My interviewee today is Paul Kater
Tell us about your latest project.
I have one project that is approaching its finish, and a few that are on the way.
The one nearing completion is a fantasy children’s book. The main character is a young witch who gets into all kinds of strange adventures with a few friends.
This little witch is the kid sister of my almost famous character Hilda the Wicked Witch, of whom I am working on the 9th book.
The last iron in my fire is the 6th story of Lily Marin, my Steampunk heroine. She is a far more intriguing character than Hilda or Charisma. Lily is a singer who has a secret, which made her develop an alter ego that she tries to hide from the people who know her. That, of course, becomes increasingly difficult.
How do you find writing in different genres? Do your fans mind and do you make it obvious for them?
Producing more than one genre is refreshing. That is the only way I can say it. Sticking to one genre for me is like looking at one thing only, and that is a waste, as I’d be ignoring so many other things. There is a lot out there in the world, each thing with its own beauty, shape and colour. Depending on my mood I prefer one thing to the other. That, by the way, is how I started writing Steampunk, because that has somewhat of a ‘dark’ atmosphere. I was not feeling very cheerful and had the urge to write. That is how for Lily Marin came to be.
I don’t think my fans mind the different genres. Some like to read many genres as well, I know of a few who also read genres I don’t write, and that’s of course fine. They also don’t want to look at one thing only.
For the people who only like one particular style or genre, there is always the choice to skip the books they don’t care about.
When I am writing something that is not the fantasy-world of Hilda the Wicked Witch, I mention that on my website and my Facebook Author page clearly, so people know what to expect. The majority of fans, I know that, are there for the Witch though.
It’s unusual for a writer’s main characters to all be the opposite gender, was this a deliberate decision or just what the stories required?
For Hilda this was deliberate in a way. Hilda was ‘born’ out of the necessity to quickly have a character which was very versatile. I quickly was clear on using magic, and what better person to wield magic than a witch? I had a view of the character’s attitude, and somehow that did not blend in well with a wizard.
Lily came to be after I had read a few Steampunk books where the main characters all mostly male. Of course, the Parasol Protectorate of Gail Carriger being a magnificent exception. For some reason, I think that writing female characters fits me better than male characters, although in Bactine, which is a Steampunk/Scifi crossover, the main character is a man. A soldier.
What book do you wish you had written?
Ouch, that is a hard question. There are so many wonderful books. I think that would be Jack Vance’s scifi fantasy series about Tschai the mad planet.
What’s your favourite genre to write and what’s your favourite genre to read?
This has to be fantasy. Steampunk and SciFi are great and interesting, but fantasy is boundless.
For reading, it’s perhaps even harder, as more than one genre have amazing books. Steampunk, fantasy, paranormal, SciFi, they all have their own attraction. I like the diversity in reading, which may be the reason why there is diversity in my writing as well.
Would you still write if there was no financial need to, and if not what would you do instead?
I have a full-time job as an IT consultant, so writing comes – uhm -… No, let’s be honest. Writing comes first, despite the job. If I could support myself through writing, that would be great. So far, I give away most of the books I have written. Only the lastest book of Hilda the Witch (part 8), and a big Steampunk/SciFi story called Bactine are actually for sale.
I cannot see me sit idle, without writing. There are too many stories and ideas inside my head. If I don’t let them out through writing, I think I’d go bonkers.
In juggling both a day job and writing do you have any tips for others doing the same?
First thing would be to be smart with the time you have, although that might be an open door. For me, writing is a creative thing that does not stop when I leave my writing software. I keep thinking about it most of the day (and night even), so I always have something with me to record thoughts, ideas, and things to research. At work that’s a simple little notepad, and in the car I have a voice recorder app on my phone. It’s quick and easy to use, so ideas don’t get lost.
Something else that’s important to me is to get out and away from everything regularly. Don’t live a life that’s only work and writing, because then life escapes while you’re busy doing other things. The best places to describe are the ones you’ve seen, smelled and felt. The best forests I have written about are the ones I walked in, as an example. Keep your eyes, nose and ears open. Pick up everything that’s there, take home a fallen leaf if you want and can. Everything can help to detail a situation better. Pay attention to people, even when you’re waiting in line to pay your groceries. Watch the rain fall, and go outside in it to experience it. You can’t convey what it is to be cold if you’ve never been cold.
What are you planning on doing next/What else are you up to?
The next effort will be to finish book 9 of Hilda. That is in a ‘crucial’ stage now. This story is a rework of three fairy tales that go criss-cross through each other. It’s becoming quite complex. I started this story after a comment in a review on “Hilda – Snow White revisited”, where someone said he’d love to see Hilda appear in another alternate version of a fairy tale. So I decided to take it a bit further, and went for two. Which somehow turned into three fairy tales in one story. (I am not going to do that again, trust me!)
And I already have plans for a new children’s book, but that’s something for the further away future.
If people want to learn more about Paul Kater and the books he has written so far, they can go to his website, where he has a separate page dedicated to the books he has published so far, and have a look (or like) at his Facebook author page or on Google+.