Kathy Anderson lives in North Queensland, Australia. Dark Forces is her second novel. Her first, Imposter, was published by the e-publisher, Speculative Fiction Review.
Interview Kathy Anderson
1) Kathy, Dark Forces is your first Wings novel, but you had a previous novel published called Imposter. Could you tell us about that novel?
Imposter is a science fiction novel that was published by Speculative Fiction Review, an e-publisher. It focuses on a New York reporter called Arthur Schultz. Shortly after losing his wife to another man, Arthur goes on an undercover investigation of the Children of the Future, a mysterious cult. Arthur’s story is intertwined with that of Jacob Brown, a teenage boy growing up in Howard Hill: a small coastal community in North Queensland. Jacob’s community has been thrown into shock by a series of brutal murders.
Arthur first hears about Jacob when he enters the Children of the Future, and has to be rescued by private investigator, Mick O’Reilly. Arthur goes through a journey of discovery that leads him to question himself, as well as the future of the human race.
2) Dark Forces involves a cannibalistic serial killer. That does sound dark. How did you come to write this novel?
I think dark characters are more interesting than nice ones. But it’s probably more about the type of story I wanted to tell. I’m attracted to the thriller genre. Although I incorporated science fiction and horror in my novels, both belong to the thriller genre.
3) Which novel did you enjoy writing the most?
It was enjoyable to see where they both ended up (I wasn’t sure where that would be when I started). I wouldn’t say I enjoyed one more than the other.
4) Do you think you’ll stick to this genre in future novels?
I’ll stick to thrillers, because I like to see where the stories go. And I will continue to include elements of horror, sci-fi, or whatever else seems appropriate to drive the story.
5) How long have you been writing and what inspired you to write novels?
I started writing in 2006 after I had an accident that left me with a couple of broken bones. There were problems with the plate they put in my arm, and a bone infection I picked up in surgery, so I ended up taking 18 months off work, and having a series of operations. I was on some pretty heavy medication, and was fairly immobile for a while, so writing was something to do with my time. Before then, my writing experience was pretty academic, but I’d had exposure to a lot of writers: I completed a PhD in literature and popular culture.
6) What author has inspired your writing the most?
As I mentioned above, I had a pretty wide exposure to a lot of writers, because of my academic studies. I like reading writers from the 19th century, or earlier, to get a sense of the times, but for enjoyment I stick to contemporary writers. And for relaxation, I prefer thrillers. I like reading Australian writers, such as Kate Grenville, Peter Carey and Justine Ettler. But I guess some of my favourite work is by American realists like Charles Bukowski and Bret Easton Ellis. I loved American Psycho. But my own writing isn’t really in that genre. I guess it’s more inspired by writers like Stephen King and Clive Barker (whom I love reading). I try to keep my characters realistic and focus on the plot development. I’m not trying to create literature--just tell an entertaining story.
7) Who is your audience?
I’d consider my writing pretty mainstream--for anyone who enjoys a good read. Although I’m Australian, I’ve based this book (and most of the last one) in New York, because America seems a pretty familiar landscape for this type of story.
8) What have you learned about writing that surprised you the most?
Morphine can be a pretty good inspiration.
9) Do you outline before you begin, or do you use a less formal method of constructing your novels?
Completely informal--I just started with a story idea, and didn’t know where it would end up. I think I was just telling myself stories at the time (that’s the morphine. Or maybe the social isolation.)
10) What’s next for Kathy Anderson, novelist?
I did write a third novel during that 18 month period off work--it’s more of a thriller in the strict sense. No horror or sci-fi elements. So I’ll edit that when I get some time. But since returning to work I haven’t been writing any more. Writing doesn’t seem to be the hard bit--it’s the marketing that seems most time consuming. And for now, I have to earn a living.