Today, I present an interview with Kale Lawrence, author of the Alex in Wunderstrande series. She also created the cover for my novel, Storm Raven.
1. First, tell me a bit about yourself. What would you like readers to know about you?
That I’m weird. 😛 But in all reality, I have quite a diverse career background, spanning from working at Disney World to working in the broadcasting industry to marketing, and even as a receptionist at a rock and roll academy. One thing has remained constant, though, and that is my love of telling a good story.
2. Can you tell me about your current project?
Currently, I’m working on writing the Alex in Wunderstrande series. Book one, Alex in Wunderstrande: The Clairvoyance Clock, is published, but I’m working through book 2, which is called Alex in Wunderstrande: The Pulsar Collective. The series as a whole can be described as a steampunk-infused science fiction adventure, inspired by the classical works of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. It’s definitely something I’ve never read before, so I’m hoping steampunk fans, as well as those unfamiliar with the genre, are intrigued by it.
3. You’ve described your Alex in Wunderstande series as Steampunk. What drew you to that genre?
I’m totally captivated by the idea of an “alternative history” driven by industrial imagery and motifs. There’s just something about the Victorian era that’s beautiful, yet raw and gritty. Steampunk is all about going against the grain of traditionalism, and in modern literature, has become something of a hybrid-genre as it often collides with others like fantasy, horror, and so on. I’m also totally obsessed–to the point of absurdity–with gears and airships.
4. Where do you find inspiration for the stories you create?
Inspiration for this story in particular came from a concoction of things, a perfect mix of elements in the right moment of my life. I had been listening to “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap and “This is War” by 30 Seconds to Mars on repeat. The messages and feelings those songs evoked really inspired the “feel” of the story, where the happenings were crafted by where I was emotionally at that time of my life. I didn’t even realize I had such terrible trust issues until after I finished the book. Writing is therapy, right?
5. How do you feel you’ve evolved as a writer as you’ve progressed in your career?
I’ve been through a lot of careers, each one pushing my writing abilities to the next level. Much growth has come out of the last couple years in the marketing industry. I write for a variety of companies across a large spectrum of verticals, meaning I have to shift my perspective and voice a lot. Another perk is being impactful in a short time span in order to catch the attention of consumers. So, to those points, I’ve refined my writing.
6. Do you have a process for developing your characters?
Not really; they sort of come to me, sometimes even as I’m writing. I do have a method of mapping out their traits, though, because once you start adding in a whole horde of them, it’s easy to get confused.
Sometimes, people will ask me if I write them into my stories. Simple answer: no. More complicated answer: I take aspects of people I know or meet and incorporate them into a character. Some characters are vaguely inspired by certain people, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are entirely based off someone.
7. How did you discover your love of writing?
I’ve been writing since I first learned how to write. I remember asking my mom how to spell “tomorrow” when I was 5 because I needed that in the little booklet I was writing. My first story consisted of a “big, big fly” that took over a house. A few years later, I really wanted an American Girl doll, but didn’t have enough allowance saved up. So, I wrote my own stories about my un-American Girl doll and made her a star in her own right.
8. What is your favorite part of being a writer?
I get to be evil to fictional characters. Mwhaha! All joking aside, I love being able to creatively unwind from a stressful day and fall into the dreamworld of my imagination. To me, there’s nothing more refreshing. Except swimming. Or a Coke Zero. Okay, for real, though. Writing is pretty refreshing.
9. What is your greatest challenge as a writer?
Writer’s block is frustrating, but even more than that is how many times you have to edit and perfect your work. No story is perfectly told the first time, so editing is a must. Just because you have edited your story and read through it 20 times over does not mean you caught everything. Believe me, I’m living proof.
10. How do you find inspiration and motivation to write when you feel stuck?
Sometimes, just the ability to step away from a project for a bit and come back to it is the break you need. For me, I love putting on an inspiring musical playlist and walk in the woods. Doing this mentally unlocks the writer’s block, and I’m able to explore creativity once more.
11. What’s your favorite way to take a break from writing?
I love swimming and dancing. Incorporating physical activity into a routine can get those endorphins flowing and put you in the right mindset to write. Aside from working out, going to movies and theatre shows are another pastime of mine. I think my love of theatre arts shines through in Alex in Wunderstrande.
12. What’s one piece of advice that you would give to aspiring or new authors?
Don’t let a couple negative reviews or mean comments on social media get you down. Your work is going to make a difference in someone’s life someday. Don’t ever be moved by someone unable to move themselves. Essentially, let the words of the fool fall on deaf ears.
13. Aside from being an author, you’re also an outstanding cover artist. What do you enjoy most about doing covers? How does being an author complement your talent as an artist and vice versa?
Why, thank you! I quite enjoy being able to paint pictures with words and graphic art. Between the two mediums, there are similarities in that you’re trying to get a point across as well as leave the reader/viewer with a lasting impression.
To learn more about Kale and her work, you can check out these links: