Please welcome K. D. Edwards to The Qwillery, as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. The Last Sun is published on June 12th by Pyr.
Please join The Qwillery in wishing K. D. a Happy Publication Day!
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the first fiction piece you remember writing?
K. D.: What is the statute of limitations on copyright infringement….? Because when I was in elementary school, I wrote a barely-disguised rip-off of a THREE INVESTIGATORS novel that sent the kids back in time to the Middle Ages. And I am being very, very loose with the word “novel.”
I also wrote a scathing article about someone leaving loose caps on the coca-cola bottles in the family refrigerator, which, in a sense, was fiction, because IT WAS ME. IT WAS ALWAYS ME.
TQ: Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?
K. D.: You have no idea how much of a plotter I am. I am a ridiculously detailed outliner. I began HANGED MAN, the second novel in TAROT SEQUENCE, with a 43,000-word outline. I literally have outline notes, settings, random bits of dialog, and 1-liners for the entire series that tops off at nearly 300,000 words.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
K. D.: Actually sitting down and putting the meat on the bones. Having such a detailed outline always makes me feel like I’m doing acrobatics way, way beyond my skill over a big, nice safety net – but finding the time to sit down and write after a long day’s work is always a challenge. I mean, at 5pm? There are books to be read….and video games to be played….and sofas. There are so many sofas in my life at 5pm on a week night. It takes real motivation to sit down in front of a computer again, and bring my story home.
TQ: What has influenced / influences your writing?
K. D.: Different writers at different stages. There are so, so, so many writers I love now. But if I had to pick writers who -- or writing that -- helped define or evolve my style?
One Life to Live and General Hospital when I was a tween -- many, many years ago. Want to learn how to write dialog in massive volume? Watch a soap opera.
Twin Peaks, the original. Taught me to apply surreal, trippy edges to something as innocuous as a soap opera.
The Sandman, Preacher, and Hellblazer. The Sandman in particular. That’s when I really developed a love for deep, deep world building.
And the authors who changed my perspective…. Laurell Hamilton, Jim Butcher, JD Robb, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Charlie Huston, Richard Kadrey, Robbin Hobb, Perry Moore.
TQ: Describe The Last Sun in 140 (OR SLIGHTLY MORE IF YOU’RE A CHEATER) characters or less.
K. D.: A reimagining of Atlantis. Rune, a fallen prince, lives in a patchwork Gotham with his caustic bodyguard. An assignment will take him into the halls of power, closer than ever to the mystery of his past.
TQ: Tell us something about The Last Sun that is not found in the book description.
K. D.: It’s imagined as a 9-part series. And when I say imagined, I mean obsessively plotted, right down to the very last scene.
TQ: What inspired you to write The Last Sun? What appeals to you about writing Urban Fantasy?
K. D.: I fell in love with the genre after gobbling up the Anita Blake Series, JD Robb’s In Death series, Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels series, and the Sandman collected works. I love taking the world as we know it, and then stuffing the drawers and corners and attics with batshit crazy, surreal stuff.
TQ: Atlantis seemingly has been a source of fascination for centuries. What do you think are the reasons for Atlantis' enduring appeal?
K. D.: I think ALL lost civilizations – real or otherwise – have enduring appeal. The unknown hits on all our adrenaline responses – it’s a source of entertainment, fear, mystery, fright, excitement. Lost civilizations are as wonderful and terrible as the spans & layers of your imagination.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for The Last Sun?
K. D.: Nothing for Atlantis. But the book is filled with abandoned human ruins and buildings that have been teleported from all across the world. I did an exhaustive amount of research on those buildings. Past that, there are a score of topics I researched in depth – fighting styles, mansion architecture, lesser-known monster mythologies. And it doesn’t even hold a candle to the research I’ve done for Novel #2. I’ve spent a year researching ghost ships and US battleships for THE HANGED MAN!
TQ: Please tell us about the cover for The Last Sun.
