10 Questions with Kim Jackways
Kim is a freelance copywriter and dreamer based in the rolling plains of Canterbury. She was born in New Zealand and loves travelling to far-off places, mostly in her mind. After a massive earthquake, she and her family spent a year speaking French (badly) and exploring the South of France. The cobbled streets and vivid history spurred her to start writing. Her fiction has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Best Small Fictions and Takahē Magazine.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you call home and what do you write?
I currently live in the Canterbury Plains, but have lived in different places from Dunedin, New Zealand to Bordeaux in France. I write historical and speculative fiction stories, and love the challenge of flash fiction.
2. What drew you to that particular style/format/genre?
I started writing when we lived in France and I wanted to tell the stories that are left out of the history books. Behind every great battle or historical event throughout time, there are scores of women and children living their lives. More recently, I've started writing witchy fiction and it is so much fun that I haven't stopped!
3. What are you currently working on?
I've just finished Boundless Magic, my second novella in the Redferne Witches series, so I'm starting in on the third one. These are light, often funny witchy stories set in contemporary New Zealand about an empath witch, who is a marketing professional, and her neighbour who makes beautiful wooden chests. I'm also writing a novel for young adults.
4. What inspired you to write it?
During the lockdown in 2020, a group of kiwi authors decided to write uplifting stories to cheer ourselves up (and hopefully the readers too). The stories all had to have a witch as a main character and be set in Aotearoa New Zealand. We had a lot of fun writing these and reading each others' stories during the process. Through the lens of magic, we can explore characters who may not usually be centred, like those with anxiety, or chronically ill.
5. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a plotter, panster or somewhere in between? How do you research?
I've always been a pantser, making the story up as I go along, but I've recently discovered great books like Take Off Your Pants which really resonate with me. I might be turning into a planner! Research is another thing. The first book I wrote (which hasn't been published yet) was set in 18th century France so I'd go down all these little rabbit holes and find the most interesting information. It was so difficult to find out what women were actually doing, what did they care about, what did they eat? I basically spent the first two years finding out enough information to get a picture of the time and place and the next two years writing the story.
6. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you’ve researched for your writing?
I found chatelaines pretty interesting. They were a chain worn around the waist in the 18th and 19th centuries. The woman of the house would have made a jangling sound when she walked, since they could hang a watch, keys and other small accessories, like scissors, from it.
7. What books are on your bedside table right now?
Like my writing, I tend to read a few different things at once. I'm currently reading How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, since I absolutely loved The Midnight Library. I'm halfway through A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H G Parry and I just finished Binti by Nnedi Okarafor.
8. Last and most important, where can we find your books/stories?
Brand of Magic, Book 1 in the Redferne Witches can be found here in paperback and here in ebook. Boundless Magic will be released on April 13th, 2021. I have stories in Oceans and Ancients from Black Hare Press, Jingle Spells: Witchy Christmas Stories, The Best Small Fictions 2019 and Takahē Magazine 99.
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