• Gaby Triana

Author Interview - KATHE KOJA

Updated: May 3, 2019

Happy Sunday, Witches!

Our guest author today is KATHE KOJA whose work crosses and combines genres, from historical to contemporary to YA to horror. Her novels—including THE CIPHER, SKIN, BUDDHA BOY, TALK, and the UNDER THE POPPY trilogy—have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. As a director and producer she creates performance events, solo and in collaboration with an ensemble of dancers, musicians, performers and installation artists.

Photo by Rick Lieder

WH: We’re so excited to have you here today, Kathe! Please give us a brief introduction of your fabulous self:

I’m a writer: of novels, short stories, and scripts, and I also direct and produce immersive/interactive performance events. I love making up stories, whether it’s on the page with a reader or in a venue with an audience, I love that conversation, the energy created when a story comes to life. I’m a huge fan of immersive art, coffee, and Christopher Marlowe. I’m married to the artist, Rick Lieder, and we live in the Detroit area with our cat Dash.

WH: What other career would you have if not writing/publishing?

None. Writing is not only my profession, it’s how I live in the world. I never decided to be a writer, I just started doing it when I was five years old.

WH: I was 5 as well. I wrote my mother a runaway note. What is your writing process like?

When a new project is beginning, I always come to it via a character—one voice, more rarely two, that I follow, trying to understand what that character is about, who that character is. Depending on the project—does it concern Victorian puppeteers, or Berlin punk clubs, or animal shelters?—I have research to accomplish, maybe a lot of research, to feather the nest of that character’s world and circumstances, and learn everything I can to make that world feel real. When that’s done, and all possible notes are taken, the writing starts.

As for the daily mechanics, I write every day, in the morning, on whatever project is uppermost on the desk (right now it’s a novel).

WH: I love that you start with character. I feel that’s so important. The rest is secondary. I ask everyone this, because I used to own a bakery…what’s your favorite dessert, Kathe?

Lemon sorbet, please.

WH: With raspberries on top? NOM. Which novel are you most proud of?

CHRISTOPHER WILD, my latest, because it was a challenge unlike any of my other books—writing not only about but from the sensibility of an actual person, who was also a formidably gifted writer. Not an easy task, but it was tremendous fun.

WH: Make sure you guys click on that link above to check out CHRISTOPHER WILD. Kathe, if you could interview any horror author, gone or alive, who would it be?

A tandem sit-down with Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter, two women who knew so much about the darkness and how to render it.

WH: Great choices! How have you changed as a person from your early life until now?

I write and I love cats, pretty much the same now as then. And I still believe that art can change the world.

WH: How do you like your coffee? What’s your favorite libation?

Coffee is my favorite libation—just a little faux cream, and we’re good to go.

WH: Do you have a favorite Halloween tradition?

I think trick-or-treating is badass—kids in disguise running through the dusk and dark, demanding candy—and I hope that tradition continues, and is not overtaken by adults’ caution or dismay. Kids need mystery and a fun sense of lawlessness!

WH: Right?? So true, Kathe. When they get to be a certain age, they feel they’re too old to go out, but I make mine go anyway. Trick-or-treating at the mall is just so lame. What is the most witchy thing about you (we’re all a little witchy)?

I don’t suffer fools. Especially in high places.

WH: Mwahhaha… Who is your favorite Addams Family character?

Wednesday, of course. Deadpan, witty, ferocious, she has her own agenda, and she takes no prisoners.

WH: She’s my favorite as well. “Wanna play…Is There a God?” What makes a horror novel scary?

That question has as many answers as there are readers. For this reader, what frightens me is the feeling, the near-certainty, that inescapable chaos is happening on the peripheries, on the edges, just around the corner, just as the light goes down—the feeling of dread. You can shake off a scare, but dread works its way into the bones.

WH: For me, it’s that knowing something is right there, even though you can’t see it. What is the most awesome thing happening in your life right now that you’d like to share with us?

I’m creating a solo performance called RIVER STREET, based on CHRISTOPHER WILD, that will invite people to spend some quality time with Kit Marlowe; and working on a new novel that takes place in the world of immersive performance, a subject that endlessly fascinates me. And I’m one of the GOH at StokerCon 2019, where I’ll be creating “The Art of Darkness,” a new immersive event.

Awesome! We will see you at StokerCon 2019 in Grand Rapids, MI, Kathe. Thank you so much for spending time with us here at The Witch Haunt! To check out Kathe’s work and follow her on social media, visit the following links:

* Website: http://www.kathekoja.com/

* Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/koja

* Latest release: http://www.roadswell.com/store/p11/Christopher_Wild_-_Trade_Edition.html

* Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathe.koja

* Twitter: @KatheKoja

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