Morning all! Today on Meet the Author we’re talking to M. K. Wiseman about travelling into the future, finding a bee in her pocket and her Bookminder series…..
M. K. Wiseman
Young adult historical fantasy and steampunk
Tell us a bit about yourself:
M. K. Wiseman is a Wisconsin-based author of award-winning historical fantasy. With degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in animation/video and library science, stories are her life, though she arrived at novel writing from a roundabout way. When she is not working on her next book, she performs with a Croatian folk ensemble, unicycles around town, and, of course, reads voraciously.
What inspired you to start writing?
I fell into writing quite by accident. While recovering from a rather major surgery, I was treated to a strange but very vivid dream. One that simply refused to let me be. The more I thought about it, the more entrenched I became with the characters and story. Who were they? What were they about? Could I see them again? From there, I sort of just started writing – after all, I had a lot of time on my hands that summer, bound to a slow and easeful recovery as I was facing. How else was I to fill my time?
The scene of that one dream became the crux of the entire Bookminder series.
How many books have you written and published?
The first 2 books of The Bookminder series have been released so far, with the third written and waiting for the publishing process to kick into gear. And I’ve another series cooking on a back burner.
Which book, out of all the books you have written, is your favourite and why?
Honestly, I think the third Bookminder book is my fav right now even though it has yet to face the polishing whetstone that is the editing process. I love the characters; I love seeing the payout of playing the long game with this story; I am enjoying the nostalgia of working within a world that I’ve come to grow fond of and know very well. I dunno, I just . . . I want to hug my wizards and will be loathe to set them aside once their story is finished.
How do you choose the names of your characters?
Depends really. One character for a back burner project came off the side of a truck on the freeway one afternoon. Some of the names simply are picked because they were common within the time and place in which that particular story takes place + with an eye to “have I any other characters with a name that starts with this letter?” For Bookminder, there are special cases/stories attached to the names Anisthe, Liara, and Nagarath. Liara, I’ll freely admit, is simply ‘liar’ with an ‘a’ popped onto the end, though that is not how her name is actually pronounced. Without hopefully spoiling the plot too badly for folks, I believe I can safely admit that the names for my wizards Nagarath and Anisthe were swapped early in the plotting of the books. For the latter, I simply had a bit of fun with my dislike for all things liquorice.
Which of your characters would you want to be stranded on an island with, and why?
Liara from The Bookminder. She’s resourceful, intelligent, and indomitable. I don’t think we would be stranded for very long. (Apologies to Nagarath who, I fear, would enjoy the adventure too much to hurry along any attempts at self-rescue.)
Who is your favourite author and which of their books is your favourite, and why?
Ah, you ask the impossible!! Favourite depends on the day, the season, my mood, my “reading needs” at the time . . . but for Writing Itself it’d have to be Ursula Le Guin. And within her works: A Wizard of Earthsea.This for depth of thought, of story and character. It’s iconic without being grand and I utterly love the story for both comfort- and ‘thought provoking’ read-throughs.
What is the first thing you can remember writing?
I have vague recollections of those little tales one puts together in grade school for district-wide contests. Back in the ‘80s-’90s the extra fun of the exercise was in doing the artwork and construction of these little books. All by hand with glue sticks and scissors and magazines and whatnot. Using the classroom laminator for the covers . . .
But my first real “I’m writing something” thing is a strange little novel (that sits at the bottom of a drawer to this day) which I puttered around with shortly after I had the core idea for Bookminder but before I began to actually write that one. This never-will-see-the-light-of-day piece was slap-dashed together rather quickly until I came to a screeching halt over needing to do some some serious research on the legal system for a Dramatic Courtroom Scene. I blush to think on E.G.A.with its horridly simplistic ideals and style but look back fondly on its characters and even the basic plot of it. Sorry. Nobody will be reading this one.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
I worked as a librarian for several years before turning to writing full time. I’m also a certified Starbucks barista and have some fading scars on my arms from my brief stint as a day baker at a local grocery.
If you could get in a time machine and had one chance to travel, where would you go? (Backwards or forwards!)
I admit to being curious to see the end of it all. Find out if humanity survives, thrives, goes out amongst the stars . . . you know, find out if we’re Alright in The End.
If you could have one conversation with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Jeremy Brett. Partially because I’m such a huge fan and partially because he could, hopefully, be persuaded to talk about Sherlock Holmes and partially because he died right at the point when I was really building my own Holmes knowledge and it crushed me terribly to hear of his passing.
What are your favourite things to do?
I like to just sit at home and jam. I have played a brač (Croatian lute-like instrument) since I was nine and have recently begun to learn prim (smaller relative of the brač). I am also currently attempting to learn accordion (though I’m proving atrocious at it). I’m an on-again off-again runner, I love to fish, and, of course, read whenever I can.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?
A few years back, I was out shopping with my mom and, on habit, put my hands into my jean pockets. It was midmorning, we’d been on several stops thus far and so you can imagine my immense surprise when a small pill-like item in my pocket corner seemed to move on its own volition as my pinky finger brushed up against it. With a start, I inverted the pocket and, lo, a bee flew out! Yes. I had a bee in my pocket. No, I’ve no idea how it would have gotten there and ridden all over town with me for so long without my knowing. So, yeah, that was a weird one. I kinda still harbour a hope of putting that incident into a story at some point.
If you could give your younger writing self any advice what would it be?
You’ll be surprised, M. K.! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fun it is, how much it will consume you, how you’ll have more than just the one idea . . . and because of that? Please try to take breaks! Vacations are necessary. Writing is emotionally difficult in addition to being physically and intellectually exhausting– self care is important.
Name one book you think everyone should read?!
Carol Kendall’s Gammage Cup. It’s a pretty obscure little fantasy novel that I just utterly adore. And for all that it is an unassuming little thing, it has such depth and vibrancy that I cannot begin to count how many times I have read or recommended it.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Book 2 of the Bookminder series came out last year. The Kithseeker essentially continues the tale of my 17thcentury wizards begun in book 1, taking our heroes from quiet and isolated Istria to the gilt palaces of Louis XIV . . . all in a bid to stop an evil from being released upon an unsuspecting world. So far Kithseekerhas found success on par with the first volume of the series, being named finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards for the Midwest (U.S.) Region and semi-finalist in the Chanticleer International Book Awards for fantasy for 2018. The audio book is due out sometime before the end of the year while the e- and print books can be found through most major retailers.
Thanks so much M. K for a brilliant interview. A bee in your pocket is indeed a strange thing!! I love the fact you’ve chosen to go forwards – most people have wanted to avoid it but it would definitely be interesting to see if humanity does make it!
If you have any questions for M. K then get in touch!
Enjoy your day my lovelies.