Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meet K.S. Daniels

I met K.S. (Kimberly) Daniels at Connooga not long ago, and I just had to introduce her to you. Trust me. This one is one you want to keep an eye on and start reading her stuff now before all the cool kids beat you to it... again.

Here's the generic bit from her bio: 

K. S. Daniels currently teaches English Composition and Literature at the University of South Alabama. Her hobbies include writing, reading, more writing, and saving ALL the animals in the world. She lives in Mobile, Alabama with her awesome husband, capricious daughter, two goofy pit bulls, one hyper poodle and a very wicked cat.

Here's the fun bit:

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

The Valkyrie Profiles is the first in a trilogy that is a mash-up of space opera, military science fiction, and social science fiction. It takes place in the not-to-distant future, mostly on or around Earth. It features a strong, female protagonist, and really the shortest way to describe the book is to say that if you like robots, death, and things that go BOOM, this is the book for you. 

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

Thematically, it examines the technological and governmental influences on the degeneration of human relations and the elitism of class division. Those are the sort of the big, overarching themes of this trilogy. Earth is militaristically strong, but its social and cultural collapse has become a disease that threatens to take down humanity as a whole. I also love writing about robots, but they are never these sort of Frankenstein or Pinocchio pastiches that are more common in science fiction. My robots are usually not the bad guys, they are the victims and they typically do not want to be human.

What would be your dream project?

Honestly, this is my dream project and has been for a long time. I love these characters and their story is one I have wanted to tell for several years. Other than this series, I would love to write for a video game company like Blizzard or Bioware. Dialogue is my favorite part of the writing process, and I have always been a gamer (I grew up with Nintendo and SquareSoft RPGs), so writing for a video game company would really combine two of my favorite things.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

I wish I could go back and finish my first attempt at a novel. I started it when I was 14 and it was all hand written in erasable pen of all things (I was a terrible speller lol). I’m sure it was horrible, as far as the actual writing, but the story was solid and I wish I could go back, re-write it, and finish it. Unfortunately, it was also Star Wars fan fiction and by the time I was halfway done with the book, there was like 5 more books out, extending the timeline and Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade had gotten married, etc. I was too slow. One day, I will probably try to take the idea, unravel it from the Star Wars universe, and make it into something usable for another novel.

What inspires you to write?

I have no idea! I have been writing since I was nine and I don’t know what made me start. I think I am in a position now that if I had to stop writing and get a ‘real’ job, I’d probably die. I’m really only good at two things: writing and teaching writing. It’s unfortunate really. Sometimes I wish I could be happy being a nurse or a lawyer, but I know it would make me miserable. I worked in business for 10 months doing import and export paper work and it was anguish. So I guess the answer is that I write because I’m not good at anything else; I write so I don’t die.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

I am a total Isaac Asimov fan girl; he is by far my biggest influence. Basically, I read what was on my Father’s and Grandfather’s bookshelves. I grew up on The Big Three: Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke, so my style is very much in the vein of Golden Age Science fiction. I also read a lot of Andre Norton and James P. Hogan.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

I feel art and science are inseparable. Whether you are writing a story or a theorem they are both ever-present. It takes a certain degree of creativity (art) to be a brilliant scientist and the reverse is true for brilliant writers. With writing, the science is present in the process of understand and assimilating the world around you. You see this same argument with cooking and, to me, it’s easier to see them both at work in that because things are more tangible. A good cook can follow a formulaic recipe, but a brilliant cook is artistic enough to create their own recipes through a firm understanding of the chemical makeup of the foods. It’s the same with writing, but it’s harder to see since so much of the process is internal.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Of course! Books two of the Valkyrie Trilogy, tentatively titled Flight of the Valkyries, should be out in the fall of 2013. In the interim, I’m working on a short story that is a prequel to the first book. It will be free, but only available in ebook formats via both kindle and nook. That should hopefully be out in April.

For more information visit K.S. Daniels on the web:

Good Reads
Authors Den