Monday, October 22, 2012

Someone Else Who Isn't Me!: Interview With Kay Kauffman

Hello Splinkervillians!

Today I will be sharing a recipe for Beer Ribeye and interviewing Kay Kauffman.

                                           'What what WHAT???"

 It's simple.  Get two ribeye steaks, about a pound each.  Rub in two tablespoons of salt and two tablespoons of lemon pepper.  Put the steaks in a deep pan and pour in two cans of beer.   Let sit for two hours.  Then grill 'em up!  Moooolicious!

So,   on to the interview.  
 Tuesday Daydreams

First off, have you read  "I've Been Deader," and how much did you love it?
I’ve read what’s posted on authonomy.  I’m not usually one for zombie stories, as my husband will attest, but I loved this one.  I enjoyed it so much that I even bought a copy of it and have it waiting on my phone to be read again.  Brilliantly funny!

Buying it is even better than reading it!  Tell us about your current release.

I currently have a collection of poetry available called Tuesday Daydreams: A Journal in Verse.  I write a lot of poetry and I’ve been at it for years.  This is a small sample of it.

I rhyme all the time.  So give us a look about your next book.

My next release will hopefully be my first novel, The Lokana Chronicles.  It’s a fantasy novel that deals with the struggle to maintain tradition in a changing world and is currently out on submission.  While I’m waiting for that wonderful agent and/or publisher I know is out there somewhere to insist I sign with them, I’m working on the sequel.

Other than me who is your favorite author?  Even if they are a distant second to me, my readers want to know.
My kids keep asking me this question.  I’ve yet to come up with a satisfactory answer.  Can’t I just say all of them?  No?  Okay, fine.  I love Jane Austen’s novels.  Ann Rinaldi is another favorite – I’ve read her book Time Enough for Drums so many times it’s a miracle I don’t have it memorized.  When I was younger, I worshipped at the altar of R.L. Stine – I started with his Goosebumps series and worked my way up to Fear Street.  The Fear Street Saga remains one of my favorite reads.  And who doesn’t love Alvin Schwartz and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark?

For me, the hardest part of being a writer is writing.  What do you find is the hardest part of writing your books?

The hardest part, I think, is knowing when to stop with a scene.  In The Lokana Chronicles, my initial drafts skipped from scene to scene to scene like a pebble skipping across a pond.  I have a tendency to skip to the next scene when the writing gets tough, which is something I’m trying not to do with the sequel.  Fortunately, I didn’t have that trouble at all with my poetry.

With poetry, the hardest part for me is figuring out how to say what I want to say within the constraints of the form I’m working in.  I write a lot of haiku and sometimes it’s practically impossible to say what I want to say in five or seven syllables per line.  I’ve also written acrostic poems and run into the same problem.  With acrostics, the first letter of each line spells something out when read from top to bottom.  I’ll start with a particular message in mind and then try to fit the rest of what I want to say into that form and it can be maddening.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
I’m part of an online writing group on authonomy called the Alliance of Worldbuilders.  They’ve been absolutely wonderful for critiquing everything from pitches to chapters to whole projects.  If I need something critiqued or beta read, they’re the first ones I turn to.

Tell us about your family.
I have a wonderful husband and four wonderful kids who seem determined to drive me crazy…er.  We’ll soon be entering those crazy, mixed-up teenage years with the oldest two, who are both nine (no, they’re not twins), but at least we have a little while before the younger two, who are one and two, will hit them.  We’ve got three boys and a girl, and I’ll have two teenage boys in my house at one time.  I fear for my grocery budget.

What books have most influenced your life?
Probably two of the most influential books I’ve ever read are ones that I read in elementary school.  The first, The Princess in the Pig Pen by Jane Resh Thomas, is one I read in second grade.  My teacher thought I would like it and I thought I wouldn’t.  She was so convinced that I would like it, though, that she checked it out for me and left it on my desk.  I grudgingly read it…and she was right.  I couldn’t get enough and I’ve been fascinated with Elizabethan England ever since (the book is set partly there and partly in Iowa, my home state – another reason to love it).  If I hadn’t taken my teacher’s advice and tried something new, I’d have never fallen in love with this wonderful book.

The other book that influenced me was The Blood-and-Thunder Adventure on Hurricane Peak by Margaret Mahy.  I don’t actually remember a whole lot about this book except that it was funny and I read it a number of times.  There is one thing that always stuck with me, though, and that was the motto from the school in the story: Expect the unexpected.  The kids in the story were taught to always expect the unexpected.  I think that’s a good bit of life advice right there.

I am addicted to Bones and Rookie Blue.  I also really enjoyed Alcatraz, despite the fact that the main character was a terrible cop, so I was annoyed when it was cancelled.  Person of Interest is also great – evidently they have all the good writers because the season premiere was excellent.

                                                             "It's an honor just to be nominated!"

