Synopses are hard. Query letters are hard. But writing your own biography? The worst. So, I’m going to do it a little differently. I asked some friends to pretend they were interviewing me. Let’s just say we had a little fun with it. Most of what is said below is actually true.
Penelope: Penelope Snoophouse here with Shallot Magazine, and today I’m interviewing Kianah Waters, the soon-to-be-published author of Death and the Informant, a gripping murder mystery set in the fictional small town of Hunts Landing. Miss Waters, did I pronounce your name right.
Kianah: Perfect. Like Lady Diana, but with a “K”.
Penelope: That’s terrific. Tell me, have you always wanted to be a writer?
Kianah: I know most authors confess to having a life-long dream of writing, but I actually did. I wrote my first book when I was ten. It was a space opera that covered three planets and four hundred years in time. I think it was about twenty-two pages long.
Penelope: Did you even know what a space opera was when you were ten?
Kianah: Nope. But I did know that when Star Wars came out a couple of years later, I thought they’d stolen all of my good ideas.
Penelope: So, have you been writing all of your life?
Kianah: I dabbled, I would say, until a few years ago. That’s when I decided to take writing stories seriously.
Penelope: And have you been published?
Kianah: One of my stories did make it into an anthology. I think we sold maybe sixty copies, which was a little disappointing since I’d bought ten of those copies myself for friends and family.
Penelope: At least you didn’t give up.
Kianah: There were plenty of times when I was tempted.
Penelope: Are you still reading or writing space operas? Or are you sticking to mysteries?
Kianah: Oh, I read more fantasy than science fiction these days. Fantasy, mystery, sometimes a little in between.
Penelope: So, which books influenced you the most?
Kianah: I have an eclectic shelf of old favorites, the ones that I read so many times that the covers are falling off. There’s Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Du Maurier’s Rebecca. I’ve got Ira Levin, Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, Jane Austen. And of course, Agatha Christie has her own shelf.
Penelope: How about newer authors?
Kianah: I just binge-read Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series, and I really had a tough time putting those books down. On the mystery side, Lucy Foley and Andrew Taylor come to mind.
Penelope: How about your writing routine. What does that look like?
Kianah: I block off time on my calendar every day for writing. Otherwise, the day just runs away from me. Then usually I load up a playlist and get cracking with a ten-minute warmup.
Penelope: What kind of music?
Kianah: I used to be stuck in the 70s and 80s when it came to playlists, but my kids have introduced me to some different artists. This morning, I listened to Alexander Rybak and Geoff Castellucci.
Penelope: You weren’t kidding about being eclectic!
Kianah: I like different things. And, with playlists, it’s also about what I’m writing, and what kind of mood I’m in when I’m writing it.
Penelope: We’ve talked about books and music. How about movies?
Kianah: Of course, with COVID, I haven’t been to a theater in ages. But I am a compulsive binge-watcher of really good shows. Recently, we finished Broadchurch and Vera on BritBox, and of course Shadow and Bone was amazing on Netflix.
Penelope: Okay, one last question. What do your readers need to know about Kianah Waters, the author?
Kianah: I’m a terrible reader. I mean, if I’m in the middle of a book and it hasn’t grabbed me, then I’m done with it. There are just too many good books out there to read to waste time on something that doesn’t work for me. So, I try to keep that in mind, and not leave my readers thinking they don’t want to finish my book. Oh, and I write in bunny slippers.
Penelope: Thank you, Kianah. This is Penelope Snoophouse, and you can read more about Kianah Waters, her writing, and her books, at Shallot Magazine.