Read part one here.
Read part two here.
Read part three here.
Airship Ambassador: Writing can be a challenge some days. What are some of your methods to stay motivated and creative?
Kate Story: The writing group. Finding specific calls for submissions and writing something to try and fit it. Deadlines, even fake ones I set myself. NEVER EVER TURNING ON EMAIL OR FACEBOOK OR ANY OF THAT CRAP FIRST THING. It’s poison. Write first. Worry about your work obligations and f-ing likes later.
AA: How is Peterborough, Ontario for writing? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc
KS: Wonderful. You can live well here on little money. We just had 3 writers nominated for the Trillium prize, including Janette Platana who is in my writing group. Derek Newman-Stille lives here. ChiZine Publications just moved here. Invisible Press is here. There’s a wee theatre that just happens to be run by my wonderful partner where you can book a book launch event or reading event for almost no money. It’s writer heaven. There’s no local funding for writing to speak of, but hopefully that will change – some movers and shakers are working on that. It’s helpful to be near Toronto and within one of the most densely-populated areas of Canada.
AA: Do people outside the regular reading, steampunk, and convention communities recognize you for Equus? What kind of reactions have you received?
KS: I’d love to get some reactions! I want that angry surveying engineer to write to me and point out my mistakes! But little so far. There’s still time. Maybe if I got better at twerking or twittering or whatever…
AA: Hahaha, there’s just a ‘tiny’ bit of difference between twerking and twittering! If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?
KS: There is no plan B!!!!!! For a while I thought I’d be an academic. I’d be a terrible academic. I’d want all my cool students to like me and I’d wear red leather pants. EMBARRASSING.
AA: Glad to hear Plan A is working out, then. Nothing like working without any safety net. 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?
KS: See above, the “balance between writing and other life” answer. In addition I’d say that being a theatre artist as well as a writer probably has slowed my progress in both fields. But I couldn’t have it any other way.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?
KS: I like to cook for friends. I like travelling – I visit my family in Newfoundland at least once or twice a year, and just came back from a trip to Europe. I spend an inordinate amount of energy getting mad at political and social and justice (injustice) issues. I sew and knit a bit.
AA: How do those interests influence your work?
KS: I think it all finds its way into the work. But it could go further. I love how Haruki Murikami, for example, describes his characters’ cooking at length. The texture of a day, the moods, the interiority, in the midst of the extraordinary situations he creates. I think travelling is excellent for artists. And it’s so f-ing refreshing to meet people (in Europe for example) who are INTERESTED when you say you’re a writer/theatre person, instead of looking vaguely afraid and then rushing away, which is what happens here.
AA: That’s a sad reaction to get from anyone. I think writers are full of some of the very best ideas. There’s only so much time in a day – what interests don’t you have time for?
AA: I see, too long a list, then, is it? What other fandoms are you part of (as a fan or participant) ?
KS: None, really. I look in from the outside. I appreciate the energy and creativity and camaraderie that goes into fandom. Maybe if I wasn’t a theatre person I’d be into some kind of fandom, but I get to dress up as other people all the time.
AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?
KS: so many. One of my favourite writers is of course Ursula K. LeGuin. She’s amazing, really breathtaking. Her art and her politics come across so deceptively simply. Murikami, who I mentioned earlier, inspires me as a writer who seems to hang on to his own view and work; he came late to writing, and doesn’t really engage with media at all. And many of the artists I meet every day, in every field. Music, art, dance, theatre… everybody who makes work out of nothing. Wizards, all.
AA: Ms LeGuin’s name does pop up a fair bit in these interviews. What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?
KS: I think being in a stable and caring relationship has enabled me to become a more confident, content, and productive artist. I am not someone who needs misery to create – quite the opposite. I have a lot of misery material already, thank you very much. My greatest challenge has probably been the ways society and my own internal viciousness has kept me down. Part of that is being queer, and being a woman, and our society makes it harder for people like me to find our voices and create. Part of that was the barriers to finding my voice that I put in my own way, too – it didn’t all come from outside. But it was all part of the learning, so I don’t, now, regret the time it took me. And I’m still finding my voice. That hasn’t ended.
AA: Three quick-fire random questions – what is your favorite color, animal, and pet?
KS: My favourite colour is green. My favourite wild animal is the caribou. My favourite domestic animal is the cat.
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
KS: Read books! And if you write, write!
Thanks, Kate, for joining us for this interview and for sharing all of your thoughts. We look forward to hearing about your next projects!
Keep up to date with Kate’s latest news on her website.
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