NYC Big Book Award: GAB TALKS with Kaylin McFarren
During the eve of Halloween as I write this, I am reminded of how much my Aunt Nancy used to love to read horror books and watch horror films that literally scared the beJesus out of me. The thrill and excitement that came with the fright was a delight to her; and for me, it meant a night of restless anxious sleep.
The horror genre has come a long way, and yet many of the classics that invented suspense, fear, and shock are ever so present in today's writing. Coupled with a deep racy love interest, "Annihilation" rose in the ranks to claim in this year's NYC Big Book Award winner in the category.
If you are interested in getting more involved with horror writing, there are a number of great resources, but one to check out The Horror Writers Association, and their website is simply, https://horror.org/
Here is GAB TALKS interview.
Gabby: I understand as a young girl you kept a journal and you wrote poetry. In fact you are quite an accomplished poet and have included poems at the beginning of your books and on your website. Writing novels seems to be an accidental career path for you. Your first book, Flahertys Crossing, took 16 years from concept to print. Tell us about that journey.
Kaylin: As a teenager, my love of poetry convinced me that I had a book of poems in my future. But after reading a short story I wrote in my English Literature class, my professor encouraged me to delve deeper into my feelings. When my father died from cancer, I tried my hand at writing a story dedicated to him. But I could never find the proper ending for it. I guess it many ways I would have to let go of his memory and move on in my life. At least, that’s what I told myself.
After winning numerous contests for Flaherty’s Crossing, I discovered I had a real talent for storytelling. But I loved poetry too. That’s why I always begin a story with a poem, foreshadowing the tale I’m about to introduce.
Gabby: What is your greatest source of inspiration as a writer?
Kaylin: Years ago, as an avid reader, I thoroughly enjoyed picking up a racy novel from time to time, especially when the story dealt with forbidden love. I found myself, as readers often do, beseeching the bad guy to see the light and end his evil ways, or the handsome, musclebound rogue to curtail his philandering, after meeting the love of his life. Every action-packed romance story is an escape from reality—a way to live precariously through characters in my imaginary world where the victorious hero walks away with the prize of his or her victory.
Gabby: Give us a synopsis of the Gehenna Series, which includes Soul Seeker, Annihilation and most recently Requiem for a Queen.
Kaylin: Soul Seeker introduces Crighton’s character, a nephilium creature - half demon and half angel, only his mother hasn’t revealed this revelation to him. He struggles with his identity, while aiding in an angel's escape and ultimately becomes her soulmate.
Annihilation introduces readers to Lucinda (Lucifer’s daughter), after she destroys her father and takes over as the ruler of Hell. Then Lucifer returns and challenges her authority. His obsession with Samara Daemonium (Crighton’s daughter) leads to her kidnapping and rape. While Lucifer continues to pledge his allegiance to her, Lucinda schemes how to defeat her father again.
Requiem For A Queen pits powerful women against each other — Lucinda craving eternal power and all that comes with it, and Samara struggling with motherhood and raising Lucifer’s son away from all the madness.
Gabby: You had to invent an entire new world. What type of research did you have to do?
Kaylin: Virtually none. I let my imagination take over, after watching some late night horror flicks. Fear is the little death that brings us to our knees, and dealing with Lucifer's endless supply of evil allowed Samara’s character to grow by leaps and bounds, and permitted it to pass over her.
Gabby: The Gehenna Series are supernatural thrillers. Why did you delve into this genre? What do you like about penning a thriller?
Kaylin: I've always loved reading thrillers, especially when you can’t predict the ending or the identity of the real villain in the story. I thrive to write the same kind of story, always keeping my readers guessing and ultimately leaving them surprised by the outcome. The supernatural theme is more difficult to write and I’ve always loved a great challenge.
Gabby: Why do you believe the Gehenna Series is timely?
Kaylin: Women have long exercised influence behind the scenes. A few thousand years ago, this drove Aristotle to distraction: "What difference does it make whether women rule or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same." Especially on the domestic front, women are acknowledged to be experts at a tensile brand of quiet authority. The old adage has it that an American woman rises to a crisis, but that a Frenchwoman sees to it that a crisis never arises. And no one with a mother can deny that she wields—without lifting a finger and by virtue of her sheer existence—an outsize, open-ended, irrevocable influence on a life.
Gabby: Your strongest protagonists are women……Lucinda and Samara. What is unique about them?
Kaylin: They crave power in all its forms. Lucinda wants to regain the throne and rule in Hell, and Samara wants to stand on her own, away from her parents’, Lucifer’s, and Damian’s control. As Papillon's mother, she has her chance to grow and mature into the strong woman she longs to be.
Gabby: What is the most important element when you are writing a series?
Kaylin: Stay consistent with your characters and the drama in their lives.
Gabby: What was your favorite book to write and why?
Kaylin: Soul Seeker — because I wrote from the victim's and then the villain’s view points. At the end of the story, you sympathize with both of them.
Gabby: What is your favorite genre to read?
Kaylin: Murder mysteries, surprising enough, especially when I’m unsure who the villain is, and their motives for committing the crime aren’t clear.
Gabby: Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
Kaylin: Let your passion guide you in all things — especially when writing, researching your subject matter, meeting new people, and in life in general. You never know what tomorrow holds for you, so live it to the max, scooping up experiences that some day you may use in a book…or two.
Gabby: Tell us something about Kaylin McFarren that would surprise us?
Kaylin: I suffered two strokes, back to back, five months ago and then three months later. Although I’m normal for the most part, I now take medication and my speaking ability has been greatly impacted. I currently go to speech therapy and am determined to bounce back. Weirdly, this didn’t affect my writing ability other than taking my readers to darker places.
Gabby: Our listeners are eager to know what you are working on now? Another book in the Gehenna series?
Kaylin: I’m currently working on Black Wing Sky, Book 4 in the Gehenna series. This will feature an exciting finale and hopefully set Samara Daemonium on the right path to trust and forgiveness. However, there are two men in her life and she must determine which one she truly loves with all her heart.
Gabby: How can listeners find out more about you and purchase your incredible books?
Kaylin: Visit amazon.com and look for Kaylin McFarren books, or stop by my website at https://kaylinmcfarren.com/.
And be sure to check out my weekly postings at https://kaylinmcfarren.blog/.
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