Author Aaron Kite, has joined our little team here at Evil Alter Ego Press. This spring we will be releasing his first book, Two Cats. So you get to know him a bit better, before we release this great book, we asked him a few questions.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I’m an artist and writer who just decided one day that he wanted to write about something that wasn’t a humanities essay or art history study, and took a stab at writing fiction instead. The two activities are not as dissimilar as they might seem, as it turns out. You tend to make up a lot of stuff…
Where are you from?
I’m from Winnipeg, Manitoba originally, but I got fed up with the place by the age of three and convinced my parents to move west to Calgary, Alberta. Been living out here ever since.
Are you a cat or a dog person?
I love all animals, but I’m definitely a cat person. Despite being allergic to them. I also try to make certain I’m living with at least one cat at any given time, probably just to prove a point of some sort.
Tell us a little about the story of Two Cats (spoiler free of course)
Two Cats is a story that is written as a journal from the point of view of the main character, Vincent Tucat, who is a lord and a thief in a city that is governed by thieves known as Harael. Essentially, it’s a place where the idea of paying criminals ‘protection money’ eventually became the defacto government, with lords being assigned specific sections of the city they would both collect tribute from and provide protection to. While running his territory Vincent learns of a plot meant to damage his reputation, something that would affect both his fortunes and the amount of territory he’s been assigned to look after.
Are there more books in this series?
I’ve completed a total of three books in this series thus far – Two Cats, Jade Mouse, and Ten Arrows. Currently I’m working on book number four, titled White Mare.
Raincoat or umbrella?
Raincoat, definitely. Things like wind make it difficult to avoid the rain or protect your clothes from it, so why bother trying? Best to embrace the fact that you will get rained on and make the best of it. Of course, I may just be saying that because I shave my head, and thus have no hair to protect from becoming a sopping mess… Years ago, my answer might have been different.
When you write, what is your normal process?
I begin with my outline to make sure I’ve got everything I need for the story right from the start. Then I break the outline into individual components or scenes, and I write a paragraph or so of things that need to take place in that scene. Then, when I’m going to write a chapter I’ll take that paragraph and expand it to a page or two of sequential notes – everything that will be going on in the scene, in order, with snippets of conversation or important revelations that I wish to include along the way. Then, I plug myself into some tunes (Two Cats was mostly written while listening to Ghosts I-IV by Nine Inch Nails… no lyrics, great mood music) grab some wine or a beer, and I start typing.
Are you a pantser or a planner?
Definitely a planner. See above. 🙂
If you know, what inspired you to write Two cats?
At the time I was living downtown, but working out by the airport, and I would sometimes bike to work for a bit of exercise. And when you’re biking for long periods you find your mind wandering from time to time, and about 4 blocks away from work I saw a bus sign for a realtor whose last name was Smith, and I thought “Odd where last names come from, how someone is now named ‘Smith’ because they had a blacksmith in their ancestry somewhere, or ‘Cooper’ because their great-great-grandfather was a barrelmaker.”
And it was also summer, and the Calgary Stampede is kind of a big deal, where the whole city breaks out decorations and other whatnot related to rodeo and the wild west, and I remember thinking of horse brands just then as well… How cattle and horses were branded with a distinct symbol to protect their property from thieves, and how you could figure out the name of the ranch based on that symbol. And I thought “What if a guild of thieves did that, so that their ‘protection money’ actually provided some measure of actual protection? What if an entire culture evolved around that notion? And what if at one point it was pre-literate, and everyone’s surname had to be represented as an easy to decipher pictogram of sorts?”
And then I nearly fell off my bike, because the whole notion of the world, the character, and the fundamentals for the story all hit me at once. I jotted down all the details I could remember, as well as a few more I dreamed up later that day, and I got to work.
What makes Two Cats different from your typical fantasy novel?
I would say one of the biggest differences is when it comes to magic. Essentially, magic in this world is more utilitarian than anything else – there’s no wizard questing for a book that will destroy the world or epic world-shattering magic like that. The residents of Harael tend to treat magic like you or I would electricity, or technology, and it’s used to accomplish similar sorts of things, like providing light, or letting you know when someone’s passing by. Also, I’d say it’s odd that thieves or thieving isn’t looked down upon in this world, or considered inherently bad or evil. Thieving and protecting things from theft is just the way it’s always been in Harael, and thus you’re not automatically considered to be a bad guy because of it.
What was your favorite childhood cartoon?
Danger Mouse! Which, oddly enough, holds up very well even now. There was a lot of humor present in that cartoon that escaped me back when I was a boy.
Is there a novel, story or movie that most got you to write in the first place?
Generally speaking, not really… Eventually I just realized that the novel I really wanted to read hadn’t been written by anyone yet. That and I had a sudden realization while reading a book one day that went kind of like “Hey, someone just like me wrote this story! They weren’t given special permission or anything, they just decided to do it.” So I figured since the book I really wanted to read hadn’t been written, why not try to write it?
And that’s kind of the whole point of writing, for me. If I don’t like the stuff I’m writing or want to read more, why on earth should I expect anyone else to?
We here at Evil Alter Ego Press, are super excited to have Arron join our author team, and we look forward to lots more from him. We, know you are going to enjoy his book.