Read Part One here.
Read Part Two here.
Read Part Three here.
Airship Ambassador: Do people recognize you for The Clockwork Heart? What kind of reactions have you received?
Kim Fielding: Not from this particular story, no. But my friends and family members know about my writing, which is great. Also, a lot of people at my day job know about it. Several of them have told me that they find it inspiring that I write fiction. Some of them ask for my advice. This makes me really happy. Even better, although most of what I write is some form of gay romance, I’ve never had a negative reaction from anyone.
AA: That’s really great and rather encouraging. If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing now?
KF: Being an author has been my dream job since I was really young. I’m looking forward to the day when I can retire from my day job and write full-time.
AA: Then maybe it’s good that you are a university professor – how has it helped/hindered begin a published writer?
KF: My day job has both helped and hindered my writing. On the one hand, it means I’ve done lots of academic writing. And while the writing of a journal article or textbook is quite different from writing fiction, any writing experience strengthens an author’s craft. Being an academic means I’m skilled at research—actually, I have a totally geeky love of research—which always comes in handy. Also, I teach criminal justice, and my knowledge there is frequently useful in my stories. On the other hand, my day job is often very demanding of my time. I don’t know how many evenings and weekends I’ve slaved over exam grading or other tasks and wished I could be writing a novel instead.
AA: I can just imaging how often a great story idea pops into mind during those grading sessions, and which need to be jotted down for later review. Those students better appreciate your sacrifice! Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?
KF: If you add in my family, that fills most of my day! My other real passion is travel. I don’t really care where I go, whether it’s a day trip or weeks overseas; I just love to go. On the average, I manage to escape home about once a month. Some of my upcoming plans involve New Orleans, Orlando, and Reykjavik.
AA: Reykjavik would put you close to the Steampunk Iceland Festival. How do those interests influence your work?
KF: Travel influences my work all the time. For example, it provides settings and allows me to include enough details to make those settings feel real. One of my books, Venetian Masks, takes place in Venice, and also in Zagreb, Trieste, Ljubljana… and Sacramento. That particular book was translated into Italian, and I was so pleased when Italian readers commented on how realistic my depiction felt to them. But travel can do more than that. If I’m writing spec fic and building my own world, I can borrow bits and pieces from places I’ve been. Travel also gives me the perfect chance to eavesdrop and people watch—both invaluable contributions to my stories.
AA: Traveling, and sharing the experience can be so much fun. You are pretty busy – what interests don’t you have time for?
KF: I don’t watch TV. I mean, I seriously don’t watch it at all, the single current exception being Game of Thrones. I rarely go to the movies either. I used to knit but gave that up too.
AA: Yeah, darn that TV, it can really eat up a lot of time. And Facebook. What other fandoms are you part of?
KF: Before I began writing novels, I spent a few years reading and writing fan fiction. Specifically, Buffy the Vampire fanfic involving Spike. I don’t have time for it any longer, but it gave me a wonderful opportunity to hone my writing skills. When I learned that a lot of people loved my writing, I gained the confidence to try publishing original fiction. I also met some great people through fanfic, including a very close friend who is also a professional editor—a talent I draw on often!
AA: Buffy is a great place to start. I loved that series. What is on your to-be read or watched pile right now?
KF: Well, I’m looking forward to the final season of Game of Thrones! Next up on my reading pile are Skin Lane by Neil Bartlett, and anthology called Zagreb Noir, and Carlos Ruis Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind. On audio, I’m about to start listening to Violated by Jamie Fessenden.
AA: What event or situation has had the most positive impact in your life? What has been your greatest challenge?
KF: I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of amazing things happen—such as having two kids! They’re in their teens now, and they’re definitely my greatest challenge, but I’m immensely proud of them. Aside from parenthood, one experience that changed me was the chance to live and teach in Croatia for a semester, which I did a few years ago. I had the opportunity to not only see most of Croatia but also to spend time in several other European countries. My experiences there gave me about a million story ideas and also broadened my outlook in general. It was a challenge too, especially since I don’t speak Croatian, but it was the kind of challenge I’d eagerly take on again.
AA: Sounds like a great opportunity on so many levels, with so much to learn. Three quick-fire random questions –what is your favorite sweet pastry, comic book/strip character, and song from the 1990’s?
KF: Cheesecake, Sandman, and “Smells Like Team Spirit.” Give me all three of those at once and I’d be pretty happy.
AA: Ha, sounds like a great afternoon in a pop bakery. When you do interviews, what is something that you wish you were asked about but haven’t been?
KF: If I could wave a magic wand and give myself any talent, what would it be? Well, I really wish I could sing well. I can’t. But even more, I wish I could draw well. I can barely manage stick figures, which is endlessly frustrating for me. I’m insanely jealous of people who are talented in the visual arts.
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers?
KF: I’d like to thank them for joining us. And encourage them to reach out to their favorite authors! Nothing in the world makes me happier than hearing from a fan who’s enjoyed one of my stories.
You heard her, readers – drop Kim a note!
Thanks, Kim, for chatting with us. We look forward to reading your next story!
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