Today, Tag Line Tuesday is happy to welcome K.S. Brooks, a writer of wide-ranging works, as you can see from her books mentioned below. Seriously: Secret agents, 300 year-old trees, dogs writing post cards…Kat is all over the place. So say “hi.”
Ed: Hello, K.S., let’s get the pesky biographic stuff out of the way. Where you from?
KSB: I was born in New York City. But I’ve recently given in to my fascination with Sasquatch and moved to the wilderness of the inland Northwest to be closer to him.
Ed: Yeah, dearth of Sasquatches left on Manhattan, I think it’s a rent thing. You have a “day job?”
Ed: And how ‘bout a “dream job?”
KSB: Extremely wealthy world-traveling Author with a staff of 5 including personal assistant, publicist, cook, housekeeper and masseur.
Ed: So, the big one: Why do you write?
KSB: I have all these characters and scenes and stories and dialogue in my head. I think if I didn’t write them, I might spontaneously combust.
Band – So many, but the first one which comes to mind is Earth, Wind & Fire
Food – anything from Lou’s Café in New York City.
Game – Target shooting. And Hockey
Album – I like photo albums. If they have pictures in them, that’s even better.
Word – Concupiscent.
Color – Cerulean Blue
Animal – Yes, I like animals. I am, in fact, a meatatarian.
Piece of clothing – Bullet-proof vest. I also fancy those torpedo bra tops Madonna used to wear, but the vest is far less likely to cause a ricochet.
Movie – BOONDOCK SAINTS. No, wait! HOT SHOTS PART DEUX. No, wait! AUSTIN POWERS. No, wait! Aw, I can’t make up my mind. MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. No, wait!
TV show – I don’t watch television much. But I will for NHL Hockey, Big Bang Theory and Burn Notice.
Drink – Drinking is good. Keeping hydrated is very important.
Song – Can’t pick just one. But anything upbeat.
Line from a song – “I’m sick of sittin’ round here tryin’ to write this book” – Bruce Springsteen, Dancing in the Dark.
Pizza topping – Pineapple, mushroom and black olive. Light on the sauce. New YorkStyle. J
Crime – B&E is always fun.
Place – Wherever I can breathe. Tied for first are where I live; the Olympic rain forest, Washington State; Vieques, Puerto Rico; NYC; Iao Needle, Maui; and the Alaskan Tundra.
Quote – “Vengeance is one of life’s great motivators.” – Special Agent Kathrin Night, from Lust for Danger.
Ed: Three random things about yourself, please.
KSB: My first novel took over 10 years to write; my last novel took 2 months. I can shoot accurately either right- or left-handed. I type over 100 words a minute and it makes sense – most of the time.
What’s the biggest consideration when you are deciding what book to read?
KSB: If I’m reading for pleasure (very rarely), I want to be entertained. I want sharp humor and a happy ending. The last thing I want is to read some tale of woe. Life is already too serious.
Ed: You are looking at the back of a book in a bookstore, reading on online blurb, or whatever. What sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”
KSB: Most everything makes me say pass. I can’t stand the boastful ways most of those are written. The more pushy someone is to get me to do something (or buy something) the less inclined I am to do it.
Ed: What genre do you enjoy most?
KSB: Probably satire.
Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?
KSB: I’m not sure what it’s called. That shape-shifting werewolf vs. vampire stuff. I just can’t wrap my brain around that.
Ed: I think that genre is called “bestsellers” now. Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?
Ed: It is indeed Important to be Earnest. And I know somebody named Cecily. 😉
Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?
KSB: The story I’ve read more times than any other is “The Canterville Ghost” by Oscar Wilde. At 1400 pages, The Count of Monte Cristo is a time hog, but still amazing.
Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?
KSB: Way, way back, I recall buying a tiny red chapbook at a flea market – I think it was “Vampire” by Rudyard Kipling. I never read it, but I still have it.
Ed: Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?
KSB: More than I can fit in this space!
Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?
KSB: No. I’ve actually been very lucky. Although I was fortunate enough to have a friend who read the books that people gave me and then provided me with the “Cliff Note” version of them, so if the authors ever did ask, I could at least act like I’d read them.
Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?
KSB: Yes. Clive Cussler’s Treasure. For the most part, it’s usually the other way around though, and I’m pleasantly surprised by writers.
Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?
Ed: I can’t even imagine that story without the music.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
KSB: My favorite line makes no sense to anyone who hasn’t read the line before it, so here are both: “She looked wonderfully beautiful with her grand ivory throat, her large blue forget-me-not eyes, and her heavy coils of golden hair. Or pur (pure gold) they were – not that pale straw colour that nowadays usurps the gracious name of gold, but such gold as is woven into sunbeams or hidden in strange amber; and they gave to her face something of the frame of a saint, with not a little of the fascination of a sinner.” – from Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime by Oscar Wilde.
How, and when, do you tend to come up with titles?
KSB: I’m all over the place with that. Sometimes I know the title before I write the story. Sometimes I can’t come up with a title until the cover is about to go to artwork. I try to keep them short and grabbing, and hopefully a good representation of what’s in the book. My favorite is when I can use something said by one of the characters as the title. The “Cover Me” Series has the word Night in all the titles (since that’s my main character’s name). I love being able to have double meanings in my titles, even if I’m the only one who gets it – but hopefully someone else will pick up on it.
