Today my blog is visited by Kristen Duvall and her new book, Femmes du Chaos. She's sharing some information about her new book, and also giving an information about her writing in general.
They messed with the wrong girl this time.
From heroes to villains, Femmes du Chaos sets out to show the world what the fairer sex is really made of. You’ll meet women of all ages and from many different walks of life... Warriors and schoolgirls, side-by-side in one place. One thing connects them all, and that is their ambition. Whether they use their ambition for good or evil, well that’s for them to decide. Gritty, fantastical and sometimes uncomfortable to read, Femmes du Chaos is a tour de force that holds nothing back. There will be violence and there will be blood.
Q: Tell me about your book.
A: Femmes du Chaos is a book of short stories all featuring strong female characters, some of them heroes and some of them villains. I mostly write science fiction, fantasy, horror and speculative fiction, so those genres are the most prevalent, and most are pretty dark.
Q: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
A: That’s really hard to say... I wrote most of these stories in a span of three years for an online writing contest. There are some I prefer over others, of course, but I only picked the pieces I enjoyed the most for this collection. My favorite stories of the ones I did include? Bonnie and Clyde, a story about a female bounty hunter out for revenge and probably The Price You Pay featuring a dystopian world that is likely to become a novel at some point.
Q: What kind of research did you do for this book?
A: I didn’t have to do much research at all, really.
Q: Do you work with an outline, or just write?
A: Most of the time, I just write. Though I have a rough outline in my head at all times, things change and I let the story take me in directions I might not have considered before.
Q: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
A: I’m currently a full-time writer (I lost my day job a year ago), and currently my schedule is as follows... I wake up around 8am, I work out and eat breakfast and then start working around 10. I work until at least 5pm, stop for dinner and then work some more. I also own a small publishing company, so that takes up a lot of time as well, but usually I work well into the night on writing related projects.
Q: What do you do when you are not writing?
A: I have a few tv shows I like to watch with my boyfriend, so we make sure to schedule that time in together. I also like to work out, go on hikes, go to the dog beach with my Great Dane, Annabelle. I’d travel more if I could.
Q: What book(s) are you reading now?
A: I’m re-reading the Meredith Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton mainly so I can read them to my boyfriend. It’s a paranormal romance series, and generally speaking I don’t like romance, but I enjoy the world she created with this one and it takes place in both my hometown and the city I currently live in, so that’s pretty cool. It’s my third time reading the series. I’m also reading ‘Adrift” by indie author Dominica Malcolm, a time traveling pirate story that I’ve been waiting for!
Q: Is there any particular author or book that particularly influenced you?
A: Ray Bradbury. I am a huge fan of his and I love his style of writing. I’ve had ideas before and thought “wow, that almost sounds like a Bradbury story...” I’m also a huge Neil Gaiman and Stephen King fan.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
A: Convincing characters, a unique plot, and just the right amount of description to tell me what I need to know and nothing more. I like characters that are neither good nor bad, but a mixture of the two. Villains that aren’t villains simply because they’re bad, but perhaps it’s all a matter of point of view. I like flawed heroes too, not a fan of the chosen one trope too much. If everyone adores them except the bad guys (and the only reason they don’t like him is because they’re bad), there’s a good chance I won’t care for them too much myself.
Q: What project are you working on now?
A: I have several projects going on at once, actually. I have a novella titled “The Devil’s in the Details” that I want to edit and get out to the world soon. It’s just a fun little horror story about a man who works for the devil, running errands and collecting souls, but it’s a little more lighthearted than it sounds, trust me! I’m also finishing up a science fiction novel for NaNoWriMo that I call The Princess and the Piper (that’s a cheesy pun, so the title will change once I can think of one). It’s a futuristic utopian piece that I like to describe as The Prince and the Pauper only with lesbians. And finally, I am editing the first book in a series I’ve created. This book is titled The Caged Girl and is YA, set in a dystopian world. I joke that it’s a romantic story about a boy, a girl and decapitation.
Q: What’s the best thing about being an author?
A: I love creating worlds. Seeing other people enjoy my creations means the world to me, but even if no one read my work, I’d have fun writing them. Ever since I was a child, I loved making up characters in my head and telling their stories. It’s a way I can live out other lives all from the safety of my living room.
Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
A: My inner critic. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to writing. I can be mega-harsh on myself and expect nothing but perfection. I have so many written works that I’ve hesitated to share with the world because to me, they don’t feel ready. They’ll never feel ready because I expect way too much from myself. I’m starting to see this and go a little easier on myself.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: Read above! I wrote The Caged Girl in a month for NaNoWriMo though it needs major editing and re-writes. I am a fast writer, but I always re-write and edit and re-write some more... So it takes me longer than it should to complete a project.
Q: What has been the toughest criticism (and the best compliment) given to you as an author?
A: I’ve gotten pretty good at handling criticism, so it’s hard to think of the toughest criticism I’ve received... My own brain is the harshest critic I’ve had, seriously. The best compliments I’ve received are that people willing to buy my book. Not only that, I’ve had readers tell me that they want me to expand on my short stories and make them into books so they could buy them. To me, that is the best compliment of all.
Q: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
A: Develop a thick skin. Find honest beta readers and learn how to accept criticism from them. Learn to take the useful input and discard the rest, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference in those two things, but you have to learn to trust yourself and your abilities while also hearing insight from others. The only way to get better is to practice. The only way to get successful is to write.
About the Author:
Kristen Duvall is a writer of tales both real and make believe. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now resides in Southern California with her boyfriend, her Great Dane and her rescued calico kitty. She's been writing and sharing her work online for several years now, and has decided to take the plunge into publishing her work for the world to read. She dabbles in horror, science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction. She enjoys both Adult and Young Adult fiction and loves to write strong female characters.
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