KC Burn Talks Books (and More!)

June 19, 2015

A big thank you to KC Burn, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.

First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I get a lot of comments about how much people like the O’Donnell family, so it might surprise people to know that my parents divorced when I was a teenager, I’m an only child, and my mother is emotionally and verbally abusive.

What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?

I knew when I was ten (1982) that I wanted to be an author. So, yes, a long process! I finished writing my first book in 1999, and it was terrible. But I kept at it. Writing M/M was almost an accident. I had a story planned out, but I realized the conflict between my characters would be stronger if the two characters were both men. So I wrote the book that way, had a lot of fun, and it ended up being the first book I published – in 2010.

Have you ever been asked to make a change to your manuscript that you really didn’t agree with?

Yes, but for minor changes, my editors have accepted the reasons why I didn’t want to make those changes. Right now, I’m working on a book where the editor asked for major changes. I didn’t agree at first, but I decided to give it a shot. I think it will end up a strong book, even though it’s not at all what I envisioned originally.

How much input do you have regarding your book covers?

It depends on the publisher. For all three of my publishers, I fill out a lengthy form that describes characters, settings, major themes, and significant images. But once the artist has created something? Only one of my publishers has allowed me to request changes to the draft image.

I have noticed that there are a lot of female writers and a lot of female readers. Why do you think that is?

According to the Romance Writers of  America (for US data, I assume) over 80% of the romance reader market is female. For M/M that is probably a little lower, but the fact is women are the primary readers of romance, whatever the sexual pairing, so it makes sense that they are also the primary writers of it.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to get past it?

I don’t know if I ever have writer’s block. I may not know where to take a particular storyline, but I always have ideas. For me, the problem is just sitting down in front of the computer. Sometimes, I just don’t want to. When that happens, I usually go see a movie or play board games with my husband. Get my mind moving in a different direction so I can come back refreshed.

I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?

Hahaha! I neglect my husband! But he’s very supportive, and he edits all my books. He knows how important writing is to me, and will often say – shouldn’t you be writing? My friends and family all know what I write, and I don’t have kids, so that helps. My husband also plays a lot of video games, so he’s usually happy to play games while I write.

Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one? 

I have a full time day job, so it’s easier for me to work on one book at a time. If I were a full time writer, I’d probably try to work on two at the same time.

Do you have a writing routine and how long does it take you on average to write a story?

The last year has been tough on me, so my schedule was all messed up. However, usually I try to write late afternoon/evening after I finish my day job. I have back problems, so I usually write 45-60 minutes at a time, then take a break to make dinner or do the dishes or spend time with my husband. I put in about 3 hours per 1000 words (writing, self-editing, polishing) so for a 60K word novel, it takes me about 180 hours, before I submit to my editor.

What is the hardest scene you ever had to write?

In my second sci-fi book, Alien ‚n’ Outlaw, one of the main characters is an alien. The first scene in his point of view was probably the hardest, because I had to make him believably non-human but still relatable to readers – who are all human!

If you could have a drink with any book’s fictional character who would it be? Why?

Amelia Peabody from Elizabeth Peters. Amelia Peabody is a female Egyptologist in the late 1800s, who ends up also being an amateur sleuth due to a number of murders that happen in her vicinity. I have always loved ancient Egypt, I love murder mysteries, and I love how she’s such a strong female character, acting against stereotype for that era. And she got to uncover a lot of buried treasure, too!

Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?

Although there are little bits of me in each of my characters, I don’t think any of them resemble me closely. I’m sort of boring – no one wants to read a book about that!

Are you one of the authors that get kicked by their muse all of the time, especially when she wants something that doesn’t really fit into your writing timetable in that situation?

My characters take things in directions I don’t expect all the time. But I don’t do a lot of advance planning before I start writing, so I can usually go with the flow. If it’s an idea for a completely different story, I will take a break and write down notes for the idea, and that’s usually enough so I can go back to the original project.

Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?

Not insulted, no. But I’ve had bad reviews – all authors do. For the first few, I cried, and my husband bought me ice cream. If I ate ice cream for every bad review, though, I’d be as big as  a house! I’ve gotten better at handling them, so now they sting, but I just keep writing.

Last week DSP published the german translation of Cop Out. What inspired you to write this novel?

I don’t really know. I was working on one of my sci-fi books, and a scene popped into my head, of a cop going to the house of his dead partner to give news of the death, and discovering the man had a husband not a wife. Obviously, the scene changed when I actually started the book, but that scene was very powerful, and those characters were insistent that their story be told.

Will there be more books in the series Toronto Tales

There are three books currently. I’ve always intended to write at least one more, and I’m considering a spin off series as well.

Who was the most difficult character to write in the Toronto Tales series?

Kurt’s mom, definitely. My mother is a cold woman, who is verbally abusive, and completely unsupportive of me. Trying to write a sympathetic, loving mother figure was quite difficult.

Last but not least: What are you currently working?

Porn stars! Or rather, one ex-porn star meets a handy man. Sounds like a bad porn plot, right? But I’m almost done, and I think it’s a good story. After that, I’ll be working on a sequel of one of my other books – I haven’t decided which one yet!

Thank you so much for the questions – I love to talk about my writing, and I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little better.

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