We’re back today with another interview, this time with K.B. Wagers, whose new series, Neo-G, kicks off in just over 2 weeks! If you like space, and gay characters, and gay characters in space (I mean, don’t we all?), then their books are for you.
And, of course, don’t forget to follow them on twitter.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!
*waves* Of course, thanks for having me!
So first things first: how did you get into writing?
I’ve been writing basically since I learned how. 😅 Spent most of my childhood and teens telling stories. When I was a junior in high school I started writing my first novel with an eye for getting published. (It was an awful convoluted alien invasion that became my first trunk novel. *laughs*)
That’s so nice, knowing that you’ve always dreamed of this and now here you are, publishing books!
It’s still a little surreal at times, but absolutely the best.
Have the aliens stuck with you? What are your favourite genres to read and write?
Yes the aliens stuck (at least partially, there are aliens in the Hail Bristol novels but not in NeoG). Right now I’m writing in science fiction exclusively but I may branch out into fantasy at some point. For reading I’m pretty all over the place: non-fiction, science fiction, romance, urban fantasy, fantasy…. *laughs* you get the idea.
Honestly, I feel like almost everyone we’ve talked to so far said that they’re intimidated by sci-fi and couldn’t write it… It’s so refreshing to actually sit down with a sci-fi writer! So then are there any genres or tropes you wouldn’t write?
I hear that a lot too and it’s rather fascinating. I’m not particularly “good” at science but I’ve always loved it…and space stuff which if science is the heart of science fiction I’d say space is the soul.
Oh I love that!
I’m not big on horror at all. Though I have some good friends who write it wonderfully.
I’m a little baby who needs her hand held when watching horror movies, I get that.
The tropes question is tricky, I’m sure there are some – fridging comes to mind, oy yeah, let’s stop going that route. (though I’m guilty of it myself in Behind the Throne)
Fair enough. How do you get inspiration for your books?
I always feel like it’s easier to explain how a cat purrs when I get this question! *laughs* It just shows up? I’m sure a lot of it is influenced by media I consume and current events and my friends saying. What it boils down to is my brain goes “Heeeeey, that sounds like a cool idea, what if….?”
That makes sense! Would you say music plays any role in that, though? Do you have a writing playlist? And if you do, does it focus more on the lyrics or melodies, vibe of the songs?
Oh very much so. *nods* I do playlists for whatever the WIP is that tends to shift and change as the story moves along, though there are always some anchor points. And occasionally I see scenes happening when I hear a piece of music. The final cage fight in the upcoming NeoG book A Pale Light in the Black, is because I was driving to work one morning and Daughtry’s “Undefeated” came on. I probably looked like a nerd punching the air in my car at 6:30 in the morning but it was worth it.
Waking up early finally paying off… What’s your writing process? At what point do you let other people read your drafts and who are they?
I’m admittedly one of those dreaded morning people (though I’m not the least bit cheery). I’m usually up by 4:30 most days. My process has been a bit stapled together lately. In the last three years I’ve written five other books so there hasn’t been a lot of time for anyone besides my editor to read them. But my long time critique partner and good friend Lisa DiDio is a rockstar and has somehow managed to keep up and read (usually as I’m finishing the rough draft). And I was able to get a few folks to beta read these last two projects when I was stuck which was enormously helpful.
4:30 is like the middle of the night.
🤣 I know. My partner’s a night owl and they’re often coming to bed as I’m getting up.
Do you feel like having more people giving you feedback helps you write better?
I think it’s often easy to get lost in the weeds when you’re writing. You’re juggling the story and character arcs and millions of details. Having someone else come in and say “maybe consider X might work better here?” is so enormously helpful. What I always tell people is the important thing to remember is you know the story you’re trying to tell, but others can show you the story they’re reading. I often think I’ve spelled something out really clearly because it’s been in my head for ages, but when the reader gets to it the reality is that what was in my head never made it on the page.
Really, if you think about it, writing might be a communal activity.
*nods* I’m finding it more the case. At the very least you need community around you. This isn’t an easy business and you can feel really isolated and alone. Having people who are going through similar things is so helpful.
