Interview with The Magic Violinist (Wait, I Mean Kate)

GUYS! I'M DOING AN INTERVIEW! THIS IS SO COOL!

Oh, um yeah. Professionalism. I've got to calm this down a bit. Let's just ... I'm just going to introduce Kate.

Kate I. Foley is a sixteen year-old author who's been published in several anthologies and generally enjoys reading voraciously while believing in the impossible. She also blogs about books and other parts of the fangirl life over at The Magic Violinist - which is hands down one of my favourite websites to visit. 

Her latest book, 'Til the Last Star Dies, is a YA Fantasy Romance concerning queer witches and a demon who wants to use them to set the world alight. She's just entered it into the Inkshares Geek and Sundry Fantasy Contest, and YOU can help her win - not to mention get the book published. More information on that here.


I'm guessing you guys don't want to hear any more of my blabbing - considering how awesome this girl is - so I'm just going to start the interview. From now on, anything in bold is what I've said, and normal text is Kate:

How did you feel when you heard about the Inkshares competition? Can you tell me what it was like when you decided to enter?
I didn't actually know that it even existed until my Mom tagged me in a post on Facebook, and as soon as I saw the words 'Geek and Sundry' I started getting really excited. I am a long time fan of Felicia Day - You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is one of my all time favourite books - and basically everything they do is great. Any chance to be associated with them at all ... it's amazing. 

When I looked at it at first I thought it had to be for finished, revised, totally polished novels, but when I looked more closely at it,  I saw that it didn't even need to be completely finished to enter. I kind of entered on a whim and that really kicked me into gear to finish it up.

Wow! Were you worried you wouldn't finish it?
Oh, a little bit. I think every writer deals with a good deal of procrastination, and I definitely do, so that was my goal, just to get it finished in time to enter the contest, and I think I've nearly gotten it.

What inspired you to write 'Til the Last Star Dies?
So that's actually a really interesting story, because usually I have some sort of lame answer like 'it came to me in a dream' or 'I was taking a shower' like a lot of writers have, but last year I joined Tumblr and through it I met this group of fangirls who were really into the TV show Supernatural - which is an obsession of mine. I joined this role play, and we've been doing it ... about every day, here and there for a long time now. It's still going, and two of my friends, Sammy and Charlie, created the characters. 

Those characters, along with the plot of the role play, sort of became a guideline for the story. It's not exactly as it happened when we were role playing it, but that was the big inspiration and the characters have remained largely the same.

Who was your favourite character to write? Least favourite?
Um ... I love all of my characters for different reasons, but I think it would have to be Lila. There's so many layers to her, since she is an immortal, she's been alive for thousands of years. She's literally seen the world evolve from the beginning, so I think that was my favourite, getting to deal with her and her memories.

There's no real 'least favourite' ... I think Melody's been the trickiest just because she's a closed off character in general, and closed off characters make it harder for me to get to know them. She's been a challenge, but in a good way.

What's been the hardest part of the whole writing process? How did you cope with it?
I started out writing a pretty detailed outline for the book - that's something that's helped me recently. I used to totally fly by the seat of my pants, but at this point I know where it's going in general. However, sometimes as I'm writing it I realise that's not the way it's supposed to go, so I have to rearrange a lot of plot points and figure out how to get the important information in there whilst still keeping the plot intact. So ...[the hardest part is] just making sure that it all makes sense in the reader's mind as well as my own.

[As for coping], I have a folder with detailed notes in it. Demons and witches are pretty common ideas for most people, but since I was creating my own version of them I wrote up entire sort of Wikipedia-article style on how they worked. So I have all their powers and all their weaknesses and their histories written down, and it's all in this giant folder of notes that I have to go through every so often to remind myself what's happening.

(Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard correctly. Kate basically has a Pottermore of notes for this book and the whole thing is amazing.)

What's your favourite writing snack?
Depends on my mood - usually I go salty, so popcorn's a big favourite of mine. It's easy because it's not super-messy, so it doesn't get all over the keyboard.

So you started blogging as a homeschool project, right? Has your motivation to blog changed in the eight years you've been doing it?
Definitely. For the first year or two, I'd say, my parents had a schedule for me: Mondays would be book reviews [for example]; Wednesdays would be journaling about my life and that sort of thing, so I always knew what I was doing and I just had to write based on the topic. But now, since it's grown into this book blog, sort of ... just random bits of different fandoms, it's largely been on me to come up with what to write about. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it comes easy, and now the schedule's all on me, so I really have to put effort into keeping up with all of it as well as work, which I'm sure a lot of bloggers can relate to.

You can get frozen, or sometimes you can post every day for two weeks and then nothing happens for a month. You really have to do what works for you and not get too hard on yourself, because blogging should be for you anyways.