What is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?
I like playing the flute, though I haven’t practiced in ages, and I enjoy photography.  I am descended from a family of shutterbugs.  Growing up, I thought the camera a natural part of my grandfather’s physiology.  Only later did I learn that, like his glasses, it was removable.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  More important than me?
Some of them are.  Some names describe a character’s situation or personality.  DoLani, for instance, was inspired by the Spanish word for pain and her name is important because she suffers much pain.  Ravenna comes from the word ravenous, meaning intensely eager for gratification or satisfaction, and which is a synonym for greedy.

What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
Sane writer?  Does such a thing exist?  As we say in the Alliance, we’re all mad here.

I think having a schedule and a helpful and supportive family are the most important attributes for remaining sane.  No one else can help you defend that sacred writing time quite the way a supportive spouse can.

 What would we find under your bed?
A rapidly-expanding colony of dust bunnies bent on a hostile take-over of my home.

Don't ask Kay about her closet.  It's pretty dusty in here as well.

If I came to visit early in the morning would you impress me as being more like a chirpy bird or a grumpy bear?
Neither.  You would find a hissing, spitting hell beast.  Quite possibly, I’d be foaming at the mouth.  A morning person I am not.

On the other hand, if you came bearing a truckload of caffeine, I would quite possibly be slightly more like a grumpy bear.  It’s as Garfield once said: If we were meant to pop out of bed in the mornings, we’d all sleep in toasters.

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.
Frustrating.  Exhilarating.  Maddening.

What one word best describes you?  And remember, this is a family oriented blog.

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?
I am currently working on a sequel to The Lokana Chronicles.  I’ve got a couple of other projects in the works that have a bit more of a romantic element to them than what I’ve written so far, but they need a lot of work.  I don’t know how long it will be before I get back to them, as I’ve been working on them off and on for the last decade or so, but I would like to get them finished and polished up someday.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have fallen out of a tent.  Believe it or not, it is possible.

Without mentioning me, do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? 
Good judgment comes from experience and experience, well, that comes from bad judgment.

Is there one passage in your book that you feel gets to the heart of your book and would encourage people to read it?  If so, can you share it?
In Chapter 5, Vegin argues with his parents over a traditional arranged marriage.  They’ve arranged for him to marry the daughter of a wealthy courtier, and neither the prince nor the girl wants any part of it:

“Your Highnesses, I apologize most sincerely for my daughter’s impudent behavior,” Arkin said, attempting damage control as he tried to hold himself together.  “I hope it won’t interfere with our agreement.”  He shot Ravenna an icy glare.  “If you’ll excuse us, I need to have a word with my daughter.”  Though he led Ravenna out of the room, much of their conversation was heard inside the library.
Danalla, having been left behind by her husband, looked as uncomfortable as everyone else felt.  “Do excuse me,” she nearly whispered as she fled the room.
Once she had gone, Vegin seized the opportunity to discuss his feelings.  “Clearly she doesn’t want to marry me,” he began.
“She’s young and foolish.  She doesn’t know what she wants,” Tol said, irritated.  This wasn’t going at all the way he had planned.
“Don’t be so sure of that,” Enya said, a far-off look in her eye as she recalled her own youth.  “When we married, I wanted nothing to do with you, remember?  I had the same conversation with my parents that Ravenna is having with hers.  I was wrong, of course, and so is she.  After all, parents do want what is best for their children and I know she will love you in the end, dear.  How could she not?”
“You really think it’s best for me to marry a complete stranger who has sworn to love another?  What possible good could come of that?”
“But she will love you one day, darling, I know it.  After all, I learned to love your father.”
Tol and Vegin both gaped in surprise at the queen, who was not normally so outspoken.  Tol was the first to speak as annoyance quickly replaced his shock.  “We haven’t the time for this right now, woman!  Vegin, the future of the monarchy is at stake here and I’ll not have you toying with me.”
“I am not toying with you, Father.  I will not marry Ravenna.  She is in love with someone else and so am I.”

Do you have a Website or Blog?  I will be shocked if the answer to this question is 'yes.'

I do, as a matter of fact.  It’s called Suddenly they all died. The end.  You can find it at

My grandfather once told me that, in a pinch, you can get a buzz from drinking vanilla extract.  Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?

When I was in high school, I asked one of my teachers to read a story I’d written and give me her opinion.  She asked me why one of the characters had done something and when I couldn’t give her a satisfactory answer, she told me I needed to get into my characters’ heads.  I took her advice and I haven’t been seen since.

                                                        "It beats Sterno!"

That's it!  Thank you Kay and good luck on your poetry, novels and house cleaning.  Here be the links:


  1. We’ve got three boys and a girl, and I’ll have two teenage boys in my house at one time. I fear for my grocery budget.
    LOL! And this is why I love your writing, Kay.

    Are the names of the characters in your novels important? More important than me?
    And this is why I should probably read this blog on a regular basis. :)

    1. LOL! And this is why I love your writing, Kay.
      Aw, thank you. I'm all flattered. :)

  2. Welcome tarazza! All kinds of hidden treasures here. Maybe I can get Kay to write a poem about it.


You have an opinion about everything else. Might as well have one here. Remember, spelling counts.