K. D.: Oh God, what a wonderful, amazing experience it was. I was So. Damned. Scared. Out of every part of publishing, the only thing that really terrified me was: what is the cover sucked? What if the cover was a half-naked man, and I’d be embarrassed to read it on the subway? What if it was so bad I’d be ashamed to show my parents? But my editor, Rene Sears, hooked me up with Micah Epstein; and even more, she gave me the chance to write up my own summary of the novel, and details of the characters. I put in the work, drafted that document, and the result was…..I just can’t say enough about Micah. He literally created metaphors on his own that were perfect, like the broken Sun tarot card stained glass window. And he listened to what I said – he shows Rune’s leather jacket; and the sigils on Rune’s finger; and the necklace….. I was so freaking lucky to wind up with him. It doesn’t show any spoilers from the novel, but it captures the essence of Rune and Brand perfectly.
TQ: In The Last Sun who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
K. D.: Brand. Definitely Brand. He’s my foul-mouthed avatar who will say exactly what needs to be said. He has the best 1-liners. I told you how I have hundreds of thousands of words of brainstorming notes for future novels? About 20% of all those notes are Brand 1-liners. The first two times that people quotes a line of my novel back to me, it was one of Brand’s most inventive swears. But in a larger sense, all of Brand’s best humor is tied up in his relationship with Rune – so any scene with the two of them is easy to write. They play off each other better than I could have ever expected.
TQ: Why have you chosen to include or not chosen to include social issues in The Last Sun?
K. D.: I don’t really touch on real-world events, but Rune identifies as gay, and there is an enormous amount of queer representation in the novel. I don’t want THE LAST SUN – or the series as a whole – to be called “gay sci-fi.” I want it to be considered good, funny, enjoyable sci-fi with a protagonist who just happens to be gay. That’s my goal in all my writing. To have main characters that just happen to be gay, in novels that represent what I consider mainstream. I want gay and lesbian youth to see themselves in this novel.
TQ: Which question about The Last Sun do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!
K. D.: Hmmm. Two things. One, you already asked. I love talking about outlining. I’m pretty proud of the work I’ve put into outlining this series. And two, since I know everything that’s going to happen, I’ll be curious if people ask about the many easter eggs I hide in the novel. Everything that the character Quinn says, in particular, is important. I’ve given hints to major story lines that happen throughout the entire series.
TQ: Give us one or two of your favorite non-spoilery quotes from The Last Sun.
K. D.: Oh man. Can I swear. You can black this part out if you need to.
The swear that people have quoted back to me, when Brand gets really upset in one scene, is: “Mother-fucking horsefire shit!” And I have no idea where that came from.
Other quotes are difficult, because they operate so well in the larger flow of scenes – especially the banter between Rune and Brand. I suppose I love when Brand makes fun of Rune. (Like when Rune tries to use Brand’s smart phone, and Brand finally snatches it away, saying, “It’s like watching Gilligan try to make a radio out of coconuts.” Or when Brand tries to cheer Rune up by offering to spar, and Rune says, “Sparring means something different to me that you. Sparring means getting hit in the face a lot.”)
TQ: What's next?
K. D.: THE HANGED MAN! Book 2! It’s going very well….I can’t remember the last time a work-in-progress has gone so well. I’m barreling towards the deadline (and, if I was being honest, a mite past it), but it’s the best work I’ve ever done.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
K. D.: Thank you for being one of my first interviewers! I am, sincerely, honored.
The Last Sun
The Tarot Sequence 1
Pyr, Jun 12, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 384 pages
In this debut novel and series starter, the last member of a murdered House searches for a missing nobleman, and uncovers clues about his own tortured past.
Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment's missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.
With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam's relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune's Court. In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family's death and the torments of his past?
K.D. Edwards lives and writes in North Carolina, but has spent time in Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, New Hampshire, Montana, and Washington State. (Common theme until NC: Snow. So, so much snow.) Mercifully short careers in food service, interactive television, corporate banking, retail management, and bariatric furniture have led to a much less short career in higher education, currently for the University of North Carolina System.