Award-winning author Nancy Kilpatrick has published eighteen novels, over two hundred short stories, six collections, one non-fiction book, and has edited thirteen anthologies. She writes in the dark fantasy, horror, fantasy, mystery and erotica fields, and her work has been translated into 7 languages. Her books are in print and most have also been turned into ebooks, while a few can be found as audiobooks. You can check her website for updates nancykilpatrick.com and join her on Facebook.
Your real name and pen name?
My name is Nancy Kilpatrick and I have two pen names: Amarantha Knight, who writes extreme erotic horror, and Desiree Knight, Amarantha's younger sister, who writes softer erotic horror. Fortunately we all get along!
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
Many of my good memories revolve around my grandfather. He and I used to go to the movies on Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday nights, even though these were school nights. Back then, neighborhood theaters sold plates, cups, saucers, soup bowls, etc. ultimately forming sets and we collected an entire service for eight of pink China with wheat sheaves in the design. We also started two others, one blue, one turquoise. We saw every sort of movie out, everything the local theater showed, and I bombarded my grandfather with questions throughout, which he answered, so I imagine my view of life has a good chunk of his perspective to it.
He used to bring me gifts regularly. They could be anything--a puppy, a bracelet, a record player. Once he brought home a portable typewriter. This was in BC--Before Computers. I pecked out my first stories on that machine at around the age of seven or eight.
What career did you plan during your education daysI had no career plans for myself. I finished school and floated around for many years doing a lot of jobs, from waitress to vice president of a market research company. All along, though, I was writing. It took me quite a while to realize that I was, in fact, a writer. Sometimes we miss the obvious! When that struck me as reality, I decided to get more serious about sending out material, which led to publication. As the I CHING says, 'perseverance furthers'.
What languages you can speak and write?
My language is English. But I live in a French-speaking culture so I've studied French but I'm not good at it. I can read the newspaper and understand most verbal conversation on a mundane level, and can speak enough to get my needs and wants understood and met. But I'm incapable of existential discourse.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life
Books. I've read voraciously since childhood. I'd like to add film, but I have to be honest--few films have stuck with me the ways many books have. Books allow the imagination to wake up and unfold itself so that it can create images and lead to understanding on several levels at once. Film tends to be almost flat. And while that has value, it often doesn't have depth. There are, though, exceptions, of course. Many. But good books rarely disappoint. Even a plot that's predictable sometimes is written in the most exquisite language that one is forgiving of plot holes.
What hurts you most in this world
The cruelty that people inflict on children, women, animals. I can't bear knowing about it sometimes. I realize that men are also victims. With adult men and women there's a bit of a sense that they might be able to do something to help themselves. Children and animals are helpless in the face of violence. There are days when I feel misanthropic indeed.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
Learning that there is hope and that I am worthy of feeling that. I came from a childhood that mostly snuffed out hope and filled that space with bleakness, a sense that life is impossibly hard, full of trouble, illness, death, with very little joy. It took years of seeking help to not so much reverse but more to allow myself the opportunity to evolve out of that bleak mindset and have fun without feeling as if the hammer would fall on my head because I was enjoying myself.
If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
I'm not sure there's anyone else I'd want to be, even for a day. I never had been a hero worshiper. I love and respect certain people and particularly those in the arts, living and dead, but to be them? That seems odd to me.
Now if you'd asked me: If you were a fly on the wall, what person, living or dead...
What is your favorite genre and why?I'd say dark fantasy. It's intelligent horror and a darker look at the fantastic. One thing I like about genre writing in general is that plot is still valid and the emotions are often deep and sometimes raw because the situations are not a tea party in the afternoon but some event in the darkness of night where things are unseen, confusing, unnerving, and out of the protagonist's control.
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I began with that typewriter at seven or eight and just kept going. In my teens, I wrote angst-filled essays about God and why would He let these terrible things happen to Us (meaning humanity). My boyfriend as I graduated high school was in university and took some of my essays to his English prof who proclaimed them good, and that I had potential, which was inspiring.
