April 26th, 2019
I asked Kara where she would like to chat:
Outside, birds are singing, getting ready for the night while the last rays of the sun cast their orange light just over the treetops, taking their warmth with them. Despite Spring’s arrival, the evening air is still chilly, but the thick blanket wrapped around my shoulders staves off the worst of it. The campfire, nestled in a pit in the ground, sends little sparks flying into the night like little fireflies, and I watch them flutter up with a smile on my face. In my hands, I hold a steaming cup of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream, and I have to keep myself from burying my nose into it. The smell of chocolate, combined with that of the campfire, eases my nerves as I settle my gaze on the one path leading to the cabin behind me. Under any other circum-stance, I would have called myself an idiot for coming here alone, but I was expecting someone, and this was the best place I could think of. I’d even thought to bring an extra blanket and a second mug of hot chocolate.
Laura Mae: Hello Ms. Kara! How has your day been today?
Kara S. Weaver: Hi, it has been remarkably uneventful I have to admit, and rather domestic I’m afraid.
L: Aw, well I guess every day can’t be a winner. Were you able to get anything done writing wise though?
K: Not yet, but I absolutely plan on doing that after our interview. I tend to write better when I’m a little tired, plus having two little kids around often makes for a lot of distractions.
L: Oh that makes sense! You write better when your tired eh? I wonder why that is?
K: Because I stop overthinking things. It doesn’t mean I don’t write well when I’m wide-awake, which is rare anyway, and maybe it’s not that I’m more tired per se, but the night holds more mystery for me. It somehow makes it easier to tune in. Maybe because the world around me has quieted down, it finally gives me a bit of space to breathe and think, if that makes any sense.
L: It does! I know what you mean though. Sometimes I can’t write in the day when so many things are going on. That’s actually very peaceful. Would you mind telling us what it is you’re working on right now?
K: Not at all! I’m actually doing two things right now. I am in the process of editing my debut novel, Crown of Conspiracy, or rather, I am waiting for my editor to return it to me so I can apply her comments, and I’ve started writing the second novel.
L: Awesome! That is truly the hardest part is waiting for it to come back all clean and shiny! Haha! So it sounds like a fantasy fiction I’m guessing? Whats the series about?
K: Yes, it’s fantasy; court-intrigue fantasy to be exactly. Crown of Conspiracy, book 1, is part of The Ilvannian Chronicles, and focuses on the life of Tarien Shalitha who finds out she and her mother are targets of a conspiracy within the palace. Forced to silence, she battles against time to find out who is behind this conspiracy to stop them, in order to save her country from war, famine, and worse.
L: That sounds really good! What was your inspiration behind this story?
K: Oh goodness. When I was around 15 or 16, I did forumbased/textbased roleplay, and Shalitha was one of my roleplay characters. During my time playing there, her backstory developed, and at some point, I just started writing her story. That was 16 years ago or so. I’m not even sure what the inspiration was at that time, but I can say this story is not even close to what I wrote then; all I remembered were the four lines of the prophecy, that she was a Tarien, a princess in her tongue, and that was about it. The story developed as it went.
L: How awesome it started so long ago! And you still admire and love the story to develop it and publish it. Good for you! Since it seems you have had a passion for creating at a young age, have you written anything else? And do you remember the first thing you ever wrote?
K: I have written short stories based on my LARP experiences throughout the year, more like journals from my character’s perspectives, but no, I haven’t written anything noteworthy between then and now. I think the first thing I ever wrote was a story of a small girl in Industrial Revolution London, and her brothers. They lived in a workhouse for a while and got adopted; she was meant to become a spy of sorts, but I’ve not touched that story in forever. Funny, I wouldn’t have remembered it had you not asked this question.
L: LARP?! Oh my god, that’s amazing. I used to do a little of that, too! That’s good though, right? Haha! I think it’s fun to look back at what you’ve done. Helps to move forward. At least for me! So Kara, do you have any specific authors or books that you love or gained inspiration from?
K: Yes. My all time favourite author is Juliet Marillier. Her Sevenwaters Trilogy made me fall in love with the idea of writing; her storytelling is so exquisitely detailed. And then there is Katharine Kerr, Trudi Canavan and Jacqueline Carey whose books I devoured as if they were nothing. I loved their way of writing; I still do. Then there’s J.K. Rowling of course, and more recently I discovered Sherrilyn Kenyon. All these women have in common they have written their fantasy worlds so well, it’s almost believable. Admittedly, Kenyon isn’t really High fantasy, but rather Urban Fantasy… but for all of them, it’s their storytelling.
L: Lovely! Yay for women authors! That’s so awesome! When it comes to reading, are there any specific tropes you’ve noticed recently that you don’t really care for?
K: Truth to be told, I haven’t read as much in the last few years as I used to. Between kids, getting a bachelor’s degree and life happening, I didn’t really have/make the time. There’s nothing that comes to mind really that bothers me, and while typing that, something came to mind. I don’t much care for the stereotypical macho man vs weak woman trope. I love myself a knight in shining armour, and the damsel in distress, as long as he doesn’t assert his dominance, and as long as she doesn’t behave like a stupid goose. I shall not name titles.
L: But I’m sure you have some in mind! I agree, I don’t care for those either. Especially in these times. It may have been acceptable back in the day, but times have drastically changed. And I can tell we definitely will not get that trope in your stories which is good!
