I’d like to introduce you to the one-hundred-and-third interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Kay Kauffman from the U.S.
Hi, Kay! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer?
I’ve always written, for as long as I can remember. I grew up keeping diaries and writing sappy love stories that were essentially soap operas and, like any good soap, they never really ended and there was always lots of death and destruction. There were even a few people who came back from the dead, like so many soap opera villains tend to do. 🙂
These days, I write poetry, fantasy, and a little bit of chick lit on the side. I love sappy love stories, and I have a lot of fun writing them. I’ve written a little bit of horror, too, but much as I love to read a good scary story, I don’t know that I’m very good at writing my own.
Tuesday Daydreams: A Journal in Verse is your first published book. It’s about capturing your life and imagination in vivid detail, and the poems in it touch on joy and loss, life’s everyday hassles, and the many faces of Mother Nature. Can you tell us a bit about the book? Did you keep a journal and then turn it into poetry, or did you journal as poems?
Mainly I kept a journal through my poetry. Tuesday Daydreams actually started out as a gift idea for a friend who’s been very supportive of my writing over the years. I wanted to put a book together, but the only thing my poems really had in common was that they all depicted things going on in my life at the time, from the changing of the seasons to a surprise picnic lunch with my husband. I write about life events in verse surprisingly often, from the big things to the small.
Your second published book is A Song for All Seasons: A Journal in Verse. It gives intimate portraits of family life and paints vivid pictures of the Iowa landscape. Can you tell us a bit about the book? How long did it take you to write it?
In terms of content, it’s much the same as Tuesday Daydreams in that mostly the poems are about nature and family, which are my two biggest inspirations when it comes to poetry. When I’m on a hot streak and really get into writing poetry, I’ve been known to write a poem a day or more. But hot streaks come and go, and it took me three years to gather enough material that I felt ready to put another book together. I didn’t want it to be some tiny book with just a few poems – I wanted it to be more like the hefty volumes on my bookshelf.
Still, it took me five years to write enough poetry for Tuesday Daydreams, so three years is definitely progress. And if I keep turning out 2,000-word narrative poems, I may have enough material for a third book sooner than I think. 🙂
You’ve had short stories published in several anthologies and will have another published in an upcoming anthology by Kristell Ink. Can you tell us about those stories and anthologies?
416 is a collection of ultra-short scary stories. The inspiration came from a flash fiction challenge on Authonomy one October, and each story in the book is only 416 words long. Flash fiction is a challenge in and of itself, but packing a complete story into fewer than half the word count of a typical flash piece is crazy. My story, “The Return,” is about two lovers separated by war and time.
Strange Portals is a holiday-themed anthology with witches and werewolves and zombies (oh, my!). My story, “Christmas Spirit,” is a Christmas ghost story about a woman celebrating Christmas for the first time afte her husband’s death.
A World of Their Own is coming soon from Kristell Ink and has three of my short stories in it. The first, “The Dreaming Moon,” set in Lokana, the world where my fantasy series is set; the second, “Meaningless Kiss,” is a sappy love story; and the third, “Final Entry,” is a post-apocalyptic piece I wrote for another flash fiction competition. I’d never done post-apocalyptic fiction before (and I haven’t done it since), and I’m really proud of how it turned out.
I heard that you previously worked as a newspaper reporter. How did you move from journalism to book writing? When did you first know you wanted to write books? Can you tell us a bit about you – what made you want to write?
I actually moved from writing books into journalism. I’ve been writing books since I was in middle school, but my senior year of high school, I joined my school’s newspaper. I enjoyed writing articles on different things, and my favorite was one I wrote about September 11 around the world. I had penpals in Germany and New York, and one of my friends was an exchange student in Switzerland that year, so it was a really interesting topic to cover.
The summer after my freshman year of college, there was an opening at my hometown newspaper, so I applied. One of my best friends and I spent the summer there, and it was a blast.
As for when I first knew I wanted to write, that’s tricky. Like many writers, I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I don’t remember what initially interested me in it, but I do have fond memories of making books for projects in elementary school. You know, those blank ones, with the white covers you could draw on? Anyway, one of those early stories was selected for a local young writers’ workshop, and I think that really spurred my interest in writing.
Two years later, my mom died, and I used writing as therapy, both through my diary and through fiction. I wrote a story that year about a brother and sister who find an alien in their backyard and take it in, and when I reread it recently, I was pleasantly surprised to find it was actually pretty decent, especially for something a ten-year-old wrote. 🙂
Do you have a favorite review of any of your books? If so, would you share it?
My books don’t have very many reviews, but this one by Callum M definitely ranks right up there: “The joy of the poems in this collection lies in their simplicity. The playfullness of pieces like ‘Flurry’ or ‘Nothing’ and the beauty of pieces like ‘Butterfly Leaves’ or ‘Autumn’s Blanket’ combine to make the collective work feel like a charming ode to the seasons and mother nature at large. An engaging, enjoyable read that’s easy to sink into.”
You’re a frequent blogger and you post a lot of poems you’ve written. Do you plan to put those poems into another book someday?
I do! National Poetry Month in April always helps me in terms of output because I write a poem a day for the duration of the month. And like I said before – if I keep writing narrative poetry, I might have enough material for a third book sooner than I think, since my narrative poetry tends to be the same length as a short story! 🙂
Do you have a writing routine?
For the last few months, my routine has been to write during my lunch breaks while I’m at work. I don’t often have a lot of time for writing in the evenings or on the weekends because we always seem to have something going on, but now I’m only working part-time. I still write on my lunch breaks, but I’m also trying to fit some writing time into that brief space of time when my two youngest boys are (supposed to be) napping. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but every little bit helps, right?
What is your favorite or least favorite part of writing?
My favorite part of writing is the first draft, getting all my ideas out onto paper and watching the story come together. My least favorite (but only by a small margin) is revision, because sometimes making all the pieces of the story fit together the way you want them to can be a nightmare and a half, but it’s worth it in the end. And when I say by a small margin, I mean a very tiny, miniscule, microscopic margin because there’s nothing as satisfying as finding the absolutely perfect way to say something, especially when you’ve been agonizing over it for any length of time. Ultimately, the whole process is fun for me because I love what I do.
As a girl, Kay dreamed of being swept off her feet by her one true love. At the age of 24, it finally happened…and he’s never let her forget it (http://suddenlytheyalldied.com/2015/04/10/photo-friday-swept-off-my-feet/). A mild-mannered secretary by day and a determined word-wrangler by night, she battles the twin evils of distraction and procrastination in order to write fantastical tales of wuv…twue wuv…with a few haiku thrown in for good measure.
The author of Tuesday Daydreams: A Journal in Verse and A Song for All Seasons: A Journal in Verse, Kay is currently hard at work on the first book in a fantasy trilogy. She resides in the midst of an Iowa corn field with her devoted husband and his mighty red pen; four crazy, cute kids; and an assortment of adorably small, furry animals.
Tuesday Daydreams captures the life and imagination of the author in vivid detail, touching on joy and loss, life’s everyday hassles, and the many faces of Mother Nature. A Song for All Seasons paints vivid pictures of the Iowa landscape in all its glory, in addition to intimate portraits of family life. From frost-covered windowpanes and snowy vistas to rolling green fields and bright blue skies, each poem is a peek into a fading world of untamed beauty. If you’d like to pick up your own copy of Tuesday Daydreams (http://suddenlytheyalldied.com/published-works/tuesday-daydreams/) or A Song for All Seasons (http://suddenlytheyalldied.com/published-works/a-song-for-all-seasons/), you can find them at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Kay-Kauffman/e/B007M4DZKE), Amazon UK (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kay-Kauffman/e/B007M4DZKE), Createspace (https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=kay+kauffman&sitesearch_type=STORE), Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kaysielynn), iBooks (https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/kay-kauffman/id919322068?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D8), Kobo (https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/search?query=Kay%20Kauffman&fcsearchfield=Author&fclanguages=all), and Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/kay-kauffman).
Care to save her from the chaos? You can find Kay in the all the usual places:
At her blog (http://suddenlytheyalldied.com/), where she shares random pictures and silly poems; on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/authorkaykauffman), where she shares things about cats and books; on Twitter (https://twitter.com/kaysiewrites), where she shares whatever pops into her head; on Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/kaylkauffman/), where she shares delicious recipes and images from her fantasy world; on Instagram (https://instagram.com/kaysiewrites), where she shares pictures of pretty sunsets; and on Tumblr (http://kaysiewrites.tumblr.com/), where she shares all of the above.