Meet Kim Falconer …

As the next of my series featuring fantastic female fantasy authors (see disclaimer) I’ve invited the talented Kim Falconer to drop by.

Watch out for the give-away question at the end of the interview.

Thank you, Rowena, for inviting me here to chat. What a wonderful idea, fantastic female fantasy authors!

Q: In a post on Nicole Murphy’s blog, you talk about having a dream and realising your potential. Your dream was to be published. You list a series of questions starting with – Why do I want to be published? That culminated in the realisation that you wanted to ‘be of value’. This was a dream exercise from Jeanette Maw, the @goodvibecoach. Do you use exercises like this in your everyday life to understand what is motivating you?

Absolutely! I live by the old Delphi motto, (recently cited by the Oracle in The Matrix) Know Thyself. These are the two magic words for living an authentic life.

We always have a choice to either live by our ‘default’ – the cultural conditioning, expectations and assumptions – or to take time to really know our genuine core values (which may be wildly different than our cultures). Like writing a character in a book, when we know the motivation, we know what’s driving the action and when we know what’s driving the action, we know the destiny. At that point we can ask, is this what I want? If not, we can change course. We all have the power to be who we are and it begins always with know thyself.

Q: Your first trilogy, Quantum Enchantment, you splice DNA and travel between parallel worlds. It seems to be a mix of SF and fantasy. And your second trilogy, Quantum Encryption, picks up the threads again. With such complex story lines and time lines do you have a huge flow chart to keep track of everyone?

Much of my creation process takes place in my head but I do keep a little booklet for each series with pertinent data like my character’s sun signs and other relevant astrology, their histories (which may not appear in the book itself) and places, familiars, memories, dreams, appearance, and, most importantly, time lines. When you write time unfolding in both directions, it pays to keep a close watch on it or things can get away!

I ran into a bit of trouble in Arrows of Time, book #2 in the Quantum Enchantment series. For starters I found the English language lacked the words to express the meaning of symmetrical time (time flowing in both directions simultaneously). In a way Arrows was my answer to the hard problem of time at the ‘quantum’ level. It does go both ways and this books shows us what that might be like to live out.

You could say there was a flow chart for Arrows. For twelve months a whole sliding glass door next to my study was covered in it. Wild!

Q: In an interview on The Fringe you say: ‘People don’t realise writing is as challenging and complex as brain surgery. You have to work on the cadavers first, learn all the anatomy and physiology and bio-chem of prose and storytelling before you cut a live one! It takes practice. I mean, nonfiction is objective, intellectual but fiction asks for more. It asks for your whole heart.’ Writing from the heart, do you find yourself exploring similar themes in your books?

The themes in my books are multilayered. There is an adventure component which simply invites the reader to immerse and come along for the ride. There is also an intention to expand my readers’ consciousness through the experiences and conflicts they encounter. Some of the philosophies are heady, I am told. But the true essence of the books is the heart. Everything from the heart. I came from a nonfiction and academic publishing background and the whole enchantment for me in writing novels is to get out of my head and into my heart!

Q: You have your own astrology page, Falcon Astrology. You say astrology has always been a part of your life as your father used to ‘use horoscopes in conjunction with financial adventure and business management’. Your interest in astrology has taken a different path. You say you are interested in ‘ancient wisdom, mythology with mystical traditions, art and poetry’ and are ‘ever seeking the hidden worlds of the inner self’. I read somewhere that the constant connection to the internet (people in offices dipping into social networks on and off all day, people constantly using their phones to keep up with social networks), has led people away from connecting with their inner-selves. They live on the surface, never delving deep. This person recommended turning off all electrical devices for a weekend, every now and then, just to take the time to be in the present. Do you do this?

This is a good question. I don’t think superficiality and the internet are synonymous. I’m actually doing the Deepak Chopra Centre’s 21 day meditation challenge, and that of course, is online. It’s amazing. The meditations are wonderful and just knowing you are participating with hundreds of thousands of other mediators makes is quite a powerful collective exercise.

People will be connected or disconnected regardless of whether they have the internet or not. It’s a tool. It only matters how we use it.

