Today I’m thrilled to introduce Kaelan Rhywiol, a queer, autistic self published author that you might adore. I know I do!
Kaelan was born and raised in upstate NY, in the Adirondack mountains.
Xie started writing when xie turned 11 and hasn’t ever stopped as evidenced by the massive amount of notebooks and digital files of xyr writing xie has hanging around. (We just moved, so trust me, it was a shock to see how much of it there really was.)
Kaelan holds a B.A in bioanthropology/forensic chemistry and an MST in education/world history. Xie loved University, so holds minors in English, Creative Writing, Linguistics, Graphic Design, and Modern Dance.
Xyr hobbies include reading, spinning wool with a spinning wheel, cooking, knitting, sewing and making jewelry.
Xie currently lives in Southern Ontario, Canada with xyr husband of 19 years, their two kids, a foot fetishist of a cat, two crazy kittens, and a grumpy chinchilla.
What inspired your ILAVANI series?
I couldn’t find enough of what I wanted to read. Mainly polyamory, but accurate kink, autistic rep, mixed race rep, paganism… all of it. I couldn’t find it. So I decided I’d try to write it myself. Up to that point, I’d written three historical romance titles with M/F monogamy. (Those didn’t sell to publishing houses, and frankly, they aren’t that great, craft wise. I may go back and revisit them with the knowledge I now have.)
I’d had the beginnings of what became ILAVANI hanging around in jotted notes, scenes, character sketches and the like for several years when nanowrimo 2015 rolled around. I was a stay at home mom and had been making a little extra income by writing customized kink stories for private clients for a while. The economy shifted and my clientele stopped buying stories because they were pricey.
I mentioned how I missed writing and my former best friend asked to read some of this dream world of mine. It’s a whole world based in the concepts of polyamory, paganism and scientific fantasy creatures a lot like earth mythology. Elves, dryads, minotaurs, dragons, and the like, only created through genetic-modification.
She begged me to write it. So I started writing a few days before Nanowrimo started, I had 11k on November 1, 2015. By the end of the month I’d won nano with a draft of 275k words.
Apparently, I’d needed to write that world for a while.
Maybe it’s because I’d always wanted to write a science fantasy series like PERN or DUNE, something where the science was true to what we could do today, only taken further, speculative fiction on how and what we as humanity will do with it. All of my creatures and modified humans in ILAVANI are based in what we’re doing with genetically modified organisms. GMOs.
Lol, though I take it a lot further. I’ve always been fascinated by mythology, so I have minotaurs, cat-people, dragons, lizard folk, and more. I also have cyborgs and a planetary artificial intelligence that runs a lot of what happens on ILAVANI.
What about a serial format made it perfect for ILAVANI?
Its length. The only way that this story can see the light of day is as a serial. I’ll be releasing 13 chapters at a go, because 13 is my lucky number. With Print On Demand publishing (PoD) which most small presses and self-pubbed authors need to use, you have a length limit. ILAVANI is too long to release as one book. I considered chopping it up into a couple of different stories based on relationships, but the story wasn’t written that way, and it felt like I was butchering something beautiful.
I didn’t want to do it.
ILAVANI has 6 distinct points of view, each person telling their own story, but each person’s life is heavily intertwined with the others. Removing any of them for length concerns just didn’t work.
Where and how do you like to read? What do you need for a good long reading session?
Somewhere comfy. I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome so it’s imperative that I’m someplace soft, with a soft blanket and a cup of tea or a glass of red wine. Maybe a plate of cheese and olives.
I’ve been struggling with reading lately, which sucks! I never thought that becoming a decent writer/editor would mean I couldn’t turn the editor brain off. I work so much of the time as an editor at small press, reading with the idea of ‘what needs to be fixed so we can publish this piece’ that when I’m reading for pleasure… well, that thought process is still there.
What is your biggest struggle in writing?
Depression. That has been the BIGGEST issue the past year. I’ve never not had depression. I’ve been trying to query titles to traditional publishing, but I’ve found that it just doesn’t work for me. I can’t keep doing it because the anxiety and depression of waiting for an answer from agents and small press makes me stop writing.
Writing is my joy, and when I’m not doing it, I find that my depression and anxiety are worse. So the querying is a self-defeating cycle for me and I’m not going to do it anymore. I may pitch future titles in twitter pitch contests, because those are kind of fun, but the slog of querying? No. I can’t do it and frankly, I’m the one with the product to sell, a good one, and a small but growing following. Agents can find me from now on. Lol, look at me, starting the writer’s revolution.
As far as craft goes… gods… passive voice. I know. I pontificate at length about how much I loathe passive voice, but the reason I do is because I tend to write heavily in it when I’m drafting. It usually takes me at least three passes during edits to weed out most of it.
What’s the first book you remember falling in love with?
I’m going to split that into two, I was around nine years old. I found two books that utterly changed my life and brought the magic of reading to me. It took me a while to learn how to read because I’m dyslexic and in the ‘80s people didn’t pay attention to things like that. When I was nine I also got glasses for the first time. I’d probably needed them from the time of three years old.