K: No, not at all. I like strong women who can fight their own battles, and my main character will go through more than one before she sees the end of it, and even when all odds are stacked against her, she’ll get up, and fight, if it’s the last thing she does. Admittedly, she may be a tad stubborn.
L: Love it! I have a strong female MC as well, who is also pretty stubborn! Haha! Can’t wait for that! And speaking of female MC’s, do you have any personal favorite literary characters?
K: I am not sure it’s literary per se, but I really like Jamie and Claire from Outlander, and there is Phèdre no Delauney from the Kushiel series by Carey. Fred and George from Harry Potter, although I think I rather like Lupin and Snape too. Choices! Oh, I absolutely love Samwise Gamgee, and Pippin and Merry. I really had to think hard on this one.
L: Haha! It’s always a toughie! Great choices though! I’m curious about Samwise though. Why him?
K: Because he was the underdog throughout all three books, yet without him, Middle Earth would have been destroyed. No matter what they were facing, he was always the most level-headed of the two, hardly gave in to any temptations, and always had a cheerful disposition, despite having to go to Mount Doom. I’d have run for the hills screaming, I can tell you that.
L: Interesting! He was pretty essential to Frodo getting the ring there, huh? Great explanation. Alright, let’s get back to writing. What would you say is your favorite part of writing AND your least favorite?
K: My favourite part is when you have these AHA moments, and things start falling into place; where everything starts to make sense and your part starts to connect. Or when my muse throws ideas at me which shock me to the core, but then make me go ‘oh, yes, YES! And we do this…..” well, you get the point! I’d say my least favourite is editing. I didn’t mind the first round as much, but the second round, and the upcoming third round are just frustrating beyond belief! You’re so close, yet so far!
L: Love the Aha moments!! It’s why I love writing too. When things just work out and you’re over the moon with satisfaction! Haha! So I know you haven’t quite published your first book yet, but are there any regrets you’ve had so far or wish you had done in the beginning?
K: No, no regrets actually. If I could do it this way again for book 2, I’d be over the moon. I’m getting a lot of help from all kinds of directions, and am enormously grateful for that. Of course, it would have been great to publish sooner, but I’d rather publish something I’m really proud of than something I have my doubts about.
L: Of course! That’s good you’ve had so much support! It’s hard to find those really great people. I have a few now and I thank them profusely all the time! And I’m guessing since you are waiting on your editor, you are self-publishing. What made you decide to self-publish over the traditional route?
K: Well, I was told that traditional publishing I’d have to market anyway, which was one of the main reasons I’d wanted to try traditional publishing. Besides that, I figured I had more chance making it sort of successful self-publishing, because at that point, I didn’t quite believe my story would be good enough for the traditional way. On top of that, the idea of writing query letters and the endless waiting makes my breath hitch and my heart stutter so to speak. I’d rather do it on my own terms then.
L: Agreed! I admire people who have the patience to wait, but I’m not one of those people either! Haha! I feel like right now in the writing community is a really great time to be a self-published author too. So many people are coming out of the blue to help. It’s really amazing.
K: I agree! I’ve met some truly wonderful people in the writing community on Instagram, from my editor, to my betareader, to my formatter (who does more than that, and I am s grateful) to my writing tribe so to speak. I don’t think I’d have been able to push through with so much diligence without this community. I love the general support.
L: That’s so great!! So Kara, when you’re not writing and what-not, what else do you like to do in your spare time?
K: Reading, obviously….but I also love to spend my time on the couch with netflix, either with or without my husband, and play with the kids. I’m not very good at keeping too many hobbies though, and if I go for something, I go all the way or not at all.
L: I get that. You could get sucked into something and ignore adult stuff. Haha! Any particular Netflix shows you’re currently watching?
K: Yes, my husband and I follow all the marvel/DC shows. We’re currently watching Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and the Legends of DC, but I am desperately waiting for the new season of Lucifer. I mean, Tom Ellis. Enough said! When I sit down alone though, I can watch anything from silly romcoms, to animation films or drama shows. Anything makes me happy as long as it’s not horror. That’ll just give me nightmares for the rest of my life.
L: Haha! I’m a big fan of those shows too! But yes, I have to be in the mood to watch horror. Maybe once a month I’ll try something new. Very awesome, Kara! Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to talk with me! Would you mind leaving us with some advice you’ve learned about writing for aspiring authors?
K: Thank you Laura for having me! My advice would be, sit down every day to write, even if it’s just a couple of minutes. It sounds cliche, I know, but it works. Inspiration doesn’t always hit, but if you make a habit out of writing, inspiration will find you sooner than you think. And perhaps the one I love best is to just write that first draft; don’t look back, don’t edit, just write, and know it won’t be perfect straight away. That’s what the numerous editing rounds are for.
L: Great advice!! Thanks again! Have a wonderful night!
K: You too!
Kara S. Weaver is a part-time teacher, full-time mom and year-round procrastinator from the Flatlands, more commonly known as the Netherlands. She lives in a picturesque village near Rotterdam with her husband, and two hell spawn, lovingly referred to as her children. When she’s not teaching English, she’s most likely checking tests, and when not doing that, she’s writing, doing anything writing related or reading, all the while trying to keep the spawn in check. She likes to think she has a sense of humour, which some of her characters have inherited, and she’s currently in the throes of self-publishing her first book called Crown of Conspiracy. Kara hopes to publish in the second half of 2019.