Joining us today in the ruins is Maria Watson, here to talk about the first book in her Kinship series, Kinship: The Covering.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to stop by today, Maria. For those who haven't yet had a chance to give the Kinship series a read, please tell us a little about yourself, a certain scarf, and your Data upgrade.
A: Thank you for having me. Indeed, I’m a Dr. Who fan as well as a mini Trekkie. Though the Kinship series is not like either of those, it’s heavily influenced by fantasy. My interest in Sci-fi/ Fantasy came from my older sister. She would let me stay up late at night and watch Dr. Who on public TV on one condition - I had to watch Jack Horkheimer’s Star Gazer afterwards. Eventually, I was introduced to Star Trek reruns but it was Data in the Next Generation that won my heart. I was just amazed at how much he could remember and do. After I saw the episode where he played the violin I was hooked.
Kinship: The Covering in print?
A: I began writing around five years ago. My initial goal was to share my stories with family and friends, so I sat down and wrote the Kinship manuscript. After a couple months I hired an editor to make sure things were in order. She recommended I look into getting the story out for more people to read. I was stunned and not sure where to go. I did some searching and found a literary consultant named Erin Reel. She gave me priceless advice I was able to apply. When I was handed the first copy of the book I was very excited. I could hardly believe how this all started with me and my laptop.
Q: Sometimes it's good to feel a little stunned! In terms of writing, what comes easiest for you, and where do you struggle the most? Is it the title? The first paragraph? The last chapter? The cover blurb?
A: Getting started always posed the most challenges for me. The first paragraphs feel like pushing a boulder up hill. Kinship was no different, even though I knew what Kinship: The Covering was going to look like; I had no idea how to begin. I felt frozen with options. After pressing through, the chapters seemed to flow.
Q: Sometimes, once you've got that boulder rolling, characters can take on a life of their own, pulling the story in directions you hadn't originally anticipated. Have there been any twists or turns in your writing that surprised you, or really challenged your original plans?
A: Since I have an active dream life and imagination some characters do emerge to enhance the storyline. Some ideas have to be saved for other projects. In the Kinship series, Ar’s evil shadow really takes a form of its own. It was something I never intended but its addition has enriched the plot.
Q: Clearly Doctor Who and Star Trek have an influence on your love of science fiction, but are there any other unusual influences, from outside the genre, that you’ve drawn in for the Kinship series?
A: I have a love for art and forests. So when it came to picturing the Kin world, I would glean from places around me. I would go on drives with friends through the Fontenelle Forest or to look at local gardens then come home and start writing.
Q: I know you’re both a vocalist and a classically trained violinist, so I have to ask, do you have a soundtrack to your writing, a particular style of music or other background noise that keeps you in the mood, or do you require quiet solitude?
A: Believe it or not I usually write with the TV on to provide the usual background white noise. Music really captures my attention and makes it difficult for me to focus on writing while it plays. When I get a break I sometimes blast something that wakes me. Right now I’m stuck on the 2 Cellos song Technical Difficulties and any Tye Tribbett.
Q: It's odd how differently we all process our distractions - I can tune out most things while writing, but not while editing. In terms of reader reactions, what is the strangest or most surprising reaction to your work that you've encountered to -date?
A: Since most people know that the plot and dialogue for Kinship were written from a dream I had, one surprising question I received was if I was actually taken to this planet while I slept. I wasn’t sure if they were serious right away but it made me smile. It showed me how much the reader identified with what I wrote.
Q: Hmm . . .I notice you don't deny that particular trip (LOL). Before we let you go, what can we look forward to from you next? Is there a project on the horizon that you're really excited about?
A: I am really excited about the next book in the Kinship series, The Outland. It answers a lot of questions the first book brings up and the elves never disappoint! The third book in the Kinship series will bring the story to a close in a way readers would never have anticipated. Since I have strong ties with the Latin community, I am also in the progress of getting the Kinship series translated to Spanish for North American distribution. I also am excited about a few works in progress, both of which came to me in dreams.
Awesome! Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck with book two!
About the Author
Kinship: The Covering, is an adventurous story full of twists and turns. When a fireball streaks across the sky and slams into the forest, the peaceful Kin need to decide – is this an elf trick, staged to lure them out their protective covering for capture, or is someone really in need of help? What they find changes everything. A crew from Detroit, on a mission to colonize a new planet for a better tomorrow, enters the scene and tough choices must be made. What happens when you choose help from the wrong side of a conflict? The road back to redemption is a long one. Hunted by evil, the group must escape the snares of the enemy and trust the protection of the Kin. The crew must choose between finding a way home and doing what’s right; the fate of the Kin lies in their hands.