Aug 21, 2011

Guest Author: Alicia 'Kat' Dillman & Giveaway

Willing to See Less is happy to present the guest of the week-YA author Alicia 'Kat' Dillman. Alicia is the author of Daemons in the Mist (my review HERE) and not only a talented writer, but also a wonderful artist (just look at the cover and her "profile" picture). Read the interview and enter the giveaway for some signed goodies.

Author, illustrator Alicia “Kat” Dillman is a life long resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a BFA in Illustration from the Academy of Art University and has spent the last few years working as a professional illustrator. She shares her studio with her boyfriend Scott Aleric Vancil and their two rescue kitties Crash the Stampede & Princess Diyogee.When not writing and illustrating she can be found performing in historical re-enactments, participating in weekly industry chats, dancing, watching anime, or sewing cosplay.
  • Why Daemons?
I was never really drawn to vampires or werewolves; I always liked the more unusual things of myth much more. A lot of ancient myths and cultures have horned beings and deities and I always thought they were beautiful in their own strange way. Also I liked to take existing creatures and weave my own take on them into the mix.  A few of my upcoming projects feature those creations. But why Daemons specifically? Because of my love of myths I stumbled upon the Hellenistic Greek definition of Daemons one day. It's actually this ancient belief that inspired our modern versions of demons and angels. The Greeks broke these spirits down into two categories - the good Kalodaemons and the bad Kakodaemons. If you've already read DITM you'll notice I borrowed this spelling for my Daemons.
  • Tell me a little about your writing process.
Because of my background in musical theater I grew up seeing stories in a non-linear way since most plays are not rehearsed in chronological order. It's probably due to this that I write non-linearly.  Non-linear writing means I write what comes to mind at the time and then piece those bits together during the pre-editing process. It requires you to be able to track the whole stories in your head as a whole though, so if you're not use to thinking of stories in this way I wouldn't advise it. I do research and outlines during the writing process as needed but mostly I just live in my stories and let it expand outward naturally. It's a lot like walking through fog, you never know what will be waiting there in the next few steps but when it appears you just know that it was always meant to be there. I used to use this whole 4 files system I worked out for my writing, but this summer moved everything over to Scrivener, which I love very, very much. Most days I want to hug it for making everything so much easier and streamlined.

  • How long did it take you to write DITM?
About 2-3 months not counting edits. A big chunk of it, about 53k was actually written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo. Most of my writing was done on the computer but I also did a fair bit in my travel notebook.
  • Where did the idea for DITM come from?
You know it's funny you should ask, when I read your review of DITM I burst out laughing because it was actually that song Waking up in Vegas, that inspired the story. I was driving down the freeway on my way to dance like I do most Tuesdays when that song first came on the radio. And then the story was just there inside my head. It's like Patrick and Nualla were always there inside my head just waiting for me to get around to noticing them and recording their story. Most of my stories are inspired by the music I listen to. When I listen to music I see stories; like small movies playing in my head. Because of the music magic I actually make playlists for every project I work on. The playlist for DITM will be released, along with extra art, and world info, on The Marked Ones micro site that's currently in production.
  • You are currently working on a DITM visual novel. What is a visual novel??
A Visual Novel is an art form that is extremely popular in Japan. Not to be confused with a graphic novel, a visual novel is what would happen if you put a comic book, novel and click through adventure game into a blender. It's kinda like the visual version of those choose your own adventure books. However, when a visual novel has no branching  storylines it is called a Kinetic Visual Novel. DITM is going to be a kinetic visual novel released in 11 5-chapter blocks. The VN is full color with anime style characters and painted backgrounds much like a Miyazaki film and will be playable on a long list of devices. To find out more and see behind-the-scenes production shots you can visit 
  • Can you tell me about the DITM cover illustration (which I think is gorgeous)?
It took me about 3 days to create the cover for Daemons in the Mist. I actually drew two sketches for the cover but decided that the character (Nualla) looked too passive in the first design and she is anything but passive. I included a process animation for the cover here. . I used to create my art differently but currently I work 100% digitally. I do my work in Painter 11 (I'll soon be switching to Painter 12) mostly with brushes I created myself. I usually work in a 4 layer process; sketch, ink, base, details. First I sketch the illustration in blue digital lead. Then I turn the opacity on that layer way down and ink over it on a new layer. When that's complete I turn off the sketch layer since I won't be using it again. Then I create a layer under the ink layer and do my base painting. Lastly I create a layer on top of everything to do my details. All of my newer illustrations feature process animations so you can see how they come together:

  • Will there be sequels to DITM?
Currently The Marked Ones is slated to be an open ended-trilogy. The first book being Daemons in the Mist, the second being The Storm Behind your Eyes and the third is yet unnamed.
  • Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite authors currently are JK Rowling, Rick Riordan , Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater and my friend Seanan McGuire.
  • What are you currently working on?
Currently, I'm working on production art for the visual novel game of Daemons in the Mist. The game is being created by NovelEXP and will be released in 5-chapter blocks. We are aiming to have the first installment out later this month. Book-wise these are the titles that are slotted to come out next: The sequel to Daemons in the Mist, The Storm Behind your Eyes.  A stand-alone apocalyptic YA novel called The Stars Rain Down on Me. A stand-alone YA fantasy novel with a Jane Austin feel to it called The Girl with the Kaleidoscope Eyes. To find out the status of any project I'm currently working on you can always visit my Works in Progress page

Kat has generously offered an ebook of Daemons in the Mist (you have a choice between Kindle or Nook format) and a prize pack that includes signed prints of the artwork for the book and a mini book pin. 
The cover illustration on the left is 5x7 and the other 8x10. Both are printed on high quality luster photo paper and signed. 
Since they will be sent to the winner by the author, this giveaway is restricted to participants from US & Canada only.

To enter, 
    • you have to be a follower. If you haven't already, join the group of Awesome People who are my followers through Google Friend Connect.
    • more things you can do: follow me on Twitter, like WTSL on Facebook, spread the word about the contest
    • leave an email or otherwise indicate how to contact you if you win
    • winner will be announced on August 31  
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