The blog tour has officially started! More than 50 authors participate in this amazing adventure, so please hop to their blogs listed at the top of my blog to enjoy their posts and giveaways! http://sunstoppedshining.blogspot.com
Today I have the immense pleasure to feature author Kim Koning on The Manicheans. Please welcome her and visit her site listed at the end of the great interview she’s given to win a copy of The Tales for Canterbury Anthology.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and your current projects.
I was privileged to be born in a land of myth and legend. I am a child of South Africa. Africa’s rich soil is the marrow in my bones. Africa is a land as old as time and at the heart of Africa is the Storyteller. This is a land that has formed its identity through the art form of sitting around the fire and telling stories. In many of the tribes the most revered person after the Chief and the Witch Doctor is the Storyteller. Every tribe has one. They carry the history of the tribe with them.
I write the poems and stories that I do because I am a child of Africa. Africa’s rhythms are the heart beats that give me life. Africa is a land of great contrasts. It is a land where the law of the jungle applies. It is a land of survivors. It is a land that believes in mythical creatures and a land where legends are birthed. That is what threads its way through my stories and my poetry. Raw emotion, danger and survival.
At the heart of my stories is a Magical thread:
Trials and Tribulations are the diamond dust that polish a noble and pure soul into a shining gem that can survive the heat of any soul-fire and through that polishing it grows into the person it is meant to be. Through suffering and facing grave danger my characters find their true paths as survivors. This is my Genesis. These are my stories. Step through the gateway into the unseen realms of my stories. I am the StoryTeller and this is my realm.
My current projects are two trilogies. One is a paranormal historical trilogy: This series deals with mythology, life and death, family secrets, curses and promises, love and hate, scorn and revenge. It also deals with facing your own strengths and weaknesses to become a more complete version of yourself. The other trilogy is a modern paranormal thriller about the hunt for a serial killer and how a young tattooist may hold all the secrets to both unveiling him and capturing him or succumbing to the darkness and empowering him. The choice lies with the tattooist. It is a very dark trilogy but explores how even the most harmless has both light and dark within them, it is a choice that we choose – either darkness or light.
Q: When and why did you begin writing?
I fell in love with stories and books when I was a tiny tot and my parents used to read to me…Before long I wanted to read by myself and then nobody could stop me…When I was seven we used to have the task of writing what had happened to us on the weekend for school and I used to turn these tasks into stories. Why did I begin writing? I loved the world of stories whether they had already been written or if I had to write them.
Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The first time I knew this is what I wanted to do and needed to do in life was when I was thirteen. It was my first year of high school and we were all asked what we would do later in life for a career. There was no question for me, I wanted to write. Stories, poems and words were my oxygen and had been since I could remember. Then I realised that I did not need to wait until I grew up because I was already writing…I was already a writer because I wrote every day and thought up stories and poems every moment.
Q: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have two first books. I have one that is completed now and on submission. But I have a first book that haunts my days and nights. That book I started when I was sixteen and I plan on tackling to completion in 2012. So if you are asking about the one on submission, then that was one was inspired by a long held childhood fascination with the gypsy culture and with ghosts.
Q: How did you come up with the title of your work?
I actually had a couple of titles before I settled on the current one. The title that I have now settled on was a line that kept on repeating through the story…it is the lyrics of a song that haunts one of the main characters in the book.
Q: What’s your writing style? Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I write dark paranormal fiction and thriller/suspenses. Many people have asked me why I write the fiction and the stories that I do. I have always been both a realist and an idealist. Human nature has an irrefutable dark side to it. We all do. What pushes one person to choose the dark side over the light side and is there such a thing as second chances? This is what shapes my writing style and why I write what I do. I think the message I want readers to grasp is that we are each fallible human beings with shadow and light contained within. Our circumstances, however dire, do not need to define us or be an excuse for bad behaviour. There is no excuse for cruelty. If someone is cruel, they have chosen to be that way. So my message would be to firstly acknowledge that every human being is capable of dark acts but we can choose good over evil and do not let circumstances define you or excuse your behaviour.
Q: What books have influenced your life most?
Oh there are so many. I think that every time I read a book, it influences me in some way. One of the first books that influenced me was a book called The Diddakoi about a half gypsy girl who had to fit in with both halves of who she was. My favourites in writing have been Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and not forgetting all books by Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens. These four books I come back to time and again and marvel how the authors have weaved their stories. I love all books but I am a huge fan of the classics.
Q: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Well I love the six authors whose work I have mentioned above. They were all masters of the craft and art of storytelling. Charles Dickens’ characterizations were incredible. He took portraits of his characters with words that may as well have been a camera or a mirror, the characterization was so acute. Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald had this knack of using words very sparingly but conveying so much. Emily Bronte,Leo Tolstoy and John Steinbeck were masters of human nature, both the light and dark sides all common to us. As for modern authors, my two top picks would be Isabel Allende and Stephen King. Both are master storytellers and both look beyond what just the eye sees.
Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?
My best advice would be write the story you feel and you want to write. Don’t worry about market, genre, hot trends but write the story that won’t let you go. Write the story that makes you cry and laugh. Write for yourself. Yes you can spend endless hours studying other writers’ styles and reading craft books but you are a unique writer with a unique style. Do not become a copy or imitation of another’s writing style. Do not be afraid of writing a bad draft. Every great writer has done it at least once. Believe in yourself as a writer. Write! You cannot be a writer if you spend all your time reading about how to write or what to write. Just sit down with a pen and paper and write. Trust the story. It will not let you down. Writing and storytelling is not thinking, it is pure emotion, Engage your heart. You can use your brain when you edit. Write with your heart and your soul.
Q: Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?
“The world breaks everyone and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway summed it up. My advice to readers is the same as writers. Read with your heart. Let a story speak to you. Let a story break you open. Let a story break down all your defenses and your opinions. Read with the innocence and trust of childhood. Stories are magical. But magic only works if you believe in it. Let the magic take you to new worlds.
Find Kim online at the following haunts….
Open the gateway of darkness at: http://kimkoning.com/wp
I can be found Wrestling the Muse : http://kimkoning.wordpress.com
I can also be found on twitter @AuthorKimKoning
Like my facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Kim.M.Koning?sk=app_106171216118819
My first short story is available in this anthology “Tales for Canterbury” along with 33 other great authors including The Neil Gaiman:
(I am also giving away an ebook copy of this anthology on my blog “Wrestling the Muse” for The Day the Sun Stops Shining Blog Tour.)
I see ghosts and tell tales of their visits.
I write by the light of the moon and under the gaze of the stars.
Draw up a chair, light a candle, close the windows and let me weave you stories of darkness and gateways of light.