerad O'Brien said:
Lovely interview, K.A. – just going over to the website to check you out …
Thanks, Brendan! And thanks, Fiona!