Last year, we had the first three Swoon Reads authors on the blog. This year, we have two Swoon Reads authors from the second list, and I’d like to call them Swoon Twins, because their books have the same pub day!
Let’s welcome Temple West and Kimberly Karalius! ❤
The debut author of the YA paranormal romance Velvet is as nerdy in real life as she is on the Twitter. Armed with a very shiny English degree, she spent four months in Oxford holed up at the Radcliffe Camera amongst the hush of ancient books and the rich musk of academia. Returning to Los Angeles, she acquired a concurrent degree in film, mostly as an excuse to write essays about The Princess Bride and Hook. She can sew (poorly), drive stick (please fasten your seatbelt), and mostly lift her feet off the ground while stuttering into first gear on a very small motorcycle. She currently lives in Nashville and is the proud mother to a one-year-old laptop and a vintage Remington typewriter.
Temple West is THE QUEEN. I met her even before Velvet got chosen, and even if I wasn’t able to read the first version of it (because of my hiatus), I really felt its potential. So I joined the Queen as she talked about #TempleTakeover on social media, making Velvet awesome even before it got released. I’ve been supporting her ever since. I always call her Queen on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media, because why not? She’s an inspiration, and she proves that nerds rule the world. ❤
Want to read my Velvet review? Click here.
If you gave her a wish bone, Kimberly would wish fervently for snow in Florida. Her love for 90s cartoons (or any cartoons, really) knows no bounds. She might be the only person you know who can be completely engrossed in watching silent films. Being in Florida certainly has one big perk: going to Disney World. Which she does. Frequently.
Kimberly holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida. Her fiction has appeared in literary journals such as Luna Station Quarterly, The Medulla Review, and Hogglepot. Her chapbook, POCKET FOREST, was published by Deathless Press in August 2013.
LOVE FORTUNES AND OTHER DISASTERS (Swoon Reads/Macmillan May 2015) is her debut novel.
Kim is super friendly and I love her pictures in Disney! I also didn’t get the chance to read her Swoon Reads manuscript (called We Could Fall in Love back then) but I really wanted to support her because the idea of her story is really amazing! The fantasy vibe made her story very fairytale-like and I love that. She’s one of the closest Swoon Authors to me, and I totally want to meet her in Disney when I get the chance, just like how she met with Karole Cozzo! I bet that would be super cute. 😉
Want to read my Love Fortunes and Other Disasters review? Click here.
How old are you?
Kim: 20-something, haha
Temple: Pizza, gyoza, or anything covered in bacon
Kim: Pad Thai
Kim: Cornflower blue
Kim: A tie between hydrangeas and daffodils
Temple: Alone, by Braverhalf
Kim: Plenty of Paper by Eisley
Favorite TV show?
Temple: Currently, Game of Thrones
Kim: Pushing Daisies
Favorite place to read and/or write?
Temple: Cafes. White noise FTW!
Kim: On soft couches
Temple: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Kim: Echo by Francesca Lia Block
Who are you when you’re writing?
Temple: A hyper-focused, generally un-hygienic coffeehouse hermit.
Kim: Probably a more focused, non-blinking version of myself. I’ve been told that I don’t blink as much as I should when I’m deeply in the writing zone.
Who are you when you’re not writing?
Temple: A super cool person. Like, a really cool human-y sort of person. Definitely not an alien or anything.
Kim: A lover of stories, no matter where they come from. So I’m usually watching TV shows or movies, burying myself in books, or prying stories from family and friends when I get to spend time with them. Oh, and also a Disney World fangirl.
Which do you prefer more?
Temple: Well, I like how much I accomplish as Writing Temple but Normal Temple tends to be less…frightening.
Kim: Maybe my non-writing self, just because I’m usually more relaxed when I’m not bent over the keyboard. But I can’t say there’s that much a difference between writer-me and regular-me. After all, regular-me’s writing brain runs 24/7.
What drives you to write more?
Temple: Dolla-dolla bills, yo. I’m totally kidding. I’m mostly kidding. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty sweet when your passion actually pays the rent. However, the truest answer is that whenever I read a book or see a show or film that has a well-developed, complex world filled with fully-fleshed characters, it feels me with an energy I can’t really explain. Writing then becomes a compulsion.
Kim: Seeing a great movie that makes me tear up. Listening to music that makes my heart pound. My dog, Misty, snuggling up against my leg as I settle down to write. Really sugary sweet tea.
How often do you experience writer’s block and what do you do to get out of it?
