Welcome back to our interview with author K.M. Weiland! Be sure to check out her new release, Behold the Dawn!
And without further ado, here’s the second installment of our interview.
Liberty Speidel: Do you have any rituals when you write?
K.M. Weiland: Yes, I’m actually very ritualistic. My normal pre-writing routine goes something like this: pray, scribble in my writing journal, outlining the scene I’m writing and addressing any possible stumbling blocks; read an article on the craft; proofread what I wrote the day before; glance over my notes from the character interviews I wrote in the outlining stage; and watch a thematically related music video on YouTube. Oh, and I eat craisins!
LS: What are your next projects?
KMW: I continue to edit my fantasy Dreamers Come, preparing it for publication. And I’m currently outlining another historical called The Deepest Breath, set during World War I in such far-flung settings as London, France, and Kenya. A writing buddy and I are also having fun with a story that answers the question, “What would happen if Robin Hood met Sleeping Beauty?”
LS: Do you have a trusted friend(s) who looks over your first (or second or third) draft for you?
KMW: I’m fussy about letting anyone read my work before I finish the first draft. Somehow, letting someone see or have any input on a story before it’s “finished” takes away some of the magic. However, once my first draft is completed, I have two very reliable critters, Linda Yezak and Adrie Ashford, who get to mark up all my mistakes. I rely on other people as well, but these two always get first whack at anything I write.
LS: How do you determine when a story is ‘done’ and you’re ready to send it off to the publisher?
KMW: For whatever reason, I inevitably find that it takes me the time to complete a whole new project before I’m able to look at Project #1 with objectivity. So once I’ve finished a story, I toss the manuscript into the closet and let it sit there for the next couple years, while I’m working on something new. I’ll pull it out to edit it occasionally and run it past test readers. But not until Project #2 is safely finished will I pull the first one out and start buckling down to the task of discovering its worth as a publishable piece of work.
LS: Growing up, did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
KMW: I started writing when I was twelve because I didn’t want to forget the stories I told myself. But I never really considered it as a calling until much later. For most of my childhood and teen years, I was certain I wanted to train horses and barrel race.
LS: Who have been the person or persons who have influenced you most along your path?
KMW: Writing has always been a deep inner calling. I don’t think I could have helped but follow it, even if no had ever encouraged me. But my father was probably my most constructive guide. And, of course, everyone who ever took the time to encourage me is responsible for pushing me one step farther down the writing path.
LS: Which author(s) do you admire most and why?
KMW: Patrick O’Brian, Orson Scott Card, and Kristen Heitzmann top the list, for various reasons. O’Brian for his magic combination of subtlety, realism, and research. He’s one of those few and special authors who writes so seamlessly that you can’t even see through the cracks to discern his methods. Card gets props for his themes, his grit, and his fantastic afterwords, in which he explains his process in more depth than I usually dare to hope for. And Heitzmann continues to blow me way with her detailed prose. She’s a master of the “telling detail.”
LS: Is your family supportive of your writing career?
KMW: None of them are writers, or even necessarily readers of fiction, which makes me all the more blessed that they’ve never faltered in their support of my work. Even when they don’t understand all my crazy quirks, they still put up with me, love me, encourage me.
LS: When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
KMW: You mean not writing is an option? I love being outside, taking walks with my black Lab, reading, horseback riding…
LS: What’s the best piece of writing advice anyone’s ever given you?
KMW: It’s not specific to writing and it wasn’t specifically aimed at me, but a Frank Wilczek quote jumps to mind: “If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems.”
LS: What kind of advice would you offer to new writers?
KMW: First and foremost: Just write! I see so many people wanting to put the cart before the horse. But revising, marketing, soliciting agents… practicing your autograph—none of that matters if you’re not consistently putting words on paper. I always encourage people to put aside a set amount of time (even if it’s only fifteen minutes) every day for their writing. And once you’ve set it aside, stick to it! What makes good writers isn’t talent so much as perseverance.
Until next time,