Pantsers Unite - Katherine Gilbert
I caught up with author Katherine Gilbert, author of quirkily humorous urban fantasy, on the cusp of her latest release. Settle down with a cup of tea to hear all about writer's inspiration and what we love most about our characters.
Hey Katherine! Alright, tell me about your new project.
More in Heaven and Earth is a series of quirkily-humorous urban and contemporary fantasies all set in the same magical universe filled with angels, witches, werewolves, demons, vampires, ghosts, and many other supernatural creatures. They can be read either in order or as stand-alones and will introduce the reader to a variety of fascinating characters throughout its many unique locales.
Quirkily humorous, eh, sounds like we have a lot in common! Tell me more about these settings.
There's an apartment complex for paranormals in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia (in Protecting the Dead), a paranormal police force solving a mystery in London, England (in Unearthly Remains), a creepy family home which wants to steal the heroine's soul in Charleston, South Carolina (in Moonlight, Magnolias, and Magic), a lightning girl and a nature witch boy who work together to solve a mystery in Jekyll Island and Savannah, Georgia (in Cursed in White), a magical town with too many secrets in a hidden side of Salem, Massachusetts (in A Wild Conversion), and a group of kidnapped angels, gods, and goddesses trying to find a way out of their predicament in an abandoned theater in Washington, DC, with occasional forays to the British Museum and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, among other places (in Children of the Gods).
Where do you get your inspiration?
It varies. A story such as the one in the paranormal apartment complex was actually inspired by going apartment hunting with my sister. The apartment in one of the complexes was just a little too creepy, and, when we asked our guide about the residents, we were told, "Oh, our residents never leave." Somehow, in that apartment, we got the feeling she might be right. Other stories were inspired by bits of dreams which just seemed too fascinating not to start writing and see where they went.
I love how it feels to write my characters as they lead me around where THEY want to go. How about you?
I adore all my characters and love spending time with them. Since I'm a complete "pantser" (rather than a plotter), I have to write to see where the story goes, and I'm often giggling, smiling, shedding a small tear, or occasionally just saying out loud, "Really?!" over where they take me. In the end, the story knows where it's going, even when I'm clueless. I'm just along for the ride.
I'm a pantser too! Or, rather, it feels more like I'm watching or discovering the story as it rolls out around me.
I totally understand the pantser thing. I was just struck over the head by the first scene of a novel I've had the general idea of for a while, but it demanded to be written NOW.
Alright - any tips for writers?
As Toni Morrison once said (not that she at all had my sort of fiction in mind), you should write the stories you want to read. The world in mine often has characters whose pasts were difficult or scarring but who find love, compassion, friendship, and humor in those who truly cherish them and help them heal. It's a world of kindness which exists all too little but one where I'll at least happily spend my mental time.
Children of Gods is out 1st March 2021. I have not been paid for this interview; I just really like Katherine!