For me, I’ve researched and written 7 books in four years and that’s pretty much an everyday dedication – me, a quiet room, my word processor, the internet. I do take time out daily to meditate, run on the beach, walk in nature, work on my rooftop garden  and be with friends, familiars and family. It’s all about creating balance, at least in my case (I can be a real workaholic!)

Q: In an interview on Beauty and Lace, while talking about growing up in the 60s and 70s you said: ‘I had to outgrow my cultural conditioning and adopt less biased beliefs to feel fully empowered. Having my son at age 29 was a huge turning point. When you have the creative force of Mother Earth flowing through you, it’s hard to feel like an underdog. Seriously enlightening transformation!

Currently being female brings to mind the Strength card in the deck of Tarot. Do you know the one? A woman is depicted with a lion, Ishtar’s beast. It’s an image of power and seduction, wisdom and instinct. I think that sums things up nicely.

Being a woman has also given me quite an edge writing these last six books. There are issues of gender that ring all the more true because they are written from direct experience.’ I notice you have strong female characters in ‘Journey by Night’. Was this something you set out to explore or did it just evolve as you wrote the book?

Journey by Night is the sixth and final book in the series and tells the story of Kreshkali and Nell, characters introduced in the very first book. Because of the incredible fortitude and strength of these two women already established, telling their story involved showing how they go that way, how they became the people readers know them to be. Already I have reports of a lot of tears and ah ha moments as some of those reasons behind their quirks, strengths, fears and magical inclinations are revealed. Very satisfying to read and write.

Did I plan them to be strong from the beginning? You bet!

I don’t know many women who really enjoy reading about victims that never find the wherewithal to beat their odds, at least, I don’t! My women are heroic, both vulnerable and hardened, smart and streetwise, loving and imaginative. . . you know. Women!

Q: The list of all the things you’ve studied is fascinating. ‘Alternative health, Jungian Psychology, art history, quantum physics theory, metaphysical philosophy, self-sufficiency farming, marine biology, veterinary nursing, dressage, animal husbandry, SCUBA diving, and nursing mothers counseling. I hold diplomas in herbal medicine, nutrition, vet nursing, farrier science, literature and am a board certified lactation consultant. I’ve also studied yoga, music (banjo, mandolin, guitar), mythology, tarot and of course, astrology’. You’ve been studying Iaido for seven years. I did five years Iaido. I loved it for the beauty of the movements and the philosophy behind it. Have you done other martial arts? (I also love yoga!).

I love that you found Iaido relaxing. I can see how, once the incredible awkwardness of the samurai sword is a little under control, it can be that way. But I had true warrior woman sensei and she was anything but relaxing! Having said that, my worlds, she was good and what I learned went well beyond the mechanics of the practice. Like you said, the philosophy and the heart of the sword –  so empowering and beautiful. I’ve done Aikido, Hop Kido, yoga, chi kung and archery. All very beautiful and centring disciplines. It’s the sword work that has supported my writing the most. I took it up so I could write authentic fight scenes!

Q: That’s a cool ‘time portal’ on the front page of your web page. Do you have a background in graphic design? (Reading on I discovered your son is an artist).

KimFalconer.com is a collaboration with my son. He’s the animator and graphic artist. I am the coder. I learned all the html/CSS in a  socio-technology degree through Open University Australia (another point for the internet – the course was offered at Curtin University on the other side of the continent!) I love web design. Having such a fabulous artist is a wonderful bonus!

John Waterhouse – The Siren

Q: John Waterhouse Painting, The Siren inspired your new trilogy Amassia.  It’s co-written with your cover artist/animator son, Aaron Briggs. (I love the Pre-Raphaelite artists and Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott is one of my all time favourites). I’ve discovered there are visual writers and aural writers. Aural writers like to play specific music while they write to get into the right frame of mind for each book. I’m guessing you are a visual writer?

Visual yes, but it’s more than that.

I’m really transcribing. The story plays out in front of my eyes. It’s like watching a film only I am fully immersed in all five senses. My only hope is that I can type fast enough to keep up with the action and the dialog!