How does being a blogger affect you as a writer?
Being a blogger really connects me to my readers, I think. And they're not necessarily going to be the same readers who read my books, or vice versa, but you get a real inside look at the book and blogging community, so you know what people are looking for, and you know what people like and don't like. Sometimes, that affects me in a negative way, because I start writing with those things in mind rather than the story that's calling to me, but I think it helps in a way because your mind's going to be opened up to new ideas. It's gotten better over the years because I've been writing for such a long time that I can mostly sort through the voices and find the ones that are helpful and the ones that are just being negative to be negative.

But ... it's always a little tricky to write knowing that someone else might read this someday, and what if my parents read this? What happens if this friend reads it? [This means] different scenes end up getting worked in ways that are going to please the people who read it, and that's not a healthy way to approach writing. But that's what revisions are for - you can go back and say 'oh, I don't know what I was thinking there'.


Which do you prefer, blogging or writing? Which do you find easier?
Oooh. Well, I think the two go hand in hand a lot. I don't know where I'd be today if I didn't write, so I have to go with that, but blogging has definitely been a huge part of my life. Blogging I think is ... easier for the most part, because it ends up being shorter, and a lot of the topics about what to write are already out there. I think it's The Broke and the Bookish who do Top Ten Tuesdays, so there are prompts like that, or blog posts from other bloggers ... you already have a lot of inspiration at your fingertips, and writing you have to be a little more careful not to copy, or do that sort of thing - it has to come from you. That takes more work and it ends up getting pushed off, I think.

Deadlines [as come with blogging] definitely help keep me on track, like NaNoWriMo ... as hard as it is, I always end up doing the 50,000 words even if all of it's nonsense. So, I think maybe setting deadlines for yourself is something that can help with writing, too. It gives you a little bit more accountability.

What's been the proudest moment of your writing life so far?
Oh gosh, um ... that's really difficult! So a few years ago - maybe two years? it's all running together Fauxpocalypse Anthology was published. It was the first physical copy of my work that I knew people could buy and read, anyone in the world, and that was really cool. My local bookstore, Aaron's Books, invited me to be part of their local author signing, and I got to sit at a table with another author and my book; people could come up and ask me questions and have me sign their book ... it was just really surreal because I'd spent all my life going to author signings, and all of a sudden I was the one behind the table. I was fourteen at the time and it's insane - I still don't believe it.

What's your biggest writing dream?
I think meeting J.K Rowling would be my biggest dream, but I know that's not realistic, in any way shape or form!

[But more realistically] Reading books has always impacted my life in one way or another, usually for the positive, so if my writing can do that in any way for any reader, even in the smallest amount, I think that would just be huge. It really gives another level to my writing I guess, and getting to hear readers say that my writing's made a difference in their lives ... it would be extremely rewarding, knowing that something you put so much work into, and probably wanted to quit a few times, was worth it in the end in that way is the best thing that could ever happen.

How do you think you're going to achieve that?
Well I think with this book in particular, there's really a lack of LGBTQ+ fantasy stories - really lots of stories - and I think people want to see themselves in writing, but they don't always want to see themselves portrayed in the same way, so having that kind of diversity in a story that's maybe not already out there is going to be big for a lot of LGBTQ+ teens who are reading this.

I've always found that, for some reason, finding diverse representation in general is really difficult. Is there a way that you think we as a community can make that representation easier?
There's never going to be an easy fix to something like that, because it's just ... that's not how the world is, and I wish it were different, but I think the biggest thing is that people who are in those
situations where they're dealing with it themselves can help others who are sort of outside from that understand what it's like. If each group of people are understanding of each other and really just want to learn and help, that's going to be the biggest thing, rather than getting angry with each other. I see a lot of people get angry online - and sometimes rightfully so - but if people can just try to be a little kinder and more understanding of both sides and how difficult it is for different reasons, we can help with that.

I guess, your post about disability on your blog was great because it was informative, but it was kind, and I didn't feel like I was being attacked for not knowing. (I promise I did not force Kate to say this. It was so nice of her - and you can read the post here if you want.) I learned things that I didn't know and I think that's what a lot of people are missing, that kindness when they're trying to learn. If we can all realise that we're all just trying to learn and be empathetic and be better people, it can make a big difference.

So ... that's the end of the interview, guys. I'd just like to thank Kate profusely for doing this with me and answering all the questions so well - and don't forget to pre-order 'Til the Last Star Dies! For $20, you can get a signed paperback (shipped free in the US), an eBook copy AND access to drafts and updates from Kate. If for some weird reason she doesn't win (because she really deserves to, right?) you'll get your money back.

Also, you can visit Kate online at The Magic Violinist or on Twitter with the handle @Magic_Violinist. If you want to chat with her or ask questions more privately, the email address is themagicviolinist@gmail.com



In the comments: Do you guys have any questions for Kate? I'll make sure I pass them on.


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2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for doing this with me, Lara! :) I had tons of fun and you're a great interviewer!

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    1. Thank you so much for being such a brilliant interviewee, Kate! I had a blast and I really think people are going to be interested in what you've said. x

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