Today we are blessed with thoughts and insights of K.Thomas who shows us an alternate and sentimental way to use literature.
Visit Krys website here.
Hey Krys, thank you for agreeing to take part this interview for ULT.
ULT: So first off if would be wonderful to learn a bit more about you. When did you first begin to write?
KRY: As strange as it sounds, I’ve been writing paranormal stories almost as long as I’ve known how to write. I loved scary movies and books and would sneak into the horror section of the library. At around eight or nine I started writing “scary” stories where the monsters and humans ended up in happily-ever-after type situations. I hadn’t really thought about it much, but I guess my genre had already set on its course even back then.
ULT: Was there a particular reason you were drawn to writing at that early age?
KRY: My grandfather was a writer. He never published his books but writing them was something that brought him a lot of joy and pride. He would encourage me to write and read my stories to him. He was an amazing man who would always praise my hard work and then dive into asking questions about why I chose certain behaviors or characters. For a small child, it was a nice way to connect with someone I adored, and it forced me to consider my decisions and drivers.
ULT: That’s adorable.
Perhaps garners a sense of connection to your grandfather then?
KRY: Without a doubt. It’s a bit of him I’ll always have with me.
ULT: Do you have a favourite genre(s) and why is it your favourite?
KRY: Top favorite? Paranormal and fantasy, especially if it’s romance. I can get into any story really, as long as I feel a good connection between the characters. I love falling into books with strong friendships or good love stories, even better if it’s both (though, I can’t state my preference without highlighting the need for more books with straight male/female friendships at the core — that representation is really lacking). You get all those same warm feelings that come when you meet someone in person and have an exchange that leaves you thinking, “I hope I get to hang out with them again!”
ULT: Why is it important to have straight male/female friendships in literature do you think?
KRY: There are a lot of male/female relationships in the world, and a lot of pressure that it can’t be, and it’s not real. I think we grow up seeing those relationships represented in fiction mostly as the precursor to dating, or with one person in the relationship eternally miserable from unrequited love. And who doesn’t love a romance that starts with the foundation of friendship and mutual respect? It’s a wonderful thing and there’s a space for it – lots and lots of space for it. While those are real experiences, so are individuals that just have true platonic love and I think it’s important to show that it’s okay, too.
ULT: Do you like to read as well as write? Any notable books you can tell us about?
KRY: I do! I don’t get as much time to read as I’d like at this point in life, but I’ve been really enjoying the indie author community and some smaller press books. I think everyone who follows me on Twitter knows my undying love for R. Raeta’s Everlong novel. It is the absolute sweetest paranormal story and has really healthy family and friendship dynamics, which sunk me immediately. The others in my top five are C.J. Pierce’s Murphy’s Law for Demons, Paper Castles by B. Fox, Keepers & Destinies by Carl F. Brothers, and The Oath & Blood Price by Peter-Shaun Tyrell. Just so many good stories out there.
ULT: I guess this comes back to witnessing certain roles people are able to play in the lives of others, as in your answer to 2.
Have you met any characters either by your hand or another’s which have resounded with you or else stood out in some significant way?
KRY: I think the first character in a book that really caught me was Anita Blake. I started reading the series in high school and it was the first real adult paranormal series with a strong female lead I found. The author, Laurell K. Hamilton, had created this tiny female with a snappy personality but deep heart, who could use a gun and hold her own. It came at a point in my life when I was feeling small and powerless. It completely shifted my viewpoint of being a female and my ability to take control of my life, even if I wasn’t physically large enough to overpower obstacles around me. I think sometimes people believe only books in certain genres or that take themselves too seriously can impact readers in such a positive way. When really, it’s how you portray your characters in any setting that can change someone’s world.
ULT: It’s interesting that the character was so affecting on you. I think the outcome of feeling stronger in yourself is an outstanding reward for reading.
Tell us about any upcoming releases or currently available books?
KRY: Time to Wake is the first of my series, it just released on Valentine’s Day 2021. It’s with an audio narrator right now, so I’m hoping we can get the audio book released this summer. The second book, Not Right Now, is currently in the edit process. I’d love to get it out later this year and hoping to release in October, but editing is a process, so we’ll see.
ULT: Give us a little insight or the reason why people should read your books?
KRY: They’re character centric stories. I write them with the intention of them being fun, easy reads. There’s a paranormal element but the plot revolves more around relationships and the character’s learning about themselves. I also made an intentional effort to avoid describing body types, both male and female, outside of height. The main character never talks about her body, or insecurities with it, because I really wanted to deviate away from both perfection and self-deprecation. It’s a subtle attempt to get readers comfortable with the idea that they can simply be okay with themselves. Over-all I hope people enjoy the story and walk away feeling they were able to experience healthy friendships and romance through the characters. There is a strong male/female friendship in there. I know someone is going to “ship” the characters, but it’s not going anywhere. Hopefully that doesn’t disappoint!
