Originally published October 9, 2015, by New Orleans Literature Examiner Dionne Charlet
Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club (ARVLFC) welcomes author KL Bone to the sixth annual UndeadConhorror/paranormal writers conference and 27th annual Vampire Lestat Ball, this year entitled the Gathering of the Ancients. Bone, fantasy writer of five books, will be featured as a guest of the Halloween-week events for the second year in a row.
ARVLFC president Sue Quiroz had high praise to offer Bone. “I read Rise of the Temple Gods: Heir to Kale,” said Quiroz, “which takes place in ancient times ruled by two temples. There are twin sisters separated and trained to be skilled in combat and each is vying to rule the kingdom. Battle scenes and other challenges keep them striving to overcome each other…you will have to read the book to find out who is successful in the end. The story will hold your attention and keep you reading ’til the last page.”
The author was kind enough to answer some questions for Examiner.com New Orleans Literature via email.
Dionne Charlet: If you were to describe your writing style by genres, what would you use? Science fiction/fantasy author?
KL Bone: “Yes, I would say science fiction and fantasy…I have two series out. Rise of the Temple Gods, a high fantasy series which currently includes Heir to Kale and Heir to Koloso. And The Black Rose Guard series, which is dark fantasy and currently consists of Black Rose and Heart of the Rose. I [have] one stand-alone science-fiction novel, The Indoctrination.
“I also have some expertise in the Gothic genre. I have an MA in Modern Literary Cultures with an emphasis on vampire literature, from a university in England and several years of PhD studies in Gothic Literature in Ireland. I have had the privilege of attending several events in the Gothic field as a presenter including speaking twice at the Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness Conference which was held in Lisbon in 2013 and Prague in 2014. The Monsters and the Monstrous Conference at the University of Oxford, UK in July 2015. A Dracula workshop in Timisora, Romania in June 2015. And this will be my second year as a speaker at the Anne Rice Undead Conference in New Orleans.”
DC: How do you switch gears from different genres, different realms?
KLB: “The first thing that is necessary to switch between genres and stories is a changing of the playlist. I have difficultly writing in silence, so I often and frequently set up different musical playlists for different protagonists. Typically, characters in Black Rose and the Rise of the Temple Gods series require very different music. Temple Gods usually is written to very upbeat, fast paced music while the Rose novels are more towards soft love songs (think Celine Dion) or classical music.
“The worlds are also drastically different, as Temple Gods are set in a complete fantasy world with pink trees and talking dogs, while Black Rose is set in a slightly alternative version of the world in which we currently live. The characters are also distinctive, Temple Gods being a tale of two young sisters attempting to learn who they are and who they are meant to be. In contrast, the protagonist of the Rose novels is a 1200 year old semi-immortal with a dark path stained in sorrow and blood. These differences help to separate both the characters and the worlds which they occupy.”
DC: What novel writing method do you use?
KLB: “When I first start to write, I typically have a vague idea of where a story will go and the steps required to get there. However, I am not one to thoroughly outline, as I prefer to let the story grow naturally and surprise me with its twists and turns. I am one who believes that characters tend to have a life and personality of their own and the author often acts as a transcriber to the stories they tell.
“I typically need two things in order to write well. The first is to have a completed cover for the novel. The imagery helps me to visualize the story and has, from time to time, helped me to make decisions about certain aspects of the novel, such as the rose colors in the Black Rose series. I am very fortunate to be working with a spectacular cover designer, Skyla Dawn Cameron of Indigo Chick Designs who has done each of the amazing covers on my novels.
“The second is a playlist. I listen to various types of music when I write, typically depending upon which character and story line I am writing.
“I also write in drafts. The first version of a novel is what I refer to as a ‘zero’ draft. This is a messy, unedited version of the story which no one sees except myself and my cat, who jumps up by the computer if I write past her typical dinner-time. Once the zero draft is complete, my next step is to place the manuscript in a drawer for approximately 60 days. This allows some time and separation from the manuscript so that when I pull out the draft for revision, I do so with fresh eyes and am more easily able to spot the various errors and mistakes found within the story.
“Once removed from the drawer, I read through the story as meticulously as possible, searching for errors in both the plot and technical editing, transforming the manuscript from a ‘zero’ draft to a first. Then I typically allow my writing partner to read this draft. He finds many more typos and inconsistencies which must be corrected before it becomes a second draft which is then gone over again as thoroughly as possible.
“It is around this point that I send the manuscript off to my editors. I cannot begin to stress the importance of a professional editor to each manuscript I write. They find inconsistencies that I would have never even thought to search for on my own. I have been very fortunate to work with amazing editors over the past few novels, one of whom is my content editor who searches the plot, and a technical editor who looks for any last remaining typos.
“After the editing is finished, I typically glance over the manuscript one last time before beginning the process of releasing the novel.”
DC: How do you keep track of your characters?
KLB: “Both my editors and I keep extensive character lists. These lists include aspects such as hair and eye color, what a character typically wears, if they have any distinctive scars, birthmarks, or accents. I list their favorites, such as color or drink. I also have charts in my personal author notes with family lineages for both novels which show the relationship between them. Some of these lists are very extensive, going back several generations of a given protagonist’s family. These lists are reviewed both as I write and as I edit and then double-checked by my respective editors as they go through the novel as well.
“I also have (badly drawn) maps of the kingdoms and lands in which I write. I am hoping that by the thirdTemple Gods book, I might actually have a map that can be inserted into the novels to help readers visualize the characters.”
It was a delight to interview this author, and to review her first book of the The Black Rose Guard series,Black Rose. As the book begins, it was apparent immediately that I would enjoy this author’s prosaic style and flair for description. As each scene is set and the story weaves as easy meter into itself, the atmosphere seems to whisper in living detail to the reader. It is completely unexpected when the emotion crescendos through text. It is hard not to develop a true caring for Bone’s characters. Torment, love, passion, betrayal, and…gore! This masterfully woven Gothic tale echoes of the Underworld film series and resounds in a modern Medieval mesh of fable, duty, and unrequited love. One thing is for certain. Black Rose by any other pen name would simply not be a KL Bone novel.
KL is a featured presenter on an UndeadCon panel of authors including Alys Arden, Dawn Chartier, Sarah M. Cradit and Stasia Morineaux which will take place Saturday, Oct. 31st, Halloween, from 2 – 3:30 p.m. at theHilton Garden Inn on South Peters St. She is also a featured author guest of the Gathering of the Ancients Ball on the night of Friday Oct. 30th. For tickets to both, go to ARVLFC.com.