In our author segment, VK talks about using her psychology degree to understand her characters and give them more depth. And since she lives in Australia, we discuss how that affects printing and buying books.
We then dig into the meat of our discussion and how authors can or should handle stories with multiple worlds. How the travel and events affect the story and what you should and shouldn’t do to make sure the story is effective for the reader.
[00:00:48] Stephen: So let’s talk some author stuff, move on to. And before we talk about our big topic of parallel worlds and writing for parallel worlds, what are the [00:01:00] tools and services you use? You mentioned expel, but what do you actually use when you’re writing?
[00:01:05] VK: So when I’m writing, I use Scrivener, which is I’m sure many of you have heard of it.
It’s obviously a writing platform. I use it because strangely enough of though my brain is very disorganized sometimes. I love my writing to be really structured so I can put in chapters, I can pull pieces out. I can move things on the board really quickly, and I can see where I’m at from a really structured viewpoint.
And I love it as a tool. It has, it was a life-changer for me than putting it into a simple word document where I just get completely 110% Scrivener. That’s what I use all the time. Backs up automatically. So if I accidentally forget to save it still saves it for me. Happy days. Yeah. It’s a great tool.
[00:01:55] Stephen: Good. Okay. And you’re working on your second book [00:02:00] about to be out and your third book you’re working on. What are some things that you’ve learned that you’re doing different? I
[00:02:05] VK: guess when I first started, I did a lot more telling rather than showing. For me I’ve I really have noticed that I’ve started to grow into that, that showing how people reacting and then allowing the Rita to infer.
I think when you first start riding, you do a lot of telling, and it’s not that you assume that the reduced dumb, but you do. As I’m getting more experience, obviously I’m able to take more out, but allow more of the reader to take control over that aspect. And there’s a beauty to that too, because then you’re not controlling their storyline per se.
You’re letting them have a little bit of free reign. The character looks. For example, I don’t do heavy descriptions on the characters, unless it’s a world on what you need to have a lot of detail for them to understand what they looking [00:03:00] at. But for general characters and main characters, I do tend to leave a lot of it up for the imagination of the reader, because I want them to be that character.
I want them to flow with that character and feel and understand what that character, so they need to have that connect. And I think tying in too much of your own personal thoughts of what that character looks like actually pulls them back. So
[00:03:24] Stephen: I’ve been working on that a lot. I, I want to get that nice balance between.
Describing them. So they got a picture in their head, but not, he was five foot seven with a big eyebrows and blue eyes with long eyelashes and had some wrinkles at the corner of his eyes. And his nose was a little ball, but I don’t want to be doing that. So it’s difficult to get that balance right. Where you want it to feel like you said, feel a part of that character.
[00:03:51] VK: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So. And it’s a skill that you do get eventually, but it’s, it’s not [00:04:00] something that comes naturally. You have to work at it. That’s what I’d say. So, yeah, I’ve definitely got a really good grasp on where I’m going with that one and allowing myself some breathing space to, to grow into.
I think also like I’ve got a psych degree, so my understanding of human emotion and engagement is pretty good. But I’m making it less clinical. So I’m starting to bring in more of the less clinical aspects of that. That’s
[00:04:31] Stephen: interesting. You say that because you said you use Scrivener and I use Scribner also, and I tend to find people that their brains aren’t as analytical, maybe a little more of the free flowing that they tend to shy away from Scrivener to them.
It just seems too much too complicated. So it’s just interesting. After talking to a lot of people, hearing the. Ways of why people like one or the other. And it’s interesting then that you say not being so clinical in your [00:05:00] description. So I had the work on that aspect myself. Yes.
[00:05:04] VK: Yeah. And it is tough because, um, yeah.
Background training and you get, get into your own head and then you do start to overthink things and you put too much detail in that you don’t need. And right.
[00:05:20] Stephen: That is a definite learning curve to the skills beyond just writing the words. Uh, and a lot of people don’t realize that.
[00:05:29] VK: Yeah. Yeah. And I it’s a time thing too.
You don’t learn overnight. It’s something you got to grow and each book you get a little bit better or you change how you do something in one book. And then you’re like, ah, I might do it a little bit differently in the next one. And yeah.
[00:05:46] Stephen: So before we talk about parallel worlds, but let me ask you something that I’m glad I’m getting a chance to ask somebody.
