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An Interview with Author Kit Falbo

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Kit Falbo is obsessed with storytelling. It’s one of their neurodiverse special interests. Folding in their non-binary, nerdy, life experiences with their degree in psychology to create compelling quirky stories. Best known for their book The Crafting of Chess, they continue to explore technology, pop culture, magic systems, and family in their writing.

You can buy Kit’s books here.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

What makes you a writer is that you can’t not write. For me it was taking my daydreams and mental escapes from a sometimes overwhelming world and putting it into the world. Reading was tough for me and I didn’t pick it up until late, but one author really pulled me into fantasy worlds Diana Wynn Jones, most well-known for Howls Moving Castle. I devoured her entire catalog. From there I moved to Tamora Pierce, Robert Jordan, Mercedes Lackey, Lois Bujold, and more. Every book you read influences your writing style, even if it is a theme you want to explore differently.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I’d just finished The Rise of Chess, sequel to my most popular book The Crafting of Chess. A series I plan to finish at a trilogy. But as part of my writing method I need a break after such a task, and for me that is writing a story in a different fantasy world. I have a large collection of ideas, gender bending superhero stories, reluctant sci-fi military captains, reincarnation-cultivation cycles, and in this case an idea of a maid who wanted more.

What interested me in Harmony’s story was the power dynamics of a servant’s role and how one can fight to leave the orbit that society has you stuck in. I also threw in a dash of necromancy. Not the standard raise an army but how cleaning involves taking care of things that have died, beauty involves shaping hair, and nails and parts of skin that are not living, yet part of us. I’m a big fan of this kind of domestic magic, so it gave me a lot to play with.

I’m still pecking away at the potential sequel at the same time I’m trying to finish my Chess series. So, even after this manuscript is done I’m still loving the world, and conflicts in it.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The book’s current working title is Maid with Necromancy. I started with the working title of “Putting the Romance in Necromancy.” A kind of joke that was one of the inspirations to the story, enough that you’ll pick up a vibe around that in the writing. But romance is the last thing on Harmony’s mind. There was no then XXX showed up and changed her mind. Harmony had no time for that bullshit, and is almost asexual, or deeply demi-sexual in nature. Too much to do, too many compromises and consequences to deal with.

Tiles are hard, and after needing to put “Putting the Romance in Necromancy” down as an option I had to come up with a list. The pulpy flavor of genres I write in tends to have to-the-point titles. Maid with Necromancy is very spot on for what you get, upon opening the book.

I don’t know if it will be the final title. But I’ve yet to come up with anything better.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

I listen to music while I write. This means there are two types of songs that would go into this list: The songs I literally wrote it to and songs that would meet the tone of the book. I’ll leave you to guess which is which. Here are 13 songs.

Nina Simone – Cover of “I Put a Spell on You”

Remember Monday – Cover of “Fat Bottomed Girls”

Queen – “Face it Alone”

The Pretty Reckless – “25”

Ahli – “Girls Kissing Girls”

The Scarlet Opera – “Riot”

Portugal The Man – “Dummy”

Gang of Youths – “Achilles Come Down”

TALK – “Run Away to Mars”

Noah Kahn – “Stick Season”

The Dead South – “In Hell I’ll Be in Good Company”

Miike Snow – “Genghis Kahn”

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Once More with Feeling – “What You Feel”

Describe your dream book cover.

I’m terrible with this. My tastes don’t align with most of the genre conventions. Give me something stylized and eye-catching. I’d be most satisfied with anything that gets me the most readers. Most of my covers I have made myself, as poor a decision as that might be.

What I find key is that I want the cover clearly recognizable from the scrolling thumbnail. If I managed a catchy title I want that visible too.

I’d love for fan art of what others think would be an awesome cover.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

Resident assistant, library, movie theater, call center, homeless “relying on the kindness of others,” and the longest job of caregiving homemaker.

There is a lot my readers wouldn’t know. I doubt any of it is interesting. My synesthesia and how sensations muddle together always tinge my writing. Part of the flavor of each character helps me keep their concepts in my head as I write them. I try not to let it influence the text too much, unless I’m writing my silly poems.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I’m not a big research monkey on my fantasy and science fiction books. I read some Dungeon Crawler Carl, Murderbot Diaries, Scholomance, as well as many books I didn’t finish. DNF is acceptable, if you want to give any of my books a try and not finish them then good for you.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

While I am exploring power dynamics, magic systems, how perception and awareness affect opportunities, mostly I want my readers to enjoy themselves and get lost in the story. If they want to catch all the Easter eggs, and explore my themes those can be good fun things to do on re-reads or after they’ve consumed my work.

The perfect reader is always one who shares my books with others and recommends them passionately. I can market my behind flat, but it is those perfect readers where I’ll find any lasting success. Maybe if they get a tattoo based off my writing too? I haven’t experienced that yet. That is one on my bucket list as well as any fan-fiction and fan art. I have a bucket list of fan things I want to accomplish, and inspire others to do. Silly things like that.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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