I view life as opposites and the flow between them. The sun and moon, day and night. But everything seems to be a wave and birth is a perfect example of that. Our western cultures, though, are fairly shallow these days, so focused on the light and the here-and-now that the other side gets short shift. I think by shoving things under the proverbial rug we cheat ourselves of a wholeness and fullness of life. I hope with my writing that I'm giving the darker side some exposure. As the late Graham Joyce said, we as writers try to get to the story of life and a big part of that story is death. (paraphrased)
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
(see bio) I've had a lot of work published. What I can do is share the most recent book of mine, which is Vampyric Variations, a collection of stories by me, previously published stories and original material.
I'll just mention the first story, "The Vechi Barbat". This is about a mythology that pre-dates Vlad Tepesh (Dracula) in Transylvania. The story is set in present time, the protagonist a girl from a small village where tradition thrives, who was sent away to school to be modernized, and yet she became caught between the values of her village and the values of the city.
This struggle, it seems to me, is fairly common. Many young people are caught between how they have lived for 18 years in their small, controlled world, and a new much larger environment they are in, for example, university, where things are very different. It's not easy for everyone to straddle two worlds. My protagonist Nita is no exception, and her two worlds are tainted with an unusual mythology.
What are your forthcoming writings?
I have a number of just-released short stories out, some of which are in these anthologies: Searchers After Horror; Dark Fusions: Where Monsters Lurk; Stamps, Vamps & Tramps. And stories in these upcoming anthologies: The Madness of Cthulhu; Darke Phantastique; Zombie Apocolypse #3. I also still write non-fiction from time to time and have an essay in the upcoming Gods, Memes and Monsters, as well as a regular column in the magazine Beware the Dark, where I also write reviews of books and films.
One new project I'm extremely enthusiastic about is an upcoming anthology for which my co-editor and I are running a crowdfunding campaign we hope people will visit beginning October 1 until October 22. We are offering some amazing perks, new perks added every Wednesday for 3 weeks. Here's our webpage and from October 1 and later people just need to click on the link listed on http://www.nevermoreantho.com Yes it involves Edgar Allan Poe. No, it's not what you think! And there's a special perk for writers!
How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments?
Lists. Everywhere. I have everything on a list with DLs listed and also pre-DLs so I'm aware of one coming up. I'm a person who does a lot: I write, edit, teach writing courses on the internet for a college, travel a great deal related to writing, and of course have a life and relationships as well. I rarely have 2 minutes to rub together and if I didn't write everything down and keep lists, I would miss DLs, for sure. That's only happened to me once.
What are your future plans?
The rest of this year is devoted to the crowdfunding campaign, then to editing the stories for the anthology with my co-editor, travel that is related directly to this project, travel that is related to my writing in general, completing the short stories I've committed to write for four anthologies, writing the second half of my new novel, which a publisher is waiting for, and teaching whatever writing courses are running this fall. All this in four months! Somewhere in there is my regularly-scheduled life. Next year, I have 3 trips planned before June, two of which relate to writing, plus another 2 or 3 in the fall for the nEvermore! project. I also need to move by June 30th, 2015 so that involves finding a new apartment. And people wonder why I'm tired!
How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
Some, although it often undergoes twists and turns so people and places are not recognizable. I've written books and have lived out the stories in them in the future, or at least parts of the stories. The tales came from my imagination, but they somehow led me to a new experience in life that I hadn't anticipated.
Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
It's crucial! This is all about imagining. Without the ability to day-dream, a writer is writing non-fiction, not fiction.
Your dream destination on Earth?
I've pretty much been to most of my dream destinations. Still, I'd like to see Thailand, India, and the Galapagos Islands. Given the chance, I'd go pretty well anywhere, but not to a dangerous country.
What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
Over the last fifteen years I became entranced with danse macabre artwork, which is from the 15th century through the present, but it's the older art that grabs and inspires me. Everyone has seen something of this: the skeleton leading the person into a dance of death. The art blossomed during the plagues that ravaged Europe and much of the world from the 1300s on and because popular because everyone knew someone who had died of plague. The depictions in the old artwork are a soft image of death, sweet sometimes, cruel at others, even humorous, the artwork crude but becoming more sophisticated over time as visual art changed and developed techniques and basic human anatomy became clear to artists. There are maybe 50 of the old danse macabre pieces left in Europe dating from the 1400s to the 1800s and I've seen a lot of them, with more to come. They are often in very out-of-the-way places so it becomes almost a pilgrimage to find them. I was so entranced that I ended up editing an anthology , Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper. I invited writers to get to know the artwork and try to show this art which is visual in a literary form. I was so pleased with the results. The book was published the end of 2012 and it can be found on amazon, of course, and in the bookstore chains and a few specialty shops.
