MK Mancos

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Interview By: Tamazon

Date: April 01, 2007

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Could you please start by telling us a little about yourself?

My name is Kat, but I write under the name MK Mancos and Kathleen Scott. Hopefully soon, I'll branch out into another persona known as Kate Davison. I live in rural NJ with my husband and cat. No kids. I work in the healthcare field and have for over 15 years, but I've always been a writer at heart. I've lived in different parts of the country as evidenced by my work. I spent the first 12 years of my life in suburban Michigan, then moved to the Florida Panhandle for 14 years. I've lived in NJ longer than anywhere else. And no, I won't tell you how long, that would give my age away. : )

If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?

Oh Geez, great question. Hard answer. I think I would want to be Gloriana, one of my characters from a fantasy novel I'm currently working on, titled A Conspiracy of Ravens. They call her a sorceress, though she is more of a clairvoyant who has a mind-bond with a gyre falcon, named Josephine. Gloriana is also a princess who would have been queen had she not had `the gift.' She is a strong woman, who sometimes has to make hard choices in order to keep her identity a secret. And though she can foretell the future, she is still just as lost as the rest of humanity. I think it's that human foible that makes her appealing to me. If not her, than Edie from Immorati. Edie is a PhD in anthropology with a specialty in myth and folklore. Right up my alley. I adore anthropology.

What's your favorite genre to read?

I don't have a favorite really. I read everything from Regency to Science Fiction. I've been a fan of John Jakes for years, as well as Dean Koontz. So, I am pretty much all over the map. I go in spurts, though. Lately I haven't been able to get enough of hard sci-fi.

Who or what influences you when you write?

It's hard to say really. Sometimes it can be my mood or if I've gotten enough sleep or not. (I work nights so my sleep schedule is usually screwed up.) Sometimes a song can influence me, or just a spark of an idea I got while taking a shower.

What do you do on a typical writing day?

I have yet to have a typical day. : ) - Usually, I get up and hit the computer straight away. I'll check my emails and hit the message boards I belong to. Take care of any pressing business. Then I open files and decide which one I'm going to work on that day. I usually have several projects going at once, so I juggle them around a bit. Keeps me fresh with the storylines. However, if I'm on deadline, I'm pretty much committed to that one project until it's finished. I'll reread the last few scenes I wrote to sort of jump start my brain and then I get working.

When you have writer's block how do you break free?

Pretty much by doing what I mentioned before. I reread what I've written, or I pull open another file and work on that for a while. Sometimes I get blocked by one character or scene and it takes months to know where the pieces will go. That's why it helps to have other projects to work on. I've always got something on deck and ready to go should I need to submit. Since I'm an avid plotter when I write my novels, I generally know what happens next in a broad sense. I'll skip over the part I'm having trouble with and move on to the next part of the book. The beauty of the word processor is the writer can go back and plug in the holes when they need to. It's a feature that is a true lifesaver for me.

Please tell us what you have planned next?

I'm currently working on the sequel to Immorati. Tentatively titled, Corpesetti. I go deeper into the world of the Jersey Devil in this one.or at least my version of it. We actually get to see inside the culture and lair of the Corpesetti.

In 5 years, where do you see yourself? -In general and in you're writing career

I hope I'll be on the bestsellers list and able to write full time, in between traveling the country to speak at conferences. My husband will be a world famous cartoonist and we'll be deliriously happy. However, this business can be totally whimsical so I just concentrate on writing the best book I can each time and hoping there is an audience who enjoys reading it as much as I did writing it. If I keep doing that.who knows where I'll be in five years.

Who is your perfect hero? And why?

That's so difficult for me to answer. The heroes I write are terribly flawed in some respects. Not that they're bad men, but not perfect. I don't think perfect heroes are very interesting. However, I think some of the heroes in Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series were pretty close to perfection. There is just something about a hot guy in a kilt with a Scottish accent that screams perfection to me.

What do you do for inspiration?

