Interview with Emily Kendy

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do! My mom had it framed. It was before I could read or write. I guess I saw handwriting somewhere and got a bit excited by the concept so I handwrote jibberish across all the lines of a loose leaf piece of paper. My mom thought it was beautiful. Looking back, I think I must have a mild form of aspergers or I'm obsessive compulsive. Perhaps a bit of both.
What is your writing process?
It bugs me when I hear writers say things like "it's very important to write every day." I don't believe that what works for one person should be a blanket instruction for all writers everywhere. Do what works for you so long as you do it - that's my only blanket instruction: just write. If you write, you'll get to where you want to go. My process varies. I've tried everything - from writing all night blitzed out in front of a computer, to writing in airports sober and in longhand. I've found that sobriety has helped my writing, which doesn't say much about my genius. I've been reading a Leonard Cohen autobiography lately and I had no idea how much drugs that guy did, it literally never occurred to me that someone with such lucid thoughts on love could be such a psychotic mess. But many of the greats could do both. I thought, for five minutes in my 20s, that I could too. Nope.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. The Secret World Of Og, by Pierre Burton. That book blew off the doors of my little mind and was like, "Imagination." Mic drop. Seriously, I recommend that book to all parents, and encourage them to do what my mom did - read to your kids at night from books beyond their age level. They may not get all of it, but it will expand their world in the best way. I don't remember if I read Og, or my mom read it to me, but I remember the world that was created in my head. It's still there all these years later, and when I think of it, I can catch a glimpse of that innocent excitement of discovery.
How do you approach cover design?
I don't, I hired a designer. Hell no, I'm not going to attempt something like that on my own. Whenever I try something on Indesign it ends up looking like a poop emoji. Only not as happy.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
No way! No way I could pick five. Besides, my taste changes - what I would choose now wouldn't be what I would have chosen ten years ago - but those books, like Bucket Nut, Observatory Mansions, African Safari Papers, Middlesex, and Geek Love still mean a lot to me too. Today, they would have to include George Orwell, he will always be one of my favourite writers. Maybe I would pick Homage to Catalonia. Also Irving Stone would be included. I think I have all of his books. I was in Portland, Oregon a couple of years ago and went to Powell's Bookstore. There was a shelf of his books and I just clotheslined them all into my shopping basket. I would say Irving Stone may just be my favourite writer of all time, and his books are epic masterpieces. If I were to choose one, it would be The Origin. I would also have to add Lev Grossman's Magicians trilogy to the list now too. I don't think there will ever be a writer funnier than Mr. Grossman. I bow down. And because of course I love women writers too, The Essence Of The Thing by Madeleine St. John was the book that sparked my desire to write one.
What do you read for pleasure?
I used to read strictly fiction, but the last few years I've been reading almost exclusively non-fiction. Biographies, real life stories, historical fiction; there's something deliciously juicy about the truth. I also enjoy magazines, and lately have had a hankering to get into graphic comics, though I'm not sure where to start there! Maybe with The Walking Dead. I read a lot online as well. Narrative.ly is one of the best out there for beautifully written real life stories on the web.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
This is really embarrassing, considering I just published an ebook but I don't actually have one! I'm getting a Kindle though, soon. I need a more portable option than books and gotta walk the talk.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
What She Left Behind was first published in print about seven years ago. I held a book launch at one of my favourite pubs and spent the next two years selling it from my barstool to friends and acquaintances. Given the amount of time I spent at the bar, I actually did a fairly good job of selling books myself. So, note to writers, drunks are the best audience to sell to. They may never read your book but they'll get behind you and are fairly loose with their money. This time around, I have a blog, and social media, the book is half the price, but it's been a slower uptake. Probably because everyone's sober and it's easier not to buy it when you don't have to look me in the eyes and say no.
Describe your desk
Haha! I have a writing desk, it's in my reading room, facing a window with a view of cedars and spruce along a West Coast estuary. Now, where do I write? Not there! Sadly. I have found that the places I have the most productivity are in public settings with lots of people around. So far, airports and Starbucks are my sweet spot.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Smithers, BC. It influenced my writing in that I've written many stories with settings are based there. It's part of who I am, and plays a big part in many of my characters stories. I write what I know, I guess, a bit by default. What is familiar to me is my first go-to. I wish I could write Game of Thrones stuff but I'm more based on the reality of my own experiences. And many of those took place in Smithers.
What's the story behind your latest book?
What She Left Behind is the story of a girl in her 20s who lives in a city, after having grown up in a small town, and is discovering the world. She's on a bit of a trajectory towards disaster, because she's very good at making very bad choices. She also has no asshole radar, so her choices in men are fairly painful. But she has a loveable and hilarious gay bestie who is her voice of reason and her devil's advocate. Together they rule the dark streets of Vancouver, making love to the night, and random strangers.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I spent 15 years believing that mainstream publishing was the only way to get validation as a writer. But after rejection became more bitter than disappointing, my perspective began to change. Especially as ebook publishing began to blossom. For many years, as an underground music journalist, I watched musicians live, love, and rock out on local stages night after night. I watched them pool their money to collaborate with cool destitute producers and create great garage-rock DIY hand-drawn art-covered albums. And they'd do it without thinking twice. At some point, I realized validation has nothing to do with it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords took work, but I am grateful for the platform, for the instruction of the guide and for the fact that it was so well written, straight forward, and - surprisingly - fun. I wouldn't have had the first clue about what to do in this forum, and they've offered a guide, from layouts, to distro, to marketing, to these interview questions. Thank-you!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I forget about the passage of time. When I come to, out of a paragraph, or a chapter, or a story line draft, and it takes me a moment to fall back into the real world. I love those moments.
What are you working on next?
It's written. It's a murder mystery based on the West Coast and inspired by a true story that my mom loves to tell about when she was hitchhiking in the 70s. It's going to be another several months at least, to get through rewrites though, but it's on the horizon.
Published 2015-09-21.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

What She Left Behind
Price: $7.00 USD. Words: 82,910. Language: English. Published: August 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Urban
(4.00)
A darkly funny tale of rock and roll obsessions, discovered in the back alleys of Vancouver's underground music scene by a journalism school drop out looking for love...