Meet Kim Wilkins …

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

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

Q: I once heard you describe yourself as a girl from an average family in Redcliffe (a bayside suburb of Brisbane). For someone who won the University of Queensland Medal for Academic Achievement and went on to do a PHD, this is a long way from the long hot summers of your childhood. If you could go back to that little girl and give her one piece of advice, what would it be?

Chillax, little girl. I grew up with an alcoholic dad, we never had money, I was unpopular at school, so all I ever did was fantasise about escape. I was drawn to books because I could disappear into them, and found the disappearing act was a billion times more brilliant if I was writing the story instead of reading it. I was so desperate to get away from that horrid life, and I worked so hard to be free of it. I still have a tiger on my tail, and still wish I could chillax even as a grown-up.

Q: Your first book The Infernal won the 1997 horror and fantasy awards. In an interview on Tablua Rassa you said: ‘I’m still waiting for someone to describe my work as Stephen King collaborating with the Brontë sisters. There’s such a strong feminine element, and often a strong historical element, and horror as a term isn’t elastic enough to cope with those extra elements.’ I love the description f Stephen King collaborating with the Bronte sisters. With your love of history and literature were you ever tempted to take the Bronte sisters and give them a more exciting life? (I’m thinking what you did in Angel of Ruin with the Great Fire of London and Milton’s daughters).

I was tempted, yes, but then somebody did a similar story (something about Charlotte being a murderer?) and I’ve never been all that interested in writing about the 19th century. I’d already written Grimoire, which was partly set in that period, and that had scratched the itch sufficiently. I tend not to go back to a historical period twice without a compelling reason. That would be like going to the same place over and over on holidays.



Q: You wrote 7 dark fantasy books in 8 years. Since Rosa and The Veil of Gold came out you haven’t written another adult dark fantasy. Have you been letting the ground like fallow so that when you come back to the genre you’ll feel refreshed?

I started writing another, but every time I sat down to work out how it might end, or what kinds of events might structure it, I kept repeating myself. I found this utterly dismaying and lost my confidence and hid in my bed for a while. Then I came out and said to my agent that I wanted to do something else for a while. That’s when I started writing the Kimberley Freeman books, which are epic romances, I guess, or adventure books for women. The problem (if it can be called that) was that Kimberley Freeman has done very well, so I was signed up for more of those. But I have recently finished a novel, a straight-up historical fantasy (nothing dark or urban). I published a novella that is kind of a prequel in 2010’s “Legends of Australian Fantasy”. I would like to write at least one more book set in that world. I still think I might come back to my original dark fantasy idea, but we’ll see where life takes me.

One thing that does annoy me is when people say, “you ought to write a book with angels in it” or the like. I have to say, “I already did.”

Q: You write for both Children and Young Adults. Your stand alone YA book The Pearl Hunters is set in 1799. I know have a deep love of history. In your YA series The Sunken Kingdom there are castles and ships and children in peril. Does having a good grounding in history help you produce well rounded fantasy worlds?

I’m just too lazy to create fantasy worlds from nothing. Seriously. The thought makes me feel completely drained. So I find a historical period and add magic. I find historical research easy and stimulating, and it makes me great at Trivial Pursuit.

Q: The Gina Champion Mysteries were contemporary YA with a supernatural twist. ‘From witchcraft to ghosts, from curses to spirit possession, the Gina Champion books are smart, sassy, and very scary.’ There were five books in the series and the last one came out in 2006. Are you tempted to dip into Gina’s world again?

No. I’m too busy. Too busy. I work at UQ, I teach at QWC, I am two authors. I can’t write for children as well. I feel as though I have the brakes on when writing for children or young adults. I find it very stifling.

Q: You also write women’s fiction as Kimberley Freeman. That’s a big leap from horror and YA paranormal-crime. Do you feel like you have to think yourself into a different head-space to write the Kimberley Freeman books?

Yes and no. Wildflower Hill is just The Resurrectionists without ghosts. The stories are very similar, just some of the conventions are different. I love being Kimberley Freeman some days, and other days I want to kill her. But it’s still writing; it’s still that immense pleasure of making up stories that I have adored for as long as I can remember. There doesn’t always have to be dragons.

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 couldn’t say with any confidence. I don’t think fantasy is a boys’ club by any stretch of the imagination. When I think of contemporary fantasy writers, the first 10 names that pop into my head are women.

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

It’s nothing to do with the writer. It’s to do with whether the book has a female lead. I have to have a female lead. Women generally write better about women. So in a roundabout way, maybe the answer is yes.

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?

England, 8th century. But just for a few days.

Kim has a copy of Rosa and The Veil of Gold to give-away. The Give-away Question is: If you could meet one of the Bronte sisters,  Jane Austen or Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who would it be and why?


See Kim’s Blog

Catch up with Kim on Facebook.