I remember hearing when Amazon announced that they were putting some printing presses [00:06:00] in Australia and people were like, oh, that’s so great, because it’s been so hard to get books down here. You pay so much for them and digital books help the whole lot because you’re not paying $50 for one paper bag because you got to get shifted.
Being in Australia and being a writer. And you said there’s a big community. Do you think you would still have that big community and there’d be as many Australian writers if we didn’t have the eBooks and the digital distribution and all that?
[00:06:29] VK: Probably yes, but it would be done more locally based. You wouldn’t have the global distribution options that you have available.
Because it was a period of time in which Amazon, basically he could not get a print vote here done. You had to, as an author, if you wanted to get it, you had to order it from America. And you had to, the shipping was like worse than the print costs. Like it was just astronaut and people were still doing it because people are still writing it’s as an author.
You do it because you love it. Not [00:07:00] because it’s. I think they were there. They were still working around a lot of people used small independent publishing houses here, again, not the cheapest option, but still an option. So there, there are means of working around it, but yes, the ability to now get stuff printed here locally is astronomically, better turnaround times and grades we used to have, you’d have four to six weeks from when you ordered to, when you were saved sometimes.
And so now you can get it like an awake kids, crazy
[00:07:35] Stephen: that’s opposite in the states. Our mail seems to have gotten slower over the last year and things that would normally take a week or taking three to four weeks. So changing. And I remember I was at a used bookstore a couple of years ago. And I found the, an anthology of, uh, Saifai Australian Saifai writers.
I’m like Australians, just the fact that they said it was [00:08:00] Australian Saifai writers and put it in a whole category for me, I’m like, oh, heck, I’ve got to see what that’s. Cause that’s like when I saw the Amish science fiction book, I’m like Amish science fiction. Are you kidding? And I had to get that.
That’s just interesting. So I love that. So we’re, it is definitely more global. I’ve got more books from authors all over around the world than I did at any other point in my life. So I think that’s great that we’re able to do those types of things and get that reach wouldn’t have had. Absolutely.
[00:08:35] VK: Yeah, there’s, there’s a strong connection from Australia to space as well, but we have some massive telescopes here.
We have a satellite. Launches that happen on a regular basis. We’ve got an actually new space program opening up down the road from here in the middle of nowhere. So there’s yeah, there’s quite a connection here. There’s a lot of UFO tales in Australia. [00:09:00] People who’ve seen things and recordings and yeah.
All kinds of fun stuff.
[00:09:06] Stephen: Okay. So you wanted to talk about parallel worlds. Parallel universe is cause your books revolve around those. Tell us a little bit about your thinking when you’re writing a booklet.
[00:09:17] VK: So the way I had it in my head was the concept of the universe is being like sheet to paper. And if you stack them all on top of each other, if you wanted to jump between a bit like time jam, then you’d be, the pencil gets pushed through the bit of paper and you can move independently between the worlds.
I liked that concept of, yeah, I guess it gets a layering. If you think of it, like tree bark. And each of the universes sits within the layer going from the center, but there’s so many unique and different ways of thinking about who we are and what we are like I saw, then you make tricks the other day.
And it reminded me again, if that [00:10:00] concept of, are we really here? Is this really our reality? Are we living in some pseudo reality that, that we aren’t aware of? And it just, the whole concept of. The options really excites me. I love the idea that somewhere out there in a different reality, there’s another version of me having the same conversation with you.
But there’s one little thing that’s different about her she’s younger or older, or she’s done something different
[00:10:30] Stephen: or she lives in Germany
[00:10:31] VK: or she lives in Germany. Yeah. Yeah. And how much of these little decisions that we make every day affect the outcome for us. And what does that mean in a grand scheme?
If there’s a multi universes of the multiple versions of you and are they all, because one morning you put your shoes on, but the next morning you didn’t, how much of the little things then also the big things. [00:11:00] You’re five minutes late for this. Does that. I mean that you miss out on this and what’s the flow on effect for that.
Yeah. I love the idea of being able to play in that space and to move people independently of, I guess, the reality that we are stuck with when
[00:11:18] Stephen: you’re writing a story that involves multiple universes, how do you get. W, what do you do in the writing to keep the readers from getting confused as to where they’re at?
What universe or why the things are the way they are when a minute ago they may not have been or something like that.
