Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Short Q&A With KD Bard

                                                                                       KD BARD

1. Why did you start writing?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed writing.  I took creative writing classes in both High School and College.  I started writing after I found fan-fiction on line and through that it was something I was capable of doing.

2. If you had to do it all over again would you still write?
Yes.  It would have been nice to be able to make a living from writing, but at this point, I’ll be happy to use it for mad money when I retire.

3. Once you’ve written a story do you ever sit down and read it for enjoyment?
Yes, and when I do read my own work, I often forget I wrote it.  I’ll be reading along and something will make me laugh or cry and I’ll think, “Man!  This is good!”  Then I remember I’m the one who wrote it and it makes me proud.  If I can make my own self laugh or cry when reading one of my works, I feel I’ve done a good job with the story.  Some of the books make me cry every time I read them.

4. How did you start writing Xena fan fiction?
I never really considered writing with the intent to be published until one day, my then, fifteen-year-old son, introduced me to Xena.   Before long, I was hooked on the show and began surfing the net looking for more information – that’s when I discovered fan fiction and I read everything I could find.  At some point it dawned on me that this was something I could do, so I began to write the Bille/Cat Commitment Series under the pen name kd bard.  The Commitment series is big-time Uber.  Next came the book, On A Wing And A Prayer which I submitted to Blue Feather Books for publication in 2005.  Since then, I’ve written and had published, Yesterday Once More (a 2009 Golden Crown Literary Society Award winner in the area of Speculative Fiction), and the first two books of the Billie/Cat series, titled “In a Family Way” and “Unchained Memories”.  The 3rd book in the series, titled Happy Campers, is due out this fall.

5. Is your muse a constant companion, or does it abandon you for long periods of time?
She hovers in the background and pokes me once in a while when a situation comes up for a new story line, and she’s always quick to respond when I sit down to write – no matter how long it’s been since the last time.

6. How do you feel about sequels?
Love them! Like I mentioned, Books 1 and 2 of the Commitment Series are already published with Book 3 on the way. I have another 5 books in the series already written and ready for editing over the next several years.

7. Is writing a quiet thing for you, where there can't be any noise or conversation going on?
Just the opposite.  I write best when the TV is on in the background.  I’m not really watching it, but the white noise is soothing to me.  I’m sitting in my office right now writing to the gurgling sound of the fish tank.

8. Do you prefer to write/read romance, angst, horror etc, etc?
That’s a good question.  All of my books have romance in them, but I wouldn’t say they are strictly romances.  All of them have some amount of angst, but also a significant amount of humor.  Yesterday Once More was speculative – somewhat futuristic, but not SciFi , and I am currently working on another historical/speculative fiction titled The Blue Feather.  My characters tend to encounter life-altering situations, sometimes dangerous ones.  My books explore both the good and bad sides of romantic relationships.  The characters are flawed and vulnerable.  The romantic relationships between my characters are integral to the story – but the relationship itself if seldom what the story is about. I’m not into writing horror, or fantasy, and I am definitely not a SciFi writer.

9. What usually sparks a story idea for you?
Almost anything.  I could be the interaction I see between two people in a restaurant, or something I see on television.  Ideas for the Billie/Cat Commitment Series come from the characters themselves.  Once I begin writing, they take over and lead the way.  While writing, ideas come to mind for other story arcs.  I have never been successful intentionally brainstorming for storylines.  I have much more success if I allow myself to recognize a potential book in the people, places, events and things around me.

10. Where do your ideas come from?
The storyline for Yesterday Once More came from a song that was popular a few years ago in which someone finds a very old love letter in the glove box of a used mustang and falls in love with the author. A lot of the fodder for the Billie/Cat series comes from raising two sons… and from having three grandchildren.  When an idea comes to mind, I’ll text it to myself and add it to my cache of ideas when I get home.  Sometimes the ideas mature into books – and sometimes not.

