I am ridiculously honoured to welcome author Katy Wood to my blog to talk about her novel Bound by Kin (now on goodreads!)
What was your initial idea for the novel?
This project has gone through a rather lengthy path to get to the form it is in now. The very initial spark came from watching the UK version of Being Human. There’s a scene where the main vampire character is talking on the phone while also examining the fact he has no reflection in a mirror and it got me wondering. If he couldn’t be captured visually why could he be captured through audio? (I mean, logically, this makes sense within the vampire mythos since there was no audio technology when the myths came about, just reflections, but I digress.) So that got me thinking about how would life work for vampires if they couldn’t be captured in ANY manner, audio or visual wise. How would they function? They wouldn’t be able to use phones, cameras, etc. This means no 911 system, no TV, no radio shows, no voice acting, no skyping, no music with lyrics, no security cameras, nothing. To use any of these things, to have safety and entertainment in a modern world, they would need humans for a lot more than blood.
It took me awhile to find the story within that world that I wanted to tell, but I eventually settled on telling the story of a human actress and what it would be like for her to exist in that world. What kind of person would she be in a world that put such a heavy value on human actors? What would the people around her be like? What would her family be like? This was eventually developed out into the concept for the whole three book series.
I’m loving the references to vampires! Is this a sort of dystopian universe where the world is controlled by vampires? What are the main differences between this universe and our own?
Dystopian isn’t quite the word I would use. Yes the world of the books is controlled by vampires but it is still very much our world. There are still the same countries, the same sort of politics (good and bad), the same companies, the same cities, etc. There’s just another layer of government control. Think of the various covens as a bit like the concept of the United Kingdom–not a country in and of themselves, but a sort of governing/influential body for different collections of countries. Vampires and humans exist, mostly, side by side without any problems. This is our world after an apocalyptic event in the early 2000’s AND after the aftermath–the world did go dystopian for awhile but it has put itself mostly back together after a few centuries. I generally use the term post-post apocalyptic to describe it.
You’ve talked about your characters’ sexualities – Dustin is ace, for example, and Shae is bisexual. Is the inclusion of LGBT+ characters important to you?
Yes, the inclusion of diverse sexualities is very important to me. I am myself asexual (and I identified as bisexual for much of highschool because I didn’t yet know what asexual was) and the majority of my friends are LGBTQAI+. Books are getting better about including characters with varying sexualities but it’s still generally only one or two per book. I wanted to write something where the majority of the characters were LGBTQAI+ as well as a book that reflected my life as an asexual woman in some way. The Kith and Kin series has been a great chance to do that.
I also wanted to write something where you don’t discover that any of the characters are LGBTQAI+, they just are. They already know who they are and who they want to be with long before the book even starts. Coming out narratives are certainly powerful and important, but not every story needs to be one (nor should they be). Sometimes we just want to have stories about us robbing trains and plotting kidnappings instead of just worrying about our parents kicking us out, you know?
I’ve had a look through your portfolio of illustrations on your website – you are so talented! Are your illustrations integral to your writing?
Aww, thanks! My art is indeed very integral to my writing. I’ve got huge sketchbooks full of ideas and plans for all my novel projects, including Kith and Kin. Floorplans, character concepts, fashion sketches, fight plans/layouts, etc. I need to be able to see things to write them, so I’ve got everything from quick thumbnail sketches all the way up to a sculpture of Dustin I made…two years ago? I think it was two years…maybe a year and a half. (You can see this stuff on my Patreon, by the way! I release developmental stuff there every week.)
Also, the print and ebook editions of the book (releasing June 30th) will be illustrated! Gonna start on those illustrations soon. Should be fun!
Are there any specific authors or illustrators who helped inspire the book?
There aren’t any illustrators that particularly inspired this book. (Though last year I did commission a fantastic piece of Dustin and his girlfriend Vivian from Cassandra JP that I’m still stupidly in love with.) Author wise Maggie Stiefvater has always been a huge inspiration. Her writing is so incredibly atmospheric and nobody writes a forest like she does. And Maggie is just a ridiculously awesome person, so there is that.
Bound by Kin is the first in the Kith and Kin series – are you currently working on the sequel? How’s it going?
Yep! The second book (Bound by Kith) is halfway written and fully outlined, while the third and final book (Bound by Kings) is roughly outlined. They’re going to continue to release one per year until the series is over in 2019. After that I’m thinking of doing some comics with a certain pair of characters (not gonna say who though, ’cause it’d be spoilery 😉 ).
Thanks so much for the interview! It was tons of fun. My Patreon has lots more info on the book for anyone who is interested, and they can subscribe for $3 a month to read the book before anyone else, with chapters releasing every Friday! (And Patreon has the first two chapters FOR FREE!) They can also follow me on twitter for general updates as well.