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November 4, 2015

Kaje Harper 11/4

KH Jonahtan Velasquez Table

 

Perhaps I should start by saying she pronounces her name just like “cage”. 🙂 She’s a part-time scientist, part-time writer, full time mom and wife, and a servant to a demanding little dog and a fast-growing kitten. Her personal goals are empathy, science, logic, justice, equality, hope and love. (Not too lofty, eh?) She tries to infuse those into the stories she writes, and the guys she creates.

She works to put real men in a realistic world, and give them challenges that push their limits, so they have to find their inner strengths. Then she gives them another guy whose arms can shelter and support them. And whom they can support in turn, if only they can recognize each other and get past the crap thrown their way. For Kaje, the quiet moments between two people ring even deeper than the hot, sexy ones, and she tries to write characters whom readers would want to know as neighbors and friends.

Kaje loves to try new genres, and anything can spark off her story ideas. So she has Contemporary books, Paranormal, Fantasy, SciFi, Historical, Mystery and YA. There are quite a few freebies among them, so someone who wants a taste of her words can do so risk-free. Writing is her passion, and the way she stays sane. The one downside to all the ideas dancing in her head is that she has several series running in parallel. She told me, “There are sequels I really need to get done. Soon.”

Her next release is a 32K contemporary/paranormal story, “Not Your Grandfather’s Magic”, coming out on December first, in the charity anthology “Wish Come True.” All the royalties for this book will go to Lost-N-Found Youth , an Atlanta-based nonprofit corporation whose mission is to take homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths to age 26 off the street and transition them into more permanent housing. There are 6 other great authors also contributing, and I hope the book sales bring this wonderful charity a lot of money this Holiday season.

CC:  What gets you in the mood to write?
KH:What doesn’t? I have more stories in my head than time to write them. (Annoyingly, the voices are most loud when I’m driving, or shoveling snow, or in the shower, or otherwise unable to write anything down.)

My main problem is that I’d always rather go write something new than edit something that’s in the pipeline. For decades I wrote books, put them away unedited, and just moved on to the next one. When I started publishing in 2011, it was fun and there were a dozen wonderful things about finally connecting with readers and the community. But I still hate editing, no matter how essential it is to a good book. New stories constantly beg to be written. (Can you tell I have three different edits waiting for me? But I wanna wriiiiite…)

CC: Where do you write?
KH: I do 95% of my work at the family dining table (with my husband giving me long-suffering sighs if my papers expand to cover too much space.) The biggest reason is my little white dog. He loves to sleep in my lap, (sometimes with his chin on my arm, which does reduce my typing speed.) He’s unfortunately prone to chew things out of mischief, if allowed to roam the house unsupervised. So I write where he lives, safely behind baby gates, and treasure my furry little laptop muse. He’s pushing eleven years old now, but hopefully will inspire love for many years to come

CC: Why do you write?
KH: I write for fun and for pleasure, but also for hope. When real life is difficult, or unkind, or when it seems like the authorities in power have no empathy and no soul, it helps me to sit down at a keyboard. There, I can give good people trials and traumas, and then pull them through to a happy ending. There, love is tested but not broken. There, two men are as entitled to their joy and their wedding and their long, fruitful life as any traditional couple.

I write to create that optimism and hope for myself. I publish to share that hope with other people. There is nothing more satisfying than to hear that my words helped someone I don’t even know to get through a tough time, to come out, to speak up for equality, or to understand and empathize with people they had considered “different from folk like me.” I treasure a review that says “I hadn’t really thought about gay marriage before, but now I think they should have the same rights we do.” I reread an email that tells me the “Life Lessons” series got someone through a long dark time. Nothing would ever stop me from writing for myself, but comments like those are why I publish.

Of course, getting money for my words is nice too. I don’t want to sound all noble and altruistic. But seriously, if someone was buying an author’s books and throwing them away unread, so all the writer got was the check? The money alone would not be enough to do the work and angst of editing and publishing for most of us. Knowing that my books mean something of value to readers, whether a few hours of fun, or something more, is the best part of being an author.

CC: If you could meet one author to have dinner with, living or dead, who would it be?
KH: I’d love to have dinner with Ursula K. Le Guin. I’ve adored her books since I was a pre-teen, especially “A Wizard of Earthsea”. I’ve read her opinions on writing, on life, on gender, and more. She’s brilliant, compassionate, and insightful. And funny – her writing book, in the edition I worked through, was “Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew.” I did it with a non-mutinous crew, and learned a lot.

CC: Is there a genre you haven’t written, but would like to explore?
KH: I’d love to keep exploring different genres. I haven’t done deep-space SciFi yet (or rather, haven’t published any.) There are also secondary characters in my books who spark ideas. In “Home Work” there’s an older man who is a lifestyle BDSM Dom, and who is shown living alone after his long-time sub has moved out. He nags at me, wondering what happened between them, so BDSM isn’t out of the question. I just wrote an F2M trans guy in “Chasing Death Metal Dreams” but I’d like to write more characters across the spectrum of both gender and sexuality. I want to write an Ace (asexual) character… So many ideas, so little time.

Come back next week, when I talk to Hunter Frost about what gets them to write.

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