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Nancy Kilpatrick

answers the Usual Questions

Writer Nancy Kilpatrick, photograph courtesy the author; 220x165

Nancy Kilpatrick

Nancy Kilpatrick is a Canadian-based author and editor. She writes dark fantasy, horror, mysteries and erotic horror, under her own name, her nom de plume Amarantha Knight, and her newest pen name Desirée Knight.

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Interaction with fans affects my writing and editing--and my life in general--in the sense that readers become real to me and not just abstractions. They are people who tell me what the work has meant to them, and I value that. Writers (and editors) work alone for the most part and it's difficult to know how people perceive what we do until we hear from them, read reviews, or actually meet them. The meetings are the best because it's face to face, a reality check that usually enriches me. But I have to say I've never written or changed anything because a fan has said they wanted this or that.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

There are several, but the most outstanding for me came after I had published my first novel in the Power of the Blood series in the early 1990s. Near Death came out in paperback from Pocket Books and it was everywhere. I'd had lots of good reviews and lots of kind comments from readers. Then one day I received a letter (it was the 1990s and people still wrote letters on paper!) It was from a young man who had found a well-worn copy in a box of trash on the street and the cover of Near Death intrigued him. He took it home and read it.

He had to write to me because this was the first book he'd read in his life. He said he was a shy person and back in school had fudged things by scanning synopses of stories and novels because he didn't like to read. He was so touched by Near Death and so enlivened by the story that it opened a whole world of reading to him and he realized it wasn't that he didn't like to read, he just didn't like to read the type of books schools usually foist onto students. He was so grateful for this fantastical realm that had reached in and sparked his imagination to life that he went out and bought the next book in this world and said he was eager to read other writers. I felt so honored by this, that a chance encounter with my book had opened this person to wondrous experiences to come.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

I have many favorites but two I have liked are Patrick Suskind's novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, and everything written by J.D. Salinger. Salinger, read in my youth, twigged me to the idea that I could write what I wanted to write, even if it was 'weird'. Suskind, the German author (translated), has a strong existential bent (and I've read a lot of the existentialists). He excels with sensory description that leaves the normal range and ignites the imagination.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Hard to say. Someone intelligent, handsome or beautiful, a creative thinker, an emotional person with a sense of humor and a belief in spirit...anyone who fits that description!

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Conversely, anyone ugly of spirit, mind and/or body--the one reflected in the others. I don't like rigid thinking, mini-dictators, stupid and stubborn people and those who take everything so seriously they can't crack a smile. Anyone who is prone to violence, either physical or mental, and someone who feels hopeless about things and has no energy to try to change. All this would bore and/or enrage me on a day-to-day basis, so, get off my space ship! LOL

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

Bloody Caesars (an alcoholic drink found only in Canada!). I'd need cases and cases of those. My cat. A computer, so I could keep writing, even if it was only for myself.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I want to introduce people to new ideas, new ways of thinking and being, to their emotions and the scope of them. I honestly believe writing opens doors of the mind, heart and soul, and that readers should come away enriched by what they've read. I've been enriched by books, and I'd like to give others that experience through my work.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

I find the beginning idea exciting, and am very satisfied when the work is completed. Between those two there is a lot of labor that sometimes goes smoothly, sometimes not, but is always interesting to me. There are stories and novels where things have 'clicked' into place, almost gifts from my unconscious when I've struggled with what to do, where to go next, when I've felt the story seemed to be becoming a bit stale and I needed something fresh. My unconscious always helps me out with the writing (and with other things) and I'm amazed by this little-known but magical realm.

submitted by Nancy Kilpatrick

1 September 2013

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Just the facts:
Born: Yes, I was born. No one was more surprised than me by this event. That was in Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Resides: I've lived in Canada more than 1/2 my life and have resided in Toronto, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Toronto and am now back in Montreal. I like all these cities and I've travelled all over this country and love it. The only other place I might love to live is England.
Bibliography/Awards: I've published 18 novels, over 200 short stories, 6 collections of stories, 1 non-fiction book, and have edited 13 anthologies. I've also written lots of non-fiction articles and reviews for various magazines and newspapers, plus co-wrote one stage play, and edited a CD-ROM. I've been a Bram Stoker finalist 5 times, an Aurora Award finalist 6 times, I've won the Arthur Ellis Award, won the Paris Book Festival Award (for anthology) and won the Foreword Book Award for my newest collection Vampyric Variations. I've also won a few other awards from small publications like The Standing Stone, winner of best short story of the year.

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