Kim Falconer is an extremely energetic and motivated author with her latest book due for release next week. I was able to ask Kim some questions in the lead up to the release and I am so glad I had the opportunity. Kim is a truly inspirational author whose energy and thirst for knowledge is refreshing. I hope you get something out of reading through her answers, I know I certainly did.
(I really think I need to start doing these in person over coffee though, so much scope for extra questions)
When did you decide you wanted to be a published author?
I think it was from birth. The idea that I had stories to tell was there all along though my early education was fraught with shyness, insecurity and dismal self-esteem. Then there was all the ‘bad press’ on getting published. The consensus is ‘eye of the needle’ hard. It took decades to get over all those fears and believe in myself enough to really go for it. (ie think of myself as a writer, set up a disciplined routine, be willing to write several novels for practice, and most important, believe I can do it.)
The new book ‘Journey by Night’ is the close of the Quantum Encryption trilogy, what can you tell us about it?
Journey by Night was the book I’d been dreaming to write all along but the ground had to be prepared first. There are so many intricate relationships, politics and motivations in the series. They had to be put into place for this book to have a full impact. That said, JBN has elements of the five previous volumes. It explores two parallel worlds, a near future dystopia Earth where technology has failed, gender biases are rife, ecology in the toilet, totalitarian governments rule . . . You get the idea. And then there is Gaela, a magical hegemony were thoughts become ‘things’ rather quickly, genders are equal and empowered and all life is revered. There are two women who impact these worlds greatly, Kreshkali and Nell. Journey by Night is their story. Writing it took me to every extreme of emotion I’ve ever experienced. It’s quite a tale.
What inspired the creation of Gaela?
Gaela came about like the Greek goddess Athena – born full grown and screaming a war cry. This world was there all along, waiting to be revealed. In that way, the world building took care of itself, forming from the hearts and minds and ancestry of the characters who people her. *smile* I guess when you take Earth and fast forward a few hundred years to a worst case scenario, the opposite is automatically formed: Earth in another dimension, best case scenario . . . almost.
You have studied quite a long list of subjects, how many of them were related to your writing or for research?
Everything I’ve ever known goes into my writing, at least unconsciously. There are a lot of elements, like the familiars, equestrian scenes, falconry, blacksmithing, astrology, herbal medicine, tattoos, philosophies, that ring true because I’ve ‘been there; done that’. Some aspects were heavily researched though, specifically for this series: witchcraft, paganism, magic, samurai sword (six years of Iaido to write authentic sword scenes), geo-engineering, quantum computers, steam power, string theory . . . Every door I opened required a thorough literature review to keep the science and science fantasy accurate.
What has been the most interesting subject that you have studied?
Quantum theory. It’s like what Arthur C. Clarke said: ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ It’s pretty amazing. We have all these quantum physicists walking around and scratching their heads because what they are finding out about our ‘reality’ is looking a lot more like magic and mysticism than Sir Newton ever expected. And the discoveries keep coming in. As soon as one idea is established, another shows up making it all the more astounding. Weaving that into the Quantum Enchantment and Quantum Encryption series has been an absolute blast!
You are currently undertaking a Masters Degree in Writing, what can you tell us about that? I couldn’t help but ask because you are on the verge of your 6th novel being published and you have been extensively published on other topics, you seem to have transcended the need.
I love studying and the Master of Arts degree in Writing has been both stimulating and supportive of my goals. I’m taking it through Open Universities Australia and it’s a wonderful thing to have access to so many universities and post grad courses online. Of course, I am an eternal student and the MA is a stepping stone. I want to do a PhD and have several theses in mind. One is the evolution of the vampire in film and literature and its correlation to the evolution of the collective shadow. For me, learning is expansion. It is transcendence!
How do you manage to juggle all the projects you have on the go?
I have a ridiculous work ethic and I live alone. *laugh* (If you can call living with cats and crows and possums and nature ‘alone’.) Basically, I prioritise my objectives and plan my days. The writing comes first, always. I do that in the morning and keep at it until I reach my goal. If I’m working on a new manuscript, I write 3,000 words a day, seven days a week, no exceptions. I do that before anything else. I also find meditation helps. It bends time, I am sure! I meditate twice a day and voilà; I seem to have all the time in the world to get things done and still goof off.
What advice would you have for aspiring authors looking to be published?
1) Think of yourself as a writer. This is so important. You have to believe in yourself, love your work and be ready for others to read it and love it too.
2) Never give up. Every rejection is a step closer to publication. It’s not personal. It’s guidance. You have to keep going! Just do it.
3) Don’t worry so much about ‘how’ it’s going to happen. The ‘how’ can take forms that surprise us. Just stay focused that it will happen and keep writing, no matter what.
You are also an astrologer, what is it that drew you to your involvement in astrology?
My father was an astrologer so it seemed like the ‘normal’ thing to learn, like a second language. He was always tinkering away with charts (we did them all by hand back then!) and I was fascinated. I took my first formal course at age sixteen. I can’t really remember what life was like without this frame of reference.
Are there any hard and fast rules with astrology, or is it more open to interpretation?
Astrology is very open to interpretation. If you ask ten astrologers what they thought about having, say, Saturn on the Ascendant, you would get ten different responses. It’s a bit like the elephant and the five blind men – one describes the tusk, one the flank, one the tail. All of them would highlight something to do with Saturn but each would be ‘seeing’ through their orientation and biases.
Because astrology is a symbol system, there are myriad levels of expression. It’s like asking ‘what does the archetype of the Wise Old Man mean? You’ll get a lot of different answers. If someone is going to get a reading, or study a textbook, it helps to investigate the astrologer first and see ‘where they are coming from.’
Who is your favourite author?
Ha! This is always changing. Can I give you my top five? Margaret Atwood, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman, George R R Martin, Charlaine Harris.
Are you reading anything right now?
I am always reading! Of course I’m reading whatever I’m working on which is usually three novels, the one being written, the one being edited and the one in final proof. Then I’m reading whatever I need to for research. Right now I’m doing a literature review on binary suns and mermaid mythology. Finally, at night I read for pleasure. Right now it’s Jim Butcher’s Storm Front.
What is next for Kim Falconer?
I’m glad you asked! I am so excited about this project. It’s a collaboration with my son who is a 3D artist. We’re brainstorming a world, Earth down a very different evolutionary track, where the sea holds a sentience as well as the land. A mermaid story like you’ve never imagined! The characters are blowing us away!
What does being a woman mean to you?
Different things at different times! Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, even in California, being female meant being marginalised. The default was definitely ‘white male’. I had to outgrow my cultural conditioning and adopt less biased beliefs to feel fully empowered. Having my son at age 29 was a huge turning point. When you have the creative force of Mother Earth flowing through you, it’s hard to feel like an underdog. Seriously enlightening transformation!
Currently being female brings to mind the Strength card in the deck of Tarot. Do you know the one? A woman is depicted with a lion, Ishtar’s beast. It’s an image of power and seduction, wisdom and instinct. I think that sums things up nicely.
Being a woman has also given me quite an edge writing these last six books. There are issues of gender that ring all the more true because they are written from direct experience.
Thank you for taking time out to talk to us!
Thank you, Michelle! It’s been a pleasure to chat.