How did you become a writer?
I started writing when I was twelve and published a small newsletter throughout high school. I independently published my first novel, the western A Man Called Outlaw when I was twenty. But I didn’t really take it seriously as a business until my next book, the medieval historical Behold the Dawn, came out three years later. And now, here I am having published my fourth novel! Storming, my action-adventure aviation novel about a barnstorming pilot in 1920 came out over a year ago.
Stories are like breathing. Life without a story in my head is one-dimensional, stagnant, vapid. I love the life God has given me, but I think I love it better because I’m able to live out so many other lives on the page. I’m more content to be who I am because I’m not trapped in that identity. When I sit down at my computer and put my fingers on the keys, I can be anyone or anything, at any time in history. I write because it’s freedom.
Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).
As a novelist, I am inspired by countless excellent authors and filmmakers. Specifically, Brent Weeks’s epicness, Margaret Atwood’s prose, and Patrick O’Brian’s sheer genius speak to me and urge me on. As a blogger, I’m inspired by the professionalism and creativity of people such as Joanna Penn, Porter Anderson, and Jody Hedlund.
I love reading authors who are masters of characterization, adept with subtext, and players with their prose. Authors who can put all the puzzle pieces of a story together seamlessly always have something to teach me.
When and where do you write?
It depends on what part of the process I’m immersed in. When I’m outlining, I work longhand in a notebook, which means I can go on the run, away from my computer. Weather permitting, I will go outside.
Right now, I’m in the middle of drafting, so I stay close to the computer, where I can use Scrivener.
Generally, late afternoons are my go-to writing time—from 4-6. I like to save writing until the end of my day to give me something to look forward to.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently in the editing stage on a historical superhero novel called Wayfarer, which is set in Regency England. Having a lot of fun with that!
I’ve also just started the first draft for the sequel to my portal fantasy Dreamlander. It will be called Dreambreaker and goes into what happens as the veil between our world and the world of dreams begins to rupture, and the former “Gifted” Chris Redston, now shorn of his abilities, must struggle back to his lost love, the fierce and conflicted Queen Allara, to help her overcome dangerous international intrigue and discover the truth about their still intertwined destinies—before a mysterious heretic can commit the ultimate abomination of permanently fusing the worlds.
I’m also getting ready to publish a workbook companion to my book Creating Character Arcs.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I like to say I don’t believe in writer’s block—but that is, of course, a bit disingenuous. We all get blocked—either on small plot problems from day to day or majorly when burnout hits. The trick is not making a monster of it. It’s just a mental (and sometimes emotional) challenge to be worked through.
I’ve never experienced long-term writer’s block. I get burned out occasionally, but I accept those times as opportunities to take a break and pamper my brain. It’s all part of the cycle of inspiration.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
If you can not write, don’t. Writing is a rich and rewarding lifestyle, but it can also be full of frustration and depression. If you don’t love what you’re doing so much that you’d do it even no one ever read you, much less paid you, then you may want to rethink subjecting yourself to the rigors of the lifestyle.
What’s your advice to new writers?
So many misconceptions surround the idea of plotting/outlining, and so many writers are afraid it will take the fun right out of writing. But outlining is a valuable and exciting part of the writing process. By planning the story ahead of time, we’re actually paving the way for an easier first draft, which helps us save time, which helps us write with less fear and stress, which helps us produce a better story. Outlining is about exploring everything from character backstory to theme to conflict to plot structure.
K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the IPPY, NIEA, and Lyra Award-winning and internationally published author of Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. She writes historical and speculative fiction from her home in western Nebraska and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.