Author Spotlight Interview: Kim Petersen
In our continuing series of author interviews, we’ve tracked down the intrepid Australian Kim Peterson, USA Today bestselling author of paranormal romances like Millie’s Angel and the post-apocalyptic thrillers of the Stone the Crows series. We bravely figured out the time difference and asked Kim about her inspiration, writing and plans for the future.
HG: Kim! Tell me about yourself! Who are you? Where do you live? How do you describe yourself?
KP: Who am I? Good question – I’m still trying to figure that out! I can be many things and possess the qualities I need in order to navigate through life and situations, but at the end of the day none of those attributes really define who I am. I guess I’m just a woman trying to work it all out and become the best version of herself – whatever that means!
Oh yeah, and I screw up regularly!
I live in a little town on the New South Wales eastern seaboard, just over an hour from Sydney. It’s gorgeous and quiet and everything beautiful. It’s a slice of heaven on earth and fuel for creativity and imagination. Soul space!
HG: When did you first start writing?
KP: Ever since I can remember, I’d always loved books. There was that element of limitless possibilities entwined in story that just bewitched me. The first time I thought about writing a book, I was fifteen – I grabbed a pen and a notepad and began writing a few paragraphs. My father found those pages and I remember being seriously embarrassed. To his credit, he didn’t say word about it, though. It would be a lot of years after that that I would actually sit down and write my first book – and happened because I began tuning into my inner-world more and searching for answers about myself… and the world. I wanted to do something that mattered to me. I wanted to create for more than just myself, and I wanted to share stories.
HG: So, you have quite an eclectic range of books! Romance, paranormal, dystopian. What inspired all these different genres?
KP: I’m not sure – I didn’t really set out to do it that way, it just kind of happened. I know it’s not always the way to go for authors, and it’s better to choose and write in the one primary genre, but I love diversity. Life is nothing if not a sweet melody of creative experiences, right? Maybe I’m still finding my way, or maybe I’ll always feel the need to write what calls to me at the time. Right now, I’m writing another dystopian thriller series – it feels right, so I create it. I also write and post weekly on my own blog, it’s called Undercurrent. It’s a collection of memoir style pieces – I’m digging it.
HG: So, your first book was Millie’s Angel. What inspired you to write a novel in the first place, and why did you choose paranormal? What inspired it?
KP: Millie’s Angel is a bit of a mixed bag really. I sat down and wrote the story without thinking about genre. I didn’t know a whole lot about the publishing landscape back then… still reeling to keep up nowadays! I wrote what needed to come out I guess, and in doing so, worked through some personal experiences at the time. So, there’s the inspiration. It wasn’t until I released it that I realized it didn’t quite fall squarely into any one genre – all things considering, it went quite well, though. Millie’s Angel won a gold award in the 2017 Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards. Winning that award gave me the encouragement I needed to keep slugging away. I followed up with Angels & Vixens, then Dark Soul – both of these titles were more genre specific in that I really played up the paranormal aspects of Millie’s Angel.
HG: How long does it normally take you to write a book?
KP: With a solid outline, I can first draft a book in about four to five weeks. Once the words start and I’m in the zone, the story just flows. If, for some reason, I’ve had to stop a story mid-way to work on another, getting back into the first story can be a little challenging in the beginning. I think it’s about balancing the mind too. Writing is such a mental thing – I think writers have to take the time to nurture their minds. You know, not allow the bullshit to infect our thought processes. I’m learning that the hard way! Meditation and long walks help to keep the balance. Ignoring the negative stuff helps too.
HG: Do you have a set daily writing schedule? A routine to keep yourself putting pen to paper?
KP: I tend to work a little differently to what I hear broadcast on podcasts for writers. Some folks are really anal about it – but seriously, who wants to eat the same lunch every day? Not me. Don’t get me wrong, I have self discipline enough to get my words in, especially when I’m full swing into a project. Nothing can stop me then. Otherwise, I don’t adhere to a strict structure, it feels too much like pressure. I do that enough to myself without imposing a set of anal routines on my day. I’m focused and driven. I know what I want and I’ll keep striving for it, but life is there too, and I have this big house to clean, and kids to run after, and moments to enjoy.
HG: How do you prevent yourself going bonkers trying to balance family and writing?