I like silence and quietude. The more isolated I am, the more the inner world comes alive!

Q: I was prompted to start this series of interviews because there seems to be a perception in the US and the UK that fantasy is a bit of a boy’s club. Do you think there’s a difference in the way males and females write fantasy?

 

I would probably have to read a few thousand more books to answer that with any authority but with my experience, I can give you a firm, yes and no. Yes when we think of stories with first person protagonists like Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stakchouse. A guy could write her (think of the men writing romance under pen names) but Charlaine’s perspective is very much a product of her society and very biased female. Just the way sookie stops to put on makeup (between vampire and were attacks), shave her legs and think about her sex life rings ‘female’. I don’t see Jim Butcher writing a woman that way. His Dresden, on the other hand, is American male. We see inside a man’s head, and it’s brilliant. (Same with China Mieville) In the case of these authors, you can feel the female vs. male style in the writing.

Then there are authors like David Eddings and Fiona McIntosh. They have both written fabulous fantasy tales and though there is a strong feeling of gender in the characters, you could swap author names and not know the difference in terms of being written by male or female.

As in any genre, the author brings themselves to the work and that means every book will be different, a unique expression which adds to the whole of the field.

Q: Following on from that, does the gender of the writer change your expectations when you pick up their book?

Ah, not until I begin to read. As I said above, sometimes the gender of the author seems relevant and sometimes not so much so. It depend a lot on the tense it’s written (first person and male by a male author gives us some hints right ways – we are in a guy’s head!). Stories that are more epic where the politics of the worlds drive the plot, the focus is off the characters, to some degree, and more on the stakes. With new authors, and familiar, I like to leave my expectations behind and let them surprise me.

Q: And here’s the fun question. If you could book a trip on a time machine, where and when would you go, and why?

That’s easy. I would go back to 575 BCE to ancient Mesopotamia and stand in front of the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. To walk into that city under the Ishtar Lions and visit the hanging gardens would be a trip of a thousand life times!

 Give-away Question:

If you were a young witch (male or female) training at Treeon Temple and about to meet your familiar – a creature you would be bonded with for life, in constant communion with and able at times to ‘trade places’ with, what would that creature be?

 

Follow Kim on Twitter:  @KimFalconer

Catch up with Kim on Facebook.

See Kim’s Daily Astro Flash here.

Subscribe to Kim’s New Moon News Letter.

56 Comments

Filed under Australian Writers, Book Giveaway, Characterisation, creativity, Fantasy books, Female Fantasy Authors, Gender Issues, Inspiring Art, Nourish the Writer, SF Books, Writing craft

56 Responses to Meet Kim Falconer …

  1. Great interview Rowena and inspiring answers Kim! I love reading different approaches and thought processes to writing.

    As for my familiar – I’d love to think it would be something noble, like a lion, but it’s more likely to be something funny or daggy, like a poodle :)

  2. Inger

    I would love to be able to periodically trade places with my cat of the past four years, The Minx, she instinctivly knows when to come in so that she is not out and vulnurable while I’m running erands and such during the day. And actuall pays attention to my requests–“Who says you can’t train a cat?”
    Ist time here very interesting site, thanks for creating it!!!

  3. I loved this interview! Kim, you are now the epitome of the writer I want to be :)

    As for my familiar, my first thought was of an eagle so that I could soar high into the sky which make sense since I AM a rocket launcher :) On second thought, I AM thinking a magical dragon would be even better. Not only could I soar but I could breathe fire! As an Aries, I AM diggin’ the fire!!!!

  4. I think I’d want to be a bird. One at the top of the food chain :) so an Eagle. I think it would offer you an entirely different perspective being airborne for a majority of the time.

    • Oh fabulous! So majestic. Birds of prey feature in my novels as familiars and hunters (along with their falconers). I’ve been so fortunate to have James Roush as my falconry technical adviser. He’s a veterinary surgeon in California who I worked for years ago and instrumental in bringing back the Peregrine Falcon from the brink!

      In many cultures the large raptors are worshiped as messengers of the gods, able to fly up into the spirit world. Who wouldn’t want that!

