I’m going to start by telling you how amazing this week’s author has been. KM Tremills, or Kate, is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a speaker as a member of the Fiction Vixens. She’s been a joy to work with, and has even let me give you the first glimpse at her new covers! She’s also generously offered to send one of you a signed paperback of her YA Fantasy novel, Messenger. I hope that you will take the time to read her thoughtful answers, and discover her work below. And, of course, enter the giveaway. As always, all the links are below!
Hi Kate! Let’s start with a little about you. When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing as a teenager. My first form was short stories. I discovered how much I loved exploring a person’s story and struggles. I was a storyteller from an even younger age. And found every time I saw someone, I immediately began weaving her tale. Asking questions, and seeking the answers.
You began your career in the film industry. What advantages or disadvantages did you run into switching from screenwriting to novels?
The main advantage in coming from film is how deeply structure is revered. I learned story structure inside, out, and backwards. I also developed a strong sense of visual storytelling. I am especially appreciative of my TV background. Television taught me to develop a rich world with a compelling protagonist and a throughline that compels the audience over several episodes. The disadvantage was that, after I left, I had to cast off the belief that a writer is not empowered to make her own choices, to produce her work, or call the shots regarding her deals. I shed a lot of assumptions about a writer’s power and integrity that are integral to how that industry runs.
Tell me about your writing process. Are you a pantser or plotter?
I find this split so fascinating! In film, I was a structured plotter. Outlines upon outlines. So much planning! And now, in the prose world, I am a pantser. The switch was both compelling and terrifying! I learned so much about trusting the characters and the story. Now, after writing novels for five years, I find I am choosing to reintegrate some of my plotter roots. I use the plotter tools in the edit, to ensure that a series is consistent through the books. I love that there are two ways to tell a story. I don’t see either approach as wrong. Both are powerful ways to create.
Describe your typical writing day.
I write fiction and non-fiction and am currently exploring podcasting. As a result, my routine is in transition. Typically, I get up, make coffee, and meditate. Mornings are my best time for fresh writing and brainstorming. I use those hours for first drafts – whether a novel, short story, or blog. Then I take a break and get outside, in my garden or a long walk or bike ride. My afternoon is for editing, meetings, and social media. Evenings are spent preparing for the next day, watching shows or reading. Though I recently discovered they are a great time to record audio! I am narrating the audiobook for Messenger, and it turns out that evenings are the perfect time for recording sessions.
You created the free ebook Nurture Your Creativity, described as a manifesto of creative action. What are your thoughts on writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it, and if so, how do you break through?
I’ve been writing for many years now in different media. When writer’s block appears, it typically means I need a break. I have a habit of pushing too hard – my body, my mind, and my stories. I make it a practise now to be kind when I notice that my writing is refusing to flow. I take a step back and ask what my creativity is trying to say. I ask questions like: Am I forcing the story? Do I need fresh air or exercise? Have I been all work and no play? Or does the tale need time before it’s ready to be put on paper? If I wrestle with frustration or get myself wound up with worry, I call my allies and ask them for insight. Most often, I need a pause. A chance to breathe. And those are the moments when magic appears – because I made space.
Tell me about your journey to publication.
I wrote for years in film and experienced pitching, meetings, agents, and contracts. When I transitioned to novels, I sat down with friends who were published by traditional publishing houses. Their experience sounded identical to the film industry. An experience that, as a creator, I did not wish to repeat. So I made the choice to pursue independent publishing. I told my lovely screenwriting group that I was moving to novels. As it turns out, my friend Kathryn Cottam, also wanted to write and publish novels! We became soul sisters in that moment. We leapt off the cliff of the unknown. We encouraged each other to complete our first novels in 2012 and published soon after. We rode the dragon of Independent Publishing together, learning along the way, and having a great time. The process was often daunting, yet always exciting. The road also transformed us as creators. Now, we are powerful advocates for creators who want to own and promote their products.
Messenger, the first in a YA high fantasy series called The Great Lands, has received rave reviews. When can we expect the sequel and what can you tell me about it?
The sequel is currently in the final edit. I am really excited to see the series come together. I wish I could say definitively if it will be three or four books. Even I will have to wait to find out! The second book, Warrior, joins Gabriella three years after we left her in Messenger. She has matured as a woman and a leader. She realizes the only way to bring change to the Great Lands is to empower her people. A tough thing to do when she’s separated from her allies and has a price on her head. Warrior is her journey battling the worst that the Great Prince, and her doubts, can throw at her. The sequel will be released in August.
You’re also working on a NA fantasy series, Fated, that begins with the book Blue Moon. Where did you draw your inspiration for this series?
The Fated series was inspired by three elements: a fascination with fate and destiny, an obsession with gods and goddesses, and a headstrong heroine – Helen – who pushed her way into my life. The story takes place in New York, one of my favourite places on the planet. Every time I go to Manhattan, I am lit up with inspiration. I recently lived there for a month and a tale that had been in hibernation for five years launched itself onto the page! New York is a magical place. I could easily imagine the three sisters of Fate pulling the strings of the universe from the highest floors of an Upper East Side fortress.
