Welcome Kimberley Finn, how are you today?
Refreshed. I’ve just been back to sleep for three hours this afternoon after a late night writing! As I write this we in England are experiencing an alleged ‘heat wave’, which means that the best time to write right now is very late at night when my home is at its coolest!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I always cringe at this part as I’m terribly convinced that my actual life is not at all interesting! I’m a private tutor and teacher of Creative Writing who is also studying towards a Master’s Degree in Education and Applied Linguistics (told you it was boring!). Currently my spare time is totally consumed by equal parts teaching preparation, listening to 1950’s rock and roll and writing, of course. I also suffer from a long term medical condition known as M.E./C.F.S. which means I have to spend an inordinate amount of time sleeping and resting, which is not always agreeable when I’m feeling inspired!
What genre would you say that your book is in?
I always call it a ‘Futuristic Crime Mystery’ which is a mouthful in itself, but it’s very difficult to pinpoint the genre as I like to wander among themes! It’s definitely science-fiction, and it’s definitely a detective mystery, the plot always centers around crimes and it’s suitable for audiences from Young Adult right the way up to Old Adult, and I know this because my 84 year old grandmother has been praying for her copy of Counterclockwise to arrive for the last few weeks!
Tell us a little about The Atomic Circus.
Well TAC begins the story of our young protagonist, the 25 year old Caecilius Rex (that’s KAI-KILL-EE-USS for anyone interested in Latin pronunciation, but really you can say it however you like!). The events of this mystery unfold when a body is discovered out in the smog filled streets of the seaside town of Dartley. The victim appears to have perished in a very unusual way, which is right up the street of our detective friend, who is always called upon to solve unusual cases. For this particular mystery Cae calls upon the help of his new friend and recent next door neighbor Kendra Nai, a fierce ex-army sergeant who has recently been made redundant and is looking for something to fill the void in her life. The pair set out to investigate the odd death and begin to uncover a conspiracy that will bring them closer as friends, but also closer to an untimely death if they aren’t careful.
Your book is set in the not too distant future. Is it a completely new world or are there things people will still recognize?
I’ve been quizzed on this issue by some of my local readers too. There are plenty of recognizable devices and concepts as this world is our world after a war that caused destruction of apocalyptic standards. The new world is an amalgamation of things recovered and reintroduced from the old world and some startling new discoveries thanks to the chemical meltdown of the planet and the technological advances made by humans to survive in this new land.
How long did it take you to write each of these books?
Well I began the initial concept for The Atomic Circus in November last year (2012) whilst I was supposed to be teaching an English class (oops). I began what was initially a slow writing and planning process, but the novella came together very quickly at the start of this year and it was published in early March through Amazon Createspace. I began Counterclockwise immediately after TAC was published but I did experience another time where I had to stop and plan and rethink, which was quickly followed by an incredibly productive 7 days in which I penned 15,000 words (and consequently neither ate nor slept for days). CC was published in late June, so all in all it’s taken 7 months to write both stories.
Where did you get the idea for deadly, toxic smog to be outside? Was it hard to remember to have all your characters put on the appropriate gear required before going outside because of the harsh environment?
I find gas masks really threatening and ominous, so I had to give my characters a good reason to wear them! Now that I think about it, all the stories I am currently working on have characters that wear masks or have painted faces, so I might have some sort of deep rooted psychological issue that I’m not aware of that’s emerging in my books!
Yes it was terribly hard to remember that the character’s faces are always covered by half-masks when they are out in the thick smog, you wouldn't believe how many times I caught them smiling or scratching their noses when they shouldn't be able to!
This is part of a series the second being Counterclockwise have you already written the next two or still working on them?
If I had completed the other two they would be out there right now as I don’t believe in holding back. To me there’s nothing worse than getting into a series then having to wait years between releases to continue it. When my current manuscript that is not Caecilius Rex-related is completed (which should be sometime in August) I will be ready to jump right in and start writing part 3: The Face. I have a lot of the material planned but also plenty of space for the plot to surprise me, as I don’t like to work too rigidly in the opening half of any story.
Tell us a little about Counterclockwise.
Counterclockwise picks up where The Atomic Circus left off, about three months after the conclusion to that particular mystery. Kendra at this point has become pretty established as a crime-solver herself, and Counterclockwise really takes us into her story a little more, since we hear so much about Cae in the first book. In this story a serial strangler is on the loose, and his target appears to be police personnel, so naturally Cae is deeply concerned that these killings are taking place right under his young nose! Counterclockwise sees him team up with a rather unseemly criminal (who you’ve met briefly in the first book) in his attempts to identify the strangler, and both Cae and the readers will make some darker, more startling discoveries as this part of the story unfolds.
These are novellas are you going to write full length novels at some point or do novellas fit you better? Are there any other books that you are working on at this time or just the Caecilius Rex detective novella series?
Novellas fit this particular series very well as it is the gradual culmination of each part to Cae’s story that really builds up the plot nicely. When these four parts are completed I estimate that the result will be over 120,000 words, which would have been quite an epic target to write as a single novel!
I actually have a little secret that I’ll reveal here: if the Caecilius Rex saga earns a little readership and people are enjoying their escapades in my Toxic World, I do have a few more novella stories planned in this same world with other characters in different parts of the world.
I do also write novels and I’m working on two full length novels at the moment. One is a time-travel adventure for an international publishing competition and is currently at 34,000 words, if it isn’t picked up for the contest I do intend to release it myself towards the end of this year. The other novel is in its planning stages right now; I have taken the detour from sci-fi into fantasy for this one, it’s a dark, magical romance tale that I intend to write for the NaNoWriMo challenge this November.
Is there anything you would like to talk to your readers about?
Don’t judge a book by its cover guys.
Unless you really like my covers, in which case please buy it instantly.
Thank you so much for joining us today! How can your readers reach you?
Oh there’s plenty of ways. You can check out my new blog, which will be used during my section of the Parajunkee Indie Book Tour happening very soon, and it is also going to be home to my articles on writing that I write for a great little online magazine called WriteMag, some really useful stuff for aspiring writers coming up there!