Inhuman Condition, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Inhuman Condition?
KATE THORNTON: Inhuman Condition is a collection of 21 of my favorite short stories, 19 of them previously published and two new ones. I write primarily mystery and science fiction, so both genres are represented. Several of the stories were nominated for prestigious awards, and the collection includes the first mystery story I ever had published. The common thread tying all the stories together is our perception of humanity and what makes a monster, whether it be a murderer or something else entirely.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
KATE THORNTON: Each story has a main character who is fully explored—I get inside the skin—or scales—of each character in order to write from that perspective. I think a good writer can write as a man, woman, child, or alien being with verisimilitude and sympathy, using any setting or time period to give the reader a taste of that world.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
KATE THORNTON: My ideal reader is anyone who enjoys an exciting story with an unexpected ending.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
KATE THORNTON: I started writing in the mid 1990s, intending to write novels. I did, in fact, collaborate on several romances, and even churned out a couple of obligatory mysteries which, unlike the romances, mercifully never saw the light of day. But it wasn't until I wrote my first mystery short story, "Just Like in the Movies," and sold it to David Firks' Blue Murder Magazine that I realized I am really a short story writer. That story—which is in the book, by the way—got me a Derringer Award Nomination as well as my first writing paycheck.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
KATE THORNTON: I usually play the "what if" game or listen to conversations in public places to get ideas, then just start writing until a story develops. Several revisions later, and about one third of the original words edited out, and I'm usually satisfied with the result and look for an appropriate market.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
KATE THORNTON: I'm a big fan of Lee Child, Leighton Gage, and H. H. Munro.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
KATE THORNTON: Duma Key by Stephen King
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
KATE THORNTON: I am a member of Sisters in Crime, where I participate as much as possible, giving workshops and readings and participating in short story panels. I also have 2 Facebook pages—one for the book itself—and am active on at least six major literary lists, including Short Mystery Fiction Society, Murder Must Advertise, DorothyL, and Crime & Suspense. I also advertise online through my website and blog, and send out review copies to everyone I think might review the book—this has garnered me many reviews. Fortunately, they all liked the book. I also participate in online writers' fora like Absolute Write and many of the online publications which first published stories by me are willing to plug the book, too. I try not to miss an opportunity—I leave my bookmarks everywhere, offer free bookmarks to anyone buying the book on Kindle and basically do everything I can to get the book out there in front of people.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
KATE THORNTON: Although my book is available in other formats as well, it is the Kindle format that is the most exciting and successful. I am a Kindle owner, and find I read on it voraciously. Every day someone new discovers my book on Kindle and often I receive email or a Facebook poke when this happens. I think the Kindle has revolutionized the way we read—reading is now easier, cheaper and more exciting. I can read anytime, anyplace with my Kindle—without hauling around a boatload of heavy books and without spending a king's ransom.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
KATE THORNTON: Make sure your book is ready for publication. Even if you are not agented and with a major New York publisher, make sure your book is good enough, polished enough, and perfect enough to be in the company of such books. After all, your book says a lot about you, both as a writer and as a person. If that book is not absolutely the best you can do, then it doesn't belong out there with your name on it.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
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