Please Welcome Kim Fielding
Stasis was written in 30 days, what was that like?
Crazy, but in a good sort of way! I’d forewarned my family what was coming and they gave me space to write. I do really well with challenges and deadlines, so having only one month to finish my first draft was a good thing. It’s also really freeing to just write really quickly without agonizing about things or spending endless time going back and self-editing. The words really flow and I’ve found that often passages were much better than I thought they were when I first wrote them. Of course, lots of editing still had to be done when the 30 days were over, but by then the skeleton and most of the flesh of the story was well into place.
Where did the idea of Stasis as a punishment come from?
Honestly, I’m not sure. I think my subconscious must be a strange place. I began with a very clear image of a man caught in Stasis, and then I began to think about how awful it would be to be stuck like that for centuries, so that when you were released everyone you knew was gone and everything had changed. I suppose I may have been inspired in part by the stories of real people who have been incarcerated for long years and then released after evidence has proven that they were innocent. Imagine what it would be to be sent to prison in your early twenties and then let out again when you were in your forties.
When you began your dark fantasy trilogy did you have a clear vision of how it would begin and end?
Only vaguely. I knew some of the themes I wanted to explore—power and justice and responsibility and family and love—and some of the challenges my heroes would face, and I knew approximately where they would end up. But I had very little idea how they would get there. I rarely plot things out beyond a bare outline when I begin, and I find that the story tends to evolve pretty naturally from the characters themselves.
What was the inspiration for the character of Ennek?
That’s another mystery! He sort of popped into being and I was intrigued by his contradictions. For example, he grew up very privileged but was always denied the one thing he most wanted, which was love. He has the potential for immense power and yet he thinks of himself as useless. I also liked that his heroism isn’t foreordained; he has a dark streak in him that calls pretty loudly. He’s a little spoiled, a little headstrong, and often blind to his own best qualities. I’ve always preferred deeply flawed protagonists.
Do you find the fantasy genre to be liberating, or do you feel the archetypes can become too restricting?
Oh, definitely liberating. I like to read lots of different kinds of things and my writing often crosses several genres. I think fantasy is more forgiving of that kind of thing than many other genre. Sure, there’s plenty of boring stuff out there that follows the same old rules, but there is also so much room to bend those rules or break them altogether. I love the way fantasy allows me to play with place and time as well. For example, this trilogy begins in an alternate universe in the city-state of Praesidium. Praesidium is located where the real San Francisco sits, but the technology is roughly Gold Rush-era, the history is Roman, and the world itself contains wizards and magical creatures. I guess the best thing about fantasy is that it allows us to ask “What if?” without any real limits.
What was it like combing modern and ancient elements into the world you created?
It was great fun! Combining modern and ancient elements allowed me to create what I hope is a fresh and interesting world. It was a challenge, because if readers are going to enjoy a story the world has to be believable. I’d hate for people to get thrown out of the tale because the details just didn’t seem to work. But I love history, and I think if we look at all carefully we can see the ways that even ancient customs and events continue to color our modern civilizations. Maybe this is a little more obvious outside the United States, in countries where people are still living behind walls that were built centuries earlier. And because I do love history, I really enjoyed doing the background research for these novels, yet without being forced to be a slave to what really happened.
What Dystopian tale affected you the most? Why?
When I wrote this trilogy I thought a lot about the lengths that power will go to maintain itself, and the extent to which many of us acquiesce to that power because it seems safe. Old favorites like George Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut probably had the greatest influence on me from a literature perspective, but so did real life
political events, both historical and present-day.
What are some contemporary authors you are following now?
I’ve been reading dark fantasy by authors such as Sarah Monette, Lynn Flewelling, Carol Berg, and Charles de Lint. Neil Gaiman is a huge favorite of mine as well. I especially enjoy authors who combine elements of fantasy and horror. But I’m a pretty eclectic reader, and I also love Christopher Moore, Bill Bryson, and Isabel Allende.
Anything new coming down the pipeline you would like to share with us?
In April, I will have a new novel published by Dreamspinner Press. It’s called Good Bones and the protagonist is a gay hipster architect—who also happens to be a werewolf. In April I’ll also have a superhero-themed short story in Dreamspinner’s Men of Steel anthology. I have a few other short stories in the works right now and I’m in the midst of writing a fantasy novel about a giant of sorts and a broken magician.