Moira Katson, is the author of the Light & Shadow Trilogy, which I discovered the first day I used my Kobo Reader. She was kind enough to offer Shadowborn, the first installment for free – and being the cheap bugger I am – I grabbed a copy, starting reading and couldn’t put it down.
Moira has also published another epic fantasy novel, Mahalia, and Shadow’s Reach, set in the Light & Shadow universe.
I’ve asked her here today to let me pick at her brain, and see what we can find.
How long have you considered yourself a Writer? Oh, wow. Hmmm. I’ve been working on stories I have in the pipeline now for about 10 years, but I don’t think I would have considered myself a writer until 2012 at the earliest, when I released my first book. Even after that, it took a while before I would introduce myself as a writer.
What Author(s) or Works first inspired you to write? Who inspires you now? Now, I would say that Guy Gavriel Kay is a huge inspiration: every time I pick up one of his books I get about a half paragraph in, slump onto my desk, and moan, “Oh, no, reading this shows me that I’m horrible at writing.” His books are so beautifully crafted, and a joy to read (as soon as I get past my despair)! As for beginning to write, I can’t remember a particular story that inspired me, but I do remember my mother reading A Wrinkle in Time aloud to me, and I loved all of L’Engle’s work.
Do you ever put yourself into your own stories, and if so where (in the background or the forefront)? This is a fascinating question, and one I had (oddly) never thought about. It’s a mix of “always” and “never.” I’ve never written a character that started out as me, per se—sometimes they’re more courageous, or more or less able to tolerate moral flux… On the other hand, as I write, each character gets under my skin and in the end, after writing them, I’m not the same person I was to start with.
Where did Light & Shadow come from? I wanted to explore the trope of a young woman forced into the role of a political pawn, but from the point of view of someone who was essentially invisible. I was hoping to show, and I hope I did, that both of these woman started as invisible in their separate ways: Catwin was unseen entirely, and Miriel was seen but not thought of as a person in her own right, only regarded as a vessel for her uncle’s ambitions.
What would you say lies at the core of your overall inspiration, your drive to write? As a story comes into focus in my head, it becomes very real and very true to me, and I feel a need to bear witness to it. It’s difficult to say this because it sounds illogical and somewhat “out there.” On the other hand, I have heard some other authors, artists, and musicians describe the phenomenon: it’s like the work of art has come to you and you’re its only means of coming into the world. It beats at the corners of your brain until you let it out, and then you can rest.
Imagine if you will your fiction as a person. Describe them. I imagine it’s a lot like Patrick Stewart – mostly serious with flashes of humor, and very nerdy.
Describe a typical writing session for you? Somewhat self-combative. You have to devote a lot of time to writing because of all the time you spend sitting at your notebook or computer, only a fraction of it will be writing, and only a fraction of that will be good writing. So I sit, and try to make myself write, and try to keep myself from doing things like checking my email—and sometimes it feels like every word is being dragged out of me kicking and screaming, but if I’m very lucky, then I will catch onto a stream of inspiration and type and type and type!
What are you planning to follow up Shadow’s Reach with? Right now I am working on two things, a Science Fiction series called Novum, and a co-writing project about an alternate history involving Joan of Arc. I had not planned on returning to the Light & Shadow universe, but I am now fairly sure that I will do so—Catwin and Miriel have a lot of life ahead of them!