April 19th, 2019
I asked E. Kathryn where she would like to chat:
“When the social anxiety hit me, I went straight for my violin. How do I find words for the rock spinning in my stomach, or the calm that rushes over me when the muscles in my thumb strain and my jaw tightens while I play the jagged and restless notes? Anxiety is like karaoke, you inform the intended party of your interest in performing a certain song, and must then wait for your turn having swallowed a cement rock and entered into an agreement to then vomit it up in front of twenty-or-so people, maybe more, maybe less, depends on how well the bar is doing—or if it’s a weekday.
Violin on the other hand is my peace. My release, my chaotic screaming, when it isn’t socially acceptable to turn-tail and run from engagements. I have horrible posture thus violin is slightly more physically taxing than it should be, and I am far from a perfectionist in the craft. The first time my dog heard the sound she cowered under the table, now she sleeps in the grass belly up like the staccato isn’t scaring away the birds. My fingers cramp, my neck isn’t faring better, I should probably buy myself a taller shoulder rest, but that doesn’t matter now, I just need a few minutes. One or two rounds or Soft Universe, or Under Stars should calm me down.
There’s no avoiding it, this is good, I just need to cool my nerves before she gets here. The ground is still saturated from the abnormally heavy rainfall we’ve been getting this year, but at least the grass is dry enough to lay down a blanket, to sit with my puppy and keep my violin safe from any mud. Finally the sound hits me, the car pulling up through the wooded driveway, up the steep hill to my Victorian abode, run down and run amuck with too many kids for Mark to take care of. It still amuses me how the whole situation has turned out, and the little hovel I’ve created for him to take care of, seems as lively as my family home back in Sumerduck.
She finds a place to wedge herself between the fifteen-passenger van, and Ira’s white angel of a muscle-car. I muster the will to stand, hurrying down the garden steps whilst ensuring not to slip on the moss which coats the stone. When she gets out, I have to swallow the stone a little harder, beating back my anxiety with a warm smile.
‘Welcome to the Viridian!'”
Laura Mae: Hello Kathryn, how are you today?
E. Kathryn: I’m doing fine, enjoying some nice spring weather.
L: Sounds lovely, same here! It’s raining so it smells sooo good! Haha! How’s your writing coming along?
E: I haven’t gotten much writing done lately because I’ve been self-editing so hard.
L: I hear you there! What are you editing currently? And would you mind telling us a little about the story?
E: No problem, I’m currently getting my second book Laevatein’s Choice ready for the professional edit which I’m sending off this weekend. I’m so excited for this book, I’ve tackled some tough subjects and rewritten the book to fit with my broader vision of the story.
L: Very nice! And for those of us who might not have read the first book, would you mind telling us a bit of what it’s about? The Shadows: Fires Hope?
E: Fire’s Hope is the introduction to the Shadows Series which will span over 15 books 14 of which are already written. The Shadows have three abilities, one unique power, the ability to enter a pocket dimension called the Realm and also turn invisible, and they all have one inert understanding of a human trait, like empathy or music. Fire’s Hope introduces Mark as he gets thrown head first into a settlement called the ASH, that imprisons the young Shadows that are supposedly dangerous.
L: Interesting, Kathryn! 15 books you say! That’s quite ambitious. Where did you get your inspiration for this story and why so many?
E: It honestly started with a dream I had when I was 13, but that was just inspiration for FH. once I finished the first draft I was on the high of finishing my first project and decided to just keep writing. This resulted in some of the most pointless dribbles I’ve ever written and I’ve finally turned the second book into a meaningful plot. Since then I outline everything to keep myself organized. I finished the first series and got ideas for a second, now I’m on the third series and I’m planning a series of solo books.
L: Oh wow! I love the enthusiasm! And I know that you love to draw as well. How did your artwork help with keeping the dream alive?
E: I’ve never really seen myself as an “artist” and I view my drawings as very technical, it helps for me to visualize the characters, and also saves me a bit of money on graphic design. I’ve experimented with anime/manga styles and I’m pushing myself into hyper realism but I can’t get myself to part with the bright colors in the characters’ eyes and clothes.
L: You most definitely are an artist! But as with writing, it all takes practice! You’ll get there one day! So, what would you say is your favorite part about writing?
E: Hehe well I’ll admit I’m a bit of a sadist, I love writing long bloody fight scenes, and for some reason I’ve come to love writing about characters recovering from injury or sickness. not to sound morbid but something about them being in pain makes it easiest to tap into their most human personalities.
L: Ooh, I like that! You’re right though. I enjoy writing about human emotions and pain. I feel it’s something we can all relate to! What about your least favorite part of writing? We all got one! Haha!
E: Hmm… I guess the only times I come to dislike writing is when I’m doing an arc I’m not super invested in. Like if I have multiple perspectives and I don’t feel like writing that one today. I’ll plow through it then I can always go back and add to it when I’m inspired.
L: I could see that. It’s good to hear that you still do it, even if it’s difficult though! So Kathryn, what are you currently reading right now? Would you mind telling us what it’s about?
