A bit about Kaz:
KS Augustin is a Malaysian-born writer of science-fiction, romance, and permutations of the two. She also dabbles in fantasy and contemporary action romances from time to time. She has been nominated for a CAPA award and has been a Spectrum award finalist. She has visited, lived or worked in the UK,
North America, Australia, and has now settled back in south-east Asia so she and her husband can draw breath and the kids can manage to get some education in.
Also travelling with them, with species-appropriate passports, are their two fur-shedding cats, Fluff and Squeak, and their irrepressible miniature bull terrier, Sausage.
And now to our interview:
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. – please share your public links.
My website is http://www.ksaugustin.com And I have an opinionated blog, called “Fusion Despatches”, at http://blog.ksaugustin.com where, quite unfashionably, I tend to discuss politics … but that’s only because I love the topic so much! Given enough time, I’m sure my blog will end up offending pretty much everyone in the world, so you’ve been warned.
Tell us about your writing – What genre do you prefer to write? What books, stories, other publications that you’ve written are your personal favorites? Anything new coming up?
My first love was, and still is, science-fiction. I tend to read right across the genre from social sf to hard to slipstream, although my favourite is space opera, so I suppose it isn’t any surprise that I tend to write space opera romance the most. While I love a good space battle as much as the next geek girl, I always thought that a bit more characterisation and interpersonal dynamics in my favourite novels would go a long way, which explains why I add romance to the mix.
I’m sure someone has already said that wherever you go, you always take yourself with you, so why would it be any different in the future or in another galaxy? You always take yourself with you–brain, heart, wishes, regrets, yearnings. Everything else is an extension of yourself, and engagement (whether positive or negative) is when an extension of one person or group meets an extension of another. Technology is merely one channel through which such engagement can play out, but it’s not the only one.
And indeed, I do have something new coming out. Carina Press is the new digital-first imprint of Harlequin Enterprises and I am extremely pleased to have a novel of mine as part of their June launch. ENEMY HANDS is a hard sf romance that covers stellar mechanics, politics, a bit of pharmacology and–of course!–romance between a brilliant physicist and the savant she falls in love with. I hope there’s something there for everyone, but we’ll see.
What about you as a person? What do you do to relax? Favorite movies or tv shows? Hobbies?
I mostly read to relax. And I also love kite-flying. To me, there’s nothing quite so exhilarating as harnessing something you have no control over (the wind) to make something you do (the kite) do what you want it to do.
I also cook. I love cooking, I adore cooking, although I don’t have enough time to do much of it. In our library at home, we must have at least 200 cookbooks and I sit down and read through them in much the same way as I read a novel, from start to finish. I find it exceedingly relaxing. And it helps that my husband and children are happy to act as my guinea pigs.
What gets your creative juices going? Do you write to music, and do you want to share your playlist?
I think I’m in the minority on this one, in that I tend to appreciate silence, but I also think that’s a holdover from my martial arts days. You can’t be aware of what’s happening around you if there’s music blaring out of several loudspeakers and writing, by itself, is distracting enough. If you’re talking musical tastes, then I listen to everything, from opera to techno. However, there is one sub-genre I never, ever listen to and that’s Country & Western. I just can’t get into it.
All writers must have cats, especially if they write fantasy or speculative fiction.” Do you have a stand on this one?
Ah yes, I think cats are favoured because they’re lower maintenance than dogs. We have both: two cats called Fluff and Squeak and a mini bull-terrier called Sausage. Each type of animal has its own characteristics that make it quite lovable. I occasionally have updates on our pets in my blog but not often enough, or so I’ve been told.
There are lots of organisations around for aspiring writers, and they even span national boundaries. The constraining factor is that you have to have access to an Internet connection in order to fully leverage the information and resources out there. To be honest, I may not be the best person to ask about such things. I sold my first novella in almost complete isolation in 2006. It was only after we left the USA that I discovered thriving writer communities in and around San Francisco. And it was only after we left Australia that I discovered the same about speculative fiction writers in Australia. I’m sure the same thing will play out after we leave Malaysia. I always tend to be behind the curve like that!
Having said that, the best advice I can share about writing is that, if you want to make a living at it, it’s not enough to be JUST a writer. You have to be able to run your own small business, and that means self-discipline, multi-tasking, organisation and planning skills, and so on. And you have to realise that there’s always something out there you need to know that you haven’t learnt about already.
What writers inspired you to become an author?
I still clearly remember reading “A Martian Odyssey” by Stanley Weinbaum as a child, and being mesmerised by it. Henry Kuttner, Isaac Asimov, Harry Harrison, Ray Bradbury, EE ‘Doc’ Smith, Eric Frank Russell, they were all wonderful and still are. I got made fun of at school for reading a book entitled “The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World”. Female high-school students didn’t read books with such titles, but it didn’t worry me too much. *That* place was where I wanted to be–ravening beams of destruction, conflicts in the oceans of Venus, high-jinks across the galaxy, interstellar puns. Why would I want to be in school where people made fun of me because I wore glasses and had different-coloured skin? I think science-fiction saved my sanity then, and I’m forever grateful to it for doing so.
Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
It’s difficult being a writer living literally on the other side of the world to North America. I often feel that I’m missing out on lots of opportunities to connect with potential readers. But still, with the interconnectedness of most of the world today, the situation is a lot better than it used to be.
For the latest news, best to read my blog and I’m always available via email at ks [at] ksaugustin [dot] com.
Many thanks for stopping by, Kaz and good luck with your book!