[00:11:35] VK: Sure. So part of that I guess, is keeping that descriptive active. So there’s one scene. I refer to the, where she meant the murder people. So she, she wakes up and it looks the same as the universe shoes and previously, and then she goes out swimming and all of a sudden she sees a mirror person and goes, oh my God, this is clearly not what I thought it [00:12:00] was.
I’m in a different space because I love the idea as well. Things can look comparatively very similar and yet be very different. And yet. For me keeping track of the different worlds. It, Scrivener is really good for that because you can actually do a little world-building exercise within Scrivener and co audit and have some visuals as well to help you with that.
And then try not, it’s a bit like building characters don’t have too many. You alluded to the fact that there’s 30,000 universes, but you don’t describe 30,000 universal. You got to keep it realistic for the rated to be able to keep track. But yeah, even if you’re describing a room full of people doing a dance, you are looking at one or two characters that are within that dance floor.
You’re not looking at the entirety of the room. So that’s how I look at it too.
[00:12:57] Stephen: So. [00:13:00] Why make the decision to write with parallel worlds? Could your story have been done just in one world without using multiple worlds?
[00:13:10] VK: Possibly, but not quite as effectively. I think the strength and the story is that the, the power of the, the person comes from their energy and their energy has the ability to be able to shift and move.
To be tied to one location is in the freedom that I really wanted to, to strip from them. I need to have that full flexibility to be able to, to pull them into different locations and not just like locations within earth, but locations that you haven’t even thought of it for me. It’s that, that micro to macro concept.
Are you the aunt on the car, the owner of the car, or are you the person standing. So, yeah, it’s, it’s definitely allowed me a freedom [00:14:00] of the characters and to give them greater reign and therefore their development is much stronger in my opinion.
[00:14:08] Stephen: Okay. And has anyone said, oh, you’re just using multiple worlds as a cheat because it, you allow, you can make, be lazy and just change things.
However you want, whatever Sunday, anything like, or even maybe think that, cause that sounds to me, like it would be. Some imposter syndrome. Oh my God. Why am I writing multiple worlds? I can’t pull this off. I could see that happening to me doing something like that.
[00:14:32] VK: Look, it is not the easiest way out. If you’re gonna cheat there a way easier ways of cheating than making things much more complicated for yourself.
And this is definitely more complicated because you have to keep continuity, but you have to keep continuity within multiple aspects. So it’s definitely not a cheater’s way of doing it. That doesn’t give you a freedom so that you [00:15:00] don’t have to get tied within parameters. Sure. Yeah. And the same way I’ve written paranormal romance, where people can transform from humans into animals.
That is a freedom of writing. That is an actual in the real world. I don’t walk out into the living room and my husband suddenly changes from himself into a cat or something. It does give you. Uh, different ability to play on emotion, what would they do? How do they act? What do they feel like? Because they’re not set in humanity and when you’re not set in humanity, you have greater parameters.
I do like that concept to this for me is more of like a character development thing than it is, uh, trying to not have to think too hard about things I will hand on heart. Admit I would really struggle to write like a period romance. Like historical, because I don’t think I would have enough nounce to be able to study the [00:16:00] finite detail that’s needed to know what type of dress they wear to exact detail.
And when they get off the horse and carriage, how many footmen are there? That kind of thing. I would really struggle with that, but when it comes to multiple universes, I love it.
[00:16:17] Stephen: So when you’re, when someone’s reading your story, how do you tell them you’re switching? It does deserve some smoke and the person pops into another world, or you label the chapters, or what do you do to within the story?
Cause I, like I said earlier, I’ll read a couple books at a time and if I haven’t read that book for a week or two, I’m like, oh man, what world am I in right now?
[00:16:38] VK: I do chapter on. Typically different worlds. So within each chapter, I don’t tend to move like, or if I do move within a world within a chapter, it’ll be really clear.
So you would understand that they have stepped through something and then now in a different place, but the simplest way of [00:17:00] writing it is to chapterize it. So you basically look. Uh, individual chapters being in each realm and then go from there, but like a TV series, if you think of it that way, if you’re watching a TV series, each individual series part is its own chapter.
That’s the easiest way of keeping track and making sure that the readership doesn’t get completely lost and go bananas, but there’s not an easy fix to it. If you’re not being descriptive enough, when you get into the new. You could easily confuse the reader cause they’re like, wait, what? Where are we now?
