Monday, August 26, 2019

Author Interview with Kira Jane Buxton


Recently, I got to email/interview the charming Kara Jane Buxton for her new novel, The Hollow Kingdom, which is about one cussy crow's post-apocalyptic journey to save humanity (in Seattle, no less!).

Image result for hollow kingdom kira

    L: It’s great to talk with you, Kira! How have things been going? I must say,
your book has me craving Cheetos and keeping my eyes peeled for
neighborhood crows.

    KJB: It’s great to talk to you too, thank you for having me! I’m very happy
to hear that you’re paying closer attention to your neighborhood
crows—they are endlessly fascinating, incredibly intelligent, and can teach
us a lot about life.

    L: So how did ST and the plot emerge in your head? How long did it take
you to flesh everything out and write it? How did you develop ST’s

    KJB: It hit me one day while I was driving. I had wanted to write about crows for
years (I love them!) but really couldn’t figure out how. During a difficult
time—I had over-edited a novel and could no longer see it—my husband
told me to “go and write the thing about the crows.” While driving, I
thought “What if a crow is telling the story of humanity’s extinction?” I was
so excited by the premise, I ran home and wrote the first chapter. S.T.
pretty much exploded onto the page, fully formed (albeit a lot ruder than I’d
imagined!) I “binge wrote” the whole novel in a joyous frenzy, in just over
four months.

    L: On that note, how did you come up with ST’s name? What kind of guy is
Big Jim, that he would name his bird Crap and his dog Dennis? (BTW,
Big Jim reminds me of Hopper from Stranger Things, if Hopper just liked
to chill out all day.) And did you base Big Jim off of anybody you know?

    KJB: Ha! Yes, I do see some similarities between Big Jim and Hopper from
Stranger Things—I think you’re right though, Hopper is far more
productive! S.T.’s name just happened, and I was as surprised by his
foul (fowl!) language as I was by his rude name. It is certainly a reflection
of Big Jim’s character that we experience through S.T’s language and
what Big Jim named his crow, this bird who thinks humans are called
MoFos and that Cheetos are the finest food known to man/MoFo. It was
interesting for me to explore a character with very different ideas about
life through his beloved bird. Big Jim isn’t really any one person I know,
but I’ve certainly met people who share some of his ideologies and
tastes—and language!

    L: How long did it take for you to get the book published? Do you feel like
publishing smaller things made it easier to get an agent? What was your
first published work?

    KJB: It took me about nine years of writing full-time to sell a novel. There are
three novels and a memoir that didn’t get published (with good reason!)
but all of them, and every piece I’ve ever written, was key to finding my
voice, developing my craft, and eventually getting Hollow Kingdom
published. I definitely think publishing shorter pieces helped to build my
profile and confidence. My first published humor piece was for
McSweeney’s and it was very appropriately called, “Sit Down, Shut Up,
And Write Your Fucking Book: Uplifting Tips For The Aspiring Author.”

    L: Why Cheetos?
    KJB: They are delicious and massively addictive. Crows do truly love Cheetos
(although they should never have them—they should be eating more
natural foods like berries, fish, nuts, and bugs!)

    L: Does Angus survive and wed his bovine lady love?
    KJB: I’m sure Angus has more to his story. Whether he is able to woo his
ginger bovine goddess (and then stay faithful to her) remains to be seen!
    L: What kept you motivated throughout the writing process? It can be so
easy to run into a wall and take a break that winds up lasting a few

    KJB: I love to write. Next to spending time with animals and reading, it is my
favorite activity. I always feel that sitting down to write is an extraordinary
privilege, and I don’t take it for granted. Breaks are also important and
necessary—a few weeks off can sometimes be just the ticket to entice
the muse to come knocking again.

    L: Tell me about the AMC adaptation. Would you be concerned that once
there’s a TV show, people won’t want to read the book?

    KJB: Not at all. I think screen adaptations are a wonderful way to introduce
literary characters to a wider audience. I’m one of those people who likes
to read a book before I experience it on tv or at the movies, so a new
screen adaptation usually makes me bump a book up onto my
immediate reading list.

    L: What’s life like for you, now? What have you learned so far, and what
do you love/hate about your experience with publishing and its
successes? (Also, you totally need to talk to Neil Gaiman. He would
love your book!)

    KJB: I’m still very new to being a published author (two weeks today!) so at
the moment, I’m enjoying being on tour, meeting new people and getting
to visit bookstores I’ve always wanted to go to. I feel so lucky that people
have embraced Hollow Kingdom—and a crow whose name is often
unrepeatable!—and I’m just trying to take it all in. And I would love to talk
to the inimitable Neil Himself! Do you know him?!

    (Note:  I don't personally know Neil Gaiman, other than that he answered one of my questions on his tumblr.  But look for him on tumblr, twitter, and Instagram!  He may or may not be lured out of hiding by Cheetos.)

    L: What do you plan to write next?

    KJB: I love the world of Hollow Kingdom and its furred, feathered and scaled
characters, so I do hope I get to explore more of it. I’ll probably continue
to write shorter pieces as I’m inspired to do so, and I’ll be open to
whatever the muse has in store for me next!

    Thank you so much, Kira!  May we fledgling writers take inspiration and keep our beaks to the Cheeto bag.  Tune in next time to a trip to Philadelphia, notes about job hunting, and obscure interests on Between The Pages.

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