Amazing Stories Magazine Interview
Steve Davidson for Amazing Stories: Hello Kaitlyn. Greetings from Amazing Stories and congratulations on your book!
Kaitlyn McKnight: Hello Mr. Steve and Amazing Stories Magazine.
ASM: Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you live, what you’re doing in school? Help us to get to know you a little.
KM: I am a military brat born in Mississippi. I enjoy school, my family, my friends, and I still like to play outside a lot. This is my senior year of school and I will be attending The University of Southern Mississippi next fall (Aug 2015) I have already been accepted. I will be 16 and one of the youngest students on campus.
ASM: I would imagine that you’ve always been a reader (most authors are); can you share some of your favorite reads?
KM: Books that capture my attention the most are always mysterious or magical. I enjoyed Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, and Star Wars by George Lucas.
ASM: What inspired you to write you own story, and why did you choose to write a novel instead of, for instance, poetry or short stories?
KM: Everything started as a class assignment to write a one-page creative story. As I was writing, that one page turned into two pages, then three pages, and before I knew it I had over ten pages. From there, the ideas just kept coming to me so I kept on writing and it developed into an actual brilliant idea for a book. But I also enjoy writing short stories. I don’t do poems because I think they are much harder, so I leave them for the experts.
ASM: What was your writing process? Did you plot the whole thing out at the beginning? Did you write every day? Did you have any first readers? How did you go about revisions?
KM: In the beginning I did write just about every day because the ideas kept coming so I continued to put it down on paper. And it all started to come together fairly quickly and it became a personal project that no one knew about. My story only came to light when my older sister was using my laptop and saw the file. Of course she could not resist opening it and reading it. Once she did that I also shared it with my mom and dad. As for revision, I was twelve years old when I wrote it, so there were some grammatical corrections and editing that took the book from 250 pages down to 204 pages.
ASM: It seems that at least some of the story is based on adventures with friends. Did you find it easy or hard to use people you know as the basis for characters?
KM: I didn’t have any friends or real people to base the book or any of the characters. I wrote the book from a twelve-year-old little boy’s point of view. So the characters are all magical in their own way. And all the adventures are highly unique but I think people will appreciate the stretch of my imagination. It’s always easier to make it up as I go along because anything can take place in my imagination.
ASM: How did it feel when you saw the actual printed book for the first time?
KM: I was very happy; I remember it just like yesterday. The book was handed directly to me from the printer and I had a very very big grin on my face (my parents had motioned for them to hand me the book first). It was a wonderful feeling.
ASM: Are science fiction and fantasy your favorite genres? Do you have others?
KM: I really love fantasy and science fiction because it requires a lot of imagination and you have to put a lot of thought into creating a story that is different. Plus, it has to appeal to young and adult readers and that’s really hard to do with books.
ASM: Are there any authors who particularly inspire you or who you’ve tried to model your work after?
KM: I respect all authors across the board in every category because they all have great skills in order to write books. It’s not easy to write a book. But I want to be unique and stand out with my own ideas and writing.
ASM: Are you continuing to write? Is there a sequel in the works? (If so, can you give us some detail?)
KM: Yes, there are sequels to Zodiac Saga.
ASM: Is your ambition to be a novelist, or is this just one of many talents?
KM: Writing is what I like to do. It challenges my mind to be creative. Ultimately I can see myself writing for TV shows, movies, newspapers, magazines… I would also like to produce and direct. As for talent I play piano, violin, and guitar but I would rather say these are hobbies and not necessarily talents, I am an amateur.
ASM: Has it been easy to work with your parents on this project?
KM: Yes, my mom, dad, and sister are the best. They give me all the tools I need to do research on my ideas and they support me all the way. They have sacrificed a lot to get me to this point.
ASM: If I said that most people your age prefer not to read and most of them don’t write anything other than a text message or a tweet, what do you think about that?
KM: My generation is highly charged on technology and I am too. But I use it to make quick notes when ideas come to me no matter where am at I can record my thoughts. I think it’s all about how you use it. It’s just a convenience at your finger tip that’s all.
ASM: What would people be surprised to know about you?
KM: I like playing in the rain.
ASM: Favorite color?
ASM: Favorite TV Show?
KM: Adventure Time
ASM: Favorite thing to do to relax?
KM: Reading puts me to sleep when I need it.
ASM: Favorite place?
KM: Without a doubt my room. It’s my own little space.
ASM: Favorite subject?
KM: English, but I also like to do science experiments.
KM: You’re welcome, and thank you for the interview!
ASM: I’m sure that we’ll be seeing a lot more from Kaitlyn, be it more fiction or some other astonishing accomplishment, but this is definitely one young woman who is going places.
Black Pearl Magazine Interview
BPM: Tell us about your most recent work? Is this book available on Nook and Kindle?
Zodiac Saga 1 is my first book written at 12-years-old. There are 2 sequels to follow. It is only available in print.
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters or speakers. What makes each one so special? The main character, Cyrus O’Hara, is a 12-year-old little boy who believes in magic and Zodiac gods. Because of this belief, he is called the zodiac kid and bullied daily at school. Other characters include: his brother Peter the great, the fearless Sofia, Witch Greta and her crystal ball, the frightening metal beast Azznic, Snake-y Von Tomb the keeper of evil doers, Gertrude and Garner workers for the under-world, the alluring daughter of Virgo, Mercy and her magical cat, and the bully himself, the ghoulish Judas. And of course, the Zodian gods who are also known as the Elders of Zodia, and the Sacred Twelve. They are the keepers of the universe.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
Well, I didn’t set out to write a book originally. I was given a class assignment to write a short two-page creative story. I liked the idea of Zodiac signs. The ideas just kept coming, and I continued to write them down into the story. And voila, it turned into my first book.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Just being able to write anything from my imagination was great. I didn’t have to do real research. I just used my imagination. I was limitless in what the Zodiac gods could do and be like. When it’s from my imagination, anything is possible.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from? Are your books plot-driven or character-driven? Why?
I am not really driven by a specific plot. I like magic and mystery. So, it’s just whatever pops into my mind.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
I guess I could say maybe Cyrus, because there is a serious bullying problem in many schools. And the book redefines how we decide who our friends are and who our family really is.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
Well, I like to travel and I believe in a higher power. So I have that in common with the book.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Oh, yes, the most important lesson was edit, edit, edit, edit, and edit some more. I also learned that the original material may not always be in the end result.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I didn’t do research per se for Zodiac Saga. As for people, I guess Cyrus is based from myself rather than someone I knew or met. We were both twelve and like magic.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My original goal was just to complete my class assignment. Needless to say, I went above and beyond the required two pages. So I was pretty happy.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am getting Zodiac Saga 2 ready for print. I have gotten a lot of questions for what happens next at the end of Zodiac Saga 1. So I am working hard in my spare time, but my focus is mostly on my classes at USM.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work? Share all of your social media links. Just go to my websites, and you can find new stuff and contact me directly from the websites. www.kaitlynmcknight.com and www.zodiacsaga.com