Interview: Comedic fantasy author Kylie Betzner
Here at TSOTA we scour not just the region but the world in order to bring you the best new authors. Today we head across the pond to speak to American comedy fantasy author, Kylie Betzner, about such weighty topics as the writing process, the role of outsiders in fiction and the sexual chemistry of Storm Troopers.
You have just published your second book, The Wizard’s Gambit. How does that feel?
I imagine it feels something like giving birth to your second child. The first one will always hold a special place in your heart, but at least with the second one you know what you’re doing.
I loved the book. I also enjoyed your first novel, The Quest for The Holy Something Or Other. What did you learn from writing the first one that you could use when writing the second?
I learned to plan ahead. With “Quest” I sort of winged the first draft and ended up having to rewrite the second half several times, which was a bear! I went into The Wizard’s Gambit a little wiser and much more prepared.
Your sister, Toni, is your editor, is that right? Does it help that you are closely related or does it lead to fights about sentence structure and punctuation?
Toni is one of three editors. I also have a content editor and copy editor who get it after Toni tears it apart. And boy does she tear it apart. But it doesn’t lead to fights. We’re really good about giving and taking critique. Honestly, I trust her opinion more than most.
The Wizard’s Gambit is the first of a series. Tell us more about the series as a whole?
The series is divided into three books and several stand alone novels, all of which focus on Mongrel and his struggle to secure world peace. In the first book, he unites a small group of misfits who aid him in his goal. In the second book, he relies on these allies to help him achieve a broader peace, and in the third novel, he must pass on the torch to secure peace for future generations. In each book, the stakes are higher and the possible reward greater.
Do you have a set pattern that you write to, same time every day etc?
Not really. I try to write a little each evening after work, but sometimes life gets in the way. I find the daytime hours are my best times to write but sadly I’m at work.
Your heroes in both books, Pig in ‘Quest’ and Mongrel in ‘Gambit’, have a sense of the outsider about them. Was that intentional and if so, why does that angle appeal to you as a writer?
Admittedly, I’ve always been bit of an outsider, so I tend to find these characters more relatable, as most readers do. But I also find that outsiders are more effective in resolving the world’s problems than those on the inside. Outsiders see the world from a unique perspective and are therefore more capable of coming to an original and effective conclusion than those who adhere to the status quo. For this reason, I find that outsiders make superior heroes in literature … and in real life. **Cough, cough** Bill Gates anyone?
Which authors inspire you?
Sheryl Jordan was the first author who inspired me to write, but it was Gerald Morris, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman who influenced me to write comedic fantasy.
You are also the head of the League of Comedy Fantasists. What’s that all about?
The goal of the LCF is to unite other light and/or comedic fantasy writers to help support each other. The group’s still pretty small but we have some great members such as Jon Brierley and Clive Mullis.
I see form your blog you are NaNoWriMo veteran. How did that go?
This year did not go as well as other years. In the past I’ve always reached the 50k word count goal. This year, I ended up at around 40k words, which is still pretty good. Honestly, it’s about writing not winning for me. That’s what makes NaNoWriMo so much fun.
What advice would you give to writers struggling to get their books finished?
Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Writing. Writing. What do we do? We write. WRITE. But seriously, just keep writing.
Finally…what’s this Storm Trooper fetish I read about? Who would you most like to come home to find in your house in a Storm Trooper costume?
I’m attracted to storm troopers like a magnet. There’s just something about a man in uniform… even ones who work for dark overlords. I think George Clooney or Luke Evans would look fabulous in a Storm Trooper outfit.
To read more about Kylie, head over to her website. Her first two novels are available now from Amazon.