StarkLight Poems Put to Music

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Tonight at 7 pm at Faking Sanity Bookstore in Dawson Creek you can hear poems from StarkLight Anthologies sung by their authors! Excellent musicians and poets are gathering for the Poetry and Music Cafe, where locals come to enjoy coffee, fresh baking and haunting songs and poems.

 

Alaska Highway: The Definitive Guide

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StarkLight Press is pleased to announce the official call for writers for its second full-color coffee table book- Alaska Highway: The Definitive Guide.

This 275 page compendium of history, adventure, travelogue and achievement features never-before published photos from the era of construction, the golden age of driving and beautiful vistas of heart-rendingly majestic countryside. These pictures are accompanied by a riveting, in-depth narrative of the Highway’s history, as well as inserts featuring little known stories, characters and side adventures that make the Alaska Highway one of the most remarkable stretches of road anywhere in the world.

StarkLight Press is currently seeking writers with a connection to the Peace River and Dawson Creek area to write sections of the copy of our Guide.

If you or your family have a photo or other memorabilia that you would like to see included in the volume, please email us at starklightdesk@gmail.com.

Interested parties can email starklightdesk@gmail.com and provide a brief bio featuring their connection to the region and their interest in participation in the coffee table book.

Copy submissions for our existing writers are due on Dec 10, 2016- photo submissions are due Dec. 18.

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Jason Pere Stirs the Pot of Plot

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Jason Pere is a born-and-raised New Englander. He always had a passion for the arts and creative storytelling. At the age of thirteen, Jason took up the craft of acting for film and theater. He pursued that interest for over a decade until refocusing his medium of expression into writing.

Jason has several self-published titles under his belt as well as a plethora of author credits with a handful of small publishing companies. He has contributed to a number of collaborative novels before The Irregulars, and is noted for his additions of sudden twists and turns to his sections of the stories.

Thanks for joining us today to talk about your writing for the Irregulars, Jason.

Who was your character in The Irregulars. Tell us a bit about them.

I got the pleasure to write for Jeremy Colton. He is a feisty and angst ridden thirteen year old boy with chronic asthma and an over protective big sister. Jeremy has a bit of a chip on his shoulder due to the oppressive affection of his elder sibling. The kid doesn’t like the fact that he was often relegated to keeping out of the way and letting the older members of the Irregulars family handle any crisis that might occur. Jeremy wants to participate in the group and get involved in problem solving because he believes that his “gift” is a tool of great use to the family. Jeremy’s special ability is the power to slow time. Sadly when Jeremy manifests that power it seems to bring on violent asthma attacks.

Wouldn’t you know it, but I found Jeremy rather easy to write for. I just had to remember to make sure that he coughed enough. I think he was a good match for me because I used to be an angry thirteen year old boy myself. I think that the biggest challenge I faced was not creating Jeremy so much as it was writing him into the family. I had to walk a fine line between keeping his frustration at being marginalized relevant but stopping him from totally isolating himself from the rest of the group. In the end I think the other authors on the team really helped to keep Jeremy from breaking away from the rest of the cast.

How did you most relate to your character?

Well like I guess I kind of answered that already. Jeremy is an angry teenager and I used to be and angry teenager. I think that past the anger itself we both shared a similar origin for our rage. I think that like me at the time, the bulk of Jeremy’s anger is breed from his inability to effectively communicate the thoughts in his head. We both spent a lot of time having the words come out all wrong so to speak. It is one of the most aggression inducing things to have a well thought out concept in your brain but fail at the articulation of the concept to others.

What is your experience as a writer?

I have a love hate relationship with writing. In school I dreaded writing assignments but as I got into my later years of high school I started to manifest a lot of creativity. The most readily accessible outlet I had to get my ideas into the world was writing. Sadly, like many other things in my life, the moment it got hard I quit. I ended up with a lot of started projects and nothing but some scribbled in notebooks. I dabbled in writing over the years, mostly journaling and a little fan fiction or a character backstory for one of my creations in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign or some other roleplaying system. It was when I was coming up on my ten year reunion for my high school that I looked at myself and felt wholly under accomplished with my life. I knew I had the ability to do something exceptional and I felt the need to reach for the stars, so to speak. I took stock of my skills and personal assets and settled on writing a book. I set some small goals that I knew I could meet and, low and behold in the autumn of 2012 I published my first book. I took a break for a while and tried my hand at other things, none of them really worked out the way I hoped so I returned to writing. It was the first thing that really offered me any success and it does not feel like a horrid amount of work so it is a pursuit that I feel well fitted for.

What if any experience do you have as a writer working with other authors in a collaborations?

One of the things that I love most about writing is the fact that I do not have to depend upon anyone else to make a project happen. This is not the case with collaborative writing but I have to say that I greatly enjoy the genre. Despite my independence I am a pretty solid team player and it is nice to have other artists on a project to help lighten the creative load. I happened upon the Collaborative Writing Challenge ( http://www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com/ ) in late 2014 and got involved with several of their collaborative novels and anthologies. I enjoyed the experience of creating a novel with a team of other authors that I started to peruse collaborative stories on my own. The Irregulars was the product of some discussion that occurred between several members of the Collaborative Writing Challenge.

Tell us about your take of the world of The Irregulars. What is happening? What would interest readers about it most?

It’s like Young X-Men meet 101 Dalmatians. That is a story that I want to know more about. Special people being hunted because they are special is, admittedly not an original concept but I feel that readers will appreciate our teams twist on it. I think that having the principle cast be children is enough of an original incentive to draw readers in. In that respect it is kind of like Oliver Twist and Lord of the Flies but with fireballs, lightning bolts, time travel and a wide array of other fantastic supernatural feats.

How long do you take to write a book independantly of a collaborative? How long would this compare to writing with other authors?

On my own I write a book in about six to seven months, if I am writing at a comfortable pace and keeping to my schedule. If I turn it up I can put out a book in about three to four months but that is writing at a pace that my day job really doesn’t allow for. When I am due to write as part of a collaboration I tend to go faster than my solo novel rate. I think that is mostly due to the fact that I do not want to hold up the rest of the group. I do not need to be the star player on a team but I abhor being the weak link.

How do you incorporate the noise around you into the story you are writing at the moment?

I actually prefer it to be quiet when I write. I need to focus my attention of getting the story in my head onto the page. I can have some white noise or some instrumental music playing but I struggle anytime I write and there are words being spoken in my ear.

Do you prefer being intoxicated to write? Or would you rather write sober? Do you do anything to alter your mental state when you write?

I do not drink, at all. I really do not do anything to alter my mental state, when writing or otherwise. It’s hard enough for me to keep a clear head as it is. I want to avoid anything that might make me cloudy.

What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?

That is best echoed in part of a dedication that I include in several of my books. It is “A life without burden”.

Do you think translating books into languages other than their origin forces the intended essence away?

I think it can. There are some words that just do not translate into other languages. I could also say that a book in and of itself is an artistic product that is deviant from its intended essence. Even using all the words in an author’s native language, I do not think it is possible for words on the page to carry the full weight of their creator’s imagination. I think in the end this come back to the fact that people have yet to realize the act of perfect communication.

Do you blog? If so, what do you blog about and where can other people find it?

Why yes I do blog. Amung other things I am a huge dork. I love card games, board games and pretty much any fashion of game. I love one game so much, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn, that I write a weekly pice of fanfiction for the product. The series is called flASH fiction and you can find it every Saturday on Team Covenant, https://teamcovenant.com/category/ashes-rise-of-the-phoenixborn, Strange Copy, http://www.strangecopy.com/index.php/category/flash-fiction/, and my author page, https://www.facebook.com/jbp.author/

How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write? Please share the platforms you’re active on and how people can find you there.

I am on Facebook daily and very actively. On that note I think that social media is my largest distraction when it comes to writing. I am part of a number of wring groups and it is very easy to get sucked into threads about all things writerly. If people want to find me the best way to get in touch is via my Author Page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/jbp.author/

Do you enjoy theatre? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play? Would you prefer to see The Irregulars as a movie, a play, neither or both?

I do love theater. I used to go to the local performing arts center to see many touring musical theater companies as a child. I also spent the vast majority of my adolescence training in film and theater as well as performing in several community shows. I certainly wouldn’t mind getting some Royalty checks form an “Irregulars feature film” but I would be warry of an adaptation of the story into a big Hollywood blockbuster. I can see this story as being something that would be incredibly easy to poorly execute on film.

If you had to pick one other author to write your biography, who would it be?And who is that one author you would love to write the biography of your life?

I think that the most genuine sort of biography is an autobiography. At least I would like to believe that. I hope that I am a genuine enough person that if I were to write my own story that it would paint an accurate picture of the truth.

Thanks for the interview, Jason, and for your work on The Irregulars, coming later this year from StarkLight Press!

Jenn Spaulding Adopts Maddy

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In our next Irregulars author interview, Jenn Spaulding talks about taking up the character of Maddy, the young girl with a voice that can change moods, minds and opinions. She also tells us a little more about her experience with life, and with writing.

  1. What is your experience as a writer?

My experience as a writer began when I was a child and penned my first poem. I have always been fond of words and the power they have. Actually I guess one can say I am infatuated with words. My poetry led me down a path into a poetry vortex where I met the most amazing people that altered my life’s course.

  1. What if any experience do you have as a writer working with other authors in a collaborations?

Over the past year I have worked with a plethora of talented authors on many different occasions. As far as a collaboration of this nature is considered this the third novel I have had the honor to take part in.

  1. Who was your character in The Irregulars. Tell us a bit about them.

My character is eight-year-old Maddy who is a blind orphan with auburn ringlets and piercing blue eyes. She has the voice of an angel that soothes and calms some into a cationic state. She can see the colors that swirl around people or what is known as a person’s aura.

  1. What was the most challenging part about writing your character?

The most challenging part about writing as Maddy was eliminating the sense of sight. I was never aware of how much we rely upon the sense of sight over the other four senses.

  1. How did you most relate to your character?

I mostly related to my character in the aspect that not only is she a little broken, but she was abandoned and orphaned at a young age and left to fend for herself. I also have a nine-year-old daughter so I asked her a few questions to gather some insight into the mind of an eight-year-old girl.

  1. Tell us about your take of the world of The Irregulars. What is happening? What would interest readers about it most?

The world of the Irregulars is a crumbling city of abandoned buildings dominated by the pharmaceutical company. In which we find our band of Irregular children. The children are soon hunted by the evil, insane Dr. Glenn Portsmouth and her posse of mutant villains. I think that the readers will be most interested in the children’s special gifts which they use to survive and defeat their enemies.

  1. How long do you take to write a book independently of a collaborative? How long would this compare to writing with other authors?

I have yet to have the pleasure of writing my first full length novel.

  1. How do you incorporate the noise around you into the story you are writing at the moment?

I have learned to tune out the outside noise around me while I am writing. Or else I would not be able to get anything written, ever.

  1. Do you prefer being intoxicated to write? Or would you rather write sober? Do you do anything to alter your mental state when you write?

I rarely drink and usually when I do it is in celebration. Thus I prefer to have a clear mind when I write that way it is not clouded by drugs or alcohol.

  1. What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?

My end goal is to be recognized as a bestselling author one day I want to be a household name, like Stephen King.

11. Do you think translating books into languages other than their origin forces the intended essence away?

I do not think that translating books from their origin forces the intended essence away. This is because if the author translates the text word for word there is no way anything can get lost in translation.

  1. Do you blog? If so, what do you blog about and where can other people find it?

I have yet to start my own blog, but once I am not so busy with school I intend to start one.

13. How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write? Please share the platforms you’re active on and how people can find you there.

I usually spend a lot of time, but I have been extremely busy with school work and caring for my family. I have found if I spend too much time on social media then I get no writing done. Those that wish to learn more about me can find me on Facebook as Jenn Spaulding and on Twitter @sweetjeni74.

14. Do you enjoy theatre? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play? Would you prefer to see The Irregulars as a movie, a play, neither or both?

I adore theater and wish I could attend a play or even star in one. I would love to see one of my stories turn into life as a play. I would love to see the Irregulars as a movie and a play.

15. If you had to pick one other author to write your biography, who would it be?And who is that one author you would love to write the biography of your life?

The one author I would pick to write my biography would be Virginia Carraway Stark and I would also love if she wrote my life biography.

Jenn Spaulding lives in the land of Oz. She was last seen on the yellow brick road hunting flying monkeys that stole her magic quill and parchment. Her latest works can be found among the plethora of anthologies published by Starklight Press. Look for her in her role as the GAF’s Private Puff Errington in Space Stranded and The Arkellan Treatytwo of the latest Galactic Armed Forces novels.

Call for Peace River Writers

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As part of the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Alaska Highway, StarkLight Press is compiling a full color coffee table keepsake book featuring pictures and stories about the highway and the effect its construction had on local families.

We are currently looking for two or three more locally based (Peace River area) writers to pen a few short pieces for remaining areas in our layout. We would like to see the book have as many local voices as possible!

Please contact StarkLight Press at starklightdesk@gmail.com if you would like to be included in this milestone project.

Thanks again to Lynn Washington and the South Peace Community Arts Council for their kind support of this magnificient book.

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Hallowe’en is Coming

All Hallows is just around the corner, and StarkLight Press is celebrating the holiday with an anthology of thrills, chills, frights and rollicking good fun.

From classic ghost stories to a Sherlock Holmes Hallowe’en adventure, this StarkLight Anthology is sure to put the spooky into your Hallowe’en.

