Discover insights into how Dawn Kurtagich, author of The Dead House and The Creeper Man (And The Trees Crept In in the US), writes and gets into the mind of her characters and what it’s like to be a full time writer.
What do you to get yourself in the mindset of your characters?
I usually keep a diary as my main character for a little while. It helps me to get into their heads. I collect little piece of information about them, the way a schoolgirl might collect snippets about her best friend for later use, so that I know them when crunch time begins. I sketch a lot too, since the way a character looks to me makes them so much more real and visceral, and finally, I think about the words and scents that I associate with them. It helps me to create a full picture.
Do you have a playlist for The Creeper Man? If so what are your go to songs?
I do indeed! It’s less specific than the one I had for The Dead House, because so much of The Creeper Man is so surreal. I would play lyric-less songs often. But here are some of the ones I went to:
Hermitage Green’s Massive Attack (Teardrop) cover.
CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
Of Monsters and Men – King And Lionheart
PVRIS – Mirrors
Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat
Lorde – Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Eisley – Go Away
Lana Del Rey – Once Upon a Dream
Soley – I’ll Drown
Eisely – Smarter
José Gonzáles – Stay Alive
The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home
Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek
The Best of Yann Tiersen on Piano
Erik Satie – The Essential Collection
Hungry Ghosts – I Don’t Think About You Anymore, But I Don’t Think About you Any Less
Lucia Micarelli – Bohemian Rhapsody
Bolero For Violin And Orchestra – Vanessa Mae
How do you feel you’ve grown as a writer since The Dead House?
I’ve (mostly) outgrown my need to rush things (and thereby burn myself out). I know that I don’t need to crack out a book in a month or two or three (of course… it would be nice if I did…), and that books take as long as they take. As long as I’m working step by step, loving my craft and my art every single day, then I’m okay. 🙂
It’s always said that the second book is the hardest to write, did you find this to be true with The Creeper Man?
Yes. This book was definitely a challenge. There’s some kind of psychological block that happens, I think, where a new author thinks: This is a fluke. Someone’s going to catch me out! That, for me, is a big part of second book syndrome. You want to write another great book, you have readers that you now want to please, and you have an editor aware of what you’re doing—so getting used to writing something that isn’t just yours, that isn’t your secret takes some getting used to. Writing with the world looking, as it were, is an adjustment. And there’s a weird moment after book one where you think: I FORGOT HOW TO WRITE A BOOK OH DEAR GOD NOOOOOO.
What has been the most exciting thing you’ve done since becoming a published author?
Going to conferences and festivals and book events both here in the UK and over in the states and meeting readers who love the book and are so welcoming! Making friends with book lovers is the most amazing feeling in the world. For me, the moment that readers started to say: I love your writing. What’s next? I can’t wait for your next book! Is what has impacted me most.
Another absolutely amazing and mind-boggling thing is when TV rights to The Dead House sold. Walking through a live production studio, seeing episodes being filmed, seeing the sets—was incredible!
I’m dying to know, what are you working on next?
Aaaaaah. A big, giant secret! (I can promise it is awesome and big), but that’s all. 😉
Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
Right at this very moment, I am reading:
The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge
The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart
The Queen’s Conjurer
And My own novel for revisions. 🙂
Thanks so much for having me, Emma! <3