Kylie describes herself as an incurable nerd. In her own words: “I love all things fantasy and even do a little cosplay on the side. Growing up in a small town surrounded by cornfields, I had nothing better to do than fantasize about unicorns and elves. As an adult, I still refuse to grow up, and spend most of my time creating stories of comedic fantasy. When I’m not writing, which is hardly ever, I enjoy reading, drinking coffee, and spending time with my family and friends. I also run, although I don’t enjoy it so much. I currently reside in Indiana with my sister, nephew, horde of cats, and one very silly dog”.
Welcome, Kylie, let’s get this interview under way. I’ll start by asking you when you first realised you wanted to be a writer?
When my twin sister decided she wanted to be a writer. Haha! But seriously, I’ve always aspired to be a writer, even before I knew how to write. My sister and I would illustrate picture books and make up stories together. Learning to write only made it easier. I spent years dabbling in writing, never really completing a project, before I finally decided to take this writing thing seriously. I spent three years writing and revising what is now my debut novel. Looking back, it shouldn’t have taken that long, but I only recently decided I wanted to become a published writer.
How would you describe your book in a way that makes it stand out from others in the same genre?
The Quest for the Holy Something or Other is an Arthurian parody, meaning it pokes fun at King Arthur and his realm. The book includes original characters and takes artistic liberties with ones that are canon to the Arthurian universe. What I’ve done to Merlin will knock your socks off! Also, the story doesn’t try to be historically accurate or time period appropriate. I did my research, but then I applied artistic license, adding modern references where I saw fit. If you like Monty Python, George R. R. Martin, J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, or Gerald Morris, you’ll probably enjoy this book.
That’s a tough one, but if I had to choose just one, I’d say study The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White. Learn from the experts. Hone your craft. Simple as that. Oh, and write what inspires you. That’s also good advice.
What is the philosophy that underpins your work?
My goal, as a writer, is to entertain readers, to make them laugh, while simultaneously exploring themes and issues that are relevant to them in a way that helps them grow as a person. I think storytelling should be done with purpose and consciousness, even comedy—no, especially comedy—should make a point.
Humour is so useful for getting a point across, Kylie. I’m definitely of the same mind as you and have always thought that authors are primarily entertainers. What gave you the idea to set up your League of Comedy Fantasists?
I was working on a blog about cross-promotion when I stumbled upon information on author teams. I had never heard of author teams before, but thought it might be a beneficial way to help myself and others in my genre. I knew a lot of comedy and light fantasy authors (aspiring and published) through social media and thought this could make an excellent support group as well as marketing team.
Mostly, it’s a lot of fun, and I like the idea of helping other authors like myself. Likewise, they offer me a ton of support. It’s camaraderie at its best!
Why do you think cosplay has become so popular?
I believe people chafe under strict social norms and too much routine. Everyday creative people are forced to work uninspiring day jobs in order to eek out a living. Meanwhile, the creative voice inside their head is screaming for release. That’s how it was for me anyway. I work for an organization that demands a reputable public image. After 40 hours of that a week, five plus years in a row, I was chaffing. Cosplay allowed for me a chance to take my obsession of fantasy and Lord of the Rings to the next level, to become (for a brief time) a version of the character I enjoyed most. Granted, my Tauriel is a bit sassier than the movie version, but that’s what cosplay is all about. It’s about spending time in a fantasy character’s shoes while hanging out with other people who are as equally crazy as you are! And the best part is, no one is judging. The weirdness becomes the social norm. It’s about fun, fantasy, and acceptance in a world that tends to be a bit narrow-minded when it comes to what’s acceptable. I think the rules have bended a lot more in recent years and activities like this are becoming more socially acceptable. I expect cosplay to grow in the upcoming years.
You’re so right, Kylie, and I think this kind of role playing is really healthy. People need a creative outlet. Talking of creativity, is there a work in progress you’d like to tell us about?
Oh, my gosh, yes! My current work in progress is a comedic fantasy series, currently untitled. Basically, it follows the adventures of a young man called Mongrel who was raised by wolves, dwarfs, and elves, and finally comes to his own with the help of Margo, a wizard’s apprentice and other fantasy trope characters. The main story arc is told in three books, with the addition of several standalone novels that fill in the gaps in between. I have drafted both books 1 and 2 and am starting on book 3. I hope to have the first book available by October of 2015.
It is said of writers, don’t make them angry or you might end up parodied or horribly slaughtered in their next novel. Have you taken revenge on anyone in this way?
Of all the characters you have created, do you have a favourite; and, if so, why?
Like any parent who tells their children they don’t have a favourite, I do. I’d be lying to say otherwise.
To choose one from my recently published work, it would have to be Pig, simply because she’s optimistic and quirky. Plus, she sees the best in people, which is a great trait to have.
But my all-time favourite would have to be Margo, the wizard’s apprentice from my untitled fantasy series. I know, I know, the series isn’t even out yet, but once I wrote her into the series, there was no question she was my favourite. Dark, brooding, sulky, sometimes awkward and oftentimes smart-alecky, Margo is a girl most of us can relate with. Plus, she has magical powers, albeit ones she can’t yet control, at least not in Book 1. I know my readers will enjoy her.
I like the sound of Margo! Being an author does have its good points but writing is also a very time-consuming business, requiring concentrated effort, and then comes all the editing, rewriting, blogging, networking, interviews, etc. It can be relentless. How do you switch off? What helps you to recharge your batteries?
There’s an off switch? Just kidding, though to be honest, I would be a total workaholic if not for my twin sister, Toni. She is the puller of the switch who comes in and shuts me down when she sees that I’m about to go into nuclear meltdown. Usually, we break to watch movies, spend time with family, or have some wine. Wine is the best way to wind down after a hard day of writing. I also run; although, I have not been very motivated as of late. Naughty me. Regardless of method, it’s important when pursuing writing as a career to step back once in a while to refresh.
Yes, actually. I’ve considered writing love novels . . . but then I remember my romances are terrible. You might disagree, but I find they tend to be too realistic where things don’t always work out and whatnot. I’ve toyed with the idea of writing fantasy that is not comedy, but I’ve never been able to take myself that seriously. I think I’ll stick to my niche.
I know what you mean. I don’t think I could leave out the humour either. Well, Kylie, thank you so much for taking time out to do this interview. It only remains for me to add your book blurb and buy links and wish you every success with your work.
Enter the Realm of Camelot, home of famous legends: King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Merlin—but this isn’t their story. Meet Pig, a humble gong farmer who dreams of the glories of Camelot. Her dreams become reality–or so she thinks–when she becomes Sir Kay’s page. What starts off as a joke soon becomes the adventure of Pig’s life when Merlin sends the knights on a quest for the Holy Gift Box–er–Bread Basket–whatever it is! On their quest, they face many knight-worthy, and some not-so-knight-worthy, foes: an insane pond dweller, several greedy salespeople, and an overzealous cache seeker, all the while fighting against time, mostly each other, and the most infamous villain of all—change. The Quest for the Holy Something or Other is a fresh and funny take on a well-known legend, with engaging characters, some rather good jokes, and something that starts with S, but it isn’t important.
Available in paperback and Kindle at:
You can also contact Kylie on:
And please check out her author’s team: http://litchicblog.wordpress.com/the-league-of-comedy-fantasists/