Wordy Wednesday with Kate Coe

I love meeting (in a virtual sense) new authors each week. The questions I ask are mostly similar but I chop and change a bit to keep things interesting - if you think there is a burning issue that authors should be asked about - pop over to my Twitter or Facebook and let me know! I'm happy to add a question or two from my lovely blog readers.

This week I can introduce to you Kate Coe who, in her own words is "a writer, DIY’er, RPG’er and GM, bookworm, crafter and geek". She talks code as happily as she talks classical history, she knows how to tile a bathroom (makes note of this for future), and also makes excellent cookies (adds to previous notes). She lives in an old pub with an engineer and a Linux geek, and she doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. Kate still jumps in leaf piles.

So Kate tell us about your books:
My current genre is best described as “sparkpunk”; think magic and Renaissance technology! The basic starting point for it was “What if magic was just another job? How would that world cope with the advance of technology?” And then I get to combine Mages and flying machines, a love story and a war, electricity and fire magic...and after that it was just a case of following different characters as they bounce around the world. The GreenSky series has ten books, of which two are published - the third, High Flight and Flames, is due out this summer, and the rest are scheduled over the next two years. They’re novellas so nice and short, and they’ve been described as easy reads; I’m a character writer so I don’t tend to get bogged down in description - I make the readers do all the imagination work!

I also write fantasy, fiction, fanfiction, erotica and general madness...I’m working on an urban fiction and a sci-fi story, both of which are best described as “in progress”, along with the next section of the GreenSky series (a trilogy of novels). I also blog over at writingandcoe.co.uk - mostly about writing and gaming, but I also do book reviews and general stuff that crosses my mind.

Do you have another job or are you a full time author?
I am a part-time librarian, and I also moonlight as a submissions reader, editor, copy-editor, proof-reader and web developer for Grimbold Books. I’d like to be an international spy but having your name on the front cover of a highly-publicised bit of paper is apparently not part of the 007-image :-(

Contrary to popular belief, librarians don’t spend all their time reading books (and we don’t say “shhhh!” either!) but I love the job as information literacy is a passion of mine - I love being able to help people understand how to find information and get the most out of whatever topic they’re exploring, and I actually enjoy shelving too! There’s something very satisfying about the mindlessness of putting books in the right place.

With regards my moonlighting job, I absolutely love it - for all that it’s really hard work! I love editing work and reading books, love seeing how things come together and change, and I love the chance to read other writers before they’re published. It’s a nice change to my author side, so I get the best of both worlds.

When did you start writing?
I’ve always made up stories! My Aunt tells me that when I was about seven, I asked her how many worlds she had in her head...she had to break the news to me that not everyone had other worlds they lived in! The GreenSky series came out of ideas I’ve been collecting since forever and a story I started writing when I was about 14, and I’ve just continued from there.

What 3 things are guaranteed to make you smile?
Jellybeans; getting my hands on a new book (either as a reader or a librarian); and writing a really good scene between my two favourite snarky characters.

Do you have any pets? If yes, what, and do they help or hinder the writing process?
We have two cats and a bearded dragon! One of the cats is usually kind enough to curl up next to me, but the other is a master of the “wriggle in and expand to have all the lap space”, in addition to not entirely getting the “please don’t tread on my keyboard!” thing. He is, however, very adorable and sounds like a broken two-stroke engine when he purrs, so he’s usually forgiven. The beardie is probably the easiest pet to write with, as she either just ~watches~ or will sit happily on my shoulder.

Who is your favourite author? Do they influence your writing or are they a total break from the sort of thing you write?
Diane Wynne Jones is my absolute favourite to read, but the person I most admire is China Mieville; I’d love to be able to write like him! I tend to read fantasy and sci-fi so my reading does mirror my writing, but I’m lucky in that I don’t get visibly influenced (I hope). I do also read crime, historical fiction and nonfiction, information discovery, occasional romance and erotica...so my reading tastes are fairly eclectic.

Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
Oh dear...I have a list! I read silly fast, so if I’m trying I can go through 3-4 books a week. I’m currently neck-deep in submissions thanks to Grimbold Books’ slush pile, so most of my reading is the unofficial type. At the time of writing, I’m officially reading Bloodmage by Steve Aryan, The Magicians by Lev Grossman and I’ve just finished One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron on my Kindle, but that list is subject to change almost daily.

Where do you do most of your writing?
Usually on a sofa with a laptop; the sofa occasionally changes (we have five to choose from in our house and I occasionally steal a friend’s or my aunt’s) but the laptop is a faithful Lenovo that has survived two years so far. I do also have a desk and a windowsill, which I use whenever the cats deign to vacate them.

Tell us about the character that you've written that you like the most - no spoilers!
Toru Idalin is my absolute favourite; he turns up in Green Sky and Sparks so that’s not a spoiler! He’s wilful, arrogant, self-centred, something of a mechanical genius, and so much fun to write. I also tend to have favourites from each book I’m writing; currently it’s Zack Rezian from Bright Spark (GreenSky book 10), who is a slimy weasel and fairly outclassed by his current environment, much as he’d like to think he isn’t...

What is your favourite biscuit?
Jaffa cake! (Does that count as a biscuit? You can dip it in tea, so I think it counts). Does anyone else eat the chocolate and then eat the orange bit and then eat the cake? (I'm going to have a whole post on authors and jaffa cakes, I can sense it)

Tea or Coffee?
Tea! I try to only have one or two cups of caffeine-tea a day, so I’ll have a lot of fruit tea. I do like coffee, but the caffeine tends to make me bounce off the walls...

In the film of your life who would play you? (why)
I’ve been told I look like Liv Tyler (flattering but likely untrue) so I’d probably opt for Zooey Deschanel, partly because I think there’s a very slight resemblance and partly just because I like her as an actress/singer/general weird person!

If you could genetically cross an animal and a vegetable, what would you pick and why? I like the idea of a tiger and a pear, if it took too long stalking you it would be all soft and squishy by the time it attacked.
I think manatees are sort-of marshmallow anyway, but that doesn’t really count as a vegetable… (I live with a vegetarian so I know this stuff!). I think a snake crossed with a cucumber would be hilarious. They’d have to lurk in the shade so they didn’t go squishy, and a green and knobbly snake would be awesome! They’d probably be more chilled out, too. The snakes I’ve met tend to be a bit needy.

You can get your very own copy of Kate's books via Amazon
Green Sky and Sparks is at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/190984571X (paperback) and http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ZCQFWUA (Kindle)
Grey Stone and Steel is at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1909845906 (paperback) and http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B018ANVCLO (Kindle)

Kate blogs at www.writingandcoe.co.uk, and can be found on twitter at @writingandcoe.
Big thanks to Kate and for you all for reading, keep thinking about books, words, biscuits and animal vegetables..until next week...