Interview with Author KateMarie Collins: Guarding Charon

Guarding Charon

1. Your writing contains several series and one or two trilogies. Are the Guardian Books, Guardian Charon and Guardian Amber destined for more?

Yes! I’m working on the 3rd book now, titled ‘Guarding William’. If you’ve read ‘Guarding Amber’, you know who he is! LOL

2. You write in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Genre, though I noticed some of your short stories are breakouts from this. Are there any other genres you have explored in the past or would like to explore in the future?

Not really. I developed my love for scif/fantasy early on. Have been a huge Star Wars fan since I was 9 and the first movie came out. It’s nothing against other genres, but I really enjoy being able to build worlds, deal with magic, and create escapes from what we see every day. Never say never, of course. LOL. But I don’t see myself working in other genres any time soon.

3. I noticed when looking through your other books, that a theme emerges of a rather lonely mistreated young woman who, when on the verge of a terrible outcome (Grace/Amber in Guarding Charon) is suddenly presented with a whole new world--should she decide to accept that challenge. Though Guarding Charon is fantasy, does any of this book relate to fact or actual experience or even emotions you may have experienced once upon a time?

Yes. I grew up in a small, isolated town. Creativity wasn’t encouraged – there was always going to be someone better than me so it wasn’t worth trying. I’d be told no, so why set myself up for disappointment. I learned this lesson in grade school, from family, friends, and teachers. Nothing against my parents, but they really didn’t know how to encourage a creative child. They wanted me to live in the real world.

As a result, I gave up on writing before I even started high school. In my soul, though, I always knew I needed to leave there. Do something with my life. When I was 40, something happened in our lives that unlocked my muse. It scared the daylights out of me, as it was the first thing I’d written in over 30 years that I liked. The biggest difference is that I was now surrounded by friends and family that thought so, as well.

I started to look into getting that first book published because our kids were fairly young at the time. I didn’t want them growing up like I had. I wanted them to see that, if you really wanted to do something, you should go for it. Might mean you work 2 or 3 other jobs for a decade or more to support yourself, but it’s worth taking the risk.

There’s a little bit of myself in every single one of my main characters. If I can put them in situations similar to what I went through, and come out, then I gain strength within myself. Writing has changed me in that it made me stronger, more confident. This is not a bad thing.

3. More broadly, as a writer, where do your ideas come from? Does that first spark originate from a character you imagine, for example, or a place or setting, or a bit of story that you want to tell?

Normally, I start with an idea. I have a good idea of where I want the story to end, and then I see what the characters tell me to get to that point. ‘Guarding Charon’ was a departure from that. LOL. I was working on another book, ‘Emile’s Blade’, when I woke up one morning with the entire first chapter for ‘Guarding Charon’ in my head. Dialogue included! When my muse talks that loud, I listen. LOL. I put the other book on hold, and started this one.

4. The setting of Guarding Charon is fascinating and compelling. Why did you chose this setting for this book?

That’s the part of me that’s really obvious. LOL. I know exactly what it feels like to grow up in a town where everyone expects you to do certain things with your life. Be surrounded by people who only see your life through what they think you should do. And I’d always dreamed of ways to escape that sort of thinking. Ways to break free of an old life, start a new one where no one had any expectations of you. I also know I’m not the only one who’s ever felt that way, so that sort of scenario would connect with readers.

5. Is there a message in Guarding Charon specifically you would like to convey? In your books generally?

Hope. Above all else, it would be that. We need to live life with the idea that things can get better. That being a good person matters. The rest – religion, politics, race, sexual orientation – really doesn’t. If you connect with one of my characters and see them overcome the odds, I want the reader to believe they have that ability within themselves to overcome whatever they’re dealing with.

6. Do you do a lot of research for your writing? Specifically for Guarding Charon?

Normally, no. I tend to a high/dark fantasy setting, which means I can create all the rules for it. With ‘Guarding Charon’, the urban setting meant I had to do some research. Things like how long it takes to fly from Texas to Maine, driving from Bangor to where I thought Cavendish would be. Small details that made the fictional towns seem like they really would exist.

7. What has inspired your interest in Wiccan?
I was raised Lutheran. No choice in the matter, go to confirmation classes. By the time I finished high school, I was more agnostic in nature. There were some things about the church doctrine, the way they treated others, that bothered me. When I went to college in California, I discovered Wicca. It was what I believed, I finally had a name for it. One thing I wanted to do with ‘Guarding Charon’ is present the faith correctly. So many people don’t understand what Wiccans really believe. Rather, they cling to Hollywood perceptions and teachings from hundreds of years ago that were meant to scare you. We’re not evil. We don’t believe in a devil/Satan. And we don’t sacrifice small animals and children. LOL

8.What authors have inspired your journey?

David and Leigh Eddings, to start with. Absolutely loved The Belgariad and Mallorean series! There was a naturalness to the stories that appeals to me. Even in another world, the characters sounded like people I knew in life.

Nick Pollotta was one of the few authors who could make me fall off the chair in laughter. Or just hold my head and groan audibly. I was fortunate in that he took me under his wing and taught me a lot about the business end of writing before I got my first contract. I dedicated my second book to him. Sadly, he passed away 3 weeks before it released.

Patricia Kennelly-Morrison is another. She showed me to blend mythology from history into something new. And that research needs to be done, if you’re going to write a book that’s steeped in lore.

9. When you're not busy pounding away creating your next piece, what do you read?

Yikes! I’m going to sound horrid here, but I don’t read much anymore. I put one of the Thrawn books (Star Wars) on my Kindle last May, to give myself something to read after surgery. I think I’m 2 chapters in. I have a horrible tendency to pick up the voice of other authors and insert it into my own work if I’m not really careful. My bookcase is small, but it’s really good books that I reread all the time. Most of the books are by the authors I named above.

10. How long have you been writing? What do you think drew you to this type of expression?

I started writing 10 years ago. A D&D game we’d played in for over 2 years ended badly. I wrote something small, trying to make everyone feel better. It scared me, as it was the first thing I’d written in 30 years I liked.

What really draws me to writing is the therapeutic value I get from it. My childhood wasn’t horrifically bad, but it wasn’t great. I had serious issues with self-confidence and self-worth. By exploring situations through my writing, I’ve been able to get myself to a better place. Be a better person.

11. And for a really fun question: If the movie were made of Guarding Charon, what would your dream cast be?

Oh, that’s a tough one! Let me see…sticking to just a few characters!

Amber/Grace – Jennifer Lawrence
Larry – John Goodman
Charon – Chris Hemsworth
Kate – Summer Bishl
Amanda – Judi Dench or Maggie Smith
Heath – Christian Bale
Born in the late 60's, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she's always been creative, she didn't turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two children, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she's not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and three cats in what she likes to refer to as "Seattle Suburbia".

You can find KateMarie at the following sites:

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/KateMarie-Coll...
Twitter: @DaughterHauk
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMar...
Her blog: http://www.katemariecollins.wordpress...
Via email: katemariecollins@gmail.com
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Published on April 30, 2018 12:13 Tags: dark-fantasy, scifi-fantasy, series
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