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Interview with Kaje Harper + Storm Moon Press Anniversary
Today, MKR is delighted to welcome Kaje Harper for a chat as part of Storm Moon Press 3rd Anniversary Blog Tour. Please join us as we get to know a little bit more about one of MamaKitty’s favorite authors, and check out the giveaway at the bottom for your chance to win a Grand Prize of 1 FREE e-book each month of 2013 (for a total of 12 free e-books!) or a $25 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon or All Romance eBooks.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been published for close to two years now, but I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil. Most of my books are M/M (gay) romance, but I also write a little Young Adult LGBT under the pen name Kira Harp, and I have a lot of other unpublished stuff in other genres. I’m 52, married with two teen daughters and an epically patient husband. My usual avatar is my crazy little white dog, who serves as my muse and, in Minnesota’s frigid winter, as a lap-warmer.
I have about 20 stories published so far, including 8 novels. Two of the novels and several short stories are freebies, if anyone wants to try out my style. I also co-moderate the Young Adult LGBT Books group on Goodreads, for people of all ages with an interest in YA fiction with LGBTQ characters. A lot of my non-writing time lately goes into facilitating that group, hanging out and sometimes writing short, free fiction for it. Books were my friends, my solace, and sometimes my saviors as a teenager, and I like to think I’m passing some of that on.
Did you dream of writing when you were a little girl or did you dream of other things like being a ballerina (or world domination, like me)?
Writing was just what I did, even then, at any idle moment… well, writing and reading. What I wanted to be was a doctor, or a veterinarian, or a horse trainer. Or a gymnast (didn’t last long – I have two left feet.) Or a police officer (Turns out you can’t have 20:400 vision for the RCMP.) Or an astronaut (except getting seasick on Lake Superior is not a good omen, and then there were the glasses…) Um… remember all the reading? – a talented author could make anything sounded good to me at the time.
Were you always interested in writing m/m or did you start out interested in something else?
I wrote everything – when I wrote my first M/M short story I think I was 14, and in the next few years I wrote a bunch of very fade-to-black Starsky and Hutch slash fanfiction. In my version, they did a lot more interesting things than just drink beer together on their days off. But I was writing mystery and fantasy and SF at the same time. And horse stories. And straight romance. And excruciating poetry and not-half-bad limericks.
What is the first book that you can remember making an impact on you? Why did it make such an impact?
When I was six, I reread A Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett over and over for about a week. Maybe two weeks. I remember just falling into her setting – the moors, the house, the garden slowly coming to life behind its walls – and I fell in love with Dickon and his ability to charm the animals. I wrote additional bits in my head at night, where this Canadian girl shows up with her collie dog… I don’t know when my love affair with books really began, but I do remember that moment.
What is your writing process?
Begin at the beginning, go on to the end, and then stop. Then edit a bit. Seriously, my stories start with an image, a character or two in a moment of time. I start writing, and the story happens on the page.
I keep planning to be more organized, to plot ahead, to do character bios, but so far, this process has kept me writing. It has the advantage of being both creation and discovery, since I’m never quite sure what will happen next. And going back in midstream to edit is fatal for me. I tried, when I was in my teens and twenties, and never finished a novel because I’d be so discontented that each revision would get less far along than the one before it. I ended up with really polished first chapters… I hate rereading my own work. Now, I don’t edit until the first draft is done.
How do you approach revising?
With a lot of avoidance, squinting, and large quantities of chocolate.
What authors inspire you?
In M/M I have a lot of writers I love, many of whom are very different from me in style, but inspiring in the range of stories they give me. Amy Lane’s guys touch me, Harper Fox’s prose is amazing, Tamara Allen’s historicals transport me in time, Aleks Voinov can make darkness an enticing place to go, Heidi Cullinan makes guys who love BDSM make sense to me, Tere Michaels does great family, Kate Sherwood makes me cry, Josh Lanyon can’t be beat for mysteries with character, KD Sarge does young guys with flair, Ginn Hale, ZA Maxfield, James Buchanan… it was James’s “The Good Thief” that inspired me to send “Life Lessons” to MLR Press – I love her cops. In a way, they and so many other writers have opened up the field to all kinds of wonderful story-telling and thereby made a place where my stories fit in.
What are your top 5 comfort reads?
- “Hot Target” by Suzanne Brockmann (followed by the two sequels that get to the HEA for Jules and Robin)
- “Comfort & Joy” by Jim Grimsley
- “White Knight” by Jim Butcher (non-romance urban fantasy – middle of a series)
- “Paladin of Souls” by Lois McMaster Bujold (M/F fantasy – book 2)
- “The Fire’s Stone” by Tanya Huff
How much of what you do in your day-to-day life goes into your writing?
Well, all writing is informed by our life experiences (so raising my kids hopefully makes the kids in my books more realistic.)
Until now, I would have said, “Not a whole lot is taken directly from life,” but I just finished a book about a guy whose mom is sliding down into elderly dementia, and that was my self-therapy book, so now I’d have to say, “in some books, more than in others.” The mom in that book is the only person I’ve taken from real life, though. Mostly, what I use is context, setting, places I’ve been or pets I’ve owned. Things like that. The people only live in my head.
Do you write to music? If so, what’s your favorite music to write to?
I don’t. I get so oblivious when I write that I wouldn’t hear it. I think that’s a legacy of trying to write when the kids were younger. Screams of pain get through to me, but not much else.
Describe your short story from Storm Moon Press’ Carved in Flesh in 140 characters or less.
Realism (with dub-con) in a fantasy setting: Garvin loves Nyle enough to do anything to steal him back after soldiers forcibly conscript him.
What do you love most about writing?
When I cannot make the real world bend, to be kind to the people I love, I can write about guys facing daunting challenges, large and small, and bring them safely home to a happy ending.
What do you hate most about writing?
Editing – I am happiest right after a first draft is done, even if objectively I know each draft makes the work better.
What are you reading right now?
Rereading “Queen’s Man” by K.D. Sarge. I love her main character, Joss.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I have a website – http://kajeharper.wordpress.com/ – where I blog perhaps once a week, mostly about writing. You can find some of my free short stories there, along with a book list.
If anyone wants to join us at the LGBT Young Adult group on Goodreads, we are happy to have you there any time: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/49526-ya-lgbt-books
And then there’s the Storm Moon Press 3rd Anniversary Blog Tour, in honor of which I’m here today
THIS OR THAT
Peanut butter or jelly?
Jelly – sweet over sticky
Chips or cookies?
Cookies, preferably with chocolate
Best talent: music or art?
I’m not half-bad with a pencil and sketchbook; I am half-bad with a piano.
Print or eBook?
Ack… both? There’s nothing like cuddling up with a favorite in print (and print books never crash on me) but for travel, space on my overloaded shelves, and reduced dead tree products, I do like ebooks. And I sell a hell of a lot more of them.
Pen or pencil?
Pencil – with an eraser.
Best friends: as many as possible or only need one?
One. And there have been periods in my life when that one was imaginary. I’m the quintessential introvert.
Notebook or computer?
Computer, now. I have boxes of notebooks, but the delete/back-space and cut-and-paste functions make publishable writing possible.
Print or cursive?
Print. I have very nice, neat printing. Really.
Zombies or vampires?
Vampires. Dead is fine, but rotting bits falling off are just gross.
Angel or Spike?
Spike – definitely. Cheekbones, snarky attitude, frequent clothing deficiency, and lack of brooding – how can you beat that?
This interview is part of Storm Moon Press’ 3rd Anniversary Blog Tour! Comment on this post or any other post on the blog tour with your e-mail address, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize of receiving 1 FREE e-book each month of 2013 from that month’s new releases for a total of 12 free e-books! Runners up will receive a $25 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon or All Romance eBooks. For more details and to find out about our 3rd Anniversary, head over to Storm Moon Press’ Official Blog. Thanks for joining us!
I am a filthy-mouthed 29-year-old full time mommy/wife/student, bookaholic, Twitter addict, & self-described tomboy-princess. I am never without at least one book (I usually have two... sometimes more), and I will be happy to tell you ALL about whichever book(s) I happen to be reading at the moment. :)