Q&A with author K.A. Wiggins
Here are some random and hopefully interesting questions that will allow you to enter the mind of a highly skilled young adult author. Enjoy! 😁
1) What was the inspiration behind Blind the Eyes?
A whole tangle of things. The earliest iteration was a pretty simple opposites-attract (short) story about an antisocial girl saved from monsters by a extremely stereotypical hero, who then decides to move in “for her protection” and she eventually gets won over and joins his monster hunting ways. So I’ve always been interested in trying to write these girls that just aren’t having any of it and resisting society. Brenna Yovanoff’s way of developing layered, “difficult” characters is a huge inspiration there.
But then, the more I started digging into the details, the further from that template I got. A lot of the (dystopian) worldbuilding is based on my time working in the Vancouver business district—repressive towers, endless hallways and stairwells, toxic fog hiding monsters.
Aesthetically, Bethany Griffin’s The Masque of the Red Death was an unintentionally huge influence, this twisted, post-apocalyptic vision of crumbling cities and dystopian repression, but with a glittering underbelly and gothic sensibilities.
Also anime. In hindsight, the influence, aesthetics, melodrama, and insane plotting of LOT of anime and manga over the years filtered in, for sure. The whole way along, I was just asking, Bakuman-style, what would be cool or interesting here? Which is fitting, because the dream-eating monsters are at least half based on the Japanese Baku. So, yeah. A little chaotic, really, and mostly unconscious. I generally can only identify influences after the fact, and this one was a tangled web for sure!
2) If you were making a movie of this book, who would you cast?
Oof. This question is unintentionally hard because I basically know, but all the actors are, like, decades too old now. Grace Dove or Vanessa Matsui would have been great. Maybe Star Slade or Zendaya for Cole?
Ravel’s personality is Vampire Diaries-era Ian Somerhalder, but the character design is more inspired by Mortal Instruments-Godfrey Gao. Matt Sato is still a little young for him. Since Hollywood loves casting 30yo as college age, Remy Hii would be perfect lol.
Then Mena Massoud or, if the movie didn’t get made for a few years, Lucas Jade Zumann for Ash, and Liza Soberano or Kim Rodriguez for Ange.
3) If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Calm down, lol. Also, you will not find your people at college (grownups lie) and you won’t stick with a day job anyway, so stop trying to find the perfect one. ^_^;
In hindsight, I should’ve written more, hurled those words out into the world, and written more again. Instead, I wasted a lot of time trying to create the perfect environment and lifestyle to “be a writer” and that’s just not something that’s achievable in our society. Pursuing a “backup” career was sucking every last drop of my energy and creativity without freeing me up to do the thing I set out to do. But, in my defense (and for the benefit of other baby writers), there’s a lot of pressure as a teen and young adult to get an education and a career, to be financially stable, and to make “smart choices.” Also, technology now makes getting your words out to an audience without going through gatekeepers way easier, whether that’s fanfic or self-hosted or indie publishing. Young writers now should definitely get out there and start sharing their work and building an audience. There’s no such thing as perfect and done is better than perfect, so finish those stories and toss ‘em up on Wattpad or wherever. J
4) When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
I was (unhealthily) book obsessed from a very young age, but I think it was eigth or ninth grade when a really supportive teacher pointed out that I was good at writing, actually. I started writing a novel that summer, much to the irritation of everyone around me.
5) If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Write more short fiction. While it’s not impossible to finish a novel as a teen, I do think you learn more experimenting (and finishing!) short fiction than plodding away on a longer, more complex work. But also, I think I (or rather, my parents) did fairly well at just having free time for creativity?
I teach extracurricular creative writing to kids, roughly grade four and up, and something that I benefitted enormously from that I don’t see them getting is unstructured time. I didn’t go from class to extracurriculars to tutoring and back. I had time to get bored, and without much access to games, TV or internet, I mainly filled that time with books and writing.
It was just emerging at the time, but fanfiction or serial writing is something I wish I’d done more of as a form of practice in entertaining an audience before I tried to publish.
6) Which authors inspired you to join their ranks?
As a kid, C.S. Lews, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L’Engle, Susan Cooper . . . and then, later, James McCann’s Rancour was a big inspiration because it was the first time I’d come across a genre author publishing in the same city as me. It felt more accessible. Gothic/paranormal/UF/fantasy genre heroes include Holly Black, Brenna Yovanoff, Kendare Blake, Kelley Armstrong . . . I could go on.
7) And finally, what is the craziest story idea you've ever had?
Wow. I mean, I’m kind of all over the place with ideas, so this isn’t an easy one to pin down. But I have more than one gross-out body horror comedy (short) story on sub right now, one of which is also an ecopunk rom-com, so I feel like that’s perhaps the most out-there mash up I’ve managed so far? And, as far as published pieces go, On The Edge breaks a lot of rules . . . Like, new adult travelogue but fabulist, unexpectedly gothic and also fae? My story idea least likely to ever see the light of day is the one about an OD’d ghost who becomes the patron saint of junkies and goes around rescuing people from beyond the grave. ^_^;
I hope you all enjoyed hearing from Wiggins on a variety of writing-focused questions. As an aspiring author myself, this was quite interesting.
If you have any future ideas for author questions or simply want to share your thoughts on just about anything book related then be sure to comment.
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