E: I’m trying to get myself over the hump with starting a new book so my current read is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. My long time friend has been shoving it in my face for a while and I already love Kaz, but I actually don’t know much of what it’s about. I like to surprise myself.
L: I’ve heard a lot of good things about that book though! I hope it gets you over! Haha! Do you tend to write a lot of the same genre as the types of books you read?
E: I mostly read fantasy and urban fantasy, but I consider Shadows to fit sci-fi and I don’t read a lot of that.
L: Very interesting! Do you have any inspirations as far as other authors or books for your writing?
E: I take a lot of inspiration from movies and tv shows I watched as a teenager, and lately I’ve been taking more inspiration from psychology and social issues which has always been a core theme of the Shadows. As far as authors go, I always say Christopher Paolini and Gail Carson Levine are the ones who inspired me to write in the first place.
L: I love that! Basically, you get inspiration from pretty much anything around you. That’s awesome! So besides writing, what else do you like to do in your free time?
E: Well obviously I draw when my fickle muse decides to show its face. But my favorite thing other than writing is playing the violin, which I picked up when I was 16. I’m amateur, but I don’t let that stop me from rocking out.
L: The violin is one of my favorite instruments to listen to. What do you enjoy about it?
E: Oh the emotion! I’m not one to move to music a whole lot but when I’m playing the violin it just moves me and I feel like I can dance. There’s a few songs I like to play that have such deep emotion in them it makes me want to have a good cry and be happy. Violin has a profound magic over emotions while I’m playing it.
L: That’s really cool! You are a very multi-talented, creative person Kathryn, I wish you all the best! And I wanted to say, your second book is being edited right now, do you have a date in mind yet or is it still pretty far out there?
E: I’m looking at July for it to be print ready, but we’ll just have to see, FH was print ready in August and it still wasn’t released until November.
L: Very cool! And you’re taking beta readers for it still, is that right?
E: Yes, I’d like to get a few more eyes on it for feedback before I finalize everything.
L: Great! I will link it below for anyone who is interested! It’s been such a pleasure to talk with you today, Kathryn. Would you mind leaving us with some writerly advice for aspiring writers?
E: Thank you so much for having me, this has been a blast. I can’t really think of anything that won’t be cliche, like “write everyday” or “be kind to yourself” So I guess my closing advice is more general to everyone “We are all Shadows” in everything that makes us unique, we all share the same world and the same struggles and we need to see our similarities, we are all the same.
L: Lovely!! Thanks so much again!
Writer, Illustrator, musician, humanesque creature who doesn’t get enough sunlight and lives solely on tea, E. Kathryn started writing The Shadows when she was thirteen years old. Brought up in northern Virginia with her six siblings and tons of animals, she was homeschooled and given the freedom to write to her heart’s content. When she’s not writing incessantly, E. Kathryn enjoys drawing, playing the violin, and collecting and consuming way more tea than she needs.
The Shadows: Fire’s Hope – The Shadows have three abilities: one unique power, the ability to enter a distant Realm and communicate through it, and one inert understanding of a human trait.A little overzealous during an MMO raid, Mark’s hands suddenly burst into flames revealing he’s a Shadow. They’re dangerous, powerful, and contained in a hidden facility covered by a shield known as the ASH. Mark can’t possibly be a Shadow, but he’s still thrown into the ASH like just another monster.Afraid the fire will consume him, he clashes with the icy Shadow, Silverstonarellena, certain he’ll live out the rest of his days imprisoned and paranoid of angering his roommate. Still, he holds onto hope that he’ll be able to escape and return home, but it might be more complicated when he finds out he has the power of an Orchestrator named Shadow Hope, allowing him to pass through the shield and free all the Shadows.Even if he is some powerful Shadow, why didn’t he know? Why wasn’t he taken to the ASH at birth like the rest of the Shadows? And why won’t anyone give him straight answers? He fights to trust the Shadows. Even though he wants to help them, he fears there’s an even bigger mystery unraveling when he uncovers the suspicious death of a Shadow who had attempted to escape and may have been his doppelganger.
Buy it here!
The Shadows: Laevatein’s Choice – Mark has had a few months to adjust to being a Shadow and is now faced with the fact that he has powers in a mundane world. He’s not a superhero, he’s a teenager, there’s nothing grand about his powers, and he essentially has no purpose. His goal for this book is to find a productive way to use his Shadow, and satiate his need for adrenaline.
The themes of this book will reflect on the story as a whole. Familial struggles, divorce, abusive personalities, and addictive behaviors. Mark is an adrenaline junkie and finds a mentor who will train him to use his seemingly boundless energy. His father, January is a very ritualistic character who struggles to deviate from habit. And Emilie is a very reluctantly caring figure who takes on other people’s struggles when she can’t handle her own. Another major addition to the story is introducing Adult Shadows. The last book focused on Teenagers and how dangerous their unrefined powers are, whereas this one will establish how much more powerful, elusive, and potentially more dangerous refined adult Shadows can be.
If you are interesting in BETA READING this story, click here!