Today I’m bringing you Fiction Cove’s first ever author interview! I’m super excited for that to be with the wonderful Kay Berrisford!
Kay is the author of the Landlocked Heart series, The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate, and Bound for the Forest.
I first found Kay’s work browsing pre-order titles on the Less Than Three website while waiting for my pre-order listing for my own book to go up. Kay’s book The Lonely Merman caught my eye because of the title. I’m a huge lover of mermen so my curiosity was piqued immediately. After reading it, I connected with Kay on Twitter, and now we talk and support each other in our writing. I’m very honored to call Kay a friend!
Now let’s get to the questions!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t really think of myself as a writer! Whenever I try to believe I am, a voice in my head shouts loudly, “Who are you trying to kid?” On the other hand, I’ve always made up stories, and sometimes I write them down. There’s never been a time when I didn’t make up stories, so I don’t think there was ever a moment I decided I wanted to. It’s just an essential part of what I am.
Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
Everywhere, but mainly from other books and from history. I have studied history extensively, I work in a museum, and so I get bombarded with great ideas all the time. I once attended a talk by Terry Pratchett, and he said he got most of his ideas from history and non-fiction books (like me) but that, interestingly, he didn’t read much other fiction at all (quite unlike me!)
I am also often inspired by travel: new and beautiful places can inspire new ideas, settings, and characters. Much of Dragon Rider, the third Landlocked Heart book, was dreamed up on the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales (although I set it in Cornwall!)
What is your favorite character type to write, and why?
I like writing angsty, tortured characters the best. Although I started writing the Landlocked Heart series from Ben’s (the human’s) point of view, I enjoyed writing from Lyle’s (the merman’s) point of view the most, because frankly, he was the more tortured and whumped of the pair.
Do you have any favorite tropes?
Oh, plenty! I’m a particular fan of “enemies to lovers” stories, which are always fun to write as well as read.
Who (a personal acquaintance or an author) has inspired you the most, and why?
Megan Derr, Megan Derr, Megan Derr. I love everything she writes, especially her fantasy stories, but pretty much anything. Her characters are always incredibly strong and her world-building just stuns me. Reading her books makes me want to write, to up my game, and try and create something that’s even a faint shadow of her awesomeness. She’s also been incredibly supportive of my writing. Along with Sam and Sasha at LT3 Press, Megan’s the reason I’m publishing again.
What draws you to the romance and urban fantasy genres?
I love reading them! With urban fantasy, I love taking the world around me that I know and adding that little ingredient of magic that transports us somewhere really special. It’s probably my favourite genre to write, although I also like writing historical fantasy. That’s a lot more hard work—all that bloody research!
What is your writing process like?
When I write, I’m mega disciplined. On a writing day, I sit down and aim for at least 3000 words, and usually I hit my target. I use my time at work—in between my days off to write—in daydreaming, brainstorming, and planning. Although, to be fair, apart from a couple of abortive weeks last October, I’ve only written for ten months in the past four years and not since last July. I’m kind of “all or nothing at all.”
I spend more time editing than writing, too. I actually enjoy the process of editing my own work more than the initial drafting.
Did you draw on any specific mythologies when creating your characters and world? What were they, and what made you want to play with those elements?
I’ve always drawn a lot on English folklore (the Green Man, Robin Hood, Herne the Hunter), which is most evident in my Bound for the Forest series. I grew up surrounded by these stories, so it seemed a natural place for me to play.
For the Landlocked Heart series, I drew on fairy mythology, which I love, although I kind of made up my own merfolk mythology. Landlocked Heart is actually set in the same universe as my previous historical fantasy book, The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate, just two centuries later. Lyle (Landlocked Heart) is from a different tribe and species as Raef (The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate) but they are from the same origins. One of the characters explains all the history behind this in Dragon Rider (the third Landlocked Heart book) but I cut it in edits, because it slowed pace.
In the final Landlocked Heart book, The Isle of Eternal Happiness, I drew a little on the mythology of lost islands, like Atlantis, which was fun.
What surprised you most when writing the Landlocked Heart series?
That I loved writing it so much! I hadn’t written in nearly three years when I sat down to write The Lonely Merman, and I’d often thought I’d never write again. But once I started, I couldn’t stop. Lyle and Ben have been among my very favourite characters to write ever.
What’s your favorite food, and your go-to writing fuel?
I usually write in in the morning, so sorry to be mega dull, but my fuel is coffee, breakfast cereal (Weetabix) and then peppermint tea! At lunch, I sometimes treat myself with pancakes piled with banana and ice-cream, though.
Are you reading any good books right now, and if so, share!
I’ve just started Dragon Magic by Megan Derr, which I’m loving. I was lucky lately to get a sneak preview of the second book in the Masks series by Amara Lynn, and that was pretty awesome too.
If you could teleport to anywhere on the planet right now, where would it be and why?
I love Italy, so maybe a sun-kissed villa in Tuscany, with a month’s supply of yummy food, a swimming pool, (heated for April!) and endless days to daydream and write.
Thanks for the interview, Kay!
Kay’s final book in the Landlocked Heart series just released on March 14th, and Bound for the Forest was just re-released with LT3 on April 4th. Now is a great time to check out Kay’s stuff, since everything on LT3’s site is 29% off for their anniversary sale! Links to Kay’s work will be at the bottom of this post!
I am, and always will be, the nerdy book-loving girl in the corner. I’ll never be one of the cool, popular kids, even among fellow readers, writers, and book lovers… and I’m okay with that. I’ve been making up romance stories with m/m protagonists since the days before the internet, before I’d any idea what sex was, and when I believed I was the only little girl whose imagination worked like that. How am I supposed to stop now?
I try to squeeze in writing between a 6-day-a-week job in Customer Services. Yayz!?! My romance tales contain an unholy concoction of fun and fantasy (dragons, fairies, elves, and mermen, anyone?) alongside a strong dose of angst and hurt/comfort.
I am a bit of a social media recluse (sorry!) but I love to connect with readers. You can email me at kayberrisford @ yahoo.co.uk and I lurk on twitter a little – @kayberrisford
Links to Kay’s work: