K.B. Wagers lives and runs in the shadow of Pikes Peak. She loves flipping tires and lifting heavy things. She’s especially proud of her second-degree black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu and her three Tough Mudder completions. When not writing she can be found wrangling cats with her husband, or trying to keep up with her teenage son.
Her debut novel Behind the Throne comes out this August from Orbit Books.
1) How long have you been seriously writing?
I have been seriously writing for close to 22 years. Right around my junior/senior year of high school I started my first novel with the intent of being published. Approximately ten novels and over two million words later here I am.
Available on August 2, 2016 — preorder your copy now!
2) How much world-building went into Behind the Throne? Is there a significant amount of info that never made it into the book?
There’s quite a lot of world-building in Behind the Throne, most of which took place on the backside of things. I have a habit of “seeing” my books as I’m writing which is helpful for me, but those things don’t always make it onto the page and I have a tendency to forget that not everyone is in my head. *laughs*
3) What was the revision process for Behind the Throne?
Heh, the revision process for Behind the Throne was the stuff of nightmares. Well, most people would probably think so, I just took it as a challenge to tell a better story. I came up with the idea in December of 2009 and had the first draft done three months later. Was repeatedly rejected over the next year or so, but did get several requests for full manuscripts, one of which was from my agent. He rejected that version but was kind enough to offer his reasons for it and left the door open should I want to revise.
So I did. In fact, I TORE the book apart and started over. Reworked about 90% of it over the next year and resubmitted. This time I got an offer of representation from my agent, but we weren’t quite done. Over the next year we revised and reworked Behind the Throne a lot before sending it out to editors.
Things don’t end there, of course, there was more work once I got my offer from Orbit, but on the grand scale of things that was a lot less work than the previous revisions. We did more additions, clean up, and consistency work on the last round of edits.
4) What was your path to publication?
Whew! *laughs* Well, I answered most of that above, but as I said I’ve been writing for 22 years and actively trying to get published for the last sixteen. I’d written and shopped out (and been rejected for) five different novels before I was offered representation by my agent for Behind the Throne. I like to joke that I took the long and treacherous route around, but the good part of that is there is very little I haven’t been through by this point so very little can throw me off-kilter.
5) How did you develop the cover art?
I was not involved in the development of the cover art beyond some pretty basic information and a little input as to the style. The gorgeous cover for Behind the Throne is the result of the hard work of Lauren Panepinto and the design team at Orbit Books.
6) Do you have any exciting plans for promoting the book when it comes out?
We’re planning a release day party in August, the details of which will be available on my various social media closer to the day. As well as several local signings at Barnes and Noble and hopefully some of the independent bookstores in town.
I’ve also got two signed copies of the galley available at Con or Bust’s annual fundraiser auction and there’s a rumor from my publicist we may have a third up for raffle at SDCC so if you’re going to SanDiego make sure you keep an eye out! I am going to be at Denver ComicCon and possibly the Colorado Springs one as well if you want to hunt me down and say hello.
7) What is “Con or Bust?”
Con or Bust is a great organization which provides scholarships to people of color to attend science fiction and fantasy conventions. You can read more about the great work they do over at http://con-or-bust.org/
8) What is your favorite memory from a con or event?
I’m not a huge fan of conventions as the crowds are often too much for me. However, I did really enjoy my trip to SDCC many years ago and am looking forward to being at Denver ComicCon this year.
9) What is your weirdest anecdote from a con or event?
You know, I wracked my brain for something and came up empty. Sorry! *laughs and shrugs*
10) What is your favorite non-electronic writing tool?
I’ve recently been making an effort to improve my cursive, so I’ve been using a lot of fountain pens again. My current favorite is my Pilot Metropolitan fine point.
11) What is your favorite electronic writing tool?
I do most of my work on my laptop and it’s my preferred method of writing because I can type a whole lot faster than I handwrite things.
12) What is your greatest distraction from writing?
I don’t have one. Which maybe sounds weird, but it’s true. When it’s time to write, it’s time to write. I make time for the writing because it’s important to me and part of that involves removing distractions and getting down to business.
13) If you could set up the perfect space for writing, what would it be like?
I’m very lucky, I already have the perfect space for writing. Two of them actually. The first is my office at home that I was able to renovate last summer into exactly the kind of set up that I wanted. The other is my office-away-from-home at one of the Starbucks in town. Sometimes I like the solitude. Sometimes the energy of the coffee shop is far more conducive to my productivity.
14) Is plausible science a requirement for good science fiction?
I believe so, yes. I don’t think one has to go into great technical detail about the science (unless you’re writing extremely hardcore science fiction), but you want to be able to at least partially understand and convey the idea of whatever you’re dealing with to your readers. Besides, researching that stuff is one of the best parts of the job.
15) Do your tattoos have significant personal meaning to you?
Yes, all my tattoos were chosen for specific reasons and carry a great deal of meaning for me. I have over twenty of them so it’d take a little too long to go into the stories about each.
16) Can either your husband or son keep up with you at a Tough Mudder?
*laughs* No, but my son ran his own kids Spartan race back in 2013 and my husband takes the most amazing photos of my races.
17) What Pikes Peak area writer (besides me, of course) do you think more people should know about?
Honestly, I haven’t been all that involved in the local writer scene so there’s not really anyone I can recommend.
18) How does an aspiring author know when to compromise and when to stick to their vision regarding their work?
I think that’s a moment every author has to come to grips with in their own way. It helps to have a very clear vision of both your work and the kind of path you want your writing career to take. For me it meant turning down the opportunity to sell one kind of story when what I really wanted to do was write science fiction.
19) What is your next writing project?
My next writing project is a great story about a woman who’s been tasked to save the universe, only she doesn’t care if the universe continues to exist or goes up in flames. I’ve always liked to describe it as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy got into a fight with Battlestar Galactica.
20) Who shot first, Han or Greedo?
Han shot first.
Bonus Video Question: Please forgive the windy microphone. The video has subtitles. Transcript below.
Star WarsQuestion: Should the new movie have respected the expanded universe that was already in existence and include all the details that had already been established such as the names of the kids and the things that had happened or was it okay that they said: “You know what? Let’s just redo the whole thing.”
Answer: Oh sure, throw the controversial question out. You know, I think that it’s totally fine that they split off from the established book universe. Because, at least for me, there is a big difference between the stuff that goes on in the books and the stuff that goes on in the movies. So we’re looking at basically an entire new Star Wars universe going on where they have a whole playing field to grow with versus where we’re doing or trying to stick or fit everything into a mold that has already been established as canon in the expanded universe. So I think that they made a really good choice there in terms of how to use the format to the best advantage versus trying to shoehorn book information into a movie format.
This Spring from The Cities of Luna
Love that cover art… and so totally get the amount of world-building that needs to be done but never quite sees the book. Sign of awesomeness, imho.
Sounds like a lot of time and effort has paid off. Cool about the cursive and fountain pens too… I so want to reinvest in some good fountain pens.
I have to be content with cheap pens. I lose them too easily!
My son uses all of mine…