H. Liguore (jane_hunter) wrote in broaduniverse,
H. Liguore

Interview: K. A. Laity

This week we're visiting with K. A. Laity, the author of PELZMANTEL, (Immanion Press 2010), and UNIKIRJA (Aino Press 2009) as well as many short stories, essays and plays. A tenured professor of English, she also writes a weekly column for BitchBuzz.com, the global women's lifestyle network. Visit her website www.kalaity.com.
<http://www.kalaity.com> for news, book trailers and more, or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

**When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Always! As soon as I learned how to write letters, I started composing stories. I had elaborate, continuing narratives that involved all my toys in elaborate adventures in my bedroom as a child and later made up story songs on my walk to and from school.

**What is your writing process? When do you write? Any rituals?

I write all the time. Between the academic work, the column and my two other pseudonyms, I really have to focus in order to get things done and still have a life. Schedules and deadlines are very important. Also I have to work on at least of couple of things at once because if I get stuck on one, I won’t waste time but switch to another project until the solution occurs to me.

**What is you most current project?

I’m finishing edits on a novel that takes place in a slightly different history — the States did not win the Revolution, a war has been going on for fourteen years and some aliens have just landed. The main character is a kind of accidental shaman whose best friend has just awakened from a ten year coma, which she might have put him in. She’s also got to explain that his cat died. The road trip to bury the cat sets in motion a series of rather unexpected events.

**What was the inspiration for the book?

Kurt Vonnegut dying. I remember hearing the news and feeling a stab of pain that there would never be another Vonnegut novel. I decided I would have to try to write my own. Not sure if I succeeded, but I think the humour came through and a good bit of absurdity.

**Who is your favorite character, and why?

The main character Ro Parker is my favourite. Isn’t that always the case? You have to spend so much time with them, it helps to love them. She’s appealing to me because she has no idea how powerful she is and feels she has disappointed just about everyone she’s ever met. When she accidentally finds herself in the midst of a shamanic journey, she’s fascinated by the glimpse of this other green world but afraid she won’t be able to cope.

**Tell us one thing about yourself people would be surprised to learn?

I know Old English, Middle English, Old Irish, Old Norse, Old High German, Gothic, Middle High German, Latin, Swedish and modern German. Well, I did — some of them are getting rusty because I don’t use them a lot. But I love languages.

**What one book would you save from a burning fire, and why?

The original Beowulf manuscript. The book changed my life and opened up my head and vastly improved my writing . I cried when I got to see it for the first time in the British Library. Studying medieval literature taught me so much, especially the absurdity of obsessing about “originality”: every story has been told before, every story. But no one can tell my version of a story except me.

**Are there any writers (living or dead) that are influencing you right now?

I’m about to start a new novel that’s inspired by the works of Angela Carter and Kingsley Amis. I cannot possibly explain how two so unlikely people could possibly be joined. They are complete opposites. Yet it’s there in my head and almost ready to be written.

**Favorite bookstore/library?

The British Library. It’s got everything. And the ceilings in the Reading Room are so high that when you sneeze really loudly (as I tend to do) people across this huge room suddenly look up like frightened gazelles as it echoes. Wonderful!

**Favorite planet or fantasy world you'd like to live in?

I’d like to live in the Looking Glass world but I would have to insist on being a Queen and then there’d be this whole rivalry with the Red Queen, the White Queen and Alice and me. But I’d get the puddings on my side so I would at least have something to eat while strategising against them. And I’d take over the rail line. Mobility is everything.

**Give me one thing you want readers to remember after they finish this blog?

In my classes, I have to take really old and obscure materials and make students see how familiar and friendly they are at heart. I do the same thing in my stories, making the strange familiar and the familiar very, very strange.

To purchase a copy of K. A. Laity's new book, visit: http://www.immanion-press.com/info/book.asp?id=394&referer=Hp

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