Interview with Author K.L. Schwengel

Today I am interviewing indie author K. L. Schwengel. She recently released her fantasy novel, First of Her Kind: A Darkness & Light Novel.

Everyone, it seems, wants to dictate what Ciara does with her life: Serve the Goddess, destroy the Goddess, do as you promised your aunt. All Ciara wants is to keep the two magics she possesses from ripping her apart. And that won’t be easy. Not only are they in complete opposition to each other, blood ties pull her in divergent directions as well. And then there’s Bolin, the man sworn to protect her. There’s no denying the growing attraction between them, but is it Ciara he wants? Or her power? None of which will matter if Ciara can’t overcome her fear and learn to use her gifts.No one knows the depths of the ancient power she possesses, or what will happen if it manages to escape her control. Will she lose herself entirely? Or be forever trapped between darkness & light?
•     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •     •

Tell us a bit about yourself, Kathi.

Ergh…um…let’s see, I’m the youngest of nine children. Everyone thinks that means I was spoiled being the “baby of the family”. Yeah. Not so much. I didn’t get spoiled until I was in college and all my siblings had moved out. My mother was a librarian, and that’s probably the reason I love books. I always wanted to be a writer, it just took me a while to get here. Although I always wrote, other things took my life over. You know, falling in love, getting married, pursuing an art degree (BFA) which led me down a couple different paths, most of them creative, some not. I have what has been termed a dry sense of humor, and have been told I wield sarcasm and non-verbal communication like weapons of warfare. I raise Australian Shepherds and Katahdin sheep, pine for a horse of my own, and would really love to actually learn how to use a sword.

A sword! That would keep competitors on their toes. What ignited your idea for First of Her Kind ~ A Darkness & Light Novel?

This line: “There was nothing for it. In another turn of the glass, Meriol would be dead.” It popped into my head one day and I ran with it. I’m a pantser so I had no idea where it would lead me. That original line didn’t make the final cut, but what an adventure it’s led me on!

Isn’t it interesting how a germ of an idea turns into a full-length novel. In your heroine Ciara’s words, please tell everyone why they should read this book.

In Ciara’s words, “Look, I can’t make you read it — well, I probably could, but I don’t want to. You should read it because then you’ll understand how absolutely frustrating certain individuals can be.” Glares at Bolin. “Oh, and because it’s a tale of coming to grips with who we are, and accepting that. Something I’m still working on.”

I like Ciara already. She’s fiesty. As an aspiring novelist myself, I’m always interested in how other writers balance writing and life. How do you do it, Kathi?

Sometimes not very well at all! Thankfully I have a husband who doesn’t need a lot of constant attention so long as he’s equipped with the couch and a remote. 😉 That helps. He knew I was the independent type when he married me. I write on my breaks at work, and ONLY on my breaks. <cough> I try to write every day but, honestly, it just doesn’t pan out that way.

Not only is there the day job, I’m very active with my dogs and competing in herding trials throughout the spring/summer/fall as well as teaching others to do the same. My laptop is pretty much my constant companion. But I have many, many, many stacks of post-its, scrap paper, napkins (seriously), with scenes, notes, etc. written on them.

If I’m deep into something, I tend to get annoyed by distractions. I’ve learned to take a deep breath, put myself in the other person’s shoes (usually my husband’s, and coincidentally, we wear the same size), and hold up a finger. (See, non-verbal communication.) It means, “Give me just another minute to finish this thought, then I’m all yours.”

During the winter months I have all evening to write. During the rest of the year I usually write in the late afternoon. There’s a 2-hour window between when I get home and my husband gets home. That’s the time.  Weekends tend to get gobbled by everything else.

Oh boy, you are a busy gal. Maybe you can use that sword to bushwack through your day. What writing projects are you working on currently?

I have a short story that will be published in an anthology due out this spring. And, of course, there’s book two in the Darkness & Light series, tentatively entitled Emergence.  I’ve actually got bits of book three written as well. Crazy characters won’t let me be. I also have an urban fantasy/romance on the back burner. I diddle with it when I’m stalled on book 2.

I’m thrilled that you’ll have more books for us to read. Why did you decide to go the indie route?

I believe in the story I’ve written. That’s what it boils down to. That, and I’m a control freak. The idea of being in charge of the entire process from start to finish is too much for me to pass up. I just read an excellent article about self-publishing. The author likened it to being an artisan. I like that. The fact is, I created First of Her Kind from scratch, just like a painting. And now I’m sharing it. 

