Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
K.A. Laity: age? Old enough not to want to say because we live in a culture that despises age especially in women.
Fiona: Where are you from?
Originally Michigan (the lower peninsula, which looks like a mitten)
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I have lived many places: currently I divide my time between the Hudson Valley in NY and Dundee in Scotland whilst traveling all kinds of places in between. I write fiction, non-fiction, academic and whatever else strikes my fancy. I am an English professor at a small liberal arts college, the kind actively being destroyed by neoliberal forces at present.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m working on a fairytale novel for Fox Spirit; I’ve recently finished a mainstream novel, Hire Idiots; as Graham Wynd I have a couple of new things coming soon – a noir novella and a giallo serial; as Kit Marlowe, I have another medieval Breton Lai novel coming along to join Knight of the White Hart. As Basil Morley I have a manifesto for our times: How to Be Dull.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always written: it’s the way I think. I never know what I really feel until I write about it, which is why I have journals going back to about the age of ten.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think always, though as I child I thought all writers were dead already. When I realised it was a thing you could do, I assumed it was not something for the likes of me. I suppose when I first started getting paid, I began to believe it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first published novel was inspired by my medieval research for my dissertation and fairy tales (Pelzmantel from Immanion Press). My first novel written was a comic tale of an accidental spy. I wrote it in high school to amuse my friends.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title of your current book?
The two Graham Wynd projects are Love is a Grift (novella) and Madonna of the Wasps (giallo serial). Both are swiped from lyrics, though oddly enough not songs by The Fall. The novel I’ve recently finished under my own name, Hire Idiots, is swiped from William Blake.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I have many styles, though I think the voice is the same. But I play up some aspects and tone down others: so Kit Marlowe’s books are light and fun, Graham Wynd’s are dark and mordant, Basil Morley’s are just very silly.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Oh, real life seldom makes good stories. It’s too unbelievable. I sometimes use news stories or steal names from real life. I use real settings. They tend to be more vivid. Although Hire Idiots is the thing I swore I’d never write, a roman a clef, inspired by what’s happening to academia at the moment.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have to travel because it’s my nature. It depends on the kind of travel. There’s nothing as relaxing as a hotel room. No history, no distractions.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I’m fortunate to have some great artists who’ve done covers for me like Stephanie Johnson (sljohnsonimages.com) and Sarah Anne Langton (secretarcticbase.com). It’s generally something I leave up to the publishers, so I am grateful to work with terrific publishers who pay for those artists.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Life is strange and unpredictable.
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?
Oh, I try not to talk about current authors because so many of my friends are authors and it gets a bit awkward. I’m currently devouring classic crime authors like Dorothy Hughes, Elisabeth Sanxay-Holding and Patricia Highsmith, both reading and writing about them. Everybody fixates on Chandler and Hammett (though often I wonder if they’ve actually read them) but these women are absolute genius.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Adele Wearing, now head of Fox Spirit Books: she was a book blogger when I met her and supported my work even then. When she became a publisher, I was gratified that she has continued to support my work and buy my stories.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see it as a non-stop practice. In late stage capitalism, it doesn’t pay the bills for many people. It’s painful to see long-successful creators struggling while vile industrialists get richer.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
As I haven’t finished it, I’m still making changes.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Same lesson I learn from each one: Every book is different.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Helen McCrory (because she’s so awesome).
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Remember the fun.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Buy more books. Preferably mine. And reviews: they count for so much. They need not be elaborate or detailed.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Elf Queens and Holy Friars: Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church by Richard Firth Green
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Probably Go Dog Go.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Peter Cook/my royalties
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Jane Austen: she has such sparkling intelligence and wit. I could tell her to stay away from the arsenic (I know, that theory has been disproved but –)
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writers don’t have time for hobbies 😉 I do play music on a variety of eclectic instruments and sometimes sing.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I loved Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and I keep rewatching bits as I keep writing about it. Hannibal: sublime. Buffy: always. We’ve been catching up on Grimm which is fun. I haven’t seen any films this summer, which is rather terrible.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Chocolate, martinis; blue and sometimes purple; all kinds of music but since I steal so many titles from the lyrics, I’ll have to say The Fall.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She specifically requested not to be buried so this is probably a hoax.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
http://kalaity.com (general nonsense and scholarly things)
http://kit-marlowe.com (historical nonsense)
HOW TO BE DULL
Have you had enough of “pushing the envelope” and “thinking outside the box”? http://amzn.to/2cc07FX