And now for something fun: summarise your most recent/next book in up to 5 words and a meme.
slkdfsldkfjsdlkfjf That’s beautiful. Which three authors would you say influenced your writing the most?
Kameron Hurley, Douglas Adams, and really all the folks who were in the writer’s room for Sesame Street from 1980-1990 or so because it’s in my head today and I don’t think I can ever really articulate how formative that show was for me not only as a person but as an artist.
There was something magical about Sesame Street, I will give you that. If (when!) your books were to be made into movies, who would you like to direct them?
I honestly don’t pay a lot of attention to directors so my answer would probably be George Miller because of his phenomenal work on Fury Road. *laughs* But only if Margaret Sixel could do the edits also.
God that movie was one of the best things this decade gave us. And for something that is also very important to us & what we put a lot of emphasis on when blogging. What does ownvoices LGBT representation mean to you?
Nobody can tell your story like you can. And it’s a story that someone, somewhere desperately needs to hear. I spent the first 40 years of my life thinking I was comfortable in the role I’d been assigned and it wasn’t until the last few years that I realized just how wrong that was. But I wouldn’t have been able to find my way out of that if it hadn’t been for the friends and authors around me who’d stepped up and told their stories. So I find it deeply important on a personal level and because the world needs to keep finding its way to that point where there’s no default setting. That’s a hard thing to believe in at the best of times and even more so right now with everything going on but we need that and if I can tell a story that helps someone else? I will.
People who always see themselves in books and on the screen don’t seem to even realise how much that representation actually means! They take it for granted while so many of us don’t realise an identity is an option because we have literally never seen it anywhere before. It makes me extremely happy that there are writers like you out there, who understand the importance of the ownvoices rep.
So with that in mind, rec us some great LGBT books you’ve read recently! One can never have enough recommendations!
Ooo. *rubs hands* Fortuna by Kristyn Merbeth is a space opera about family with a gloriously disaster bi MC by the name of Scorpia who’s trying to stop an interplanetary war that maaaaybe she’s responsible for starting?
That sounds absolutely fabulous.
Reverb by Anna Zabo is book 3 in the Twisted Wishes Series (but honestly all are amazing). Bass player in a rock band, stalker, amazing trans man hero. I died it was so hot and lovely and made my heart do that little weeping thing when the HEA happens. And finally, with apologies because it’s not out until August 2020, Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne with an amazing f/f relationship that deals with war and capitalism and somehow leaves you with hope even after it shreds you to pieces. I got an early copy to blurb and I’m still sort of wrecked by it a week later. *laughs*
Oh, never apologise for reccing f/f books! We can wait. What’s one piece of advice you would like to give your younger self?
LMAO. I just took that entirely too seriously because the advice would probably have changed the course of my whole life and I was sitting here thinking…do I really want to erase all this? No, I do not. Welcome to my brain. So we’ll do the slightly easier one. Dear younger me – the weight thing is never as important as you think, be nicer to yourself about it.
It’s fascinating, though, isn’t it, how one little choice can literally change your whole life.
*laughs* Right? Actually paying attention to how I felt kissing a girl at summer camp instead of burying it and being the person everyone expected would have changed things I suspect.
Oh yeah, that would definitely be a different life. And our last question! If you could have dinner with one member of the LGBT community, dead or alive, who would it be?
Asia Kate Dillon. I’d love to sit down with them and talk about everything under the sun.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
K.B. Wagers is the author of the Indranan War trilogy with Orbit Books (the first of which, Behind the Throne, has been optioned for film and television by legendary UK film producer David Barron) and the Farian War trilogy beginning with There Before the Chaos, which features the life and trials of former gunrunner/now empress, Hail Bristol. Their all new series The NeoG Adventures with Harper Voyager hits shelves in March 2020 They are represented by Andrew Zack of The Zack Company.
Having grown up on a farm in northeastern Colorado, K.B. graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies. They now live in the shadow of Pikes Peak with their husband, along with a crew of poorly behaved cats. They are especially proud of their second-degree black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu and three Tough Mudder completions, even if they can’t run like that anymore. There’s never really a moment when they’re not writing, bullet journalling, or hand-lettering, but they do enjoy photography and a good whiskey.