ULT: Have you heard of dialectical behavioural therapy? It encourages the use of alternate language to encourage more life positive perceptions. Would you write a character who loved themselves rather than just accepted or saw it as non relevant? Why?
It’s a beautiful goal to aim to encourage positive body image and sense of self in others.
KRY: It seems to have a lot of applicable uses in therapy, and just daily life. Absolutely. I do have a character in the book who I think embraces all that she is fairly outwardly. It’s good for readers to experience in a positive way — I make her a bit unlikeable at first, because that’s a common reaction. She’s fiercely loyal and you learn how amazing she is. The main character has a bit of a journey to go through in learning to love herself, for other reasons. I have the benefit of supernatural fiction to help me share that journey without it voicing realistic fears. It can be a fine line sometimes between making a character relatable with growth that is a positive experience for the reader, and triggering or reinforcing negative thoughts about themselves. Fiction and the supernatural gives that ability to show insecurity and resolution, so readers can connect with the emotion and translate that to their unique experiences.
ULT: Do you find a greater emotional release and/or sense of escapism from reading or writing literature?
KRY: Oh absolutely. Writing for me is the one thing that can shut out all of the concerns constantly swirling inside my head. We all went through different levels of stress and experiences the last couple of years due to Covid-19. When the stay-at-home orders came down, I went from working and commuting fifty hours+ a week and rotating weekends visiting elderly family for their care (plus the care of my own little family unit), to not being able to leave the house. I had kept myself so busy for a decade between those things that I was able to ignore the anxiety and stress inside my mind, because I just didn’t have time to pay attention to it. Once we were all remote, and facilities weren’t allowing family to visit, I was overwhelmed with mental noise again. I threw myself into work, to the point my boss was teasing that he was going to cut my access off if I didn’t log off more. I was out of distractions, and full of anxiety about everything going on around us and my forced stillness. And, somehow, I failed to teach myself how to bake homemade bread like the rest of the universe. I was struggling to sleep at night because I was both overtired and too mentally worked up. One day I made an offhand comment to my husband that I wanted to start writing again, because my brain was playing out stories constantly trying to calm itself while I tossed around in bed at night. Three days later he handed me a box with a new laptop in it. When he sat it in front of me, he kissed me on the head and said, “Go write.” It was the best thing that could have happened to me. Not because I wrote a book, but because I needed that outlet so much.
ULT: It sounds like writing can be incredibly stabilising for you.
KRY: It is, and I really encourage others to find that in whatever activity they can.
ULT: Do you see any other mental health benefits from reading and writing literature?
KRY: If reading or writing are enjoyable activities for a person, the mental health benefits are endless. Being able to escape and quiet your mind in a story is like meditating to me. I’m not someone who can force silence in my head, but words can help me picture being somewhere else and drown out the noise. It’s a way to combat depression and anxiety and can help you work through traumas. To me, the parallels between defeating a “big bad” in a fiction story and tackling any obstacle in your life can be therapeutic.
ULT: There’s a lot to be said for escapism. I agree whole heartedly, and also to the power of witnessing characters walk through their adventures.
KRY: Everyone deserves to escape their reality when they need it, and they shouldn’t be afraid to take that time for themselves!
ULT: Do you think that modern society makes it seem like people should be “afraid to take that time for themselves?”
KRY: There’s a solid movement toward embracing it but I think, especially until it’s really common place, it’s important to keep reinforcing. That’s why individuals like you are so important. You’re highlighting mental health and helping individuals find all the different ways they can support that for themselves. It’s an important life skill.
ULT: What other forms and styles of writing do you use? I’m thinking blogging, journaling, diary etc… if you do, what benefits do you gain from these styles of writing compared to more creative writing.
KRY: Does Twitter count? The only writing I do outside of work and my books is keeping a journal for my daughter about her growth and things I’m proud of. Something for her to have when she’s older to help through the first couple of years of being a mom, and just know how much I love her.
ULT: The recording of these precious life moments is very sentimental and I am sure that when your daughter does hold that journal, she will feel the intensity of your affections for her. Keeping such a positive book no doubt helps you to remember all of the happy things you have done together?
KRY: Yes, it will be good memories she is too young to really remember herself. Hopefully, one day when I’m not here to tell her anymore, it will also be something she can go to that will remind her exactly how I see her and love her. Everyone deserves something that shows them how incredibly wonderful and meaningful they are in the world.
ULT: Would you say the characters you have written or read, or their adventures, have helped you to learn more about who you are and where you’ve been?
KRY: I do. I think that’s true for anyone, whether they realize it or not. Reading helps you learn how another person would react or view a situation. It exposes you to places and experiences you don’t have. Once you’re writing them it’s on another level entirely. When you hear people ask why a character reacted the way they did you become very aware that other individuals would respond to that stimulation differently than you and it makes you reflect on why. It’s good for the soul.
Thank you Krys for planting the seeds for healthy contemplations 🙂 I have no doubt that ULT’s readership will be grateful, as am I.
To keep up with Krys and find out more about her releases hit those buttons below.