Friday, August 26, 2011

Interview with New Zealand Writer Kim Koning

Kim Koning is a South African Writer living in New Zealand. She is also a published poet and short  story writer. Her story ‘The Ring of Fire’ (A YA Dystopian tale told in first person POV) was published in the New Zealand anthology “The Tales for Canterbury” alongside 33 other authors including the brilliant Neil Gaiman.

Here is the first part of my interview with Kim.

Q.   Tell us a little about the books you are writing?

A. Well my current WIP is a Paranormal Historical. It is the first book in a 2 part series. This first book is called: The Raven’s Court. The second book will be called: The Black Prince. This series deals with mythology, life and death, family secrets, curses and promises, love and hate, scorn and revenge. It also deals with facing your own strengths and weaknesses to become a more complete version of yourself. I have a number of  other works in progress that are either dystopian in genre or have elements of  thriller/suspense with a touch of the supernatural/paranormal. Most of my stories are on the darker side of fiction because I believe our true nature comes shining through in times of tragedy, tension, trials and tribulations.

  Q. In one of our conversations you mentioned that you are working on several  manuscripts. How do you manage that?

   A. Well I find that ideas for new stories hit me while I am working on a story already. Often  times I tend to write down the idea and then put it aside for later. But some stories will not allow me to put them aside and demand my attention immediately. So I am  usually working on at least 3 different stories at the same time. I find that switching  between stories gives me a fresh perspective when I go back to stories I have worked on.  
have a very active mind and imagination and find that I prefer working on a couple of  stories rather than just 1 at a time. However when I get to the climax of one story I tend to focus on that story until I finish.
Q.   Where does inspiration for your characters come from?

 A. Oh everywhere and anywhere. A lot of my stories / characters have come to me in dreams. I do not dream often so when I do dream I tend to take notice. But anyone can  really be an inspiration for my characters. I like using real life people that I know as  inspiration. People Watching is another favourite form of inspiration for characters. I have always found watching people and their actions and reactions to be fascinating. I  never fail to be surprised and entertained. I also listen carefully to people’s own experiences. Sometimes I have gleaned pure nuggets of story gold from listening to conversations. I read once that one should be careful of talking to a writer because they cannot resist using part of what they hear to create new story ideas. I would definitely agree with the warning. Any conversation/experience is fodder for this
writer's imagination.

Q. What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser? 

A.  For me the process starts usually with a character. Usually I “meet” the character in a dream and the dream is so vivid that many a time I have woken up at 4am in the morning to write down what I saw and heard in the dream. I keep notebooks by my bedside for this specific reason. Sometimes while writing it down I can glimpse the character’s story but not every character is so forthcoming. Some characters need to be coaxed, cajoled and yes, even threatened to get their story. I have a series of questions that I ask the character to get their story.
To answer the second part of the question: I am a bit of both depending on the story. I tend to be more of a pantser at the beginning of a story and then as the story goes on, I start plotting it out. I love researching story themes and ideas so a lot of that goes on  the plotting side. Do I plot the whole story out? No, because I find that my characters are all rebels and never like “colouring” in the lines. I am often hit by epiphanies during the writing of a story that can often change how I initially thought the ending  would go. My current WIP, The Raven’s Court is a perfect example of this. So I do loosely plot to an extent but it is more in outlines. I think that a writer needs to be  like a driver at night, you need to at least have your headlights on for safety's sake and to see where the next corner is. But you can take different routes on the same  map that will get you to the same place. It just depends on how adventurous you feel. For me a loose outline at the beginning is enough light to get me to the first corner. But for me a story is like a Rubik’s Cube. Any number of combinations could get you to the solution or in the story’s case: the resolution.

Q. Can you tell us about the publishing scene in New Zealand?

A. This is something that I am learning more of with each passing month. Most of what  I have gleaned is from talking to other New Zealand writers as well as organizations  like RWNZ (Romance Writers New Zealand) that I belong to. The NZ publishing  industry is slightly different from large markets like the UK or USA. Here it is not  necessary to have an agent but because the publishing industry here is limited by its small size, it can often be quite difficult to be published in New Zealand if you are an unpublished author or even if you are a published author. For example a well known New Zealand author who has been writing and been published many times over in the USA and Europe only just recently this year got published here in New Zealand for the first time. So even though she is very well known overseas, kiwi readers are only getting to know her this year. I think the focus for a lot of writers in smaller countries is to look at pitching for the bigger markets, like the USA and UK.

Kim can be found online in various places:
facebook profile:
google+ :


  1. Thank you for hosting me on your lovely Scriptorium Rachna. You have always been a good friend to me over the year and a bit that I have known you. So I am honoured to be featured on your blog. :)

  2. Thanks Kim, for allowing me to interview you for my blog. Its been my pleasure knowing you as a writer, friend and now as my Crit Partner. I am sure my readers will love getting to know you and your writing process.

  3. She appears to be a film star more than a writer...

  4. Wonderful interview, Rachna and Kim! Kim, I like paying attention to the people and conversation around me, too. It's amazing what great ideas you can get from something so simple!

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Great interview with Kim, Rachna. Thanks for introducing me to this writer from New Zealand.

  6. Great questions and answers. Interesting working on several projects as once. I wonder if there is overlap of ideas and style, whether each one inspires the other to move forward? Intriguing. :O)

  7. Rachna - you know you are one of my fav people in the world...and I am thrilled to be on your lovely Scriptorium. Thank you my friend! xx
    Alka - you have me blushing!! :)
    Laura - amazing what listening can get you in story ideas...
    Madeleine - I have one of these minds that wanders I find that short spurts on projects on better for focus than longer ones where my mind may wander off yes you could say that each does inspire forward movement in the others.

  8. I loved this interview with Kim Koning. Its always nice to meet other writers. Thanks for hosting, Kim. Have to agree with Alka, Kim has movie star looks :)

  9. Awesome interview! Thanks for introducing us to a great author and such an interesting book! Where do you find all these cool writers? :)

  10. Thanks for introducing us to Kim! I enjoyed reading this interview. It's always nice to learn about other writers. :)

    Happy weekend!

  11. I ENJOYED your blog, girls and agree with all the comments above!
    Loved reading about how you write, Kim - especially the bit about needing at least 3 stories on the go at the same time etc.
    Makes sense really!
    Wishing you both all the very best!!
    Sheryl XX

  12. Kim sounds beautiful, inside and out. And it's so cool how much inspiration she gets from her dreams. Amazing.

  13. Lovely interview, Rachna! How lucky you and Kim are to have each other for critique partners.
    KIm, I'm impressed that you can work on so many things at once. I do relate to your inspiration from dreams. (My current WIP came to me in a dream, the kernel of the story.) But I enjoyed learning about your writing process. I'll be watching for your books when they come out.

  14. Tina - glad you enjoyed the interview. I do a weekly slot on my creativity blog where I host writers but it is a twist being the one in the interview seat. Rachna did a fantastic job.
    Mark - Hi. Isn't the www a wonderful place. I have met most of my writing friends and writing partners online. Amazing that we can all sit in different countries around the world and yet "talk".
    Karen - Hi Karen. NIce meeting you too.
    Sheryl - Hi my friend :) Lovely seeing you here. Thanks for commenting.
    Julie - Ah, what a lovely comment. Thank You. Dreams are incredible...such "other worlds". I love that in dreams you can do anything.
    Elizabeth - Hi. How cool, another writer who gets her stories from dreams.

  15. A great interview from both sides. I found the influence of dreams and they way they are used particularly interesting. A really fine post, this.

  16. Great interview, Ladies. Thanks for sharing! I wish I dared write two stories at once, but I did that with two papers in college and they ended up being on the same topic. It worked out okay as the teachers never realized what I'd done (and it wasn't intentional), but I always felt like I'd cheated. In any case, writing the same story back to back is death to a fiction writer, so I don't think I'll try it. One thing at a time for this slow duck. LOL

  17. Publishing in Australia sounds similar to publishing in New Zealand--difficult to break into because of the tiny market. Great interview.

  18. Hello from South Africa! I also always meet my characters first. Although I'm usually awake when it happens. :-)

  19. Dear Rachna, what a great idea to "turn the table on Kim" as she wrote herself.

    Dear Kim,
    Some of your followers, me included already know that an agent invited you to send whole manuscript. That's fantastic and smart move on the part of the agent too! Paranormal Historical can be fascinating when done well, which I trust you will, because of where you're coming from (yes, I've read up on you lady ;-))

    I totally recognize your way of working, I do the same, I actually wrote a blog post Writing is War about just that; managing the different project like a General or in my case Field Marshall, last week.

    Look forward to the second installment of this interview!

  20. Hi Dave - Thanks for commenting. Yes I must say dreams are fascinating. But then again, it seems to be a common fascination. There is definitely a fountain of inspiration to be found in them. At least this has always been the case for me.
    Hi Victoria - Thanks for commenting. I guess my mind has always been too active for my own good. I find that if I do not work on at least 3 stories at a time...I tend to stall on the one. In my mind it is like attending a party and all about mingling. Except the party is in my imagination and the guests, united or invited as the case may be, are characters in my imagination.
    Hi Lynda - Yes, it is a shame that it is so difficult to get published in smaller countries. Hopefully one day this will change.
    Hi Misha - Yay! A fellow South African. My characters either tend to wake me or keep me awake...either way I suffer from way to little sleep. :)
    Judith!! - Hi my dear friend...Yes Rachna did indeed turn the tables on me but I did enjoy it. Thank you for your support and your belief in me! It means a lot. Ooh you read up on me. Help, should I start running and hiding now. ;)

  21. great interview, thank you Rachna. It's always good to listen to someone like Kim..