Name: Kylie Betzner
Where are you from: Somewhere and nowhere in particular. Just kidding, I’m from Kokomo Indiana.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I grew up in a small farming community outside of Kokomo Indiana, so you can imagine the view outside my window was pretty uninspiring. To entertain ourselves, my twin sister and I used to write and illustrate books about unicorns and other fantasy creatures. In middle school, we both discovered reading as an outlet to better and more interesting places. It wasn’t until high school that I became serious about publishing. As an adult, I work full-time for an independent organization that sponsors the community’s at-risk youth. It’s a very rewarding career, but writing is my true passion. My goal is to become a full-time author alongside my sister who also writes. She’s also my editor and life-coach. Haha. When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, dabbling in art projects, running, and spending time with my family.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just released my debut novel The Quest for the Holy Something or Other on January 30th 2015. It’s available in paperback as well as e-format on Amazon. I am hosting a giveaway to celebrate its release. For details, go to my blog or visit me on Twitter.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, since before I can remember. My twin sister and I were “writing” and illustrating books before we even knew how to construct a full sentence. These stories were mostly nonsense about ponies and witches and whatnot, but they set the foundation for a promising writing career. It wasn’t until high school that I realized I could write for a living. I always viewed writing as a way of entertaining myself, but was blown away by the thought that my words could entertain others. I spent the last few years of high school learning how to write and seeking advice on publishing. I studied education in college, while honing my craft. After graduation, I began work on my first novel, an Arthurian parody inspired by my best friend who introduced me to the comedy genre. Recently, I began work on a comedic fantasy series. My goal is to not only entertain my readers but to inspire and educate them as well . . . and hopefully make them laugh too.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself an excellent storyteller, but I didn’t see myself as a writer until I began work on my first serious writing endeavor.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I always wanted to write an epic fantasy novel, but nothing I wrote was ever taken seriously. Then a friend of mine introduced me to the comedic fantasy genre and authors like Terry Pratchett and Gerald Morris. Inspired, I finished my first work in the genre, an Arthurian parody centered on a former gong farmer and Camelot’s most inglorious knight.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes. I’ve spent years developing a personal writing style that is unique to me. I’ve received lots of praise from beta readers and editors alike for my writing style. It’s fun, energetic, and original, I’m told.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Coming up with the title for my novel was actually really easy. Because the story centers on a physical quest, as well as an interpersonal one, I wanted to include that in the title. The item my characters are in search of is often mispronounced and/or forgotten so I worked that into the title as well.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Of course. I don’t think there’s a reason to write a story unless you have a message to share, otherwise it would just be comedy for the sake of comedy, and who wants that? All of my works will carry a specific message. The message of my first novel relates with change, mainly the difficulties and benefits of accepting change and the consequences of standing against it. My novel also examines value and puts into question what determines real value.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Because my novel falls under Arthurian parody, I will honestly admit that very little of the novel is “realistic” in regards to time period and setting; however, I did my research when it comes to medieval customs, clothing, occupations, etc. Then I tossed aside half of what I learned in favor of artistic license, added in some modern references, and thus my novel was complete. Even the map itself marks Camelot “Somewhere and nowhere in particular.” What is realistic are the characters. Their interactions, dialogue, and personalities are completely believable and relatable, even to the modern reader living in today’s society. I don’t think readers will find a hard time navigating the world I’ve created.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Very little inspiration of the actual story was based on anything that happened to me in real life, and I make a point not to base any characters after people I know. But I did draw inspiration for the villain of the story from one of my best friend’s personal hobbies. She is a geocacher, which means she goes around looking for hidden boxes and trading items for other items and whatnot. Since my characters were on a quest for a hidden item, I thought it would be relevant to have the villain also in search of the item, but for her it’s a cache item. So geocaching became a big part of my novel.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
One of the books that has influenced me the most is Secret Sacrament by Sherryl Jordan. I read this book during my freshman year of High School and it has stuck with me ever sense. The book deals with family, loss, coping, change, and decisions. Throughout my life, when encountering these things, I have turned to this book for comfort and entertainment. As a writer, I was greatly influenced by Terry Pratchett’s novels. His was the first parody I ever read, and I fell in love with the genre. His works inspired me to write comedy as well.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Terry Pratchett would be my ideal mentor. He’s witty, professional, and fun, and always keeps it relevant. He’s written so many books without burning out. I want to know what has kept him inspired this long.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Karen Miller is one that I recently discovered and greatly enjoy. Her unique writing style and indulgent stories have really won me over.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Currently, I’m working on a comedic fantasy series, currently untitled. Basically, it follows the adventures of a young man called Mongrel who was raised by wolves, dwarfs, and elves, and finally comes to his own with the help of Margo, a wizard’s apprentice and other fantasy trope characters. The main story arc is told in three books, with the addition of several standalone novels that fill in the gaps in between. I have drafted both books 1 and 2 and am starting on the 3rd. I hope to have the first book available by October of 2015.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Outside of family and friends, I feel supported by my friends and followers on WordPress and Twitter. I can’t say enough about the awesomeness of the online writer’s community and how supportive everyone is and how willing everyone is to share advice. I feel fortunate to be a part of this community.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
On the days when I am truly optimistic I do see writing as a career. Starting out, it can be difficult to see, sometimes, but I know if I stick with it, my writing dreams will become a reality.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
To be honest, I’ve made so many changes to this book already, I can’t think of another one I’d make at this point. Haha!
