Part one can be read here.
Part two can be read here.
Airship Ambassador: Do you get to talk much with other writers and artists to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?
Karin Lowachee: I have a couple close friends who are writers and it’s important to be able to have people in your life who speak the same language in that way. But at the same time, one of my best friends is a musician and we have equally good conversations and help each other in our creative pursuits. Just having creative people in your life is important, just as much as it is to have people who might not be conventionally “creative.”
It’s important to have different life points-of-view in my social circle. I tend to keep my ideas and early stages of writing close to my chest and only when I feel like I want or need outside opinions do I pass it along to a couple people. But those connections are so important; writing is such a solitary pursuit that having someone to share the experience with in some way is a comfort.
AA: Creativity is both inspiring and infectious. Do people outside the regular reading, steampunk, and convention communities recognize you for your work? What kind of reactions have you received?
KL: Most of my readers come to me from my science fiction novels, or so it seems. I don’t think I’m known outside of people who don’t read genre. My readers are wonderfully vocal and enthusiastic and creative. They become invested in the characters – even the minor ones. They’re emotional about the stories. They offer pieces of their hearts to me sometimes, because of their own life experiences that resonate with my writing. Those reactions are humbling to me. It’s all pretty humbling because these are worlds, stories, characters I create, that I’ve invested in, and other people take them into their hearts. I will never take that for granted.
AA: If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?
KL: Maybe teaching, but if I could do over my university years I’d probably go to film school. It’s another form of storytelling and storytelling is where I’m happiest creatively.
AA: Most of the authors I’ve talked with have some type of day job and that writing is their other job. What has that situation been for you and how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?
KL: I teach and edit sometimes, so it’s all sort of related. I used to work in an office and that used to be pretty draining. I have a lot of respect for writers who work office jobs. I just don’t have a personality that can work like that and remain sane or any semblance of happy.
AA: It’s good to know what jobs are right, and wrong, for use. Too many people stay in jobs they hate, for all kinds of reasons. Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?
KL: Film, music, art, history, science…I mean, everything. Depending on my mood I’ll dive into one thing or another. I love discovering microhobbies.
AA: How do those interests influence your work?
KL: Everything I learn goes into what I can draw from in my writing. Which is the way it should be. And I don’t mean just the “facts” of something. I watch a film and I see how story can be expressed visually and sometimes I try to adapt that to the page. Writing a scene with a sense of beats and rhythm, for example. Or painting a long shot before pushing in to a close up – you can show that in the words you choose and I think it can make the writing dynamic.
AA: There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?
KL: I don’t have time for things like internet fights and pettiness and the sorts of things that can afflict any community, whether they’re online or not. I don’t have time or the interest for people who exist in those mentalities. As for hobby-like interests, I try to get around to everything that catches my interest in one way or another, but it goes in waves.
AA: What other fandoms are you part of?
KL: I don’t really get into fandom as such. I’ll like things and talk about them and read about them, but I don’t really participate or dive too deeply. I was really into Sons of Anarchy but it’s not like I was going to motorcycle events to meet the actors. I love the shows Black Sails and The Last Kingdom, but outside of following them on Twitter to keep up with when new seasons begin, I’m not involved. Star Wars will always be my first fandom so I’m into the new sequels, but again, I don’t really do much with it other than see the films and casually look at behind the scenes stuff. I don’t go to conventions or anything for them.
AA: Even if you don’t attend conventions and such, I’m sure it’s going to all be another great way for your readers to connect with you. Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
KL: I’m inspired by writers who do their thing in the best possible way and respect it as an art form. I have huge admiration for Jeanette Winterson and Haruki Murakami as storytellers. There are many other writers I can list who occupy that space. Reading their work motivates me. I look at the careers of writers who do it all: novels, short stories, screenplays, graphic novels, poetry … I’ve never limited myself that way either and if I could write in all of those formats in my career, I would.
AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?
KL: Probably working in Northern Canada. That was both a great challenge and an incredible, positive experience overall. My small regret is I didn’t live there longer, but my first novel was accepted during that time and promoting it would’ve been difficult from such a remote place.
AA: Three quick-fire random questions – what is your favorite time of day, cake, and place to relax?
KL: I love very late at night when things are quiet, but I think I’m a morning person in a night person’s body. The mornings feel great…once you actually rise and if you went to sleep at a decent hour. I am an equal opportunity cake eater (but anything with caramel or buttercream in it is a win). I also get unhealthy cravings for those supermarket birthday cakes, probably because it takes me back to my childhood. I love to relax facing water, but that doesn’t happen unless I’m on vacation. In the day to day, I have a chaise and a TV armed with Netflix – fantastic way to relax.
AA: HA! All of those are great! Any final thoughts to share with our readers?
KL: Thank you for reading! Either this interview or my work, or both. Hopefully it wasn’t too painful. And thank you, Airship Ambassador, for asking such a cool variety of questions.
Thanks, Karin, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
You can support Karin and our community by getting your copy of Clockwork Canada here.