Your favorite time of the day?
Evening. I am most creative in the evening and most tired in the morning.
Your zodiac/ sunsign?
Taurus sun sign, Cancer moon, either Aquarius or Capricorn rising sign.
Your favorite color and why?
I wear black and occasionally with a blood red accent. I'm most comfortable in black. But as to a favorite color outside of that, I don't know. At the moment, green is attracting me.
Your favorite book and why?
It's hard to pick a favorite book, and I also don't like mentioning living authors--egos are fragile for artists. I've always loved The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. And I adore Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind. One of my favorite short story/novella writers is Shirley Jackson and I love her lushly-written story "The Lovely House"; it's exquisite.
Your favorite movie and why?
Again, so many favorites. I have watched a lot of vampire films and have maybe 50 favorites. I'll just name the most recent add to that list: Only Lovers Left Alive by Jim Jarmusch. Beyond that, I loved Children of Paradise, and also Le Belle et la Bete--old school films. My tastes are eclectic but generally I favor witty dialogue and have enjoyed even romantic comedies like Moonstruck; As Good As It Gets; My Big Fat Greek Wedding; My Best Friend's Wedding; Twenty-seven Dresses; and more recently Midnight in Paris.
You didn't ask but I also am completely enamoured with theater. I've been seeing these last few years many of the National Theatre Live and Encore performances from the UK, shown in theaters. Coriolanus was a favorite, but I've loved all of the Shakesphere plays, also The Audience with Helen Mirren. I'm about to see the very dark Medea. Good theater makes me cry and laugh and sob because of the extreme depth and extraordinary beauty of the presentation of what is happening right then/right there. I like to go to theater as well but so much of what is on stage around the world now is just over-the-top musicals that have had runs of 20 years or more and are a tad too commercial for me. One exception which I saw in Berlin is Tanz der Vampir (Dance of the Vampire), a rich and dramatic and romantic musical that sweeps you off your feet.
Your favorite food?
It might be chocolate, but pistachios (unsalted or salted) are a close second.
What is the force that drives you?
What comes to your mind when you think of India?
Besides Indian food, which I eat regularly, I think of the two Hindu gods that fascinate me: Ganesha and Kali.
When I was in my early twenties, somehow I acquired a calendar from India. There were two figures with pale blue skin, gold jewelry, flowers on their bodies and sweet expressions on their faces as they smiled and gazed into one another's eyes. But what so astounded me back then was that I could not separate them gender-wise very easily. It was very hard to tell the male from the female, other than by size--the male was slightly larger. I was enraptured by this androgynous artwork and it has stuck with me throughout my life. It led to learning more about India and this is a country I want to visit one day.
Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening,
All of the above!
Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare
All of the above. Everything depends on the moment.
What three words come to your mind for each –
Technology: Computers, cellphones, annoyance
Life: Death, struggle, gift
God: Eternity, universe, inconnu
Humanity: Tenderness, madness, inhumanity
Terrorism: Evil, inhumanity, erroneous
Racism: sadness, unkindness, unfair
Childhood Abuse: evil, insanity, fury
Love: tenderness, understanding, kindness
Old age: destiny, frailty, history
First thing you do in the morning after waking up?
Brush my cat
Last thing to do before sleep?
Close a book
If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction?
I'd wonder if publishing would be easier with advances higher and the budget for promotion larger.
State your best quote
Dorothy Parker: "What fresh hell can this be?"
Oscar Wilde: "To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."
The last line of your autobiography would be…
It's been a wild ride; adieu!
> Links & other relevant details:
Let me just put my amazon author's page, it's easier:
Publisher: many--see the amazon page which brings up books as well
Facebook page: Nancy Kilpatrick (there are several for me)
Wedbsite for crowdfunding: www.nevermoreantho.com