One of the things I enjoy most about SFF conventions is the chance they give me to meet and befriend cool people who share my enthusiasms. At WHOLanta 2017, I got to know Kaitlin Bevis, author of the Daughters of Zeus series of contemporary fantasy novels, and she graciously accepted my request for an interview.
My sanity. You may laugh, but I’m serious. As a child, I was all the time making up stories (read: lies) about my life or acting out scenes from my favorite books and shows with it changed the way I wanted it to go. As a teenager, writing gave me a way to channel that creativity without making up elaborate lies and overanalyzing classroom drama. As an adult, when I’m not writing enough, I feel it. I’m a happier, more balanced person who is far less prone to drama when I get my daily writing fix in.
I work really hard to make each of my protagonists strong in different ways. As women, especially teenage girls, the representation we see of ourselves in fiction is often one-note. We’re the nags, the temptress, purity personified, or the strong-female character ™. My version of Persephone is a typical naive, and morally a driven character. But she’s also terrified of conflict, self-conscious, self-righteous, and impulsive. Aphrodite’s her foil in virtually every way. Medea is right between them on the spectrum, and Otrera, Athena, Cassandra, Helen, and Artemis are on different characterization spectrums entirely. I also make a strong effort not to write girls in a vacuum. They work together, they communicate about things that aren’t men. While there are occasionally personality clashes, no one is pitted against one another. In everything I’ve written, published and otherwise, there’s been a strong sense of sisterhood. And yes, quite a few feminist undertones.
Revising. I love watching my work go from first draft crud to something slightly better, then slightly better, then slightly better, until I hit that “hey, this is really good,” eureka point. It’s such a huge feeling of accomplishment to see that progression happen every time.
My favorite author is Brandon Sanderson, but his writing hasn’t influenced mine much. His podcast, Writing Excuses, might have, but he and I write entirely different styles and genres. In terms of influence, the two writers who had the biggest impact on me are L.J Smith and Kelley Armstrong. The first because I read her books so much as a child they’ve encoded themselves in my writing brain. I have to do a read through just to make sure I didn’t accidentally quote her. The second because she rekindled my love for paranormal romance. I’ve structured my series a lot like the Women of the Otherworld series.
Practical, modern magic. I know it’s in a lot of books (I really wish I had the SPF charm from Kim Harrison’s series), but I never get tired of seeing magic used in innovative ways for a modern society.
Thinly disguised dominatrixes.