Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
Today, K.S. Trenten – Kari Trenten, a.k.a. K.S. Trenten lives in the Silicon Valley with her husband, two cats, juggling reality with all the stories bubbling in her imagination, filled with characters demanding attention.
Thanks so much, K.S., for joining me!
J. Scott Coatsworth: Describe yourself using a song.
K.S. Trenten: These Dreams, by Heart. I’m constantly daydreaming and imagining something.
JSC: When did you know you wanted to write, and when did you discover that you were good at it?
KST: Since childhood. A friend gave me a journal, encouraging me to write all my stories within. I realized I was good at it when other people started getting into my stories, talking about my characters, and debating whether some of my villains were redeemable. 🙂 Later, I came to the painful conclusion that I had a lot of flaws as a writer. I realized I was good when I started figuring out how to tackle those flaws. Good enough to keep going, while getting stronger. I still make a lot of mistakes, but I’m getting better at overcoming them. I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in the two years since I’ve been published in polishing up my technique. Fortunately, there’s been a lot of wonderful people dealing with the same problems who’ve been more than willing to give me advice and help me.
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
KST: Every idea is a soap bubble. If I don’t catch it, write down something about it, it’ll pop. I’ll be left with ooze leaking out of my imagination, wondering what the idea was in the first place.
JSC: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
KST: My writing style is a cross between Storm Constantine, Algernon Blackwood, CLAMP, Neil Gaiman, and yet uniquely my own. (laughs) Those are the writers I feel the most affinity with, like we’re tapped into the same vein of creativity, yet I’m not exactly like any of them. My genre is ambient fantasy. This is a subgenre I’ve come up within the fantasy genre, only it’s closer in imagery and aesthetic to shoujo manga involving magic and other worlds than more mainstream fantasy. If you’ve ever listened to ambient music and seen some of their album covers, you’ll hear and see something which I’m trying very hard to convey within words and other worlds.
JSC: Were you a voracious reader as a child?
KST: Oh, yes. I still am. 🙂
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
KST: Fairest, my f/f fantasy fairy tale novella, which appeared here at Queer Sci Fi before. Unfortunately, I never got paid for any of the sales I made. I ended up asking for the rights back. I’m very happy to say it’s found a new home in Nine Star Press’s Once Upon a Rainbow LGBTQ+ anthology. Once Upon a Rainbow was released on November 20th. You can read a new edition of Fairest I’ve polished up a bit without disturbing the essential content. Plus all the characters have names. Many of them, including the narrator were nameless in the first version. 🙂
JSC: If you could sit down with one other writer, living or dead, who would you choose and what would you ask them?
KST: Anne Rice. I’d ask her if Guido Reni’s depictions of St. Sebastian inspired the vampire Armand, the spirituality within the sensual which the character embodies so beautifully. I’d also compliment her for writing Cry to Heaven, one of the best novels I’ve ever written. A lot of people have swooned over the Vampire Chronicles. I’m not sure if she’s gotten as much positive feedback for Cry to Heaven, which is also worthy of many a swoon.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
KST: In bits and pieces as inspiration strikes. Eventually I organize the pieces into a frame work. Although I’m getting more orderly with experience.
JSC: Would you visit the future or the past and why?
KST: If I could, I’d go back to Paris in the early summer of 1990. It was beautiful during that year. I’d stand on the left bank of the Seine, looking at the Louvre before the wall was covered with graffitti. Afterwards, I’d walk over to St. Germain and find one of the restaurants which are no longer there.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
KST: My NaNoWriMo project is Stealing Myself From Shadows, which I’m revising and hoping to self publish. I’m not sure how long it will take, since I have a lot to learn and organize in order to do this. It’s the first book in a series of ambient fantasy with androgynous, otherworldy characters living in a location on the edge of reality, inspired by Tarot card imagery. I’m offering pieces of a prelude to this story every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com.
I’m also working on Aissa and Polyxena, a m/m mythical tale of cross dressing. This should be ready sooner. I’m going to start submitting it to various publishers once it’s done.
You can expect another f/f fantasy fairytale called At Her Service next year. It’ll be in Nine Star Press’s Once Upon a Rainbow 2 anthology, which comes out 1/17/18.
Fairest and Once Upon a Rainbow are available now. Seven Tricks, my Mouse Prince/Nutcracker holiday tale comes out tomorrow.
I’m juggling a lot of other projects, but these are the ones most on my mind right now. 🙂
Some say a mouse king has seven heads. Hah, trust a human to get our legends wrong. A mouse prince must perform seven tricks before the twelve days of Christmas are up. It’s how he wins his crown, but I’ve got my whiskers set on something else. A stiff beauty with a magnificent jaw, waiting for me under the holiday shrub. I caught his scent in a dream, which I’ve been sniffing after ever since. Scamper with me through my adventures and misadventures, dodging traps, cats, and giants, while I win a steadfast nutcracker’s heart.
Some say a mouse king has seven heads with seven crowns. In a way, this is true. A mouse prince must play seven tricks before the twelve days of Christmas are over. If he doesn’t, he cannot claim his throne.
“You must prove your worth before I acknowledge you as my heir,” Madam Mousenip said to me in the shadow of the enormous ticking tower. “Only by succeeding at seven tricks will you possess what you desire.”
She herself had become our sovereign through seven capers of her own, earning the name Mousenip for delivering tiny bites, which left cheese looking unscathed and humans whimpering. She’d nipped a human princess once. The bite turned the girl’s face into something so beautiful her people fainted at the sight of her. That was Madam Mousenip. Kind even to hideous giants.
I flicked my whiskers in humble acknowledgement of the Mouse Queen’s words.
In truth, winning the throne was what she desired, not I. What I wished for was a bit more romantic and complicated.
I’d had a dream involving our coming Christmas, but it wasn’t of me ascending the throne, oh no. I’d dreamed of an endless supply of tissue, scattered about the giant shrubbery humans insisted on covering with baubles.
Not that the shredded paper was what I desired, although there was enough for all my subjects, saving the king-size portion for myself.
No, what I wanted was the exquisite creature standing half in and half out of a giant box left open on the floor.
Wooden was he, keeping his arms and legs stiff and motionless in his bright red coat and green trousers. Wispy white hair stuck out of the crown on his head and square chin.
Ah, he had to be a prince of some sort. Perhaps a prince of the wooden dolls? Some of the humans kept such poppets as toys or slaves. Not much of a royal title.
The beauty bared his teeth at me in a seductive show of defiance. Never had I seen such an enormous, toothy jaw. The scent of roasted nuts wafted from his mouth, making my nostrils flare with hunger.
I crept up to this still, defiant beauty.
He didn’t move, or acknowledge me, even when I was a paw away from his face. The strange prince just stood there and grinned.
This infuriated me. Who was he grinning at, if not myself? Was he mocking me?
I nudged him with my snout.
He rocked on his stiff wooden legs but didn’t budge. The creature stood like a human being, but no human possessed so broad and beautiful a mouth as he. Nor did they smell so deliciously of roasted nuts.
“Maybe you’re a giant nut yourself,” I said in the way of mice, which sounds like chittering to anyone without the talent to understand our speech. “Do you taste as good as you smell?”
I sank my teeth into his hard shoulder.
His head turned very slowly. He regarded me with wide hungry eyes. The strange prince dropped his jaw, only to close it on my snout.
In a moment of intimacy, we bit each other.
I awoke with the taste of bitter sawdust in my mouth, mixed with the salty residue of nuts.
Kari Trenten, a.k.a. K.S. Trenten lives in the Silicon Valley with her husband, two cats, juggling reality with all the stories bubbling in her imagination, filled with characters demanding attention.
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