In the enchanting world of Heroes of Avoch, where dragons soar and heroes rise, K. M. Warfield weaves tales that captivate and immerse readers into a realm of imagination. In this exclusive interview, we sit down with KM Warfield to uncover the inspirations, challenges, and triumphs behind the creation of the acclaimed trilogy. From the aromatic embrace of Scottish coffee to the art of handling critiques, KM Warfield shares insights into her creative process and the journey of bringing Heroes of Avoch to life. So, grab your favorite brew, settle into a cozy sweater, and join us on a literary journey through the mind of a storyteller extraordinaire.
TW: Do you prefer tea or coffee?
KM: Coffee! I was okay with drip until I went to Scotland in 2018. Had it in a French Press for the first time. Came home, bought my own press within 3 months.
TW: What is your favorite season?
KM:Fall/Autumn. Growing up, we had a huge maple tree in the front yard. I would use the leaves to outline houses and make up stories in my head about who lived there, etc.
TW: Hoodie or sweater?
TW: What inspired your craft, and how did you get started?
KM: I’m a long time Dungeons and Dragons player. A lot of the characters in the Heroes of Avoch series came from a 3+ year long campaign I helped run. The people I play with – they’re my found family. Immortalizing them in this way was my way of repaying them for all they’ve given me.
TW: How do you handle criticism or negative feedback on your work, and what steps do you take to improve?
KM: A valid critique is a learning tool. I purposefully don’t look at a wip for several days once I finish it/send it to my beta readers. I have to pull away, detach, in order to regain my objectivity. 99% of the time, the critique is valid. I learn from it, grow.
A snarky critique? That’s different. I ignore those. I know my stories won’t appeal to every reader. Some will, sadly, trash a book or author simply because they didn’t like it. It’s okay not to like what I write. Those reviews I tend to shrug off and forget.
TW: Who are your favorite creators in your craft and why?
KM: David and Leigh Eddings – The Belgariad was the first series that I read where the heroes felt real. They had dialogue that felt natural, were scared, had emotions. It wasn’t a typical, ‘I’m the hero so I will go do this thing!’ series. Their books definitely influenced how I write.
Nick Pollotta – he’s the only author I’ve ever read where I’ve fallen out of bed laughing, had tears running down my face, and almost hyperventilating. Again, very realistic characters who are flawed but familiar. The puns, though! I was fortunate that he took me under his wing early and taught me a lot about the business end of being published before I got my first contract. I miss him.
TW: How do you come up with ideas?
KM: Playing/running D&D is a huge source. That, and my friends. Especially Rob and Ed. Those two can text me something completely random and my mind will run with it.
TW: Can you describe your creative process from start to finish?
KM: I’m a total pantser. I’ve got an idea of the start, and where I want the story to go. After that, it’s sitting at the keyboard and closing my eyes. I took 2 years of typing way back in high school (when we still used typewriters), so I don’t have to look at the keyboard. The best way I have to turn off my internal editor is to simply close my eyes and let the scene play out in my head. My fingers find the words.
TW: What is your favorite piece of work and why
KM: I’ve enjoyed every book in the ‘Heroes of Avoch’ series, but my favorite has to be the 3rd one – ‘Sword and Soul’ (5/24 release). Something finally unlocked in me and I find myself re-reading it for fun! I seriously love the book, and I can’t wait to find out if others do.
That last bit is huge for me. I was raised to believe that it was rude to actually admit I did something well. I wasn’t supposed to ‘brag’ about myself, but stay silent and hope that someone else said so. To be able to say I wrote an amazing story that deserves to be read and not feel guilty or that I somehow need to make it a joke (I’m fluent in sarcasm) about myself is one of the biggest steps I’ve taken to battle the toxic mindset instilled in me as a child.
TW: What is the most memorable feedback you’ve received on your work?
KM: When my publisher finished the copy edits on ‘Sword and Soul’ and told me that I was no longer allowed to have imposter syndrome – that I was to contact her and she’d remind me just how good I really am.
TW: Can you describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision about your craft?
KM: When I left my first publisher. I had 20 books/novellas/short stories out with them, but I was receiving critiques from the CEO that were totally off base. Including that I shouldn’t use ‘big words like acknowledged or constricted’ because ‘people don’t want to learn when they read.’ I took a deep breath, got my rights back, and took a step back. As a novice novelist, I let them influence me in some bad ways, and I’d lost my voice. The books weren’t bad, but they definitely need rewriting before I even think about putting them back out there. A new pen name came along. And then I started writing ‘Scales and Stingers.’ I found my voice again, realized I could do all the things my former publisher hated and it made a much better story.
TW: What do you see as the biggest challenge facing those in your craft today, and how do you think it can be addressed?
KM: Online marketing. I’m great at in person sales. I’ve had events where I sold out of copies. Trying to sell the series online? That’s hard for me. Mostly because I don’t expect people to jump because I said ‘buy my book.’ I’d rather have a great conversation with someone on social media and have them decide to be supportive than beg for a sale/review. Some authors are amazing at this, but I’m not one of them.
TW: What are your future goals and aspirations? What inspired you?
KM: Conventions – I’d love to be an author guest of honor. Even setting up a table, meeting new readers. Down the road, I’d love to actually make a living off my royalties. I don’t expect that, but it’d be nice if it happened. Having a streaming service contact me about making a series out of the ‘Heroes of Avoch’ books would be pretty amazing, too!
TW: What is your favorite piece of work you’ve crafted?
KM: ‘Sword and Soul’ – book 3 of the Heroes of Avoch trilogy
TW: How do you handle good reviews of your work?
KM: I get giddy. I giggle, smile, and cheer if the review picked up on a subtle reference in the book.
TW: What does the future hold for you?
KM: The last book of the series comes out in May of 2024. I’m slowly working on new stuff in the world, but not in a massive rush to get it down. I work full time, have family/friends, and a demanding cat who insists I go to bed at a decent hour. The words will come.
TW: Where can my readers find you? (Social media, website, tours, business address, etc. links)
KM: You can find me on CounterSocial, BlueSky, and FaceBook under the name of K. M. Warfield or KMWarfieldbooks. My website: https://kmwarfield.com/