Friday, January 31, 2014

Interview Friday with Iain Reading, author of Kitty Hawk series

About Iain Reading
Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. Iain is currently working on the fourth book in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, which will be released in 2014. For more information, go to

VS: I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today.  Iain, How long have you been writing?

Iain: I have been writing for just over a year now, although I now realize that I wish I'd started with it long ago.

VS: What inspired you to write your book (if this is a personal story about you, please share about the decision to open up about your life)?

Iain: The inspiration for writing my book comes entirely from the main character herself - Kitty Hawk.  The idea of a female teenaged seaplane pilot who wants to fly around the world just seemed so perfectly inspiring to me that I couldn't help but want to bring her to life by writing it.

VS: What is a typical writing day like for you?

Iain: A typical writing day always begins with some kind of exercise in focussing my thoughts and having a clear idea of what I want to accomplish and where things are going.  Not in too much detail, of course, but just enough to be clear about things.  This is usually accomplished by taking a walk alone and just sorting out my thoughts and writing the next chapter in my head, more or less.

VS: What did you find to be the most challenging part of writing your book(s)?

Iain: Finding the "voice" of the characters in the book and even of the entire book itself is what I find challenging.  Unfortunately, it seems to me that finding this is something that you only find once you are already well into writing the book (which either means going back and redoing the first parts you already wrote or just living with it).  And I guess this is what I find the most liberating about writing a series of books - the fact that I already have found the book's "voice" and can start in with it from day one and page one.

VS: What part of your book do you feel really stands out to you personally?

Iain: Something I really love about this book (Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold) is how it feels when it really gets going.  It sort of slowly creeps up on the tipping point to the main rollercoaster of action, but when it gets there it has this really lovely feeling to it, racing from one thing to the next like a string of firecrackers.  Some of the firecrackers are even quite obvious when you look back on them, like clichéd elements that every good book about Alaska and the Yukon needs to have, but to me they never feel cliché because you're being carried along in the story like a glacial river in flood.

VS: If this is a work of fiction, what character is most like you?

Iain: I suppose they all are, in their own small way.  The conventional wisdom is that writers should "write what they know" and from that you'd assume that writers make all characters a bit like themselves because that's what they know.  But maybe in making each character just a little bit like myself I am doing the opposite... writing to know myself better instead of writing WHAT I know already.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Iain: Right now I am working on a new series of books about a guild of wizards living in the modern world.  It's something completely different from the Kitty Hawk series (which I will return to, of course - I won't leave her out there until she's finished her flight around the world) and I was just very curious what it would be like if I wrote a book (or two or three or five) in the over-crowded fantasy genre.  So we'll see how that turns out.

VS: What do you think are the basic ingredients of a good book?

Iain: Aside from what are the standard things (characters, plot, etc) I think what is important thing is to create a world that draws people into it.  I would love to be able to say that I wrote a book where people felt like they were living the story instead of just reading about it.  

VS: What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?

Iain: Lately I am thinking a lot about believable characters.  Specifically about how much depth they have on the written page.  This stems from my concern about having two-dimensional (or god forbid even ONE-dimensional) characters too often in my writing.  Some of them are, I know, but I am okay with that.  But how does one ensure that the characters that they really need to have depth are truly three-dimensional and believable?  I suppose the way to accomplish that is to make sure that those characters actually DO have depth, at least in your own head as the writer.  Every character in life or books always has a backstory and motivations, right?  You don't always know what it is - in fact, you almost never really do know - but it's always there whether you know it or not.  So as a writer maybe the secret is to know all that stuff yourself, even if you never put it down on the page.  If you know yourself what their backstory is and what their motivations
are, then the action and dialogue that you actually do write might then be believable and three-dimensional.  I hope?

VS: Where can the readers of The Writing Mama find out more about and your writing?

Iain: Fans of the Kitty Hawk series can always check in with to see the latest state of all things Kitty Hawk.  And anyone interested in the music side of things can also check out my music website at as well.

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