Interview: Kindra Sowder
I recently met Kindra Sowder, founding executive for Burning Willow Press and a talented writer, through an online writing group. She's set up her own press recently and currently has an open call for submissions for an anthology or horror pieces that closes April 2015. Her first published novel recently came out and the link is at the bottom of the piece.
What’s the first piece you ever wrote (or remember writing)?
The first piece I ever wrote was a short horror story in middle school. I was in seventh grade I believe. It was titled “Mommy Dearest.” It was about these teens stuck in the old and condemned house that the main character used to live in. her mother had died years before this and was extremely abusive (her friends talked her into going inside) and her mother’s ghost comes back and begins killing them all one by one. It was a project we were asked to do and read in front of the class on Halloween. Everyone loved it.
What do you think your biggest weakness as a creator is? What’re you doing to work on it?
As a writer who knows plenty more writers, the biggest weakness of mine is procrastination. I know it’s not so much a writing weakness but it is one that does occasionally keep me from writing for days sometimes.
Who was your favorite author growing up?
I have way too many favorites, but one from my childhood is Stephen King. I know he’s not appropriate for children, but my first exposure was to the movie IT and I just couldn’t stay away. He still inspires my writing.
How about now?
Now my favorite (besides Stephen King) is Laurel K. Hamilton. I write urban fantasy so she is right up my alley, but my world is so much different than hers. In the world I created in the Executioner Trilogy monsters are still living in the shadows until Lilith comes along.
What’s your patented way to beat writer’s block?
One of the best ways I have found to help with my writer’s block is music. I find it highly inspirational and listen to it a lot when I write. I even have playlists for each book I’m working on and am always adding to them when I find a song that strikes me. When listening I can see these flashes of images of scenes in my book that I have either already written or have yet to write. The song just seems to bring it out in me. Right now there is one band that has kept me going on book three of the Executioner Trilogy. Starset has become my muse.
What’s part of your history as a writer/creator are you the most proud of?
One of my favorite parts of my history as a writer has been my creation of Burning Willow Press. I am so proud of how far we have come. We have released our first book and our second comes out February 7th, and we have a total of 5 authors, 4 of whom have a series that we will be publishing. That and the publication of my first book. I saw my book in print for the first time that someone bought and I was so giddy with excitement I couldn’t sit still.
What are you most looking forward to as a creator?
I look the most forward to hearing that others love the world and characters I have created. As a writer it’s not about the sale. It’s about knowing others love what you’ve created just as much, if not more, than you do. I have a beta reader who has read the first two books in the Executioner Trilogy who I bounce ideas off of and hearing him say how much he loves them makes me feel like I chose the right path.
What gets you to create things?
I’m not sure what causes me to begin creating, but I get a spark of an idea and I have to go with it. I can’t leave it alone until I feel it’s finished. I have to say the story of the Executioner won’t be finished after book three. I have opened up a whole new world I’m going to be exploring quite a lot more.
What would you say your balance between writing and the business side of writing?
I am the most passionate about the writing side, but I have found with my company I absolutely love to talk shop. Now I feel equally passionate about the business side and the writing side of the industry. I try to focus on each side equally, which I think I have succeeded at.
What, do you feel, was your biggest failure as a writer? How did you come back from that?
My biggest failure? Well, I wouldn’t call this my biggest failure per say. Mostly a setback. I was with a publishing company who changed their business model, no longer offering print versions of books. I dissolved my contract and began Burning Willow Press and now I have eBook and print, both in wide distribution. I tell people I didn’t fail. I just came back better and stronger than before.
What project that you’ve completed do you most wish people would check out? Why should they?
As of right now the only project I have out is the first book of the Executioner Trilogy and I do really hope people feel the need to check it out. I have been told it’s a mix of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not only this, but my main character is like a female version of Dean Winchester. I was very happy to hear this. If the characters don’t draw you in, the storyline sure would. We have huge plans for this so everyone should pick up a copy.
Kindra Sowder was born and raised in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA until the age of 12, when her family moved to Spartanburg, SC. She graduated from high school in 2006 with full honors and as a member of her high school Literary Club and the Spanish Honor Society. In January 2014, she graduated with her second degree in Psychology, earning her an AA and BA in the field. She began to write long before this though, forming the basis for the Executioner Trilogy (being released in January 2015) at the age of 15. She got married to her husband Edd Sowder in May 2014 and still lives in Spartanburg, SC where she is basing Burning Willow Press.