Interview with Katherine Luck

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1. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your entry for this contest?

I've always been a fan of the noir aesthetic, both in film and in books like Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye. At the same time, I love stories that blend genres. I played around with the conventions of YA and magical realism in my 2018 novel, The Cure for Summer Boredom, and merged the memoir genre with crime fiction in my latest book, False Memoir. The idea of combining fantasy and noir was irresistible. And it turned out that centaurs, minotaurs, and other mythical beasts from ancient Greece were right at home in an urban, hardboiled detective setting straight out of the gritty 1930s.

2. What made you decide to enter this contest?

I'd been toying around with the idea of writing in the fantasy genre, which lies pretty far outside my usual reading and writing sphere. This was a great way to experiment with the tropes and conventions.

3. Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

I don't really have favorite authors, per se. I'm more of a promiscuous reader, I guess. I've been known to like Haruki Murakami, Katherine Dunn, Bill Bryson and old school V.C. Andrews, for example, but it's usually easier to sell me on a book based on the style, plot and characters, regardless of who wrote it. Actually, there's one exception: Dorothy Parker. I'll read anything she penned, up to and including a grocery list.

4. What is your favourite book you read this year and why?

That's a tough one! I think it's a toss-up between Hayden Herrera's excellent biography of Frida Kahlo, Frida, and Authority, the second book in Jeff Vandermeer's "Southern Reach" trilogy. The worst book I read this year was Tender Wings of Desire, the godawful Kentucky Fried Chicken marketing department romance novel. If you can get your hands on a copy of any of the three, you won't regret reading 'em!

5. What is your best piece of advice for all the new independent authors out there?

If you're getting that "I'm sick of working on this. It's close enough!" feeling about your draft, do not just "put it up on Amazon." That feeling is the sign that it's time to ask someone else to take a look at it. They'll tell you if it really is "close enough," or if it's missing the mark by miles. Note that the opposite advice applies to seasoned indies! Once you've got a few books under your belt, you can trust your instincts and stop fiddling when you sense that you've done everything that needs to be done to perfect your book.