  5. Fabulous interview! I’d hope for an owl, not only are they wise and have perfect night vision but having an extra set of eyes in the sky could come in handy when faced with foe’s. Plus you wouldn’t ever have to worry about little mice hiding out in the nooks or crannies lol.

    • This is a wonderful choice. The owl is one of the symbols of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. She was known for her battle tactics and wise council. I like the idea of having eyes in the sky, especially at night!

      So far all these animals have featured in my books as familiars, that is, if we count Were-fey as ‘dragons’, which in the most technical sense they are not but . . . close enough!

      Thanks for dropping in, Cecilia. :)

  6. Melissa May

    my first thought of a familiar for me was a unicorn or perhaps a horse .
    Great interview really enjoyed reading it . At least you could ride a unicorn if they approved of course .

    • Horses are a symbol of power and travel (think how much further and faster we could get around when horses were in the picture!) And the unicorn mythology is so rich with magic. Beautiful choices, Melissa.

      Horses feature in both QE series with snapshots into riding, training, shoeing and the like. None are actually familiars but their intelligence and beauty predominates.

      Thanks for dropping by! :)

      • Melissa may

        I will have to look those books .Has anyone mentioned a wolf as a familiar that would be pretty good too !

      • I don’t think anyone has mentioned wolf! That would be amazing to write. I love wolves and my care for them prompted an entire storyline – the Lupins. They were an attempt to bring back the extinct Grey Wolf but our hero Luka Paree couldn’t find a template that worked . . . until he added his own DNA.
        Interesting results!

  7. Why only one? Impossible to choose. My familiar would be an owl, a bear, a bee, a spider, a dog or a frog. Thanks for a really good interview!

    • Liz, good point. You don’t have to have only one! Some of the characters in my books have several and it gets quite fun with all their interactions.

      I am thinking the bear would always be after the bee for honey but wow, what a great combination of familiars. Think of the possibilities when you needing a different perspective!

      Thanks for dropping in!

  8. A mouse–quite simply I’ve almost always be seen as the ‘smallest’ or ‘runt’ in any group of friends. As a kid I was relied upon to get into places other people couldn’t because of my slight size. I think to have a mouse as a familiar would work out great–everyone always underestimates the smallest ones.

    Kim that’s an amazing amount of knowledge and experience you have! Definitely well rounded!

    • Hi Lexie, a mouse familiar would be amazing. I agree, the power of the small has been underestimated! I like it also as my father used to call me Minnie Mouse :)

      I think it’s hard not to have so much experience after living for so long! hehehe The very wonderful benefits of ‘maturity’!

  9. I have 3 rats at the moment. I don’t think I could imagine having anything better. These little animals are loyal and loving. They have the power to freak out the uninitiated! How can you be scared of something as non-threatening as a rat?

  10. jennifer tilley

    wonderful article!!!… and i would like to find out more about the subject of time going both ways. wonder if you could give me some direction in that, kim :) … also, are your books available in Canada?

    • Hi Jennifer, the notion of symmetrical time is examined from every angle in my second Quantum Enchantment book, Arrows of Time. It’s got the theories woven in behind the stories, supporting them as it were, and live action examples of course. That was my big fascination with writing these books. How does symmetrical time really work? Can we experience it in story form as opposed to exposition? In the second series, we meet a Were-fey – creatures that take the illusion of time and blow it out of the water!

      Thanks for asking about the books in Canada. Overseas rights are still on the table so you can’t get them in your local bookshop yet. You can get them from Fishpond (go to the worldwide site) and they ship for FREE. The first series is also available at Amazon Kindle, via ipad and Kobo.
      Cheers for dropping by! :)

  11. My familiar would probably be an Eastern Water Dragon. They hold everything dragon in a conveniently small form ( I know because they were there to mark my intention to join the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and have a hand in insisting I learn to work with runes.) They are able to function for exceedingly long periods under water, are at home in and on rocks and undergrowth, and, while they may not be able to fly, they are masterful tree climbers – thus incorporating the three realms of water, earth and sky.

    Excellent interview! :)

    • Thank you, Alice! I love the Eastern Water Dragon! They live all around me and look after the bugs on my rooftop garden. Sometimes they come in the house to find some shade, or cat bickies. :) Great choice!

