Some Thoughts with ... Krystle Matar
Krystle Matar has been writing for a long time, but things got serious when Tashué Blackwood walked into her life, an amber-eyed whirlwind. Her debut, Legacy of the Brightwash, is a SPFBO Finalist, a r/Fantasy nominee for Best Debut and Best Indie.
When she isn’t arguing with Tashué or any of his friends, she parents full-time. She has a lot of children, too many hobbies, and one very excellent husband
Welcome to my favourite section of the website. Today we are accompanied by Krystle Matar, Canadian author, SPFBO7 finalist, and creator of the Tainted Dominion series.
Let's dive in!
1.- What made you decide for self-publishing?
The short answer is I’m a control freak! XD
The long answer is that there were a lot of factors; on the one hand, I have a lot of wonderful friends in the indie circle, and watching them showed me it was possible. I remember searching around for editors and cover artists, telling myself “if I decide to self-publish, I would love to work with these people.” I remember watching a panel on the differences between trad publishing and self-publishing, and the wonderful Dyrk Ashton said the thing that made up my mind: “It’s like the difference between being an employee and an entrepreneur.” Both roads are hard, he explained, but it was entirely likely that one way would suit your personality better. I like being an entrepreneur. I like being accountable only to myself and having the latitude to make my own decisions.
2.- Legacy of the Brightwash is your debut, how much would you say it changed from the first draft to how it was published?
It changed SO much! The original draft I wrote was very bad, but also very sparse. A lot of “this happened, and then, uhhhh…. this other unrelated thing happened, oh and I know what would be cool!” It was also very long and very scattered, so I sliced off the first bit and tried to make one cohesive story out of it. That took a few more drafts while I figured out the balance between fantasy, historical, and the right amount of romance.
That means that the next book, Legacy of Brick & Bone, is another chunk of that original draft, although it’s even more different. Characters were added during Brightwash that didn’t exist in the old draft. And characters were cut from Brightwash, too, because they didn’t fit anymore! So I have this old draft that’s also kind of a series outline that I keep pulling ideas from to keep going in the series.
3.- What inspired you to write Legacy of the Brightwash?
I’ve been writing for a very long time, as I said, and I’ve always switched back and forth between stories about Tashué (he started in ‘our’ world in contemporary genres like mysteries and thrillers and crime novels) and stories that were fantasy. My first love was fantasy; the first author I remember falling in love with was David Gemmell. But I read widely in a lot of genres, so it took me a while to figure out what kind of stories I wanted to tell.
Eventually, I got tired of the back-and-forth. I wanted both. A fantasy world, with Tashué. I was struggling with a fantasy story (one of those “rise of the farm boy” stories) and I didn’t want to throw away the work I’d done worldbuilding, so I jumped the timeline forward to a more Victorian setting, and gave Tashué a storyline similar to the last one I wrote for him. (He was chasing a serial killer who preyed on children, and it wasn’t going well for him because he makes a lot of bad choices.) The balance between the two brought us to Brightwash, and I’m so glad I could make it work!
4.- Tashué is such a character, how much would you say was transferred from you to him?
Tashué has been with me for a very long time. Earlier in my writing, he was a character I lived vicariously through. He was more interesting, more confident, and more capable. I was writing stories of him being a father (not necessarily a GOOD one, but a father nonetheless) before I was a parent myself because it always suited him. And then, when my own life got a lot more complicated, he also developed some deeper and scarier flaws so that I could process my own feelings about what was going on in my personal life.
He’s grown with me, and he carries a lot of my pain on his shoulders for me. I’ve always felt like he was a friend, and spending time with his stories saved me from other ways I might have distracted myself.
So all of that is to say that the answer is probably that a lot of me has been transferred to him. But I think there are also pieces of him that have transferred to me, like he’s taught me how to be stronger. No matter what knocks us down, the pair of us keep standing up.
5.- How exactly Tainted work? How do those powers manifest?
I’m going to let Ozra answer this question XD He walks into Legacy of Brick & Bone, and here’s a quote from one of his scenes:
“The world, and everything in it, is woven together like a fabric. The ability to reach into the fabric and see the threads and feel the shape, or even change them, is what we call Talent. When Miss Whiterock made that fire, she reached into the fabric and took ahold of a thread of heat, and pulled it into the kindling in her hands so that the fire started. The same for all of the things we change with Talent—we’re just shaping the threads.”
