Within the ranks of IWG, we’ve got some really cool authors that we’d like you to meet. From time to time we like to select a different IWG member to answer the same 10 questions about writing. With our vast variety of IWG members, there is always another facet of writing to learn about and experiences to draw from.
The next interview in this series is Debra Kemp. Debra’s primary genre is Historical Fiction and is the author of The House of Pendragon Book 1: The Firebrand and recently released The House of Pendragon Book 2: The Recruit. What follows is an energetic and enlightening interview.
President of IWG
What is your favorite word?
Pepsi. My writing space is not complete without a can of that delicious nectar.
What is your least favorite word?
I thought long and hard on this one. There are many concepts I do not like--hatred, violence, slavery, etc--but I have nothing against the words themselves. So long as we have such concepts in our society, we shall need the words to express them. I recently read “The Meaning of Everything” about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary--what an extraordinary feat to catalogue our rich and diverse language! So I think that whatever the last word is in the dictionary (OED) would be my least favorite because there aren’t any more to follow it.
What types of writing have you experimented with? (examples: poetry, novels, short stories, freelance, screenplays, plays, children’s picture books, etc)
I have two novels completed and one I started last year for NaNoWriMo. I have a few poems, not many that I would share with anyone though. I’ve also written some short stories and a few personal rants. I have also recently taken up blogging.
Debra’s Bio:Debra Kemp
Who is your favorite author?
Only one? Then that would have to be me! (LOL) Seriously though, I admire so many I’m loath to start a list only to realize I’ve left off someone. But the writer whose work that has been the most influential to me as a writer would be Thomas Malory and his Morte d’Arthur. I wouldn’t be an Arthurian writer without it. His family tree for Arthur and that storyline were the springboard for my own work. Thanks Tom!
What do you love most about writing?
When I’m in the flow and Lin and company are talking to me and the work is seemingly automatic--those are the best times. And when I finish a piece, whether a novel or something short, and realize I created that from nothing. You know, that brief instant right before you start to notice all the typos and other flubs. Fortunately the rush returns after you’ve fixed the mistakes, sent it off and get back the published piece and you hold it in your hands and say, “I did this!”
What to you dislike most about writing?
The self-promotion involved. I often feel pathetic, like I must beg to get reviewers for FIREBRAND and RECRUIT. And people who don’t understand the necessity of self-promotion often belittle my efforts--one Yahoo list owner labeled one of my efforts as spam--even though it was a topic specific for his group of people interested in “all things Arthurian”. Someone asked me once if I was famous (tongue in cheek, of course) but my reply was that I didn’t really want to be famous. I want my character, Lin, to be famous. I would much rather hide behind her! I hope to someday achieve that barrier.
Describe your ideal writing spot.
Well, the small thatched-roof cottage sits at the base of a certain hill in Somerset, England. My sun-drenched writing room, filled with books, naturally faces said hill. But I would often climb to the grassy green summit with my notebook, pens, and Pepsi rather than stay cooped up inside, even on rainy days. But rainy day walks are for thinking not writing.
OK, so it’s a good thing I’m flexible and can write just about anywhere since I really don’t have a cottage in Somerset, England at the base of Cadbury Hill. It was nice to dream a little though. I really don’t need a special place to write. When I was still living in South Dakota and working at the used bookstore, I got a lot of writing done in between customers and shelving books and figuring store credit--while standing behind the counter! Give it a try sometime--writing standing up!
How many hours a week do you spend on your writing? (Note: submissions and promotions count too)
To me it’s nearly 24/7. I spend lots of hours on-line every day in self promotion--the blog, the Yahoo groups, searching for review sites, and I recently joined myspace.com. Being a professional writer takes work! Nothing glamorous, in my opinion. Right now I’m plotting the third novel in my series, and as I said, the process is a 24/7 commitment. If I’m not at my desk putting thoughts to the page, I’m thinking about the story while busy with housework or whatever. And sometimes story ideas come at the least opportune time--during my brother’s wedding, at funerals, in an airport bar to name just a few!
What inspires your writing?
If I knew that I’d never suffer writer’s block! And I’d make a fortune from writing that self-help writer’s book! (LOL) Really though I think it’s my characters that drive me. And this ties into the last question.
Writing wise, what is you biggest accomplishment?
Creating Lin, a wholly unique character in the vast body of Arthurian literature where originality is rare. Lin’s an extraordinary character to work with--strong, vulnerable, King Arthur’s daughter, she stands up to Modred, what’s not to love? I still have a long way to finish out her story, but I don’t think anything else I ever achieve as a writer will compare with Lin. She kinda represents all those nameless souls throughout the course of time--the women, the poor, the slaves--who were never given a voice in the pages of history.
lives in Noblesville, IN. She recently celebrated 30 years of marriage with her husband, Bill. They have two grown children, both married. They have one grandchild--the divine Bouddica--four year old Tori.Debs Links:Yahoo BlogMyspace PageAmberquill WebsiteLinks to purchase Debra’s work:
I have stories (IGRAINE and THE AWAKENING) in two Bardsong Press
And more info about FIREBRAND can be found at: http://www.amberquill.com/bio_Kemp.htmlAwards won:
The House of Pendragon II: The Recruit
2007 Indie Excellence Book Award finalist
The House of Pendragon I: The Firebrand
2005 EPPIE finalist (historical)
2003 Dream Realm Award (fantasy)
1999 Paul Gillette Memorial Writing Contest--2nd place (historical)
1998 Laura Bower Van Nuys writing contest--Best of Show
The House of Pendragon II: The Warrior (old title)
2001 Paul Gillette Memorial Writing contest--2nd place
1999 Bardsong Press Celtic Voices contest--1st place
The Awakening (excerpt of the Pendragon series book II)
2003 Bardsong Press Celtic Voices contest--1st placePUBLICATIONS:
The House of Pendragon I: The Firebrand, Amber Quill Press/Oct. 2003
The House of Pendragon II: The Recruit, Amber Quill Press/Jan. 2007Short stories and excerpts:
IGRAINE, “Offerings for the Green Man”, Bardsong Press, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 2000
THE AWAKENING, The Spring of Nine Hazels’, Bardsong Press, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 2004