I dream. I tell myself stories before I fall asleep. Sometimes just driving around and running errands will inspire me in some way, or jar an idea. I've also gotten a lot of good ideas sitting in front of the television with my hubby. He and I are documentary junkies, so there is always something on that we sit there and hit pause (think God for the dish!) and have a 20-minute conversation over some point made on a show we're watching. Then one of us will say.. "Oh my God! That would make such an awesome story." - Since he writes graphic novels and screenplays, along with his daily comic strips, he's always looking for story fodder as well.

Is there a genre of book you would like to write but haven't yet?

Historical. I've had millions of ideas for them, but the research is overwhelming to me. I do have a reincarnation story that will allow me a brief foray into writing history. Though I love reading them, I take my hat off to those who write them. And I love history. I'm watching the History Channel right now as background. I just don't think I could write an entire historical novel convincingly enough to pull it off.

What type of book have you always wanted to write?

I pretty much write the type of books I want. I would love to write a blockbuster, though. That would be nice. : )

What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?

I usually work backwards. I write the book then do the research. That way I don't get hung up by reading things I don't need. I find if I do deep research I end up coming up with a plethora of new ideas for other books and plots. It bogs me down. I have a hard time concentrating on the project I'm working on when I do that. For instance, I recently wrote a novel I sold to Samhain with characters who were alchemists. Now, I really didn't know anything about the ancient art of alchemy, so I bought some primers and read them. The study was so very interesting, and sure enough I marked up the margins of the books with notes on another storyline. But I couldn't go forward with the project I did the research for until I got all the other clutter onto a page to use later. I wrote a novel about an archeological find in Florida and read books about different dig sites over the state. In all the years I lived there, I never knew about half the items in that book. It was very enjoyable for me, but again, I ended up getting bogged down by details. Very few of which actually made it into the story.

Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?

It all depends. It usually helps, but I've noticed something about myself lately. When I start to near the end of a project, I write slower and slower and get less productive. It's almost like I don't want to finish writing the story. Those last few chapters are almost like pulling teeth that aren't loose yet. And yet, I get the work done. So, it all comes together in the end.

When did you first decide to submit your work? Please, tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step.

I always knew I'd eventually submit. I did submit before I was technically ready. I wrote a fantasy novel that I sent to DAW back in '97. I was rejected, but it was a lovely rejection letter. They said the project wasn't for them, but they liked my style and wanted to see something else. Unfortunately, at the time I had nothing else to send. I still haven't submitted anything to them since, but I will. - My husband was a huge cheerleader for me. I don't think I would have ever gotten this far without his support. I owe a lot to him. Also, my father in the early days. I used to write these horrible short stories back in high school. He was an avid reader and would always ask when I was going to get something published. I only wish he would have lived to see me published. He'd have gotten a real kick out of it.

What would you like to tell your readers?

Enjoy yourselves. Reading is the ultimate escapism. And please write to me and let me know what you think of my books. I'd love to hear from you.

What is the best and worst advice you have ever received?

The best advice: Allow yourself to write crap.

The worst advice: Follow the rules and color inside the lines.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Depends on the length of the project. I make character sheets and chapter outlines for my novels. Novellas, I might have a basic idea where things are going, but no real outline. Short stories I generally pants.

Do you belong to a critique group? If so, how does this help or hinder you?

I have been a member of critique groups in the past and found them very beneficial. At present, I have 5 people I send my work to who read it and kick me in the ass if they have to. Tell me I'm stupid if it's needed, or praise me if it's warranted. I really lucked out with my crit partners, but they aren't part of a group. I think it really helps me. I need that extra set of eyes looking over my grammar and punctuation in case I get sloppy. Or to tell me if I'm not making my point understood.

What was your first published work and when was it published?

It was a poem when I was in the fifth grade and we made a book that we had to learn to typeset on. (Does that count?) I wasn't published again until a few years ago when I wrote an article for a university magazine. Right on top of that I won a Write to Win! Contest with Writers' Journal magazine.