  12. Facinating interview ! I am an aural writer, it seems…very cool. Loved reading about the differences between male & femal writing styles as well.
    A familiar, ohhh…that’s a hard one, I am torn between toad, lion and bird.
    I would have to say griffin, definately griffon. :)

  13. Definitely a cat, like my Russian Blue. I know it’s a cliche, but cats are a cliche for good reasons. They’re intelligent. RBs are sociable, or mine is at least. (She’s currently sitting behind my monitor, with her head just out where I can see her, supervising my surfing.) They’re more portable than some creatures; even Nanny Ogg took Greebo on her broomstick, but you couldn’t do that with a larger familiar. And cats can walk into some situations unnoticed – just imagine that convention where you want to clone yourself to attend two panels at once; your cat could go to one, slipping in and hiding under the chairs, while you go to the other one.

  14. jennifer tilley

    i know there is a meditation to do, in order for one to find out what their animal spirit guide(s) is/are… as in native tradition it is beleived that we each have one primary guide throughout our lives; but there are many who come and go as need serves. i could only assume that it isn’t that much different to having a familiar; but i can’t – for the life of me – (lol) remember where i’d found this meditation!! (having done it years ago when i was exploring part of my heritage). i can only say that it worked, and the intention behind the meditation was to relax (obviously lol), and ask that your primary guide be shown to you… and, in my experience with it, actually saw the outline of a mustang/horse gallop toward me behind the shadow of my eyelids. the meditation also mentioned something about not trying to rush or force the image to draw closer, as that might make it dissipate altogether. (thought this might be of help to any/all who would like to determine what animal(s) they have in thier ‘other world’. take care, all :)

  15. Suzanne

    For me, I think it would have to be either a cat or a monkey. Maybe a fox.

    • Hi Suzanne :) In the second series there is a temple priestess, Mistress Lyrah, who has a fox familiar. It causes some problems for Tryn but it is gorgeous and very smart.

      Glad you stopped by! :)

  16. Christine

    The only ‘animal’ I ever felt a connection with would be the (Fire) Dragon… – my Chinese Zodiac… I even sport it as a tattoo… – so I s’pose it comes as no surprise that I feel that my familiar in the Quantum Encryption books was going to be a Were-fey…
    Ever since I started reading the Quantum Encryption trilogy, I totally loved Tryn and her familiar, Quill. Couldn’t get/read enough of them… the mystery where they had come from originally… what their purpose was,…. what happepened to them….; awe inspiring….
    – but having read only two of 6 books so far,I haven’t got all the answers yet… ;)
    Being a reader from overseas I couldn’t get a hold of the first trilogy when it was first released…. Thankfully, I had a friend bring me back “The Path Of The Stray” from Oz when she was on hols… that got me totally hooked.

    So yeah… I mean a dragon on it’s own is pretty formidable…. a Fire Dragon is a Dragon ‘double’…. (so watch out, ppl…. *jk*)

    why I would choose a dragon/were-fey: they both seem to be ‘good luck’.. – still about making your own decisions

  17. Carolina Lamus

    My familiar would be a wise Owl because they are associated with seeing into misteries,knowing what’s hidden, the occult and making use of their night vision. Owls appeal to my Scorpio nature!

  18. Melissa McLawhten

    Well, I was going to say a cat. My cats are my best friends and have been my constant, loyal companions for many years. But then I tried Jennifer’s mediation and saw a phoenix (in flames) immediately followed by an eagle landing on a branch. Very appropriate for me as I am very plutonic in nature.

    • Oh, Melissa, the phoenix and the eagle are both Scorpio images (Pluto indeed!) So interesting as your post coincides with the Sun into this sign! Beautiful images. Thank you for dropping by!

      • Melissa McLawhten

        Oh that’s right! I forgot what day it is. I was thinking it might be because transiting Pluto is on the last pass opposite my chart ruler (Venus) and also amped up by the Jupiter trine. I’m feeling the awesome power of it! Feels epic!

  19. Now, how will I ever choose?

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