Kimberley Freeman is the popular pseudonym for established SF author Kim Wilkins whose latest contemporary novel is due for release with Hachette this month.
Pseudonyms have always fascinated me so I was sure to Kim about hers in this recent interview about her career, her life and her latest book.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I never made any distinction between the pleasure of reading and the pleasure of writing, and I was a reader from the age of four. So the truthful answer is, since the age of four! I wrote my first little “book” at age 5 and my mother still has it. It’s an illustrated road safety parable!
You write under 2 different names, can you tell us a little about what prompted that decision?
The two different names represent two different kinds of book. Kim Wilkins writes paranormal/historical/fantasy, and Kimberley Freeman writes women’s adventure/romance/mystery. The two different names are there so that the readership knows what they’re getting. The interesting thing is, of course, that the stories have more similarities than differences. They are about strong, morally conflicted women who have to work their way through some intrigue or mystery.
It’s quite a jump from speculative fiction to commercial women’s fiction, what prompted the change of genre?
I felt as though I had said all I could say in the SF genre. I realise now that’s not the case, and I have lots of new ideas, but Kimberley Freeman has been very successful and so I’m tied up with her for the present. I am so excited to start the next Freeman book. I’m channelling Victoria Holt and Charlotte Bronte for this one!
Lighthouse Bay is your new novel, published by Hachette in September, what can you tell us about it?
It’s about a shipwreck, a woman who wants to escape her husband’s oppressive family, a treasure that isn’t really a treasure, and a pair of sisters who have to make up over something awful that happened twenty years in the past.
Where did the inspiration for the novel come from?
Ideas come from everywhere, but my chief inspiration was the Sunshine Coast here in Queensland. I was spending a lot of time up there, and it’s so wild and beautiful that I thought, “If I write about this, then I can show the whole world how spectacular my local area is”.
I can only imagine the challenges of writing in two totally different time periods, what can you tell us about how that came together?
I always write books that fold out over two different time periods, simply to keep myself interested and engaged. The challenge is changing between them, and in somehow making them meet each other in the end. I liked the contrast of writing about a historical woman who had no choices and was desperately unhappy; and about a contemporary woman who had all the choices in the world and had just made a hash of it anyway and was also desperately unhappy.
How do you like to spend your downtime, when you’re not writing?
What is this “downtime”?
I have a job as well, working at the University of Queensland as a lecturer in their School of English. I also have two young children (10 and 6). If I’m not being productive, I might be sitting on the couch watching British comedy and playing Bejewelled.
Many writers also love to read so I would love to ask, what are you reading at the moment?
I am reading the manuscript for a collection of short stories by Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannett called “Midnight and Moonshine”. It’s spectacular! The last book I read was Kari Gislason’s memoir “The Promise of Iceland”, a wonderful family memoir set in an amazing location.
And do you have a favourite book/author?
It’s hard to say. I loved Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon” and Robert Holdstock’s “Mythago Wood” but the author I consistently read and love is Marian Keyes.
Is there something new you are working on that you can share a little about with us?
I’m getting together the research for the next Kimberley Freeman, “Ember Island”. It’s set on two islands: one in the English channel in 1892, and the other in Moreton Bay in the present. It has a governess, a forbidden romance, and a moral choice that the main character may never recover from. And one of the characters is a writer! It’s the first time I’ve ever written about a writer, so that should be interesting. She is living a lie though. Wait until you read what she’s done!!!
And lastly, the question that is very much open to interpretation (which I think is what has grown it into my favourite), what does being a woman mean to you?
It means being soft and curvy, it means being strong as steel, it means having amazing friends, it means endless insecurities, it means treading lightly on the earth.
Thank you so much for your time Kimberley, it’s been lovely getting to know you a little better.