Thursday, 26 February 2015

Women in Horror: D Kai Wilson-Viola/Sabrann Curach.

The magical and very creative Kai Wilson!

When did you start writing horror?

I think I was about 14.  I’d just finished reading the Stand for the first time and wanted to write something post-apocalyptic for my end of year hand in for English.  So I wrote about a spaceship, stranded in the void, between travel spots, being invaded by ‘demons’.   Funnily enough, several years later, I was playing a game of DeathWatch (a roleplaying game based around Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40K) and we played almost the same scenario.  It was a lot of fun, and my partner was so amused when I told him about it later.

Have you written in any other genres?

Yep!  I write a little bit of everything.  I don’t really think of genre as a thing until I’ve written the book. I don’t find it limiting or anything – I just try not to shape the story by guessing – most of my books have an element of transgressiveness, or horror in them, but that’s only how it turns out

What makes you uncomfortable?

The usual stuff.  Child abuse, bestiality.  Dinosaur porn.  That said, I’ve read Du Sade and Nabikov, and the prose is sublime.  It’s quite uncomfortable to read it and still think that the language is beautiful.  I was really lucky though that I got to do a degree a few years ago in writing, and we confronted a lot of the frightening and uncomfortable stuff and discussed it.

Does your family read your work?

My partner does.  My son does for my YA books, eventually.  The rest of my family – not so much.  They’ve never really shown an interest in my books, and I don’t push it.

Does your writing make you uneasy?

Sometimes.  Depends what I’m writing and what I’m dealing with.  I’ve written a couple of rape scenes, and some bits about schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s (I have mental health problems, and sometimes it’s like looking in the mirror a little bit).  But I think that if I’m not feeling anything (unease, joy, sadness, fear), then the readers aren’t either.

Who would you say you write like?

Myself?  One of the few things that came out almost instantly in Uni was that I had my own ‘voice’ and my own style.  I’ve been influenced heavily by my favorite authors and my tutors had a gentle hand in teaching me some polish – so, though I write like ‘me’, I’ve had a lot of solid help to make sure that I’m doing it ‘right’.  I couldn’t have been more proud when one of my friends said to me that they could see how much work I’d done, but that I was still recognisably me.  It sounds arrogant, but I’ve always had my own voice and style, so it’s hard to compare myself to other writers.

Who are your favourite authors?

Oh, long list.  Stephen King, Valerie Douglas, Hugh Howey, Adam Baker, Alistair Reynolds, H.P. Lovecraft, Chantal Nooderous, Paul Kater, Mary-Ann Peden-Coviello…. I love reading new books, and I’m getting into new indies all the time.  I’m lucky enough to be involved in one of the biggest, award-winning groups on Facebook, so I’m always finding new writers to read

Who influences you as a writer?

First and foremost, my partner.  He’s always listening to me talk about stories and adding his input.  I’ve also taken a couple of his characters from our roleplaying games and built books around them. I’m influenced by friends too – there’s no way not to be.  I try not to read in the genre I’m writing so that it doesn’t ‘bleed’ though – so when I’m on a horror kick, I read sci fi or nonfiction.  Fantasy means I can read horror.  My thriller series means I’m reading non-fiction because it blends everything else.

Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?

The Magic Cottage by James Herbert – I’d begged my mom to let me.  Around the same time I read 1984 and Brave New World, and I sorta consider them horror stories too – both talk about a dystopic world where we’re expected to follow the rules, or be drugged into doing so.

How old were you?

12-13. My high school didn’t have a clue what to do with me so the librarian quizzed me, sent a letter home and kept a close eye on me.  Because of that though, the school stepped up some of my lessons so I was challenged a bit.  I can’t complain at all about my life at High School – I hid from bullies in books, and my teachers let me.

Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?

I can’t write child abuse.  I’ll allude to it, but I just can’t do it.  I think Nabakov, as I mentioned said it all anyway.  Other than that – I dunno, if it advances the story, anything mostly goes.  I’ve written male and female rape, I’ve written borderline bestiality (dragons breeding with humans). I’ve written incest, in a horror story called ‘Ink’.  The main rule is ‘story advancement’.

What was the best advice you were given as a writer?

Follow the story and don’t sweat it till you edit.  Nanowrimo pep talks have been great for me too.  I was told several times as a younger writer that I was good, but it took my degree to believe that – I’ve got a BA(hons) in Creative Writing, and I’m hoping to eventually do my PHD at some point.

13.  If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?

I’d publish much sooner than now.  I’ve been very wary about publishing given the fact that I have quite a high profile in the community and I’ve been threatened with multiple one star reviews for moderating groups or defending friends when the occasional spat kicked off.

How many books do you read a year?

In excess of 300 books. I keep meaning to log the books I do on Goodreads, but I’m pretty sporadic at that.  It all breaks down into about 35% horror, 15% thriller, 20% non-fiction and everything else in the other 30%.

Do you write every day?

Yes and no.  I’m a copywriter and Public relations specialist, so I’m always writing *something* - but I don’t get to work on my own fiction right now.  I write code too – and I see that almost as another language to learn   I write under three pen names too – a variation of D Kai Wilson-Viola, Sabrann Curach and Fayth C Reeeves.  Sabby’s horror, Fayth is erotica, everything else goes under Kai etc.  I love sharing other authors where appropriate, and it’s great to meet new people!

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