Cadence Colton’s Author Speaks

Today’s interview features the ever-enthralling Virginia Carraway Stark, who had the task of bringing Cadence Colton to life for The Irregulars. Cadence is a teenager who witnessed her mother’s murder at her father’s hand, and was forced to take to the streets with her younger brother, Jeremy, to keep themselves safe. Virginia talks to StarkLight Press about her process, the characters, and the challenges of writing a girl who can disappear into the crowd.

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SLP: What is your experience as a writer?

I have been writing my whole life. My first published works were screenplays. You can get a look at my complete bio at www.virginiastark.wordpress.com
It’s been diverse in the extreme. I’ve written in many anthologies, poetry anthologies, guest blogs, my own blogs, monthly columns for local newspapers, science articles, novels as well as collaborations like this one. I’ve also written non-fiction short stories, biographical and autobiographical works as wells as plays. I like to explore and write in many genres and use whatever medium works best to express myself in.

SLP: What if any experience do you have as a writer working with other authors in a collaborations?

I’ve been involved with quite a few collaborations, I believe this is my tenth one but I would have to count to be sure. I work with other authors in groups of two or three in addition to the larger collaborations. I’m not a fan of working in groups larger than 8-10 at most. I find that more authors than that make a committee-esque manuscript that is less than satisfying. I found that I didn’t feel a sense of ownership over the writing and that when it came to working on it I was less connected than with any other writing I have ever done.
The round robin of 8 or ideally less was enough time to get a strong story line going with lot of input from the other authors to help steer it in new and challenging places without the story becoming removed from me on a personal level.

 

SLP: Who was your character in The Irregulars. Tell us a bit about them.


I wrote for Cadence Colton. Cadence and Jeremy Colton were the only two of the eight children who were biologically related. Unfortunately for Cadence, she witnessed her father murder her mother. Cadence assumed that her father was mentally unbalanced but she doesn’t seem to know the actual motivation for the murder. Cadence testified against her father at the trial and holds herself responsible for the loss of her father in addition to the violent death of her mother. She developed PTSD from witnessing her mother’s murder and was treated by psychiatrists and doctors for awhile after her mother’s death and developed an addiction to barbituates. When she and Jeremy were sent to stay with an abusive aunt and uncle the two decided to run away and ended up on the streets with their family withholding their trust fund and other support from them.
Jeremy has a lot of the traits of his father and of his abusive Uncle. Although this isn’t touched on much in the story he becomes increasingly unstable and it is a simple conclusion that Jeremy has inherited his father’s demented temperament. Cadence is repeatedly abused by him as he grows from a loving child into an angry and hate-filled adolescent until she finally shuts down towards him.

  1. Cadence has the gift of not being seen. While she isn’t invisible she goes unnoticed whenever she chooses to. In fact, in many ways, it seems that Cadence has to work to be seen more than she has to work to be unseen. Because of this talent she frequently is the one who gathers supplies, food and medication for the others. She bears a lot of responsibility and is hard on herself any time anything goes wrong. Jeremy works hard to augment this trait in her and blames her harshly for anything he perceives as being, ‘unfair’.
    At the age of 16, Cadence is only now old enough to file for emancipation and to try to retrieve her inheritance for herself and the other seven children as well. One of the largest struggles they all face is that they have a lack of faith in humanity as a whole and are unwilling to trust anyone who might have been able to help them in their situation. This mistrust is often validated by the way people and the world treat them.

    SLP: What was the most challenging part about writing your character?

    The idea for The Irregulars was my idea but the characters themselves were sketched out first with Jason Pere and then with the individual authors who were selected to work with us on the story.
    Cadence was one of the characters that was entirely my idea and I didn’t realize when I designed her how much of myself I put into her. I was dealing with the first onset of PTSD after being struck by a car. This caused a cascade of childhood memories of trauma in addition to dealing with the much more immediate trauma.
    I ran away from home when I was 15 and had a little brother who I left behind. The results for my little brother were catastrophic. I myself dealt with the trauma and went on to university and then to travel the world. Because I had moved on so much from my childhood and being a runaway myself, I had to acknowledge this for the first time in myself. Although rationally I was aware of the fact that I left home and was emancipated due to the abuse I suffered I didn’t realize how much this had shaped my personality and how many advantages in life I didn’t have because of my poor family life.

    Writing about the effects of running away on Cadence opened my eyes to the complications I had to deal with. At the time, each thing was an obstacle to overcome and once I had overcome it I put it behind me. Seeing that these obstacles were common to all runaways put myself into a more objective light. I realized that what I had been through wasn’t particularly unique and neither were my PTSD symptoms. Writing about those symptoms in an open matter was a challenge as well.

    SLP: How did you most relate to your character?