In any case, I found WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS by Wilson Rawls and THE CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN by Lloyd Alexander.
The first enraptured me and was the first book to rip my heart out and make me cry. The second transported me to a new world, one with magic and adventure, characters to admire and places I’d still love to visit (Wales).
I even wrote an adult version of the myths centered in CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN. It’s called BLOODBOUND and will be released fall of 2017 if a small press doesn’t pick it up.
What was your last five star read? What made it a five star read?
My last published 5 star reads were the Draconis Memoria series. THE WAKING FIRE and THE LEGION OF FLAME by Anthony Ryan.
If I ‘grow up’ to be half the writer he is, I’ll consider myself good.
It helps that he rarely uses passive voice, because I’ve DNF’d a LOT of books lately for that issue. I figure if *I* can make the effort to get rid of it in my writing, other writers can do that too.
What’s one thing that would surprise people to know about you?
Ach, I’m pretty open about everything. Maybe that I’m very shy in real life and prefer online communication? I don’t know.
What do you to break out of writing slumps?
Set goals. I set a daily word count goal, most of the time when I’m drafting I exceed my goal without trying, but when I’ve been in a slump… that’s when I need to discipline myself to meet my goals. It’s often quite hard, and often feels like pulling teeth sans anesthesia.
Where should readers start when it comes to your writing?
I think that depends on what they’re looking for? If they’re looking for blisteringly hot erotica, start with the vignettes. I’m internationally known for how well I write erotic sexy smexy scenes.
If they’re looking for queer rep, or autistic rep, go for ILAVANI, almost every version of queer rep exists in ILAVANI. The only thing I haven’t written into it is a trans character, because I don’t want to harm anyone. My assassin is non-binary though, like me, and uses xie/xem/xyr pronouns throughout.
If they’re looking for demi-sexuality, touch aversion, and gray-aromanticism, wait for BLOODBOUND, because that book is probably the one ripped up from the roots of my soul. It represents my own experience of asexuality, and my demisexual beta readers have loved how well I’ve written the representation.
What should readers know about you before reading your work?
Well. I’m autistic, and my voice tends to reflect that. Meaning I love lush language and slow pacing. I have a rather huge vocabulary and rarely use the thesaurus, but I’ve been accused of purple prose a time or ten. I don’t really mind, I love language. It shows. Most of my work is upmarket; kink, polyamory and pagan threads tend to interweave throughout everything I write.
What are your favorite writing tools?
My laptop. It was a gift from my husband for my last birthday because I needed to be able to make covers (I’m a cover artist as well.) It was his way of letting me know he supported this dream of mine. Of writing/publishing books.
What inspired you to begin writing fiction?
I couldn’t find enough of me in the stories I read. Seeing yourself in fiction is so very powerful, and I love adult fiction. There just wasn’t enough representation of me in it.
So I decided to write some.
What is the best way for a reader to contact you?
Lol, twitter. I’m terribly addicted. Email is fine too, and I’m always so thrilled to hear from my readers.
Tell me about your press, and why you decided to form it?
That one is hard. I am so passionate about diversity, but I’m not seeing enough diversity actually ON the shelves. In the past two years I’ve seen so many talented, diverse writers giving up because they just weren’t getting the deals. I’m even one of them, I write well, people love my stories and my books, one recently hit #36 in sales for contemporary paranormal romance on amazon… but I can’t land a publishing deal or an agent. There are so many diverse people out there who don’t know what I know about getting books onto the market. I know marketing and sales (I’ve worked professionally in both) I know cover art, formatting, editing (though it’s a lot harder to edit my own work) and I can help get those diverse stories out there.
The world needs our diverse words, our own voices representation, and if I can play some small part in that? I’ll be the change I need to see in the world.
What do you like to do when you aren’t reading, writing or editing?
Lol, try to remember to eat? I dunno, I spin with a spinning wheel, watch cheesy action/adventure movies with my husband, knit, and binge watch tv shows. I can’t stand to wait week to week for another episode, so I wait until the whole series is available, then I go through it in a weekend.
You can find Kaelan on her website, Multifarious Press’s website, or on Twitter. You can find more of Xyr work through their Amazon Author page. You can purchase ILAVANI Vol. 1 for $1 on Amazon Digital! Check it out!
Read the synopsis for ILAVANI here:
Maëlcolm is a skilled BDSM trainer, a spy, and unfortunately, a prince.
Cameron is Maël’s older brother, titular heir to their father’s kingdom and in love with his enby bodyguard, Li.
Kat is a slave. A genetically modified being created for one purpose, and one alone. To please her masters in bed.
Los is a gifted Companion, the only thing that makes him happier than practicing his calling is loving Maël, the one man Los can’t have an official relationship with.
If Maël doesn’t give up his calling and do as the Ard Righ demands, his family loses everything.
If Cam doesn’t do what he needs to do to become worthy of the throne by the Ard Righ’s stringent standards, their family may be executed.
If Kat, autistic, touch-averse, and afraid, chooses to fight her fate, she’ll die.
When an artificial intelligence named ‘the high king’ is at the helm, the cost to human hearts may be impossible to bear.