Katy Krump was born and raised in South Africa and emigrated to the UK in 2000. She is an author writing children’s and YA fiction under the name Katy Krump and adult fiction as K.A.Edwards. We have conducted an interview with her.
Considering all the books published under your name Katy Krump, which is the most challenging book to write?
When Killers Cry was the most challenging to write – although I wrote this under a different name. Writing a series was a challenge as I’d never done that before. It was wonderful and enabled me to expand and stretch my imagination, but it was challenging keeping all the pieces together and not losing track of where I, or the main character, was heading.
It was such a personal book, based on my own experiences. I found writing about apartheid very hard and emotional, but had to take myself out of it and write a book that would make sense to those who don’t necessarily know much about that time in history. I felt a tremendous responsibility to write as accurate an account as I could, while still keeping it fictional, knowing that every one of us that grew up in the time, have different memories depending on where and how we grew up. Afrikaans children had a different experience from English children, and black children of course have a totally different story to tell. It took me a very long time to write and feel ready to get it released to someone else. It left me feeling tremendous sadness about the country that gave me life.
What is the Blue Dust SciFi trilogy about?
It’s a series about self-discovery, friendship, family, siblings and the discovery of faith set in a science fiction world with elements of the paranormal and genetic engineering. It covers the life of an alien girl sent to Earth to hide from a warlord she’s betrayed. Having been born into an overpopulated world, Qea is considered Forbidden as she was born third in a world where only two children are allowed. It follows her struggle to find not only herself, but also the truth of her childhood and family. Along the way she falls in love with Earth-boy, Adam, who helps her make sense of her world and overcome her natural instincts and the training that turned her into a killer. She discovers she has a much larger destiny than simply this, though, and ends up being responsible for all the Forbidden children spread across the Qarntaz Octad, her previous home in a distant spiral galaxy. Ultimately she finds that faith, friendship and sacrifice are what matter as she tries to save her world. It’s also in part, about how someone, Adam, survives being abducted by aliens.
Was it originally plotted to be a trilogy?
No. Initially the first book Forbidden was a standalone book, although I always suspected Qea’s story wasn’t finished yet. When the publisher asked if it could be expanded into a series I agreed and am delighted I did. I was able to finish the heroine’s story and fill in her background, adding new characters and making her a more complete character. I was able to develop her more fully than I could have in one book.
How do you craft and develop the characters in your story?
I always know who the main protagonist will be and an idea of the antagonists. Characters develop organically for me, and often seem to ‘take over’ and do things I was never expecting. I often take aspects of people I know and weave them into my characters – hopefully none of them can identify themselves. I also use names of family and friends to inspire my characters and setting, though I change them in some way. I like to write the entire story from beginning to end, before going back and working on it section by section, moving things around and adding in or taking out pieces and characters. One of the most satisfying things is being able to play God, in a sense, and create characters that speak to me…they often speak back, which is surprising and can be annoying.
Is the main character somewhat close to you?
Yes. The first book Forbidden developed out of a blog I was writing about struggling with being an ‘alien’ myself. I found immigration hard and as I tried to make sense of it and to keep myself sane I wrote a blog about landing on another planet, because that’s what it felt like. One day I realised that actually I had started a book, so I took the idea and ran with it. I put many of my own experiences into Qea, the heroine, even though she’s not me. She was the first character in the Sci-Fi genre that I’d ever created and we became close friends. I found myself mourning her when the final book was over.
Who is more exciting to write for: a young adult or adult?
They’re very different. I find young adult writing more exciting though, as I have very clear memories of my own teenage years and the wealth of emotions and sagas I experienced. With a children’s book I can be humorous and quirky, ridiculous or disgusting and I love this, having come out of writing children’s television. Both genres are exciting in their own unique way. Don’t make me choose!
What is essentially the key difference in the writing 'tone'?
The subject matter covered and obviously the language. Young adults these days are more sophisticated I feel, and exposed to a lot more than I was, due to technology. I think it’s important not to talk down to them, or to children, so I never water down the difficulty of the words I use, but am constantly aware of not using inappropriate language or swearing even though I sometimes feel that the character ‘needs’ to use it. I pay more attention to the type of material covered for YA and children, and need to be more sensitive with it – I wouldn’t want to scare them…too much. With adult writing nothing is out of bounds.
Why did you name your Adult thriller, "When Killers Cry"?
I was thinking about the nature of a killer and wondering about guilt or empathy. I wondered if a killer, even one that’s been created by society or the government, ever felt any remorse and if killers in general ever shed tears for their victims. It had a different title in the beginning, which I changed as I started pondering the evilness of man.
What was on your mind when you decide on this emotion of 'the killer'?
It seemed an interesting twist – if a killer cried over his/her victims, perhaps it would add an extra dimension to the killer as a person. Are all killers psychopaths or sociopaths or do they kill out of necessity or due to being ordered to do so by their government, and if so, do they then experience grief at the loss of a life?
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