I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for UKYA author Kim Curran’s second book in her series, Control, thanks to the publishers Strange Chemistry. I hope you all enjoy my interview with Kim not that she’s a nominated, established author! Also, there are 5 signed copies of both books in the series for giveaway so please do read on!
Interview with Kim Curran
On Control, Writing and Being Nominated
When you originally imagined the story for Shift, was it always for a trilogy or did it develop over time?
When the idea first came to me, I didn’t even know if it was going to be a book or just a story, or something that just ended up in my bottom draw. But as I started to get into it, and get a sense for the characters and the potential fun I could have with the power to Shift, I knew I wanted to spend more time in the world. By the time I was half way through writing the first book, I knew what I wanted to happen in the third book and I had the names for all three worked out (Shift / Control / Delete – the whole of which is a sneaky clue to what happens in book three!). But I didn’t really know what was going to happen in book two. I had an idea that I wanted to write about child soldiers in Control, a subject I had done some writing for UNICEF on. But the story morphed when I came to actually write it.
Has your style or way changed at all now that you’re an established author?
My style has changed in that I think it comes a bit more naturally to me. I’m more familiar with Scott’s voice and so don’t really have to think about it. But my style changes a little when writing stories outside the Shift world. One thing that hasn’t changed are my love of short sentences.
You would think that being an ‘established’ author would mean it was less scary. But the truth is, it’s just as terrifying. And now I have reader’s expectations to deal with. So there are still days I want to hide under my desk and only come out once it’s all gone away. But those days seem to come less and less now.
I remember when you got your nomination for a British Fantasy Society Best Newcomer Award! How did you feel and did you do anything to celebrate?
I felt utterly, utterly amazed. I wracked my brain to try and work out how I had been nominated (did my mother have membership to the society?) and why (had my husband paid them?). It’s in my nature to try and brush things like these off – I’m not very good at accepting praise of any kind. And so I would have probably come up with some excuse to explain it. Like there was another author with a similar name. Or the award didn’t mean that much. However, when I saw the name of my good friend Lou Morgan on the same list, I was beyond happy for her and knew how important the award is. Which meant I had to be happy for me too. A weird experience. Damn that Lou Morgan.
I didn’t celebrate much beyond having a rum and coke with my friends on the night and a few snoopy dances when I was back home. But the glow of happiness helped pull me out of a pretty glum phase I was going through. So it was impeccable timing.
Can you describe your writing process for Control? Did you listen to music, have a favourite place to go write, do lots of research?
I’ve fallen into a pattern with writing. Which I guess can be called my process. And although it’s hard to remember exactly what I did when writing Control, (I wrote the first version in about two months, so it’s all a bit of a blur) I’m pretty sure it followed the same pattern as when writing Shift and now as I start to write Delete. This is how it seems to work.
I write my first draft in notebooks. My favourite place to write long-hand is on the top deck of the bus on my way to work. Weird, I know, but it seems to work for me. I have the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s It’s Blitz playing on repeat to drown out the sound of my fellow commuters and I write. That album is what I listened to while writing Shift, so it instantly transports me back to Scott and his world.
This initial, hand-written version is hardly worthy of being called a first draft. It’s more like draft zero: the basic structure is there, with huge gaps and stuff to work out. So as I type the scribbles up, I start to add flesh to the bones. Once I’ve finished this version, I’ll still probably be about 30-20% short of my final draft word count. I’m an underwriter. I print it out, or send it to my kindle, and read it from start to finish while making notes. Then it’s a case of polishing and polishing until I think it’s ready to share with my beta readers. Then it’s react to their edits, polish, polish and polish, then off to my editor.
I don’t edit as I go. Because if I did, I’d probably never finish.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from Control?
In Control we see Scott struggle more with his power and with the events from book one. It takes some darker turns and Scott doesn’t really have that good a time of it. Basically, I’m pretty mean to him. You’ll also meet some new and interesting Shifters as well as see your favourites from the first book. And the ending… well, I’m really looking forward to seeing how people react to that. Let’s just say, I’ve been sneaky.
Ooh, that is a teaser if I ever saw one. Can’t wait to read Control!
Now a few quickfire questions to end:
(This next set of questions are impossible as I’m both of all of them!)
Tea or coffee?
Tea mostly. Decaf coffee as well as I’m finding real coffee makes me really fidgety at the moment.
Drama or comedy?
e-Books or physical books?
Both. I love my kindle and love my heaving book shelves. But when the zombie apocalypse comes, it will be physical books all the way.
Indoors or outdoors?
Both. I love spending time tucked away, but have to get out of the house/office often, or else I might go crazy!
Impossible! There are too many. I’ll limit it to my favourite book of last year, which was probably Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway. Or a Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Or Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. Or The Explorer by James Smythe. See! Too many.
Again, too many. But I’m listening to The Heavy a lot at the moment.
Alien. Or Aliens. Or Nikita. I’m bad at picking favourites, aren’t I?
Favourite ice cream?
Coconut. Finally something I can be certain about!
Thanks so much for doing the interview Kim!
Scott Tyler is not like other teenagers. With a single thought he can alter reality around him. And he can stop anyone else from doing the same.
That’s why he’s so important to ARES, the secret government agency that regulates other kids like him: Shifters.
They’ve sent him on a mission. To track down the enigmatic Frank Anderson. An ex-Shifter who runs a project for unusual kids – as if the ability to change your every decision wasn’t unusual enough. But Anderson and the kids have a dark secret. One that Scott is determined to discover.
As his obsession with discovering the truth takes him further away from anyone he cares about, his grip on reality starts to weaken. Scott realises if he can’t control his choices, they’ll control him.
Read an excerpt from the book below:
About Kim Curran:
Kim was born in Dublin and moved to London when she was seven. She got her first typewriter when she was eight, had a poem she wrote about a snail published in a magazine when she was nine, and that was it – Kim was hooked on writing.
Because she never thought she’d actually be able to make a living as a writer, she decided she needed a trade to fall back on. So, naturally, she went to Sussex University to study philosophy.
While Kim’s plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since, specialising in writing for videogames.
To celebrate the release of Kim Curran’s Control, Strange Chemistry are offering 5 Signed Copies of Control and Shift! To enter, all you need to do is tell us what embarrassing moments you’d change if you could shift! Simply tweet @strangechem and use the hashtag #Control to tell us what red-faced moment you’d like to erase. Winners will be picked at random; the competition is open to international entrants; and competition ends on 31 August.