    Subconsciously, when I developed Cadence I was really writing myself. I felt foolish when I realized that I had put so much of myself into her without consciously realizing it. Dealing with therapists in the present and applying the grounding techniques I’ve learned to a child version of myself was an interesting experience and, I think, a healing one.
    Unlike Cadence, I was able to shed my old life from me like a snake shedding an old, dead skin. For me, there was little left of the evils I had been subjected to in my youth and in moving on unencumbered I was able to create a new self that was free from that baggage. I was able to deal with my traumas when I was ready to and on my own terms. Cadence, however, was forced to deal with her trauma every day. Jeremy was incredibly self-absorbed and constantly rubbed the past in Cadence’s face. His hatred and blame was a burden that she could only escape by shutting her heart to him.
    This was another way I related to Cadence in that when I reconnected with my family they did everything they could to blame me and acted with hatred towards me. When they asked for forgiveness and I was happy to give it to them and move on they reacted with anger and even more hatred towards me. This aspect of my family reminded me a lot of Jeremy and indicated to me that he was fundamentally mentally unhealthy.

    SLP: Tell us about your take of the world of The Irregulars. What is happening? What would interest readers about it most?

    The Irregulars is about eight children who each ended up on the street for various reasons and who were attracted to each other through essentially a sixth sense that the others were special in ways like themselves.
    No two of them are the same in their abilities but they are all the same in the fact that they have a lot of baggage. Some of them are affected mentally and other physically or more likely, both. They have a lot of fear of the world and trepidation about anyone who doesn’t have the special feel to them as well as inherently mistrusting adults. This puts them into a more vulnerable position than they necessarily would have had to be in. There are quite a few ways that I, as an outsider looking in, could have seen to get help for the children that they were blind to.

    I think this is quite common when people are in a dire situation to not think rationally, all the more so because they are children.
    They are being hunted by a group that goes by the shortened name, ‘M.A.C.’ who has learned that psychics can be used for military applications and works to hunt them down. They are lead by a woman named Dr. Glenn Portsmith who Milton and Bruce, two of the children, have had interactions with in the past. They were held captive and tortured and their experience is enough to send all the children into a panic run away from the danger they find themselves in.

    SLP: How long do you take to write a book independently of a collaborative? How long would this compare to writing with other authors?


    It varies a lot. Some collaborations go really quickly but require extensive editing and others just go quickly. A lot of writing in a group comes down to group dynamics and to enthusiasm about the work. It becomes evident early on who wants to promote the story as a whole and who is in it to write whatever they want in an echo chamber that robs the other writer’s of their voices. This is, of course, a situation that makes a story biased in one characters direction while the other characters/writers spend all their time cleaning up after those messes. In situations like this writing a collaborations can become a tiresome affair. It is intensely important that each author carefully consider the previous writer’s writing and integrate it into their own. It is important that story threads are picked up and woven into the largely story. I’ve seen too often a writer leave a hint/prompt in their section only to see the next author ignore it and go off in another direction, ignoring what the other writers are processing.
    I think of this a lot like when you have a conversation with someone who is clearly not listening and is only waiting for you to stop talking so that they can say something on their mind.
    When I write on my own the process for writing a novel can be very quick (weeks) or very long (years). The good thing about a collaborative is that you know other people are relying on you to write your part and you don’t want the story to lose the story’s momentum so this works as impetus to get going and to write your section in a timely matter. This is, I think, the key feature that makes collaborative work move more quickly than independent work.

 

SLP: How do you incorporate the noise around you into the story you are writing at the moment?

If I’m distracted I find that the music I’m listening to or voices around me penetrate into the mood and timber of my writing style. Once I get into the flow of the story I find that nothing gets through to me. Not even the phone ringing or an alarm going off really gets through to me. I find that people often have to ask me a question several times before I even start to hear them. I’m highly immersive.

SLP: Do you prefer being intoxicated to write? Or would you rather write sober? Do you do anything
to alter your mental state when you write?


I have written drunk before. It’s an interesting experience. It’s kind of fun in a sloppy sort of way! The biggest thing is that I get really sleepy when I drink so I pretty much would have few coolers or a couple of glasses of wine and then go to bed after only a few pages.
I don’t think it particularly affected the quality of my writing although poetry written while drinking or being really tired is often much more in tune with the subconscious. I do poetry marathons every year and I find that as the hours progress (24 poems in 24 hours) that my poetry gets increasingly deep. Sometimes this touches on old hurts or pain and other times it comes out in the form of stories that are somewhat surreal but beautiful.

SLP: What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?

I’m still trying to figure that out. I have decided that I definitely want a brick of gold Bullion but I haven’t really worked out a life plan or goal. I got hit by a car just when I started to really get a life plan in place and that kind of changed everything. Priorities shift when suddenly you are faced with death staring you in the face and the mental alterations of post concussion syndrome, life long nerve damage and PTSD.
My life took on a new trajectory after that event and I still don’t know what that means for me. I think a lot of that is sorrow at the losses that I am still processing where life goes from here. I know I have a lot of stories in me that I want to write and other than that I’m still putting one foot in front of the other and that’s the best I can do.

SLP: Do you think translating books into languages other than their origin forces the intended essence away?

Not at all if done by a competent translator, I think that it forces a lot of the original manuscript to try on a new wardrobe.

SLP: Do you blog? If so, what do you blog about and where can other people find it?

I have a couple of blogs, one is my writer blog where I blog on whatever comes to mind. The other one is a blog where I have been working on my memoirs. My writer blog is highly eclectic and you can find it at www.virginiastark.wordpress.com my memoir blog is www.ihavememory.wordpress.com

SLP: How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write? Please share the platforms you’re active on and how people can find you there.

I’m pretty active on Facebook and my blogs. I’m not as as active on my author page as I am on my personal page but you can find it at https://www.facebook.com/Virginiacarrawaystark/?fref=ts you can also find me on twitter @tweetsbyvc
I have an instagram account that is underused. Other than that I’m frequently interviewed or on guest blogs and you can find me by googling me in a wide range of places.

 

SLP: Do you enjoy theater? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play? Would you prefer to see The Irregulars as a movie, a play, neither or both?

I have seen Carnival Fun, turned into a play. It was originally a short story that was developed into a world so the first play was a lot different from the re-vamped version of it that I’m working on now.
I don’t think The Irregulars would make the best play as it stands now. It would have to be re-written a lot as a lot of the characters are too introverted to be captured on the stage. I think with a lot of rewrites it could make a compelling play.

I think The Irregulars would actually make a much better movie than a play but I’m wary of trusting manuscripts into the hands of random strangers and would want to have a lot of say in casting and directing etc. I’ve seen too many stories mangled beyond all recognition.

Thanks to Virginia Carraway Stark for taking the time to answer our questions about Cadence, and about her experience writing for The Irregulars!

The Irregulars will be available later this autumn from StarkLight Press.

Kaylee Kosakowski Brings Thia George to Life

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In this first interview with the authors of The Irregulars, Kaylee Kosakowski discusses her character, the intrepid Thia George, her powers of the mind, Kaylee’s own writing style and thoughts about the kids and their plight.

You can find Kaylee on Facebook, as well as on Twitter and Instagram at

Instagram: @asiankaylee

Twitter: @asiankayleeann

Kaylee Kosakowski hails from the land of inconsistent weather known as Buffalo, New York. She has always found writing to be her favorite outlet and is always working to improve her skills as a storyteller. She is published in five collaborative novels with the Collaborative Writing Challenge and one Halloween anthology; The Irregulars will mark her sixth collaboration. When Kaylee is not getting lost in the world of Young Adult Fiction, you can most likely find her consuming copious amounts of chai and watching YouTube like a true millennial.

Kaylee is currently in her third year of college at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, studying Television and Film Production.

The Irregulars Author Interviews – Kaylee Kosakowski

  1. What is your experience as a writer?

My experience as a writer dates back to the ever-so-memorable middle school years, though my first experience being published was much more recent, beginning with the Collaborative Writing Challenge. I was contacted and asked if I would like to participate in the pilot project, The Concierge (2015), and continued with each one up to the fifth project, The Map. On the side, I wrote a short story for Festive Frights (2015).

Prior to CWC, I had always worked on my own projects with only myself as the judge, but working in a collaborative environment taught me things that would never have learned had I stayed inside of my comfort zone. There have been lost of ups and downs—moments of intense inspiration and moments destitute of imagination; it’s unbelievably frustrating, but when I finally mange to sort my jumbled words into coherent, captivating sentences, I remember why I love writing. I’m currently working on one of my own projects—though, admittedly, I’ve been slacking—and when I get the chance, I dabble in short stories.

  1. What—if any—experience do you have as a writer working with other authors in collaborations?

Most of my writing experience is actually a result of collaborations. As I mentioned earlier, the Collaborative Writing Challenge is a huge part of who I am as a writer. The Collaborative Writing Challenge (CWC) brings together a network of writers with the goal of publishing a collaborative novel. I have worked on five projects with CWC, each a different genre; it’s definitely tough. Each person writes differently and there is no way of knowing which storyline a writer will choose to follow and develop. There have been times when I have completely understood the story and the next move was obvious to me, but there have also been times when I was awake at two in the morning just staring at my laptop screen, wiling the plot to come my way. No matter how many times I do it, it is always a strange experience, writing with people whom I may not have ever even met in mind, but hey, that’s the beauty of it.