[00:17:35] Stephen: Okay. All right. Is there anything else on a parallel worlds you were wanting to bring up or say
[00:17:42] VK: I don’t really, but I’m looking at you background wool and I’m thinking star wars. Somewhere out there who knows there, there could be a star wars reality that we haven’t even engaged in yet.
[00:17:55] Stephen: Yeah, I agree. I think that’s awesome.
In fact, the first attempt I made at [00:18:00] writing had a girl that didn’t jump worlds, but in a way she did she controlled time and was able to jump through different timelines, which then made it like different worlds. But she was like the Keystone. So whatever timeline she jumped to became the reality for everybody else.
So I think it was a little too much for me on my first attempt then. So it’s sitting in some way, it’s one of those drawer books on the bottom of the drawer. What are you doing to market your books? Because you are in Australia. So that makes it a little different. If you want to market to the rest of the world, what are some things you’re doing?
[00:18:38] VK: Look, I’m really lucky. Cause I’m supported in that aspect. I have a publicist. He’s at base in Canada and Mickey shout out to make a, he is amazing so much. He’s such a great, so I, I have support in that front. I do a little bit of online advertising. I don’t do it as well as [00:19:00] I could, and I probably don’t do enough of it as I should, but I think organic reach for me is a real strength.
And because I have such a genre jumping from. My organic reach is growing quite quickly because I might have somebody that jumps on because they liked one type of book and then I’ll have somebody jumps on cause they like another type of book. And before you know it I’ve told friends, who’ve told friends, who’ve told friends, I enjoy that organic expansion as well.
I do have all the social medias except tech talk because I’m too old for that. And, uh, I, I play with it a little bit and I like to release stuff random. To my, my followers, occasionally I’ll get, uh, like a book coming up and I’ll just offer a different book to somebody else just for fun. Cause I can, I like to engage with people with that, that [00:20:00] random connection as well.
But yeah, look, it’s tough. It’s hard to be the writer, the promoter, the advertising. There’s so many different heads you have to wear and you have to wear them all the time. And yeah, I, I was just saying to my crew the other day, I feel like I need a PA that can just moderate some of this stuff for me, as it starts to get
[00:20:27] Stephen: busier.
But you said you have a husband. That’s what my wife would be saying. Yeah. I got a build in one. He’s got
[00:20:34] VK: his own stuff going on, so he doesn’t even read my books cause. He read one of them. And then a couple of the people he knows at work, actually read my books and then they start asking him questions about how similar he was to one of the characters is that’s it.
I’m never reading any books, every kind of
[00:20:55] Stephen: that’s great. So you, you said you fly to Canada a lot. Have you [00:21:00] done anything? If you’re going to be in an area of Canada, contacting libraries and doing author visits or anything like that? Not
[00:21:09] VK: really, I looked at doing this is because we’ve been trying to get back to Canada for two years now.
And every time I book something, it gets canned. So I am booked again to go there this year, fingers crossed and I try and work it in with seeing family. There’s the bank of Vancouver book fear I’d like to attend. So there’s some, yeah, there’s some cool stuff I’d like to be able to go and do. Yeah. Trying to get that balance right.
As well between having time off and work, but I’ve got, I’ve got stuff I’d love to, I’d love to go to the 20 thing in Vegas, baby. It’d be great. But yeah, I just gotta get the balance. I’m still working on. I agree. Same
[00:21:56] Stephen: thing. All right. So , it’s been really great talking to you, [00:22:00] especially at parallel worlds.
That’s a very unique author topic. I love that. So before we go, I know you’ve got another meeting to get. What is your last minute advice for new authors?
[00:22:10] VK: Keep at it. Look, it’s, it’s not an easy gig if you’re doing this cause you’re going to be a multimillionaire in two weeks, you’re dreaming. Um, but do write what you love, put your heart and soul into your books and your readers will read that they’ll reflect on that and just do it because you enjoy it.
So don’t get too hung up on the hype and the sales. Am I doing this right? Am I creating for this market? Whatever. Just do what you love.
[00:22:40] Stephen: Nice. Great. Alright, great. I appreciate you getting on today, especially from the future. If we ever do meet, I’ll have to get you a DeLorean just because I’ll sign it.
And now that you know what my signature, but it’s been great talking to you. I appreciate.
[00:22:55] VK: You too. Alrighty. Thank you