11. What advice can you give to future writers?
Never give up on your dream.  Even if you never intend to be published, writing is a wonderful way to express your soul and to give voice to your emotions.  If you DO plan to be published, there are so many ways to achieve that these days.  One word of advice – if you plan to self-published, please, please, please get yourself a good editor.  Anyone can self-publish a book, but the smart writers do what is necessary to make sure their book is the best it can be before it’s published.

12. What has the show Xena meant to you?
Xena changed my life – quite literally.  I mentioned earlier that my then, 15 year old son introduced me to the show. I believe the first time I watched it was during the season 2 run. I was married to a man at the time, and struggling everyday with the feeling that something wasn’t right. When I found Xena and  fan fiction, it all suddenly became clear to me.  I finally realized who and what I was… and what I was missing in my life. Here I am, 16 years later, happily married to my wife and the author of five published books.  Xena opened the closet door for me… a closet I didn’t even realize I was hiding in.

13. How do you feel about the way it ended?
I hated the ending.  I have re-watched the entire six seasons with my wife – except for the last episode.  I refuse to ever watch it again.  There were far better ways they could have ended the series.  I am still very angry about it.  I am hoping with all my heart that the rumors of a X/G movie are true.  They need to repair all the lesbian hearts they broken when they ended the series.

14. How real are your characters to you?
My characters are extremely real to me.  I feel their love, and their pain.  I revel in their victories and I morn their losses.  I feel their passion and their angst.  They make me laugh and cry and they touch my soul.  Even my secondary characters are important to me.

15. Do your characters speak to you?

16. Are you in control of your story, or do the characters run the show?
I’d like to think I’m in control, but we all know better.  I tend to set the direction for them, but they almost always take over and I ride shotgun.

17. Have you created a character that you would like to meet?
I’d like to meet all of them.  Of course, Billie and Cat are most definitely Xena and Gabby archetypes.  Cass and Rox  from On A Wing And A Prayer are archetypes as well.  Maggie from Yesterday Once More is a red-headed spitfire who I’d love to meet in person.  If I wasn’t already married, I think I could fall in love with any of them.

18. How would you feel about another writer giving one of your characters a cameo in their story?
I’ve never really thought about it – but that would be interesting.

19. Has online writing changed your life in any way?
As I mentioned earlier, it changed my life in a big way.  When I began the Billie/Cat series, I published it on line and through my on-line writing, I met some remarkable people – many of whom I am still very good friends with today.  I was introduced to the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) through my on-line connections and it was at the GCLS 2007 Atlanta conference that I met the wonderful woman I am currently married to.  Yes – it changed my life in a big way.

20. Have you ever been stalked on the internet by an overzealous fan?
Yes – on line and in person. This person crossed the boundaries of fandom… It was nerve wracking to say the least.

21. Which one of your online stories is your favorite?
I’d have to say Sweet Angel from the Billie/Cat series.  It had a 2-box of Kleenex rating.  It makes me cry every time.

22. Do you have to do a lot of rewrites?
I generally have to do a lot of edits.  I publish with Blue Feather Books (, and every book has to go through the editing process – which I have to admit is VERY painful.  Here’s how it goes for each and every book:  I submit the book and wait for the first round of edits from the editor.  I receive the edits and my wife has to unscrew me from the ceiling after I’ve blown my cork over all the red marks in the manuscript.  Next, I calm down and begin going through the edits and realize the changes aren’t so bad.  Repeat at least two times.  Even the most seasoned writers have to do rewrites.

23. Is there ever a point in your writing where you get stuck each and every time? How do you get out of it?
I get stuck at least once in every book I write.  The more I try to force the writing, the more stuck I get – kind of like spinning your tires in mud.  When this happens, I’ll take a break for a few days then get back to it.  If I’m still stuck, I’ll discuss it with my wife and by talking it out with her, I can usually find the path forward again.  Sometimes when I’m stuck, I’ll get into Google and do more research for another part of the story.  This often spurs ideas.  I’ve never scrapped a book because of writer’s block.  I've always been able to resolve it one way or another.

24. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy the most and why?
I love it when the characters take over.  I’m not an outliner, but I generally know where I want the story to go and how I want it to end.  Between the start and the finish, I tend to let the characters take me where they want to go.  It’s an awesome experience to hand the reins over and follow rather than lead.

25. When you're working on a story are you obsessed with it until it's done?
Truth is – real life often gets in the way of the fun stuff.  Like I said earlier, I have a full time job, a wife, a home that seems to be in a constant state of renovation, and a family, so I actually have to make time to write.  I’ve been known to pull all-nighters when I’m on a roll, but I don’t feel like I have to write every day.

26. Who are your favorite top five writers? Online or published.
I don’t have a lot of time to read, but if I had to choose, I’d say, Lynn Ames, Erica Lawson  and Chris Paynter are a few of my favorites.  My wife does most of the reading in our house.  We have a huge library in our home with literally 4,000 plus books.

27. The song says "Who rules the world? Girls." If that were true would the world be a better place?
I believe women are nurturers and way better negotiators than men.  Women can multitask better than men.  Women are more compassionate (especially with children and those less fortunate), better planners and deep thinkers.  Women are more creative and more willing to compromise to settle conflicts in a non-violent way.  Unlike several male leaders in this world, women in general do not possess the shoot’em first, and ask questions later cowboy mentality.  The world would indeed be a better place in women were in control.

28. Do you write a story straight through, or do you write in pieces, then put it all together.
I write sequentially- start to finish.

29. Do you read books for pleasure while you are writing?
No. I am always afraid of subconsciously using someone else’s ideas, so I absolutely do not read other authors while I’m writing a book.

30. Do you have a favorite Greek God?
I’m kind of partial to Ares and Aphrodite is the bomb!

31. Do you have a pet peeve?
My day to day pet peeve is making left hand turns while driving. Left hand turns are so unfair.  If the traffic is heavy, cars from 2 or 3 miles away could hold you up.  Ugh!  My writing pet peeve is editors who don’t follow the same rules.  I had three different editors for one of my books and I had to rewrite it three times because they all had their own set of editing rules.  Frustrating!

32. What do you see yourself doing in the future?
I see myself continuing to work full time and writing part time for the next several years then I’ll retire and split our time between our homes in Vermont and New Mexico.  I will probably write more regularly when that happens… or maybe I’ll work at Home Depot!  Love those power tools!

33. What is your favorite word?

34. What is your least favorite word?
I’d have to say that nasty “C” word.

35. What turns you on?
The sexy Xena/Gab video clips set to seductive music on Youtube.  Some of them are amazing.  Oh – and Rachel Maddow… she’s my secret girlfriend.  Oops! Did I write that out loud?

36. What turns you off?
Bare-chested men with hair all over their backs – Ewww!

38. What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of my grandkids crying.

39. What is your favorite curse word?
God Damn It!

40. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Air plane pilot

41. What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?
Septic worker

42. If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Come on in, the party’s about to begin.  Oh, and by the way, Xena, Gab and your brother Steve are there waiting for you!

Here is KD Bard's favorite story:
Sweet Angel by kd bard - 113 pages
In the author's own words, time to buy stock in Kleenex! In the 13th chapter of kd bards' series, Billie and Cat face the worst trial to face them yet, a parent's worse fear. As Laurel finally comes for a visit to meet everyone and spend some time getting to know them, Skylar is diagnosed with a serious illness. As family and friends try to pull together, Billie and Cat's lives are in a spiraling turmoil that is pulling them apart as their reactions to the circumstances differ, until it seems there is no hope. With a bit of unexpected tough love from Laurel, Janice, and loving support all around, the family rallies to stand together and keep their sky bird from flying away. A beautifully tender story sure to touch you deeply, especially at the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment