Freida Kilmari, an author, writer, and editor from south-west England, has been writing and publishing works of fiction and poetry for the last five years, and has found many homes for her pieces over those years, including ‘Advaitum Speaks Literary’, ‘The World Poetry Movement’, ‘Fairy Tales and Folklore Re-Imagined’, and ‘Rejected’. Her debut collection published in February of 2018, Man VS Happiness, and since then she’s been working on worlds of fantasy, magic, poetry, and romance, taking a special interest in LGBTQ+ and mental health representation in literature.
Tell me about your writing process: schedule, environment, inspirations, magic spells, etc.
I’m a messy writer; I have notes written on scraps of paper, edges of napkins, and old shopping lists littered everywhere. It drives my husband mad! But I do have an office where I try to contain most of the madness. There, I’m surrounded by books, inspirational quotes and images, and my project notebook with my ideas jotted down (it’s a Harry Potter notebook, of course). I write whenever and wherever I can; there’s no limit. But I do find myself being more of a nighttime writer, when the house is silent and my imagination can run wild. There’s something about a quiet, happy, peaceful house that I find magically inspiring, like witching hour for writers.
Walk me through your submission / publishing process from “final” draft to final product, including who does what when, and marketing that you do as the author.
I have a rigorous process for my writing. When writing the first draft, the main thing is that I get the words onto the paper and keep a small notebook handy for things that will help when revising, but once I’m finished I put it away. Usually for two-three months. Before I print it off and do a read-through on paper, where I doodle, note-take, and red-pen the entire thing. After applying those edits and going through the digital copy a few more times, I hand it over to my beta readers, who are great at both encouraging and critiquing. They’re always my first fans. I apply their feedback where appropriate and then run it through ProWriting Aid before submitting to my proofreader. It’s a huge process, and the editing usually takes twice as long as the writing.
Talk about your support system online and IRL; who are your biggest cheerleaders?
I’m quite a solo writer—I much prefer being my own cheerleader. But I’ve always been quite an internal person who prefers their own company to that of others. However, that means I can often get un-confident and self-conscious of my work, but I always pick myself back up. I do have some amazingly supportive friends, and my husband will sit for hours and listen to my plots, characters, and world ideas, and ask questions, poke holes, and be the most amazing support system. I’m part of a lot of writing circles and critique groups online, too, and I’ve found that support from people who, like me, are writers, is vital to my process. As great as my friends and husband are, sometimes I need the opinions of other writers.
How does life influence your writing and vice versa?
It does and it doesn’t. On the one hand, I’m mostly a fantasy author, so I write things that are supposed to be farfetched and not similar to life, but on the other hand, I’m a big supporter of including LGBTQ+ characters in my stories (whether the main character/s or not), and I guess that’s influenced by the largely heteronormative stance literature seems to take. I also like including mental health representation in my writing, which is what a lot of my poetry is about—that’s been influenced by my own life experiences. I used to feel so alone, and I think if I could have read characters who suffered like I did, it would have helped make me feel more ‘normal’, and less like I was failing as a human being.
Writing is one of the most important aspects of my life; I wouldn’t be here today without it.
What do you love most about your creativity?
I love those moments when you latch onto an idea and let it pull you away into the dead of night, and you can’t stop your fingers from typing out the movie you’re seeing in your head—even if you wanted to. It’s like, for that moment, you’re living an extraordinary life, and you get to watch your characters mess up, cry, laugh, and cause world-ending disasters all on their own. And knowing that it’s coming from my head, my thoughts . . . it’s like watching a personalized movie that’s writing itself as it plays.
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