6.- What inspired you to create the Authority?
The idea of Authority came out of necessity. Brightwash started with me wondering how an industrial revolution might be fuelled by magic. But the thing about fuel is it’s usually guarded pretty viciously by the people who are using it, so if magic was letting the country change their economy, surely people who USED magic wouldn’t be allowed lives of freedom.
And so, the National Tainted Registration Authority. So that the country could guard their resources.
7.- How would you say your editing process works?
My editing process lately has gotten a lot more focused than it used to be (practice, I guess) but it’s still pretty chaotic.
I print out the scene I’m working on because I have trouble editing in-depth on the computer. I think printing it out just helps me see the words in a new light, instead of my brain assuming I know what I wrote. I’ll read the scenes and make some notes about what I want to accomplish. That’s where all those pictures of sticky notes came from! I’ll highlight things that I really liked so I don’t cut them by accident, but I’ll also write out my thoughts on why the scene or even the whole subplot isn’t working. And then I scribble madly over the page, changing as much as I can in one pass. I’ve gotten a lot faster at this, and a lot more targeted. Writing down what I want to accomplish has helped me make decisions faster, even if it means cutting something I really love. Anything to make the story better!
8.- Your debut, Legacy of the Brightwash, was a finalist in the SPFBO7, did you expect that?
I did not expect it at all XD. This is actually how I met Carissa Broadbent, since she was in the same batch as me for phase one! Becky raved about Carissa’s book, and I kind of resigned myself to losing to Daughter of No Worlds, but I was pleased with it because Carissa’s book sounded amazing. In fact, all of the semis that Becky chose sounded incredible so I was prepared to fade away. I still don’t really believe that she picked me LOL. It seems like a thing I’ll wake up from and find that it didn’t really happen! But it did, and I feel so lucky, and I adore my frogicorn brothers and sisters of SPFBO 7 <3
9.- I’ve also got to know that you are part of Swords and Corsets. What could you tell us about that podcast?
The podcast started as an idea to talk about romantic fantasy! I came into the genre kind of without knowing it even existed, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful writers who are kicking ass in that space. So myself, Angela Boord, Carissa Broadbent, and JD Evans have come together to kind of chat about the different experiences as writers in the space, as well as the different ways our subgenres balance. So far it’s been a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to chatting with them a lot more!
10- I know you are a whiskey aficionado, without any restriction, what would be your ideal drink?
I don’t think I could choose one! I think instead, my ideal drinking situation would be a vacation to Scotland to tour a whole bunch of distilleries :D (Preferably with my whisky sister, Sara from Fiction Fans Podcast)
11.- I know you are a fountain pen enjoyer, which ink is your favourite?
Ferris Wheel Press is my absolute favourite ink producer. They’re a small Canadian company, but they seem to be distributed worldwide and I’m just so impressed with how well they’re doing! They make the most stunning colours, I can’t pick just one! I’d love to go down to Toronto and see if they have a store.
12.- Is there somebody you want to thank in your career as a writer?
So many people. I can’t possibly list them all! Writers first: Clayton Snyder is the first friend I made in the indie space, and his companionship through all these years has been fantastic. Angela Boord, who was such a big help in revising Brightwash. And Michael R Fletcher read Brightwash right after it was published, and through his incredible support, that book got in front of reviewers who might not have noticed me otherwise.
And then, of course, the reviewers and bloggers who keep taking a chance on Brightwash. I know it’s not a small thing, to read these crazy books of ours, and then take the time to write thoughtful reviews and host these interviews and participate in boosting our presence. The indie world wouldn’t be able to survive without all of you, and thank you SO much for doing all of this because you love stories.
13.- What can we expect from Krystle Matar in the future?
I’m hoping for a lot of books! Legacy of Brick & Bone is on track to publish in the spring, and I have a lot of stories planned for those characters. The main series and some side stories stand alone. All I need is more time in the day to write! And then I think I’d like to do a contemporary series as well, so I’ve been brainstorming a werewolf apocalypse idea that I’ll be working on as soon as Brick & Bone is done. I told myself it would be a little lighter, but then I started planning conspiracy and experiments and, ya know, a potential apocalypse, so I don’t think it’ll be lighter. It’ll definitely have parents as the MCs though because I can’t help it!