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always been interested in writing, even before I could form letters. My sister and I were always illustrating stories for one another. When we learned to write, it became all the easier. I think a lot of it had to do with our mom reading to us when we were younger and our desire to share stories for entertainment.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Enter the Realm of Camelot, home of famous legends: King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Merlin–but this isn’t their story. Meet Pig, a humble gong farmer who dreams of the glories of Camelot. Her dreams become reality–or so she thinks–when she becomes Sir Kay’s page. What starts off as a joke soon becomes the adventure of Pig’s life when Merlin sends the knights on a quest for the Holy Gift Box–er–Bread Basket–whatever it is! On their quest, they face many knight-worthy, and some not-so-knight-worthy, foes: an insane pond dweller, several greedy salespeople, and an overzealous cache seeker, all the while fighting against time, mostly each other, and the most infamous villain of all—change. The Quest for the Holy Something or Other is a fresh and funny take on a well-known legend, with engaging characters, some rather good jokes, and something that starts with S, but it isn’t important.
Scene: (if you want to include)
Pig was still pondering how the game piece happened upon the heap when a young boy dressed in servant’s attire approached the pit. Startled, Pig pocketed the game piece and slowly turned to face him. He stood several feet away from the pit and held a handkerchief to his nose. His voice was muffled when he spoke, but his repulsion could not be masked. “Are you the one they call Pig?”
“I am,” she said carefully. No one had ever approached her while she worked. It was practically forbidden. “Who wants to know?”
The boy seemed equally confused as he recited his orders. “The king requests an audience with you. You are to report to the Great Hall right away.”
“Now?” Pig gasped, looking down at her filth-covered clothes. “I—I can’t be seen like this . . . I have to wash first.”
“The king requested that you come as is.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding time to write is probably my greatest challenge. Then focus. After that, wordiness.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Terry Pratchett is my favorite author for the simple fact that he’s awesome. His works are relevant, witty, and just plain fun!
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Unfortunately, I lack the income to travel far for my book. Ideally, a trip to England would really have benefited my descriptions and whatnot, but it just wasn’t an option. I do travel some short distances for my books. For example, I’ve visited my local park prior to writing a traveling scene. I’ve also made trips to bars, coffee shops, and other local places prior to writing scenes in which my characters are visiting said establishments. I’m currently planning a trip to a you-kill-it-we-grill-it style bar for inspiration of a restaurant I want to feature in my fantasy series.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Kristie L. with 2Faced Design Designed the cover art for my first novel. I hope she’ll consider helping me with the ones for my fantasy series as well.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The second half. Haha. Seriously, that is where most books fall apart. Tell me I’m wrong. I had to rewrite the second half three times to get it right, but now I’m confident that it’s how it was supposed to be.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing a book is not easy. It takes time, patience, and many many many failed attempts. Only perseverance and a ton of coffee will see you to the end!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. Seek help often and early on. There’s tons of advice on WordPress and Twitter from those who have walked the publishing path before you. Take advantage of the time you have now to learn as much as you can about the craft and the industry before you jump in. Arm yourselves with knowledge. Knowledge is power. There is no excuse for a writer nowadays to be a recluse, not when social media has made it so easy for us to form a wonderful online writing community.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes. You’re welcome. Just kidding. I want to thank you in advance for even considering reading my novel. I know you have many many many titles to choose from so if you take the time to read mine—and to the end—you are my new best friend! Please enjoy the novel and let others know if you do. I really want to know if this book was to your liking.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t remember what it was called, but it was about a pig that wore wigs . . . no wonder my sense of humor is askew.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Everything makes me laugh and everything makes me cry. Puppies and kittens in particular.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would like to meet and why?
- R. R. Tolkien is the first name that came to mind. I have always wondered about his unfinished works and how they were meant to be told.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Reading, of course, is one of my main hobbies. I enjoy dabbling in art projects. I also run, although I don’t always enjoy it. I don’t watch a lot of television because it’s a waste of time. Spending time with family is important, but mostly, I like to write.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t watch a lot of television, but I try to keep up with Game of Thrones and Walking Dead. My favorite movies are The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy. All Disney movies are good by my book.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food is food. I try to eat healthy. My Pandora plays anything from Disney songs to Irish folk music to alternative rock.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
If I wasn’t a writer, I would pursue Community Theater. Acting was always a passion of mine. But I hope to remain a writer.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Here are the links to my books:
Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RY5KO6E/ref