KS Augustin

Posted by Chantal | 9:31 PM | | 3 comments »


I first discovered KS Augustin back in April when a not so funny April Fools joke was played on a blog that I occasionally go to. I seemed to be the only one who was offended by it, so I said something. When I checked back later, KS had agreed with me that it wasn't very funny. I clicked on her name to see her profile, found her website, saw she was an author, and then I bought her book called The commander's slave. I was hooked on her from then on.

KS has 2 books out this month. One with Samhain that is called The Dragon of Ankoll Keep that is out tomorrow, and another called Prime Suspect with Total e bound that is out today! Click on the links to buy the books.

I asked to answer a few questions, and she very kindly did.

Could you walk us through the day you found out that you sold your first book. What was it like getting that call? Or was it an email?
-I remember it was an unseasonally cool day. Coasting through the tail-end of spring in the southern hemisphere, I was expecting some warmth, but there I was in my bathrobe and my ugly fuzzy socks, blowing on my fingers and checking my email. My breath was condensing in the air, for crying out loud! When I read the email from New Concepts, saying that they were buying "The Commander's Slave", I just froze at my desk. And I remember feeling alternately hot and cold all over. My first thought was: This has got to be some kind of joke, right? But, besides the reply, was a contract and it didn't look like anything someone would throw together just for a joke. After sitting and staring at the screen for about 5 minutes, I finally managed to clear my throat and ask J to "please come up here" (my study was upstairs) and read the message, just to make sure I hadn't misread anything! He bought me a bottle of champagne and we cracked it that night! :)

What is your writing routine?
-Oh dear. I try to do all my writing during the day, in between my day job! I don't like writing at night because that takes me away from J (my husband) and our two children. As it is, I feel I neglect them all dreadfully. I thought I didn't have a critique group until I realised that J acts as that for me. I'll give him pages to read, pose questions on motivation, and ask for help with difficult situations. I may not always take his advice, but it's a good starting point.

You have created some really wonderful worlds in your books. Where does that imagination come from?
-Why thank you. ::grin:: This is a very interesting question and I'm not sure you're going to like the answer. The flip response is to say "from my brain; bada-boom!". In reality, I think it's from an unhappy childhood. Both my home and school lives were not pleasant. So it was easier to just slip into other worlds than think about my real life. There didn't seem to be so much fantasy around when I was a kid, and the last thing I wanted to do was read about other kids with problems, so science-fiction it was. And there seemed to be a lot of it about, from the Godzilla movies to Japanese anime, Commander Cody to Star Trek. And that's not including the library!

Have you always written science fiction, and do you think you'll ever dabble into other romance genres?
-Science fiction is my first love, without a doubt. The very first story that influenced me, got me thinking, was Stanley Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey". The tale of a stranded astronaut attempting to communicate, and finding friendship, with a complete alien was both fascinating and compelling. And Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat" series was a HUGE influence; I still live according to the philosophy in those books. I started writing s-f from an early age, then moved to Star Trek fanfic in my teens, then back to my own universes again. Romance conjures up equally strong emotions, wrenching feelings of trust amid conflict, the obstacles of fate, the strength and intellect to overcome. But I think I'm ranting on here a bit!I actually have a contemporary paranormal that I started in 2003. It was set in Singapore and won the Paranormal category at the Indiana RWA's "Golden Opportunity" contest one year. Now that we're actually in Singapore, J keeps telling me to finish it (it's an 80% complete novel), but there are still things I need to sort out in my head about the mechanics of that world, as well as more solid characterisations, before I'm ready for it again. I think I may end up ripping the whole thing apart and starting from the bare bones, so I know I'll need some mega-chunk of time to do that and I just don't have that at the moment. It's on the list.

What is your comfort level when it comes to writing love scenes? Could you go past your own comfort zone if your characters demanded it?
-Love scenes are difficult, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You've got to keep things fresh so readers don't read the same scene over and over again throughout all your books. That's hard enough as it is (no pun intended). You've got to try for different moods, different settings, different positions. I have a pretty big comfort zone, so nothing really bothers me. Although I don't think of myself as an m/m writer, there's a story bubbling away in my brain that's m/m, so I'll get to it when it's ripe. And my current wip is f/f. Me, I'm hetero. It all depends on the characters and what the plot demands. It's also important that I "feel" what I'm writing or else I'm just lying to the reader. I also like the idea of thinking up different perspectives and trying to present them in an approachable way. To take an example, while a lot of heroes depend on their huge penises, capable fingers and a willing tongue, Heron Meed (the male-dominant hermaphrodite from "Prime Suspect") is cocky and adventurous enough to also carry its own cache of sex toys and creams around with it. Subah Doisson is in for a good time with Heron, that's for sure. I can just picture them visiting every sex shop in Republic space!
How old do your kids have to be before they can read your books?
-Oh that's a good one. J and I have talked around this topic several times. I'm happy to organise contraceptives for our kids when they're sexually mature and just letting them go. And at that point, I'd be happy for them to read my books. When is that point? Don't know. I suppose it depends on their individual psychological make-up. And I can't be a hypocrite about this; if it's okay for our son to explore his own sexuality, then it's okay for our daughter to do the same. J figures that women actually have the higher sex-drive, so we're going to try to be as even-handed about this as possible.

Are your characters based on anyone you know in real life?
-My secondary characters tend to be caricatures of people I know or have met, even fleetingly. I take one aspect of a person I like, or detest, and use it as the core of a fictional character. However, you won't find a match between personality and appearance because I determine appearance by a different set of criteria. My main characters come from the plot. When I have the storyline firmly in my head, I start creating the characters. This means that--while I have some unpredictability--on the whole, I don't often have the problem that several other authors have, which is a character hijacking the plot and taking it off on some wild tangent. Also, because I plan everything, if the character does decide to do something unexpected, I find out pretty early on, usually as I'm doing the chapter and scene outlines, and can deal with it.

Is there a special spot in your house that you claim as yours when you write, or can you pretty much do it anywhere?
-Wherever the laptop is, there be I! I mentioned on one loop recently, that I don't listen to any music while I write but that I appreciate noise, even if it's the kids arguing with each other. At the moment, we're gearing up for an extended visit from my MIL in a couple of months' time, so J has moved me to our bedroom. With the blinds up, I can stare through the windows of all the neighbouring apartments (as they can through ours), and that helps to fire the synapses as well. I don't know how that works but I have to have distraction in order to write. Just to go off on a tangent myself, there was a column at "Romancing the Blog" on blogging authors, and a number of readers said authors should be writing instead of blogging. I didn't get a chance to post a reply there, but I wanted to say that, just as dessert goes into a different stomach, blogging comes from a different brain. In fact, I find blogging clears my mind to focus on the writing again. A change is as good as a rest, and all that.

Who are some of you favourite authors, print and electronic?
-I have no auto-buy authors. I have almost-auto-buys! LOL Top three in that category are Iain M Banks, Lois McMaster Bujold and Amanda Quick. I don't make a distinction between electronic and print so, in no particular order, other favourites are Sylvia Violet, John Shirley, Neil Gaiman, Karyna da Rosa, Jeffrey Deaver, and almost every historical author you can think of!

Do you have any favourite stops on the web you want to share?
-Being a geek, I like to stop at BoingBoing and LifeHacker. And I always read Smart Bitches, Dear Author, Karen Knows Best and Mrs Giggles. (Although Mrs G has "Prime Suspect" on her review list so that might change in the near future. ;) ) I also have a circuit of other reader and author blogs I stop at, just to see what's happening. My other love is politics but I think I'll steer clear of providing any recommendations!

Do you have any advice for unpublished writers?
-There's a LOT of advice out there on the Internet and I recommend reading as much of it as possible. In addition...
Hi. There are two things you need to do to gain any degree of success in this industry. One, cultivate an appreciation of failure. You'll be told to "grow a thick skin", but it's more than that. What you have to do is appreciate your failures and move past them with equanimity and an increased level of knowledge. It's fine to burst into tears and an angry rage when you get a rejection, that's natural. But then what? Your answer will determine whether you become a writer or not. And secondly, you'll note I used the word "industry". This is a business. If you've ever been a small business owner, you'll be a more successful writer because there is so much more to do beyond the mere writing, and small business owners already understand that they have to do things they hate in order to promote their business. If you self-publish, you don't have to do either of these things. But I'm assuming you want to be a real, published author. If you can, when you've sold your first story, take a small business course (they're always on at local colleges and institutes all over the world). That will give you an idea of what you're in for. Even a general, retail one is good because, after all, you're selling a product, even if it's called "a book" rather than "2-inch widgets". If it's all too much for you, then chalk it up to experience and move on. If you're still up to the challenge, then welcome, keep writing when you can...and hold on!

'Thanks for the great interview, Seneca. I've enjoyed the questions!"

You're welcome, Kaz. I had a good time, too.

3 comments

  1. nath // 8:26 PM  

    Great interview :D I especially liked the question about what age your children could read the books :) I've never thought about that :)

    The covers are very pretty and I was wondering, these books are in e-book format only right? (I definitively need an e-reader, I think)...

    Again, great interview Chantal and Ms. Augustin :)

  2. Rowena // 1:43 AM  

    Great interview sweetie, I like reading your interviews they totally rock out and this is a new to me author so I'm definitely going to be checking her out...thanks for the pimp, Chantal!

    That's funny that KS Augustin can write through anything, the more distractions the better, I'm like that with reading...I can read through any damn thing. LOL.

    I'm not much on sci fi and fantasy stuff but I'll put this author on my TBB list, I'll see what's what...great job sweetie!

  3. Kaz Augustin // 7:21 PM  

    Yes, I have to say those were really good questions, Chantal. The kids' age one was one that particularly made me stop. At the moment, I'm not sure how I feel about showing them my book covers. On the one hand, they're curious about what Mama does in front of the computers for HOURS at a time. On the other, I wonder about them looking at half-clothed bodies.

    Ah, maybe I'll just start a therapy fund for them instead and let the chips fall where they may. LOL