Your reasons make sense, and I’m excited that you took the plunge. Thanks so much for hanging out at 4am, Kathi. I wish you all the best with your novels. And sword.

First of Her Kind is currently available in print at Amazon & Barnes & Noble, and in e-book formats at Amazon & Smashwords. Kathi is also offering autographed copies.

0 thoughts on “Interview with Author K.L. Schwengel”

    • Hi Alarna,

      I love the artisan image, too. I think that because indie authors have to map out their path not only for the writing of the book, but also for the publishing and marketing, we need to be creative across the board. Our imagination doesn’t stop once we finish writing.

  1. Nice Q&A, Kate. The book sounds good… but I’d be even more interested to read a memoir starring the author! Youngest of nine children? Australian shepherds? Swords? Sounds like a great nonfiction book!

  2. “Although I always wrote, other things took my life over”—This is so true for all of us, isn’t it? It’s not until we add our writing to our priority list that we finally see results. Nice interview, and I wish K. L. success with her book!

  3. Great interview! I can empathize on that youngest thing. 😉 Nothing like being picked on by a brother 11 years older to teach a 5-year-old girl how to fight dirty. Where was a sword when I needed it? 😉 I’m looking forward to reading the book. 🙂

  4. Good work, Kate. And K.L., your novel sounds wonderful. I’m also fascinated by your being the youngest of nine. Makes me want to know your story and write a book about it 🙂 Best of luck in your future writing!

    • Thanks, Amy. 🙂 I’m not sure how fascinating being the youngest is/was. I guess for me it’s pretty normal. One of my best friends is an only child and I just can’t fathom it. There was no such thing as privacy for me until I moved out on my own.

  5. Fun interview, Kate with a super interesting character of an author. I liked your, “maybe you can use that sword to bushwhack through your day.” I’d like a sword that does that.

  6. Great interview, Kate! I love it when we get to see more of an author with these brief but probing questions. Kathi’s insight into why she went indie – and how to make it work – is truly inspiring.


  7. I liked Ciara’s personality immediately. Great interview! I especially like hearing what gets a pantser’s story going. Interesting how that line popped into Kathi’s head but she didn’t actually use it in the book. It was just enough to get her going. Nice!

    • Hi Arlene,

      I like Ciara, too, and I haven’t even read the book yet. Although Kathi did post a couple of excerpts on her blog that showcase Ciara’s personality quite well!

    • For the first two drafts I fought to keep that line *the* first line of the book. But, it wasn’t meant to be. I also originally wrote quite a bit of the beginning from Meriol’s POV, even though she wasn’t long for the world. One day I’m going to dig out my first draft and compare it to the finished product. Although, that almost scares me . . .

  8. First of Her Kind sounds wonderful and I love this interview, Kate 😀 It’s great to see authors going the self-pub route. I’ve seen it from both sides and self-pub is SO much better 😀

    ps – Australian Shepherds are beautiful dogs! 😉

    • Hi Dianne, I have become more and more interested in hearing from authors who go indie — especially after they’d been so sure they were going the traditional route. Thanks for swinging by!

    • Hi Dianne, anyone who thinks Aussies are beautiful dogs is immediately on my Cool list. 🙂 Of course, their sense of humor occasionally leaves something to be desired.

      Self-pubbing is definitely a lot of work. But quite a bit of my research showed that traditional publishers were asking for just as much work without compensation. Time will tell, I guess. So far, I’m rather enjoying it.

  9. Great interview, 4am. I love how you guys touch on the idea that writing is sort of like reading….you have an idea where it’s going, but you don’t know how it’s going to end necessarily. Great stuff.

    • Thanks, Cayman. Not knowing exactly where I’m going is not always such a good thing. There are times I flounder aimlessly – but that usually tells me there are problems with the bit I’m working on. Once I figure out what that is, I can fix it and move on. Of course, it also might mean my characters have decided to run amuk again.

    • I hope you enjoy it, Kourtney. It’s funny, but answering that question from Ciara’s POV was tough! I think because I’m working on Book Two and she’s grown up a little bit — well, for the most part. 😉

  10. For someone whose life is as full as Kathi’s is, she is certainly prolific!

    There was nothing for it. In another turn of the glass, Meriol would be dead.”

    This was a first, I’d never heard of someone basing an entire novel on one line. I love that she took it and intuitively ran with it. I call it “downloading” from the universe when something just pops into consciousness like that. Congrats!

    • Wow, Danika, “downloading from the universe”!! I love that. 🙂 I think that must be exactly what happened. Good thing my antenna was working that day.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

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