Ed: How do your characters get their names?
KSB: My general rules are: Antagonists usually represent people who haven’t been very nice to me. I’ll switch the first and last names, or use derivatives to make it work. Protagonists will get a first and last name combo as well, but usually from two different people. Like my friends Kim Krull and Buddy Birch – I took their names to make Buddy Kim, the talented acupuncturist. Most recently, however, I’ve used actual friends’ names as bad guys – because they’ve requested it.
Ed: If you could live in the world / with the people of one of your stories, which one would it be and why?
KSB: Frankly, I wouldn’t want to, but if I was forced to pick, I’d say Night Undone because it’s the least violent at this point.
Ed: What do you think your books say about you?
KSB: I think my books say that I’m a stickler for detail, a proponent of justice, that I have a sense of humor and that I’m mildly disturbed.
Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?
KSB: Yeah. I wrote Lust for Danger a LONG time ago. My writing style has improved dramatically since then. While people still love it, that’s a book I personally wish I could take back and re-write to bring it up to par with my current works.
Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.
KSB: Special Agent Kathrin Night – poor woman. I beat the crap out of her mentally and physically in every book. She’s tough and beautiful, brilliant in the ways of espionage and counter-terrorism but inept when it comes to personal relationships and romance.
Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.
Kathrin Night: That Brooks woman? *shakes head* I consider her work ethic somewhat obsessive. She talks to her characters and formulates plots constantly. I’ve noted that she prefers all the light switches going in the same direction, yet on her somewhat chaotic workspace, she can put her hand on exactly what she’s looking for without effort. That illustrates nearly equal right and left brain usage, which could also explain her ADHD. Despite the fact I somewhat resent her level of meddling in my life, I find her to be thoughtful towards others. She follows the mantra “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” – which is noble, but not necessarily realistic in these times.
Ed: Back to K.S., what’s your favorite line which you have written?
KSB: “I’m all over this like a cheap suit on a kangaroo. And don’t you forget it.” – Jim Long, from Dark Alley in Odd & Odder.
Plotter or Pantser?
KSB: Both, depending on what I’m writing. And I never write in order. I’ve been trying to work on actually starting at the beginning, because it truly does make things easier, but so far I haven’t succeeded. My suspense novels just sort of happen, but my action-adventure thrillers need outlines since they move quickly and go to many different locations. It’s a lot of stuff to keep straight.
Ed: Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?
KSB: Best: Stay true to your story. Worst: Decide who your audience is and write for them. (Never write for someone else.)
Ed: Love that Worst. 🙂 Best/Worst thing about being a writer?
Best: Reading a review of my book(s) by someone and knowing they “got it.” Worst: Having to go out and pimp what I wrote.
KSB: I’ve always rooted for the underdog. And to be perfectly honest – I went Indie back before it was called Indie (2001) – and it wasn’t intentional.
Ed: Is being a writer what you expected? How so or how not?
KSB: I’ve always been a writer, so I really can’t answer that. I’m just happy, lucky and blessed that I can do it full-time. The promotional aspect, however, I could do without.
Ed: Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story?
KSB: Sure! A friend of mine, Newt Love, and I just released a collection of our short works (Odd & Odder). It’s not exactly a story collaboration, but it proved to me there is someone out there who can stand me enough to actually work with me. Because that was such a good experience, I was inspired to delude two other authors into working with me – David Antrobus & JD Mader. We’re hoping to put together a fun collection for release around April Fools’ Day.
Ed: If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?
KSB: I wouldn’t waste so much time pursuing the traditional method of publication.
Ed: What is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
KSB: Just write. Write what I think and/or feel. Those will be the truest and best words I can put down.
Ed: What’s the moral of the story?
KSB: The story’s not quite over yet, but I foresee something along the lines of “Outliving your enemies is the best revenge – and good will persevere over evil.” Too dramatic? Then I’d say “be true to yourself.” Too corny? That’s all I got.
Ed: And finally, a few HYPOTHETICALS.
KSB: Thank you for saying that. I was going to back up today! My photography. All my writing is backed up daily – but backing up photos is a pain in the….
Ed: A pain in the what? Oh. Got it.
You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities. What do you do?
Ed: Right. 🙂
Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales.
KSB: What do you do? I’d ask my Indie publisher – she’s a straight shooter, and would tell me if she thought this person was on the money or not. If what the person said had merit, then I would seriously consider it. I appreciate constructive criticism and am never against hearing other POVs on what I write. That’s probably why I have 4 BETA readers.
Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing. What do you do?
KSB: Bronx cheer. Middle finger. And a big “I don’t think so.”
Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?
KSB: How about “K.S., would you like me to rub your feet while you’re doing the interview?”
Ed: There’s a coupon for that in the complimentary author’s gift bag.
Finally, where to find K.S.’s books, now that you know why you should. Five Word Synopses provided by the author, and the interviewer’s insistence.
K.S. Brooks can also be found at the following places around the intrawebs:
Web site: http://www.ksbrooks.com
Writing Blog: http://authorksbrooks.blogspot.com
Satire Blog: http://ksbrooks.wordpress.com