Temple: Constantly. It’s the worst when I have to be doing a lot of other types of jobs on top of writing. When I’m in marketing mode for book 1, for example, it’s very difficult to be concentrating on writing book 2. The easiest way to get out of it is to deal with whatever else is stressing me out and then settle down at a cafe and just go into full cone-of-silence mode.
Kim: Not too often, but I expect it to happen since I’m a panster by nature. When I get stuck, I take a break and engage in inspiring activities like listening to some of my favorite, go-to writing tunes. Exercise helps, but I’ve banished writer’s block in the shower *laughs* Sunday night showers, superficially, I guess because my last precious hours before I go back to work for the week are the most productive.
Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your work?
Temple: Not at all. Word vomit all the way.
Kim: Ha, I think every writer is to some degree. With me, my perfectionism starts kicking in during the revision process. Now that I’ve got it down on paper and have worked with my editor, Holly, on the approach to my first round of revision, I always go into it intending to do the best I can – even if that means spending way too long rewording one paragraph!
Do you like making outlines when you write, or do you prefer to start from scratch and work your way from there?
Temple: I like to make very pretty outlines and then deviate from them enormously.
Kim: As I said, I’m a pantser, so I love forging ahead with little in the way of outlining. That’s not to say I don’t plan. I’ll usually write notes in one of my tiny notebooks – just fragments of description or snatches of dialogue I might use later. But mostly I plan in my head and then go straight to the page. The only time I make outlines is when I’m getting to the climax of the book, and I want to keep track of the subplots and loose threads to make sure I don’t miss any as I close out the book. And even then, it’s very informal – sometimes a word bubble tree or just a giant list of bullet points.
If you could do both at the same speed, which would you prefer: Writing on paper or typing your words? Why?
Temple: Typing. I do write by hand sometimes, but not full stories (although I will jot notes down if my laptop isn’t handy). There’s something about the act of typing that just works with my brain.
Kim: If I had better handwriting and spelling skills, I’d love to write my first drafts on paper. I have a ton of notebooks that are still blank because I always end up writing on the computer despite good intentions. I tend to get distracted on paper if I’m writing too sloppy, or smudge ink on my hand (I’m a lefty, so that’s a normal hazard), as well as spelling words wrong. The computer works a lot better for me – I’m able to focus much easier, and any quick research I need to do is only a tab away. So, I guess speed isn’t influencing my decision either way *laughs*
What is the best writing advice that you could share with us?
Temple: Learn how to give other people good, honest, fair, and kind criticism. Once you know how to do that, you’ll know how to edit your own work fairly.
Of all the things that you’ve ever written (poems, essays, short stories, novels, etc.), which one is the most special to you?
Temple: Each type of writing I do serves a different purpose. I journal by hand to process personal events in my life, I blog (privately) to process world events, I blog (publicly) to share exciting news and updates, and I write screenplays and novels because it’s just hardwired into the nature of who I am to tell stories. Since each type of writing serves its own unique purpose, they’re each special to me–or perhaps a better word is important–in their own way.
Kim: I’d have to say that my novella, Flour House, is probably the most special story I’ve written so far. I wrote it for one of the first contests that Figment.com created back when the site was just getting started. It was a serial contest; for four weeks, we had to write chapters serially, with at least one chapter a week fitting the prompt or theme that Figment threw at us. So if we one’s prompt was “have you character dance,” I needed to make that happen, no matter where I was in the story. It was so fun to bent and twist those prompts too, forcing us to be creative and clever in how we were adapting the prompts to our narrative. Flour House ended up winning the contest!
You can still read it on Figment here, but this is essentially the premise: Lettice Morris has the ability to tell stories in flour, making her drawings come to life within the confines of a flour-dusted cutting board. She amuses the children who come to the family bakery, but she harbors a more magical secret at home: there is a boy living in her late mother’s dollhouse.
Flour House means a lot of me, and not just because I got to write about a handsome, sleepy boy living in a dollhouse. I just had fun while writing it, with no pressure on myself, and spinning the story for four wonderful weeks. Reminds me how much I love serial writing too, which was one of Figment’s focuses when starting the site.
ON THEIR BOOKS
What inspired the idea of your first book?
Temple: I’ve always loved vampires. It was more a question of when I was going to write my own vampire novel, rather than if.
Kim: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters first spawned from a few silly conversations I had with my English major friends in college. Girls outnumbered guys on campus, so it was hard to date. We used to joke that we’d become glamourous spinsters after graduation, with mansions, butlers and rooms full of cats (dogs for me, though. I’m a dog person). I always wanted to turn those conversations into a novel, but since I wanted to write YA, I found it challenging. Teens are too young to be worrying about not finding romance – they have their whole lives ahead of them. But what if they were told their romantic futures ahead of time? The town of Grimbaud and Zita’s love fortunes became the answer and the story.
What message would you like your readers to learn from that book?
Temple: DON’T TRUST VAMPIRES. Unless they’re like, super nice and cool and quote Harry Potter.
Kim: Like Fallon and her friends, I hope that readers will feel that they can be brave too and strive for what they want in life – whether it’s romance or anything else they are passionate about.
What is the greatest challenge that you have encountered in the publishing world and how did you overcome it?
Temple: Learning how to use social media. Literally did not know what Tumblr was a year ago. Also, I didn’t have Facebook until college, if that tells you anything.
Kim: Being patient! The process of going from first draft to published book feels at times both long and short, and the waiting can be tough. Waiting for edit letters, cover designs, early reviews, etc. But what helps is remembering that even though I’m just one person on my end, Swoon Reads as a whole is working on my book – and dozens of other books in the imprint. It’s like masterful juggling on their end.
Whenever I’m not working on Swoon stuff, I try to fill up my schedule with fun things to do: hanging out with friends, reading, going to the movies, and Disney World. So when the next step in the publishing process comes, I’m refreshed and ready to go – a simple solution, but an important one.
ON BOOK DISCRIMINATION
How would you define book discrimination?
Temple: Book discrimination occurs when a reader is pre-prejudiced against a book (for any number of reasons). Perhaps they dislike the cover, disliked an author’s previous book and don’t want to give their new book a chance, dislike the book’s genre, or find the copy and marketing unappealing. Whatever the reason, they choose not to read the book rather than giving it a shot.
Kim: The vaguest definition would be when readers decide not to read a book for any reason, really. A reader might be turned off by a cover, a particular genre or trope, the origin of the publication (self-published vs. traditional), etc.
How do you feel about it?
Temple: I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve done this before, especially when it comes to the title / cover art / back cover copy. Generally, though, I’ll at least skim the first page and get a feel for the author’s writing. If it doesn’t grab me, I’ll move on. But when it comes to my own book, I certainly hope that if the cover or copy or whatever turns you off in some way, that you’ll still do the ol’ first-page skim and see if your first impression matches the first page.
Kim: It’s hard to say. On the one hand, I think it’s important to understand that choosing to read or not read a book can be a matter of taste or personal preference. I wouldn’t say that’s discrimination – more like, a reader just doesn’t like those stories. For example, I try to stay away from book about illness. I’m might be missing out on some wonderful books, but I don’t have a strong stomach for tragedy, so I’d rather read other stories instead.
Discrimination comes in when you reading a book you don’t usually like, and you dislike it immediately without giving it a chance. Going with my previous example, I decided to try John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, even though I knew it was an illness book and I had my tissues ready. And it was tragic, heart wrenching, and tough to read, but I could appreciate the way it was written and how fun and funny some parts of the book were. Though not my cup of tea, it didn’t stop me from enjoying it once I opened to the first page.
What do you think is the cause of book discrimination?
Temple: We’re busy people and we have a huge mental history of things we like and things we don’t like and our brains like to make patterns and associations so that we can make decisions better and faster. When we see something that looks similar to something we’ve liked in the past, we’re more likely to choose it. The inverse is true of things that remind us about negative past experiences.
Kim: Many reasons. An unwillingness to read beyond a certain genre. The inability to suspend disbelief and enjoy a story for what it is. Marketing plays a big role in this as well. Discovering that a book isn’t quite what it seemed to be advertised as on the book jacket can frustrate certain readers – I know I’ve been there, but I try not to let that happen when I’m reading new books.
What would you do against it?
Temple: Consciously decide to go against my first impression and give a book a deeper look.
Kim: Continuing to support and share the books I love. Social media is great for that!
Fill in the blanks. More people should read ________ by ________ because ________.
Temple: More people should read the first page (or better yet, the first few chapters) by just about every author because that’s the only way to fairly judge whether or not you will enjoy it.
Kim: More people should read outside their favorite genres by new authors because you never know when you will discover new worlds and adventures.
Thank you so much, Temple and Kim for participating in this interview! You guys rock! I’m honored to have super cool authors like you as friends. 🙂
Both Velvet and Love Fortunes were released last May 12, so if you don’t have a copy yet, go grab yours! For bookish friends in the Philippines, Swoon Reads books are spotted in Fully Booked!
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview! If you want to read last year’s interview with Sandy Hall, Jenny Elliott, and Katie Van Ark, click here.
Thanks a lot and have a great week ahead!