The Interview: Bookbag Talks To K S Turner

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The Interview: Bookbag Talks To K S Turner


Summary: Bookbag thinks that Kate Turner's Before the Gods is something rather special and we couldn't resist the opportunity to ask her a few questions.
Date: 9 September 2009
Interviewer: Amit Vyas
Reviewed by Amit Vyas

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Bookbag thinks that Kate Turner's Before the Gods is something rather special and we couldn't resist the opportunity to ask her a few questions.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Kate Turner: I really want to be able to give an analytical answer to this, but I can't. I'm sure all marketing people will be throwing up their hands in horror at that. Before the Gods is written with many facets in order to bring out different themes, subjects and questions dependant on the reader, so readership is more by personality than age/gender/race etc.

Nevertheless, to give some insight into the cogs in my head... when I close my eyes to imagine my readers I see people, crowds of them, all walking, as if it's rush hour in a big grey city on a grey day with cool weather, routine rules the motions. Somewhere in that crowd will be those whose footsteps fall the same way as everyone else's, but their hearts and minds want freedom, escapism, choice, something, anything. They would be my readers.

  • BB: You studied Art and Design at university, at what point did you realise that you wanted to become a writer?

KT: Very good question. I've always known that I wanted to do something creative that made people think and feel. I thought my creative medium was art, which I do still love and enjoy, but then four years ago I started writing. I had found that I could not draw the stories in my head adequately, but writing illustrated them as perfectly as possible. I knew straight away, without any doubt, that I had found my creative tool; that was the moment of realisation.

  • BB: How would you try to describe/recommend Before the Gods to someone who mainly reads celebrity biographies and chick-lit?

KT: So, you like celebrity biographies and chic-lit? Then Before the Gods has all the trials and tribulations in wanting and avoiding fame, the destiny of fame, the pull of power and the choice to run from it. It's got more beautiful beings to fall in love with or befriend than any passion page turner, and enough love, hate and revelations to make the mind spin. Try it. You'll see.

  • BB: Most science fiction and fantasy sitting on bookshelves try to entice readers with familiar images and storylines on the covers, yet Before the Gods is deliberately vague. Isn't that a bit risky?

KT: Yes, it is; definitely, and that makes me smile. The risk was a considered choice. I want to break free of the industry standards because they limit the results. I hope that Before the Gods isn't like most other sci-fi and fantasy, so it does need to look different and not to conform to 'familiar' images.

'Do not let your ideas on limits limit your ideas.'

Writing is creative and thought provoking; it's very principle means it shouldn't conform, or at the very least should have those willing to push the boundaries.

  • BB: Which of your characters do you most identify with and why?

KT: As much as I would like to say all of them, or none of them, I must admit that I identify mostly with Tachra. Because she is written from a first person perspective and the book reveals many insights into her thoughts, it was natural to use my own thoughts and experiences, just moulding them around her personality and life. It was similar with Jychanumun, which I think was a natural thing because his and Tachra's paths are linked throughout the story.

  • BB: What are your thoughts on the current state of science fiction and fantasy writing?

KT: It's very hit and miss. There are brilliant authors and books out there, but there are also terrible ones, and far, far too many mediocre ones. That's why we need more honest reviews. Websites like Bookbag are jewels as they give unbiased reviews by professionals who actually read the book.

Also, too many authors are sticking to particular rules and outlines for both the look and content of a book. This is quite apparent, especially in fantasy. If more authors don't start thinking out of the box then the whole genre will become boring. Fantasy and science fiction should be the most creative or outrageous or thought-provoking genres. The only rule that should apply is that it should be good.

  • BB: Is there a moral or philosophical message underpinning the series or is it simply meant to be enjoyed as pure escapism?

KT: Yes and yes. Oh, you are clever. The series has duality and was intentionally written to be both. If you want to read for pure escapism and just enjoy a good book, then that is what you will read and hopefully have a really good time doing so. But, if you have your own sparks of questions and curiosities, you will find deeper threads wound through the concepts in the book. But, having read the book and now asking that question, I am guessing that you had already figured that out. That makes me very happy! Thank you.

  • BB: Was it a challenge to alternate between a socially and technologically advanced society and a primitive one? Which was more enjoyable to write about?

KT: Oh my goodness yes; it was a challenge as each required its own style, yet both had to link together and flow well. The change over with each chapter was like accessing a different part of my brain. I would drive myself to frustration with each change, but once that change was made, it would flow naturally, as if that was the only one I knew about. Thankfully, I would usually do those change-overs when no one was around to witness my frustrated pacing.

I enjoyed writing about each society equally; both have their own unique beauty and troubles. I only hope I did them justice.

  • BB: Before The Gods is a speculative take on human origins - what is your favourite ancient myth or creation story?

KT: You know, I don't have a favourite; they're all amazing. I guess they would have to be amazing to have lasted so long.

  • BB: What's next for Kate Turner?

KT: Right now I'm on the finishing tweaks of Tumultus; the second book in the Chronicles of Fate and Choice. Tumultus is big on concepts with potent themes and powerful plots; writing it has felt like my heart is on a platter on the table. So I may take a whole day or two off before I start writing Time, the third book in the series.

Other than writing, up until New Year I'm working with an amazing band, Switchblade, who are being groomed as the next big thing both sides of the Atlantic. They're composing a new album that's based around the main themes and events in Tumultus. It's very exciting.

There are so many things that I want to do and that I love to do; there are just not enough hours in the day. Primarily, I want to write and produce books that people love and want to keep in order to read again. So, along with the balance of life itself, that's what I'll try my hardest to do.

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Bookbag for such well thought out questions. They certainly got my brain ticking. It's been a pleasure.

And I wish all Bookbag readers much happy reading of super books by brilliant authors in every genre.

  • BB: Thanks for your time, Kate. Looking forward to seeing how Tumultus turns out.

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Lobo Wolf said:

Beyond The Gods. Fantastic. I am going on 50 and rarely have the time or inclination to pick up a book to pass the hours. When I was a student in rural Alberta Canada, I would always escape into some sci fi or fantasy novel and loved it. As I got older I lost that love. A friend told me about Beyond the Gods and, yea, ok, sure, I'll take a look but I have things to do. I finally broke down and purchased Beyond the Gods and during an evening of some stress I decided to have a look at it. I read it in three days which to say the least was very fast for me. I loved it. It awoke all those feelings that I used to get when I read a really rip roaring good novel as a kid. I loved it, loved it, loved it. I am working for 3 months at the Olympic Games in Vancouver 2010. I plan to re read Beyond the Gods again while I'm there and look forward with great excitment to purchasing the next two books in the series. KS have an old, new fan. Lobo Wolf, Sooke, BC, Canada.