  1. Who was your character in The Irregulars? Tell us a bit about them.

My character was Thia George! She is thirteen years old and a telepath with telekinesis, so essentially she can read minds and move stuff with her thoughts. I don’t want to give you her whole biography, but like the other characters, she had a rough childhood. Thia is also an amputee and is confined to a wheelchair, but do not let that fool you, she is much tougher than she looks.

She is wise for her years, a result of both being able to read minds and being on the run from people who want to experiment on her and her group, but my favorite thing about Thia is that she’s honest with herself. She knows how she feels, and even if she does not always vocalize it, she accepts it. Because she can read minds, she knows the consequences of keeping things bottled up better than anyone.

  1. What was the most challenging part about writing your character?

I was not originally part of the project, so I did not get the chance to see or understand Thia’s conceptualization. With all collaborative projects, it’s tough adjusting to a character whose personality has been hinted at or even established by other writers, but that did not even compare to the nervousness I felt when I saw Thia’s age.

Of all the writers who were part of The Irregulars, I am definitely the one who is closest in age with her (or, rather, any) character, yet writing for a girl who was seven years younger than me stumped me. I had no idea what words young teenage girls use and my biggest fear was writing and making it sound unrealistic—like what thirteen year-old girl would say that? I can remember what seventeen year-old me would say, but sixteen year-old let alone thirteen year-old? Nope.

  1. How did you most relate to your character?

As Thia is a telepath, she spends the majority of the story in her head. Every time she’s in a new environment or just dealing with whatever situation is at hand, she is thinking everything through and always vaguely aware of what the others think. Plus, at least in my head, Thia does not mind being lost in her head. Sure, there are some memories she has repressed and feelings she tries to stay away from, but her mind is her home.

I’m the same way. When I have to solve problems or am around people I don’t know, I retract into my thoughts. I’m a listener rather than a speaker, especially around people I am not familiar with, and I’m happy being so. It sounds strange, but I could contently sit on bed and stare at the ceiling, lost in my thoughts. Also, though this may speak to my college mentality of wanting people to like me, I am sensitive to others, meaning that I always try and gauge how someone is feeling based on body language. It’s not the same as reading minds, but it’s kind of similar.

  1. Tell us about your take of the world of The Irregulars. What is happening? What would interest readers about it most?

In the world of The Irregulars, eight gifted children are on the run from an entity that wants nothing more than to put collars on them. The Irregulars is not only the story of their endeavor to safety, but also the story of learning to trust people they have just met and people they have known almost their whole lives. The story is set in what I can only describe as an alternate universe, as it is neither dystopian nor set in a place of fantasies.

I think that what would interest readers the most is the fact that the story is written in eight different perspectives. There are plenty of stories out there that have a couple different point-of-views, but the diversity of the characters and the fact that there are eight sets The Irregulars apart. Each character thinks differently, and as obvious as that sounds, it’s truly thrilling to read. While the characters may experience similar emotions, they all handle them differently, but just when you think it’s crazy that these eight kids can live together because they have so many issues, you’re reminded of why they just work.

  1. How long do you take to write a book independently of a collaborative? How long would this compare to writing with other authors?

I don’t really have anything to compare the collaborative experience to, as I have not completed my own personal projects. However, I finished the extremely-coarse-sandpaper-rough-draft in around the same amount of time as the CWC Projects take. I paced myself with a chapter a week, which is coincidentally the same schedule that CWC follows. The rewriting process, on the other hand, is taking me forever.

  1. How do you incorporate the noise around you into the story you are writing at the moment?

I generally prefer to write in silence because I get distracted easily, but I do keep my window open and let the weather outside influence either the weather in the chapter or the overall mood of it. If it’s raining outside, it may be raining in the chapter or it may be a more melancholy moment in the plot.

  1. Do you prefer being intoxicated to write? Or would you rather write sober? Do you do anything to alter your mental state when you write?

Unfortunately, as I answer this interview, I’m underage here in the States. I’ve heard that writing after a drink or two helps. Maybe that’s why I’ve been hitting writer’s block…

  1. What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?

I really want to publish a book the traditional way. I know that sounds corny, but it’s definitely a dream of mine. I would love for young adults—or adults—to read my book and feel like it changed them or lead them to their new favorite couple or even just helped them find a fictional friend. Books change lives and no one can convince me otherwise.