KP: Haaa! I think I live on the edge of sanity most of the time! Except, I’m actually not sure if it’s balancing family and writing or if it’s the writing world that causes my brain to emulsify – I’ve realized how dramatic writers can be, myself included. Creatives are definitely an odd bunch. I’ve spent most of my life in my own weird head, and now I’m meeting people that are just as, if not more peculiar. It’s interesting, but I now recognize the need to keep myself grounded, and not allow the virtual bubble to infect my life. People thrive on it… usually the ones that voice their dislike of social media the most are the masters of manipulating it to their advantage. I’ve gone off kilter! I’ve gotten used to writing with interruptions from my children (and husband). It drives me crazy, but what do you do, right? One day, they won’t want me around and I’ll miss their faces like crazy – I’ll take it now.
HG: Who are your favorite writers and books?
KP: I’ve read sooo many books. I have two huge bookshelves overflowing with books I’ve had since I was fifteen years old, and then they invented the ereader! I always had a fancy about having my own little library and I always preferred stories with depth, you know, stories that make you feel something. When a story resonated with me, it wasn’t usual that I’d read it several times over. That happened with A Stone for Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins, a few Virginia Andrews titles, Anne Rice too. Sally Beauman’s Destiny was absolutely breathtaking. More recently I’ve been reading stuff by Elizabeth Hunter and Julie Kagawa. I read lots of spiritual-based books too. I love Neville Goddard and U.S. Anderson.
More authors that I LOVE, and even though they are awesomely talented, my admiration goes way beyond their stories in that they are just downright beautiful people – inside and out. Beth Prentice and Catherine Evans. They are my recent collaborators and they have become my friends. I’m the kind of person that always chooses to see the best in people – to the point that I can be blinded from their true intentions. Sometimes, people surprise me in how twisted their thinking can be. Sometimes, people just aren’t really good, and I find that hard to fathom and come to terms with. These two women are genuine, and I’m eternally grateful for having them in my life.
HG: How did you end up collaborating?
KP: With Beth and Cath? It was one of those brilliant ideas that just flung out there and we went with it. Beth was talking about how releasing a romance for Valentine’s Day would be a great idea, but it was the end of November and she had deadlines she had to meet. So, I suggested we put together an anthology – contribute a 20,000 – 30,000 words story each and release for the V-day. She was like “let’s do it!”, so, I email Catherine and she didn’t hesitate – by that evening I had a new project to think about. The result was Untamed Destinies, which contains three stories, one from each of us. The coolest thing is that these romances fall into different genres – mystery romance, rural romance, and my paranormal flavor – but they’re all about the destiny of love (sigh). No, the coolest thing was working with these ladies – video meetings were super fun.
HG: Where do you write? Do you have a desk or do you write on the move?
KP: I’m fortunate to live in a valley by the ocean. My home has some breathtaking views that help get the creative juices flowing. I have an office with an oversized desk and an awesome view, but mostly, I’ll take my laptop upstairs and write from my bedroom balcony that has a clear view of the ocean and the mountains across the valley – I’m spoiled, but I’ve earned it!
HG: What fuels that? How’s your coffee intake? I’m a caffeine achiever.
KP: I won’t lie – it is amazing. I’m addicted to a daily extra large mocha. I grab it after I drop the kids to school. If I don’t get it, watch out! Lol! I even get personalized messages on my coffee cup lids. It’s cute.
HG: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about writing?
KP: I have to give credit where credit is due. Last year I worked on the Stone the Crows trilogy with J. Thorn. I first drafted and he’d follow up and entwine his words with mine so it was one smooth voice. I learned a bunch working so closely with him. He really got me to think about my descriptive habits – I tend to drift off a little and play with words. Like many of us, I do have a love affair with words. He told me that readers don’t care about the fancy words, readers only care about the story. He told me to say what I mean.
HG: What’s the best advice YOU have for other authors?
KP: People ask me this like I might know something that evades others. A secret? The truth is, I know as much as the next person, and writing is like anything else in life – if you want it, only you can make it happen. If you believe in yourself, then others will too; and if you take leaps of faith and trust yourself, the universe can only respond favorably. The best thing I’ve learned about myself along this journey is to not let my fear control me. Every time I feel that niggle – the wobble that says “who do you think you are writing this and saying that”, I remind myself that everything I want is on the other side of fear. So, ultimately, I would tell other writers to push past the self-doubt and fear and go for what you want – a life lived in fear is a life half lived – I didn’t say that by the way, and I’m not real sure who that quote belongs to, but it’s ever so true.
HG: All of this has been FANTASTIC. Before we go, do you have links to your social pages?
It’s been cool, thanks for the most awesome interview experience ever! The Amulet is free when readers sign up to my email list via my website.