Author Spotlight no.50 – Julia Kavan

Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the fiftieth, is of ‘dark’ author Julia Kavan.

Born in the University city of Cambridge, England, Julia Kavan has spent most of her life living in Cambridgeshire – atmospheric and the perfect inspiration for ghost stories.

She has taught creative writing classes for the last ten years, whilst writing screenplays, tackling a novel and experimenting with short stories.

A true Scorpio, her tastes definitely err towards the dark side. She devoured horror stories as a teenager, including James Herbert and Stephen King in her list of favourite authors, moving on to Clive Barker and Peter Straub. As a child she would watch anything that even vaguely looked as if it may be scary… so perhaps it is only natural that this is the area her writing tends to wander into – even if she doesn’t always intend it to!

Her favourite painting is Salvator Rosa’s L’Umana Fragilita. Her music collection includes Holst, Orff, 30 Seconds to Mars and Linkin Park.

And now from the author herself:

I started writing as a teenager – a fair bit of poetry (eek) and short pieces which seemed to impress my teachers at school. I liked writing anything ‘controversial’. I then experimented with what would possibly now be called fan-fiction – stories revolving around favourite characters from TV and film. I also started writing ghost and horror stories, as that was what I read most. I loved anything dark, mysterious or scary and grew up in a house full of esoteric literature. My extended family also provided a wealth of real life stories of the unexplained – from haunted war time tunnels and airfields to astral projection. Family get-togethers were like listening to a group of people reading from a copy of the Fortean Times.

I’m happy lurking in the darker side of life, so when I started writing seriously with a view to seeking publication, I decided to go with what seems to be my natural personality and stick with what I know – horror and the supernatural. My first epublished short story, Dreaming, Not Sleeping is a tale of nightmares and seduction. Very Scorpio. 🙂

My other projects have been equally as spooky. I’m about to start submitting a reworked version of a novel I wrote some time ago. I like to have some experience of what I write about, and the novel is set in the shadow of Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire and the forests of Suffolk / Norfolk.

To relax, I like to go walking in forests and that’s where I often get inspiration for new stories, sometimes from the physical surroundings and sometimes from how I feel – it’s amazing how quickly somewhere very beautiful can become very threatening, just because of an unexpected noise or by taking a wrong turn…. Music plays a big part in my writing life too, either by getting me in the right mood to write a particular scene, or by blocking out the rest of the world.

My plans for the next year include a return to screenwriting. I spent a couple of years working on screenplays and I love working within that structure. Writing a scene for the screen means making as strong a visual impact as possible using few words – I find this discipline useful when writing novels, too. Once again I’m erring on the dark side by writing about the already horrific scenario of a loved one going missing – but with a nightmare twist.

Wow, what an upbringing. Mine was very ordinary but I read a lot of Stephen King (usually bought on the day of release) and although I’ve ‘mellowed’ to crime it could be why I like ‘dark’. 🙂 You can find more about Julia and her work via her website, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter, as well as reading our full interview (June 2011) and Julia’s poem ‘Empty’ posted just last Monday.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with detective novelist Bob Frey – the two hundred and fifty-third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords (Amazon to follow).

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