Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, K.S.
Christy and ‘the Dames’ – thank you very much for having me here.
1. Tell us about your Agent Night Adventure Series.
The Agent Night Adventure Series details Special Agent Kathrin Night’s tenure with the B.I.T.A. (Bureau of International Trauma Analysts), an ‘information gathering’ arm of the United Nations Security Council. Lust for Danger (2001), the first book in the series, recounts one of her initial assignments with the B.I.T.A.. The next in the series, hopefully coming out in 2012, joins up with S.A. Night in 2005 on another intense assignment. The mission of the B.I.T.A. is to research situations reported to the U.N. to determine if intervention is truly needed. Agent Night has a knack for digging until she finds the source of the problem, usually leading to extreme use of force which is not quite condoned by the peace-keeping agency. The Adventure Series books are truly action-adventure thrillers. For suspense/drama/romance readers, there is the Agent Night “Cover Me” Series (The Kiss of Night (2010), Night Undone (2011)). This series meets up with Agent Night in 2009 after a line-of-duty injury has forced her to retire from the B.I.T.A. – presenting her with a life full of new challenges.
2. Two series with the same protagonist – how unique. I love it! And your cover art is stunning. You describe your protagonist Katrhin Night as a woman who “relishes an ocean breeze, the luxury of silk, and the feel of a 9mm gun gripped in her hand.” Now, that’s my kind of protagonist. Can you give us a bit of backstory about her?
Agent Night’s story becomes more and more complex as time goes on and I write more novels. I learn more about her with each day. The irony of all this was that the concept of Special Agent Kathrin Night began as a spoof. It was 1986 and I had just finished watching a James Bond movie that contained the most unrealistic stunts and gadgets – and I thought to myself – I want to spoof the heck out of that. I came up with “Agent Turbo” for a code name and her bureau was “BITATAWP” because that was just absurd and when you could say it out loud it sounded completely silly – and it stood for “Bureau of Incredibly Talented Agents Towards Achieving World Peace.” I’ll never forget starting to work on it on an Adam computer that used TAPES! But as I wrote, the story morphed into something more serious. I dropped the TAWP from the bureau’s name, and changed Turbo to Night. The Kiss of Night explains how she became an agent – her goal for as long as she could remember – accidentally meeting up with an MI6 agent in her home town. But none of that is what it seemed either. That will be revealed in the sequel to Night Undone, which will hopefully be out late next year (2012).
3. I have got to read these books! I’m already hooked. What’s next in the series?
I’ve been working on the sequel to Lust for Danger for a very long time. I need to get into gear and finish that book. After that, I have at least 5 more books in the series. These books require a lot of research since S.A. Night travels to many different and sometimes exotic locations and I like to be very accurate (since I write faction). In this next book, which I’ll call “MNID” because I’m completely superstitious about revealing a title before it’s in proofing, Agent Night is much more mature, and the reader can tell that years of isolating herself from social pleasantries is starting to take its toll. Working on the Cover Me Series has helped me really develop her character – knowing how she ends up means I have to work on how she gets there.
You “Dames” really did your homework. Interesting question. I’d have to say having inherited that “spy” gene definitely gave me the tendency to write action-adventure and suspense. Watching things like “The Avengers” and “I Spy” while I was growing up certainly nurtured that. I think, perhaps subconsciously, it was watching “The Avengers” that really did it. Diana Rigg as Emma Peel – tough, smart and beautiful – I think that sums it up.
5. Diana Rigg was my hero. Never missed an episode of that show. You’re also an award-winning freelance photographer, poet, and have written feature articles. Impressive! Which came first, photography or writing, and do you prefer one over the other?
Writing was always first – for as long as I can remember. Then around 12 or so I tried painting which didn’t fly – so when a camera came along around age 15, I was thrilled. I could finally capture what I was seeing the way I wanted. I’m very lucky – writing children’s books (my alter ego) allows me to use my writing and photography together. I don’t think I could say which I prefer, since they are both fantastic arts.
6. You’re so creative, K.S. Writing children’s books is a world apart from writing action-adventure, and it’s impressive you are doing both, and adding in your talent as a photographer. I love that when you travel to Orlando, you visit Shooting Sports instead of Disney World. Name your favorite gun and why.
*evil laugh* Yeah, no Disney for me. At Shooting Sports I got to shoot lots of cool guns – Dirty Harry’s model, the same kind of rifle used by Chuck Connors in “The Rifleman,” and even S.A. Night’s SigSauer P230 (backup gun) – it was boatloads of fun. :) I have to say, though, that guns are dangerous – so when it comes to shooting it’s about what you’re comfortable with. I like almost any multi-shot .22 rifle because they’re easy to use, there’s no kickback, I like the feel of the butt up against my shoulder, and I’m so accurate with them it’s sick.
7. Although my bodyguard carries a gun, I haven’t shot one in a good while. I keep telling my husband we need to go to a shooting range so I can at least know what I’m writing about. What inspires you?
Everything. A loose brick in the patio at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics inspired Night Undone. I can look at, touch, hear, taste or smell almost anything and write something about it.
8. Great answer. As an author who dreads promoting, what do you think works best for you in regards to promoting?
I am so bloody grateful for the internet because I can do so much without having to get out in front of people. Yes, I’m one of those writers who likes to hide behind the writing. As far as success – I’m not sure – it seems to me that promotional efforts end up being cumulative, sometimes with results not manifesting for years.
9. This is so true. I wonder how many of us are like that, K.S. I’d much rather be sitting in front of my computer, writing, than in front of a group of people, promoting. I always ask this question: are you a pantser or outliner?
I’m both. Maybe because I’m equally left and right brained. Or maybe because I’m ADHD. It also depends on what I’m writing whether I need that structure.
10. A well-known mystery writer once advised me to use initials instead of my first and middle names, her reason being to keep it non-gender specific. Why did you decide to use initials?
A well-known mystery writer also helped me with my decision – well, sort of. Angela Lansbury played J. B. Fletcher in “Murder She Wrote.” Since Ms. Lansbury and I have the same birthday, it just made sense for me to use my initials too. You can see that it was all completely scientific.
11. It works! Tell us about your neck of the woods.
I live in one of the most fantastic places on earth. The breeze moves the tree branches like fingers waving to me. The sky is huge – the most consistent blue I’ve ever seen – so vivid that sometimes I wonder if I’m looking at a postcard. Bear, moose, deer, arctic hare, and a myriad of bird species visit my yard. Right now, the mountainside is glowing with the gold of autumn’s tamaracks. The wilderness is pure and peaceful. I am very lucky to be here.
12. Sounds absolutely gorgeous. Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them.
Ah, Mr. Pish. So much to say about this little, lovable, fluffy rough coat Jack Russell Terrier. Mr. Pish has his own web site. He’s got more fans than I do on Facebook. He’s running for President. He’s traveled to 41 States, Washington DC and 7 Provinces of Canada promoting Outdoor Learning & Literacy. He loves to go for walks, take naps in front of the fire, and go for rides in the car. His left ear is up, and his right ear is down, making him even more adorable. He’s our little lovebug. His fine, clingy fur covers pretty much everything we own and we don’t mind because Mr. Pish truly is a gift. (www.MrPish.com)
Mr. Pish – how adorable. Hey, I’d vote for him! I love how you feel about him and know he’s definitely found his forever home with you and your family.
Thanks for a great interview, K.S. For more information about K.S. Brooks and her works: http://www.ksbrooks.com/