What is your most challenging aspect of writing?
Definitely the second draft. I love diving into a new story. As a pantser, I adore discovering new worlds and characters. The detail work is a slow process for me. I find it easy to lose momentum when I am doing specific edits. I have to be strategic when I approach the later drafts. Setting aside a particular amount of time. Building in goals. Creating commitments to deliver the draft. Getting the book across the finish line takes real stamina. I have no trouble starting anymore! Finishing is where I put on my professional pants and get it done.
What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
I feel blessed every day to get to tell stories and see a reader’s response. If I chose one moment, I have to say it’s the day I saw my book on Amazon. That is the most powerful feeling in the world! Every step, every challenge, every doubt, every breakthrough – culminated in my book being published. The second (and oh so close!) best moment was the first time a fan expressed being swept away by my book. That makes it all worthwhile.
You have several published works under your belt now. How has your writing evolved as you’ve gained more experience? Any advice for people (like me) just starting out?
The more tales I write, the more confident my voice grows. I am more honest about my superpowers and my kryptonite. In other words, the phases of a project that are fluid for me and the ones that require focus, determination, and grit. Or, even better, hiring someone else! When I started, I felt obliged to do everything. I am grateful for all I have learned. I know the process from the nascent arrival of an idea to the promotion and marketing. Now, I look to hire trusted collaborators to take on the stages that I slow down. I love creating and want to make the cycle as fluid as possible.
My advice for new writers is to trust your process. You have a strong and true voice. Always trust your instinct above anyone else’s when it comes to your story. And, as early as possible, create a team that encourages you and will be lovingly honest with you. Not brutal honesty. There’s enough of that in the world. And we creators do that enough to ourselves. I am talking about kind, thoughtful insight that nurtures your process and supports the best possible telling of your tales.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to travel, meet new people, connect with friends, ride my bike, and hang out in my garden. Being in the film industry, I found work all-consuming. Since writing novels and non-fiction, I made a commitment to a full life. Travel, play time, and connection are important to my well-being. These days, I also make time to explore new forms of creativity. My latest delight is recording audiobooks. I am having so much fun learning and practising. Exploring new worlds – whether a city or fresh creative territory – is a big part of what keeps me motivated and enthusiastic!
Where can we find you on social media?
You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and my website. My handles are:
Without further ado, here are the beautiful new covers!
Darkness falls on the Great Lands. Gabriella knows the days of unity are over and urges her father to heed the warnings. But King Algor refuses to listen, believing he can unite the kingdoms. Once the Great Prince descends on their castle, he scatters all resistance, imprisons her sister, and forces Gabriella on the run.
For years, Gabriella dreams of retribution. When a messenger tracks her in the forest, she fears all is lost. But this messenger arrives with a mission for Gabriella to challenge the Prince. With only powerful instincts and the gift of prescience, Gabriella sets out on the perilous journey to end his reign of terror.
Warrior (Great Lands #2) – COMING SOON
Gabriella is on the run. Mercenaries hunt her in the far reaches of the Great Lands. As she evades capture, she risks everything to build a tribe to topple the tyrannical Prince. But will her mission force Gabriella to choose between destiny and love?
I have read Messenger, and it is a beautiful YA fantasy novel with lyrical writing, a strong main character, and an intriguing villain. Don’t miss your chance to win a SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY from KM Tremills, and a $10 AMAZON GIFT CARD from yours truly.
K.M. Tremills is the author of the Great Lands and the Fated series. Her creative career began in film as a screenwriter and magazine contributor. She wrote comedy and thriller scripts that featured strong female protagonists and frequently included magical elements. She was represented by the Caren Bohrman Agency.
Kate collaborated with The Canadian Film Centre, National Screen Institute, and Telefilm Canada. She was a frequent story editor and reviewer for Movie Central. Her film Iran: A Nation of Bloggers was featured on Boing Boing and screened at the Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals.
Kate contributed to Elle Canada, Moving Pictures, and ScreenTalk while covering major film festivals. Her article, “Where Have All the Women Gone,” was featured in academic texts. Kate also lectured at Vancouver Film School, sat on the Executive of Women in Film, and is a member of Writers Guild of Canada.
After shifting to novels, Kate wrote Messenger from the Great Lands series, and Blue Moon from the Fated Series. Her collaborative work includes myth and fairy tale retellings in Three Short Tales of Red and Fabled: 17 Tales You Think You Know with Roberta Cottam and Kathryn Cottam.
As one of the Fiction Vixens, Kate speaks at various conferences around the world. She recently spoke at the Sirens conference and was featured at LitFest New West. The Vixens also host story evenings for adults in the Vancouver region.
Thank you so much for reading! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway if you didn’t already. If you’re interested in being a featured author, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time! <3 Cassidy