Author Spotlight #16: Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell

I graduated from the University of North Carolina Asheville with a BA in Drama, with concentration in Acting and Directing.

I’ve had many careers including being a Licensed Massage Therapist and Alternative Therapy practitioner. I’m a proud wife to an amazing husband and mother to a strong, independent toddler.

I completed my debut novel, a bucket list item, during the Lockdown of 2020 and look forward to publishing many more books in the future.

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Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview, Kim! To kick things off, tell me a little bit more about yourself.

I’m a born and raised Jersey Girl, in the USA. Besides reading and writing, I love a good comedy night, the theatre and deep conversations. I used to love cooking and baking, but Mom life has made those feel more like a chore. I’m a licensed Massage Therapist (who stopped practicing), a Reiki Practitioner and a budding Shaman. I have a BA in Drama with a concentration in acting and directing. I enjoy learning new things, and never judge a person by their profile or resume. I’d like to believe that people are deeper than how they look on paper.

What led you to write books, especially in the fantasy genre?

Fantasy was always a much needed escape from reality. I tried writing some serious nonfiction books, but I either never finished what I started, or I hated what I wrote. I’ve also attempted 2 childrens’ books, but couldn’t afford an illustrator that would stick with either project. For a while it seemed as though writing a book was going to be a bucket list item I’d never complete. But the idea for “Becoming” just came to me one day and wouldn’t get out of my head. So, when the pandemic put me on lockdown with a toddler, I decided it was time to get the story out of my head and into print.

Do you write with a particular message or worldview in mind?

I don’t write with the intent to give a worldview. Most works that seem to have that intent feel forced. One such book I read, felt like the author was beating me over the head with her point of view and anger at those who didn’t agree. It’s the first one star review I’ve ever written. I really don’t like writing bad reviews, but that particular book left me so agitated, I would have e-mailed the author if I could have found an email address. If there is a worldview being presented in my writing, it’s not intentional and it’s based on who my characters are as people and the experiences that they’ve had.

I can definitely understand that! No one wants to read a preachy novel. What is your preferred writing style? Is your writing style preference the same as your reading preference?

I write in the first person. “Becoming” and “Acceptance” are written in first person present-tense, while my short story (tentatively titled “Tales of the Asari-ni”) is first person, past-tense. I remember in creative writing we were always told never to write in first person because those books generally flop. I have a hunch my older works were bad because third person writing doesn’t feel natural to me. Although most books are written in third person, I really love first person stories. I’m sure the ones I’ve read in recent years have helped inspire my writing. However, good writing is good writing. The tense doesn’t matter if the story is good.

Do you prefer a sympathetic villain or someone a reader loves to hate? Or is there another kind of villain you prefer to write?

In writing, I want what feels natural. Reading, I love a well thought out villain. Most often, those we see as villains in our lives do not see themselves in that light. Traditional villain’s rarely feel realistic, and often come across as one dimensional. However, a villain that causes evil while trying to do a perceived good, is authentic and a great warning in real life circumstances. I can’t guarantee my villains will be more than one dimensional though since I write in the first person.

Tell us all about one of your published books.

My only published work is “Becoming: Legend of the Last Danann Series.” It’s a coming of age story filled with magic, prophecy, strong bonds of friendship, and first love.

Such excellent themes! What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on Book 2 in my Legend of the Last Danann Series “Acceptance.”  I’m hoping that by the time this interview is posted, that I’m in the editing/ formatting phase.

Are you traditionally published or do you publish independently? Why did you choose that path to send your books into the world?

I decided to publish independently. I’m very much a Type A personality and worried that traditional publishers would edit out the parts of the book that I wanted there most. So many times I finish a book or a series wanting to know more about the characters. More backstory, or more of their thoughts and day to day life. I believe a lot of that gets cut. I also had a cover design in my mind and thought my wishes might get ignored.  But, I’d be lying if I didn’t honestly admit not wanting to deal with the likely rejection from publishers. Plus, all the querying talk on twitter makes my head spin.

What are your writing habits?

Currently, I try to fit in some writing when I’m at work and it’s slow. When I can’t do that, I’ve been writing on my laptop at my kitchen table late at night. I prefer to just listen to the sound of the crickets. I focus better when I can clear my head and forget the world around me.

Do you prefer to plot your books out in advance, or do you dive in and see where the story takes you?

I can’t plot out my stories. Just like I can’t set goals. It’s like when something is hyped up so much that when you finally get to experience it, the whole thing falls flat. That’s what happens to me when I try to plan out anything creative. It falls flat. So, I tend to just let it flow.

Oh, gosh, do I relate to that. Do you enjoy writing plot-driven or character-driven stories more?

I am all about character development. I don’t just want to know my characters, I need to know them. Stories that don’t feed me enough character information just don’t enthrall me. I need to feel connected to a character if I’m going to love the story. I have to write something that I’d want to read. If I’m not going to be passionate about it then the reader won’t be.

I wholeheartedly agree with that. What destination in the world would you most like to visit?

I’ve been blessed to have visited parts of Europe and 13 US states. The place I really want to visit next is Japan. I’ve been an avid anime fan since I’m 12 years old and to be able to visit an old village with an historic temple would be a dream.

What is a fun quirk you have?

I don’t know if it’s fun, but I’m slightly OCD. I need things in a certain order. It might not make sense to most people, but it needs to make sense to my brain. Example, if my daughter’s sippy cups aren’t matched as they were purchased, it drives me crazy. Alternately, I used to arrange my DVDs, CDs, and books by date purchased or gifted.

In closing, what advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. It took me 30 years to find my voice as a writer, and I’m proud of what I’ve written. If you like what you’ve written, you’ll find others that will too.

Amen to that! Every journey is unique and worthwhile.

Thank you again for letting me interview you, Kim! I wish you every success with your continued writing endeavors.

To follow Kim Campbell’s author journey, and grab her debut novel, check out the links below!

Author Spotlight #16: Kim Campbell

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