  1. Do you think translating books into languages other than their origin forces the intended essence away?

I think that there is absolutely no way that things to not get lost in translation, however, I don’t think that the entire essence of a book is lost if the translation is done with care. There are some words and phrases that do not have an English equivalent, but just because that phrase or word cannot be perfectly translated does not mean the entire thing has lost credibility. In cases like this, contextual clues are really important, or even footnotes. If the person translating truly loves literature and languages and is willing to take the time required, they will find a way to make sure the intended essence remains, even if not in exactly the same words.

  1. Do you blog? If so, what do you blog about and where can other people find it?

At the moment, I do not, but I’ve actually been thinking about it lately! The issue is that I’m not sure what I would blog about. There is so much content out there that I get overwhelmed with this self-imposed pressure to stand out, so I have been working through that. Part of me thinks that I should make a blog about that—all the anxiety-filled thoughts that come to my mind. We’ll see.

  1. How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write? Please share the platforms you’re active on and how people can find you there.

I’m not too active on social media, though I do use it often. By that I mean I check my accounts daily and for far too long than I should, but I don’t post much. If anything, my social media just leads me to videos of foods I’ll never eat and make up I’m too clumsy to do properly. The only exception I can think of is Instagram. I follow a lot of celebrities, and sometimes when I see the lives they live and how happy they are, I feel inspired to pursue my own happiness and write.

I don’t have any official writer pages, but I can be found at:

Facebook: Kaylee Kosakowski

Instagram: @asiankaylee

Twitter: @asiankayleeann

  1. Do you enjoy theatre? Would you ever like one of your stories to be turned into a play? Would you prefer to see The Irregulars as a movie, a play, neither or both?

I do enjoy theatre! In fact, I was part of my high school’s stage crew for our musicals. We did Les Miserables my senior year and it was epic.

If I ever wrote a story that would do theatre justice, I would love to see that happen. As far as The Irregulars goes, I think it would best fit a movie if I had to pick between the two. Special effects are a really important aspect of the story, but the more that I think about it, it would be difficult to create a film with eight different main characters. Even when there are stories with multiple characters in screenplays, there is always one main one. The director would have his work cut out for him!

  1. If you had to pick one other author to write your biography, who would it be?

Cassandra Clare! She’s the author of The Mortal Instruments Series and The Infernal Devices Trilogy.

Her stories feature a really diverse cast of characters, and when I look back at my life thus far, I’m painfully aware of how much my personality has changed. There are some days when I feel like Simon and some days when I feel like Will. She develops all of her characters with such grace, especially in moments of adversity. Cassandra Clare had me invested in every single character. She’s witty and clever—two things I like to consider myself—and there is no one whom I would rather have write my biography than her.

From the Depths Poetry Anthology now available!

Now you can find From the Depths  at the StarkLight Press bookstore in eBook and print!

This gigantic poetry anthology features the original prompts used as a jumping-off point for the intrepid poets, as well as several poets’ entire 24 poem cycle. 

Others of our poets submitted their favorite selections. You can pour over the progression of creativity here with this beautiful book. 

You can find the StarkLight Press Bookstore here, where you can but From the Depths, as well as our other titles.

Welcome to the World of the Irregulars

StarkLight Press made 2016 the Year of the Collaborative Novel with not one, not two, but three collaborative novels with some of the brightest lights in the world of new authors. 

We would like to introduce you to the first collaborative, The Irregulars. This story centers around the lives of eight homeless children, all with a different disability… and each with a special psychic gift. 

These runaways have banded together, scrimping and scavenging on the edges of cities in the Pacific Northwest. Until one fateful day, an ominous car finds the Irregulars. The car is from Protean Pharmaceuticals, and the driver is a woman who is known to at least two of the children. 

The hunt is on for The Irregulars, and the kids are forced to flee from the Machiavellian plans of Protean’s CEO, and from the secret psychic program the company uses to bend gifted children to their will.

Who can the Irregulars trust? Where can they go? And will they survive? 

Meet Cadence and Jeremy Colton, brother and sister who survived a murder and can move invisibly, and stop time; Milton Cole, who ran from an abusive family and is highly conductive; Bruce Eastern, a young Native runaway whose fiery temper matches his power; Kevin Parker, a boy who lost his voice for good and can move like the wind; Jenna Busche, an addict who needs her fix to offset the pain of her transmogrifications; Maddy Hearing, a blind girl with the voice of an angel; Thia George, a girl in a wheelchair who can speak with her mind. 

Can these amazing misfits control their powers, their passions, their pain, long enough to escape from Protean Pharmaceuticals? Long enough to become the family they so desperately need?

Look for The Irregulars, coming from StarkLight Press this October! 

Tune in here throughout October for video and print interviews from our eight authors!

– Tony Stark,

President and CEO,

StarkLight Press.