Filed under Australian Writers, Book Giveaway, Characterisation, Children's Books, creativity, Dark Urban Fantasy, Fantasy books, Female Fantasy Authors, Gender Issues, Genre, Historical Books, Publishing Industry, Readers

22 Responses to Meet Kim Wilkins …

  1. Charlotte Brontë. I was struggling through my required reading in my senior year until I got to Jane Eyre. I’d like to thank her for writing the one hoity toity literature book I don’t mind rereading.

    • The Bronte sisters had such a sad life. Their two eldest sisters were sent to a terrible school where scarlet fever or cholera (I forget which) went through the children and those two girls died.

      Their brother was a gambler and a wastrel. But it was up to him to save the family fortunes. The girls were ignored and left to themselves. At least they got some writing done!

  2. Wonderful interview and a brilliant question! For me it would have to be Jane Austen. I fell in love with her world when I first discovered Pride and Prejudice at 12 and she has remained one of my favourite authors ever since. The romance,imagery and strong female leads introduced me to the true beauty and timelessness a novel can hold. There is nothing like curling up and revisiting the adventures with Emma,Lizzie, Darcy and co and having it feel like your turning the pages for the very first time. A remarkable woman who continues to inspire centuries on.

    • I think I would have relaly enjoyed Jane Austen’s company. Such a dry wit.

      If the people she met in her local area about were as vain and silly as some of the characters she wrote about, she must have been starved for intellecutal stimulation.

  3. Melissa May

    No question it would be Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, because she wrote the amazing gothic novel Frankenstein .Fantastic concept ,i first read it in highschool ( a few years ago lol ) and enjoy the book as much today as i did then . I would love to know how Mary developed the idea from conversation overheardof her husband and Lord Byron to the fabulous tale of Frankenstein ! Great interview .

  4. melanie

    Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre has been my favorite book since I was very young, and it has grown with me throughout my life!

  5. ShadowWrytr

    I just wanted to share this with Kim –

    I found ‘Rosa and the Veil of Gold’ a few years ago, when I was younger, and it blew my mind away… One of those books I walked passed, it caught my eye and intrigued me. It was so unique and different from anything else I’ve read that I was able to escape in to it and stay there to explore. I loved your book, and if you write another dark fantasy, I’ll be sure to find it. I know it was for adults, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It sits on my shelf in the ‘favoured books’ part. It remains one of the few I can still disappear in to for a while.

    I thought this might inspire and encourage you. Your writing is incredible, and you’ve certainly shared something with the world that is unique and valued. =)

    • Hi ShadowWrytr,

      I’ve forwarded your comment to Kim. I didn’t realise but she was a judge for the World Fantasy Awards (Which were announced at the World Fantasy Con this week end). I I haven’t heard back from her, so she may have gone to the con.

      I’m sure she’ll get a buzz from your comment when she gets back!

  6. Caló Abreu

    Hello =) I’d like to meet Jane Austen. She must have been an extremely opinionated person. I think that comparing the differences between her time and ours would be really funny and I would love to tell her about the way men and women act nowadays, how women have become much more valued intellectually. Oh and also how women can pretty much always do what they want now and if they have the strength be whoever they want to be.

    I’d also love to talk to her about Pride and Prejudice, that is one of my favorite books. And if possible I’d show her that her books are so famous that they have become movies and some of them more than once.

    P.S.: My second choice would be Charlotte Bronte, because I love Jane Eyre too.

  7. Pingback: Book giveaway | Hexebart’s Well

  8. Eedamme

    Definitely Jane Austen. I think she’d be the most entertaining conversationalist. I imagine we’d meet in a tea room and make witty remarks behind our fans about the other patrons. I’d ask her if there was a real life inspiration for Mr Darcy (wasn’t she engaged for a day, once?) and what happened to the other Bennet sisters when they grew up (did Mary and Kitty find good husbands? Was Lydia miserable with Wickham?).

    • Someone who knows more about jane Austen might be able to answer that one. I thought she admired an unsuitable young man and so never married. I did read somewhere that the inspiration for Mr Darcy was a man she saw at an assembly across the room, but never spoke with.

      I think several writers have had a go at answering your questions about the the rest of the Bennet sisters.

  9. Joanne Bozik

    For me it would be Jane Austen! I loved her books and love the movies made of them……..I would love to sit and have a cup of tea with her and when I said my good-byes, my life would be by far more richer!!!!!!!!

  10. For me it would be Jane Austen! I loved her books and love the movies made of them……..I would love to sit and have a cup of tea with her and when I said my good-byes, my life would be by far more richer!!!!!!!!

  11. Kim

    It would have to be Mary Shelley, there’s a lot going on there, I would like to sit and talk with her and see where that angst comes from, what her grief is and maybe tell her its ok to talk about it.

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