An interview with KJ
Updated: Jan 12
1. Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours.
I have to hang my washing out with the same coloured pegs. Like, a towel might get two red pegs. But if I grab a blue peg for a pair of undies, then the other edge of the undies gets a blue peg as well. And I’m speaking about undies. Lovely.
2. If we opened your browser history, what would we find?
Currently, I have the following tabs open: thesaurus, my email, 2 x cargo bikes courier companies, architectural terminology search, Melbourne street map, heritage council of Australia.
For ‘Art of Magic’, I had tabs about brain surgery and side effects of radiology. I kept getting ads for private hospitals on my Facebook feed for ages.
3. What is your favourite genre to read, and why?
Lesbian romances and fantasy. I like reading wonderful examples in the genre I write in. I think everyone should do that. And I like well-written fantasy books. I read ‘Aurora’s Angel’ by Emily Noon and loved it. World-building, fantastical elements, language development…all of that
4. What are your favourite pizza toppings?
Ham and pineapple. I will die on that hill. See? There’s me, on the hill, yelling about pineapple representation on flatbread fast food. Priorities.
5. Sing in the rain or dance in the streets?
Having a shower counts as rain, right? Good. Shower singing any time. I’m actually a reasonable singer, but would die a little if I had to do so in public. I’d rather die on my pineapple hill.
6. If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
I’m not great at dinner parties, but if I did host one, I’d invite three people who liked each other and would carry the conversation along, then I could just interject occasionally with pithy remarks.
The actual people? Maybe three lesfic authors, like Brenda Murphy, Melissa Tereze, A.L. Brooks, Cheyenne Blue, Rach from Les Reveur. Oh, that’s more than three.
7. What is your motto in life?
It’s okay. Breathe.
8. Tomorrow I absolutely refuse to…
9. Tell us a funny incident/embarrassing moment in your life.
Oh my God. I have so, so many. Nearly everyone knows the main one, which is the night I met my wife. It’s immortalised in print in my little novella, ‘Home’. But another one is when I was squeezing past the long table in the work staffroom. Every chair was occupied, and there was not much space between the back of the chairs and the wall of windows. I had my front to the windows and I was side-shuffling to get to the head of the table to deliver a message to the staff. It was noisy. No one was paying attention, which is just as well, because when someone did say my name, I turned quickly, and my blouse caught on the window latch, and as I jerked my torso, every single button went flying. My reflexes have never been so quick, because, with only a micro-moment of public bra exposure, I grabbed both sides of the blouse, tugged them together, and side-shuffled the fastest side-shuffle in history right out the side door of the room and into the first aid bay, where I used eight safety pins to maintain my dignity.
1. How long have you been writing for and when did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
Proper writing, like published? Since May 2019.
Writing randomly? Since high school.
I wanted to be a writer for a long time, but I only thought I deserved to be a writer since probably March this year. Probably 9am this morning.
2. What comes first, the plot or the characters?
Characters. I need to meet these people first. Then the plot makes itself known, like a movie. I see my stories as movies.
3. When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?
I usually just start writing it, but if I feel the characters aren’t responding properly to what is going on, I watch Youtube clips of the same emotion, and listen to music with the same feelings. But not much, as it’s hard to type when you’re sobbing.
4. When writing a series, how do you keep things fresh for both your readers and also yourself?
I haven’t written a series.
Oh! Hang on. My books do have a link/thread through them. Some of my characters pop up from previous books. How do I make those recurring characters fresh? They just are, because it’s not their story. The hard part is actually making sure they’re the same person. Like, I couldn’t change Sam Markson at all when she popped up again in Art of Magic.
5. What is the one piece of advice you would give to yourself/or a new writer?
Keep going. It’s such a patronising piece of advice, and it seems so twee. But it’s true. I’m lucky to have a number of lesfic writers who I can download to when it seems all too much. Selena Silcox is one of them. She’s been so amazing. And there are many others. It’s a very supportive community.
6. What’s your next project?
It’s a contemporary romance. Bike courier meets architect. Opposites attract sort of thing. And with all my books, there’s a pile of metaphorical references and humour and dialogue. All wrapped in my particular brand of story delivery.
ABOUT YOUR BOOKS:
1. Tell us about your first published book? What was the journey like?
‘Learning To Swim’ was my first proper book. It came out in May 2020. The journey is a long story, which I’ve detailed on my website, and with Natalie Miller-Snell on her podcast, but basically my brain exploded, I had a complete mental breakdown, got admitted to a psychiatric ward, was diagnosed with bipolar and other cool stuff, had to give up my job which nearly did me in because the job was my air, felt lost for a year, decided to write, found out I’m not awful at it, wrote ‘Learning To Swim’, and well…here we are.
And some of those events repeated, and Coming Home was published. Then they repeated again and Kick Back came out and…oh boy, I actually hadn’t spotted that pattern.
2. What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?
That the characters are real people in my head. I really thought that was a myth. But it’s so true. I said just the other day to my wife that I needed to jump back onto the laptop because I was missing Emily and Skye (MCs in latest book).
3. Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?
Oh, I love all my characters. But if I had to rank them; number one would be Sam Markson (Coming Home). I loved writing her. Sam is the sweetest, kindest person ever. She has some insecurities, which makes her normal, but she’s lovely. She’s irreverent and generous and I’ll miss her, because I think I won’t see her again.
Number two is Cath Monroe (Coming Home and Art of Magic) Oh wow. Cath is a firecracker. Very confident in herself, sensually and sexually, but finds it hard to trust. She was very fun to write and I’m glad I chose her as my foray into first person writing, because her voice was so strong.
4. Where can readers purchase your books?
Amazon hates my name. Apparently there are too many authors with KJ either as their name or in their name and Amazon reckon somehow it’s my fault for choosing a name that doesn’t work in the search bar. Whatever. Look for my book titles. Go to my website. Go to my FB page. I’m on Twitter. And then jump off those to Amazon.