Interview #106 – Author Kara Jorgensen, Conclusion

Welcome back for the conclusion in our talk with Kara Jorgensen, author of The Ingenious Mechanical Devices series, which includes The Earl of Brass, The Gentleman Devil, The Earl and the Artificer, Dead Magic, and Selkie Cove. There’s also a short story series including An Oxford Holiday, and The Errant Earl.

Read Part One here.

Read Part Two here.

Read Part Three here.

 

Airship Ambassador: Writers are often heavy readers, too. How is that for you?

Kara Jorgensen: Oh, I wholly agree and it’s something I tell my creative writing students often. I read constantly. It probably occupies more of my time than actually writing. Thus far, I’ve finished reading 94 books this year. Several of which were short stories and about two dozen graphic novels, but as you can tell, I read a lot. If you don’t read, you don’t have the same exposure to written language and the mechanics of stories that a reader has. As a writer, you’re automatically at a disadvantage. My best advice is to read a lot and widely. Reading outside your genre will teach you new skills that you can apply to your own stories and set you apart from others in your genre of choice.

AA: Learning from others and what has been written can be invaluable in finding our own style and voice. What has made you stop reading something before finishing it?

KJ: My two biggest pet peeves are wooden characters and horrible editing. I don’t mind a typo here or there. It’s impossible to catch everything, but blatant typos or hideous grammar grate on my soul. If you don’t care enough to use spellcheck or invest in an editor if you know you have bad grammar, then why should I care about your books? I try to make sure my works are edited and most of the mistakes are caught (though I always miss some). When it comes to characters, I need to connect to them and they need to have more depth than a cardboard cut-out. If a character is one-note or completely without logical motives or emotions, I just don’t care anymore. With my writing, I feel that I know my characters very well, and because of that, I can delve into their psyches and hopefully, present a realistic person.

 

AA: Recently, I finished a story which, on the whole, was fairly creative but it was in need of some serious editing to make me recommend it without caveats, for all the same reasons you mentioned above. What story would you like to write but haven’t, yet?

KJ: I would love to write a solarpunk story. The idea of a world powered by nature has been brewing in the back of my mind, but I have yet to form a plot or even characters. For now, I’ll let it stew until it’s ready.

 

AA: Looking beyond steampunk, writing and working, what other interests fill your time?

KJ: Sadly, you knocked out most of my interests. Reading takes up a lot of my free time, but my favorite part of my day is spending time with my dogs. I have border collie mixes that I love more than anything.

AA: Awwww! Dogs are wonderful! What other fandoms are you part of?

KJ: I love period dramas, so I am a huge Downton Abbey fan along with shows like Poldark, Versailles, Call the Midwife, and most things that involve historical fiction and are fairly accurate. I’m a bit of a Harry Potter nerd and tend to wear Slytherin swag on a regular basis.

 

AA: Sounds like we could have quite the tv marathon sometime! With recipes from all the shows, too! What is on your to-be read or watched pile right now?

KJ: I need to finish watching Versailles season two on Netflix along with a bunch of documentaries. My to-be-read pile is massive, but I am hoping in October to finish Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series and start the Lunar Chronicles series. I’m also a huge fan of Jordan L. Hawk and K. J. Charles, both of whom have a book coming out in October, which I am super excited about.

 

AA: Are there people you consider an inspiration, role model, or other motivating influence?

KJ: My main writing influences are Anne Rice, Oscar Wilde, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, K. J. Charles, and Jordan L. Hawk. They are all authors I’ve read extensively and thoroughly enjoyed, so I try to emulate the things I love in their writing. In real life, I am very close to a professor from my alma mater, and she has been my mentor since I was a freshman. She convinced me to double major in biology and English, and she was the one to push me to finish The Earl of Brass. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.

 

AA: Wonderful and creative people! Readers, go check out the people you aren’t familiar with.  What is the best advice you’ve been given?

KJ: Write the book you want to read. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of writing a book because you think it will sell or the kind agents want, but if you aren’t invested in a project, it shows in your work. I’d much rather write a book that I feel is missing from the canon than write what is expected. It ultimately leads to greater creativity with less pressure.

AA: Lack of interest can really show in the final results. What is something that you wish you were asked in interviews but haven’t been?

KJ: Hmm, I guess what character do you think most closely resembles you? In my case, I’d say all of my characters have bits and pieces of my personality, but Immanuel Winter is probably the closest. We share a love of science along with a heaping dose of anxiety. We also have partners who care very deeply for us, and we try to make up for what the other lacks.

 

AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers

KJ: I would just like to thank you for having me. I greatly enjoyed this interview, and I’m so glad to have gotten to share my thoughts with you.

 

Thanks so much, Kara! It was wonderfully engaging to chat with you, too!  We look forward to hearing about book #6!

 

Keep up to date with Kara’s latest news on her website and Twitter.

You can support Kara and our community by getting your copies of Ingenious Mechanical Devices here.

Also, check out Kara’s exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.

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Published in: on October 11, 2017 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment