Mainstream Action Adventure Novelist Kim Antieau: Writers always cross fingers that word of mouth will generate sales'

Kim Antieau has written many novels, short stories, poems, and essays. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s SF, The Clinton Street Quarterly, The Journal of Mythic Arts, EarthFirst!, Alternet, Sage Woman, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. She was the founder, editor, and publisher of Daughters of Nyx: A Magazine of Goddess Stories, Mythmaking, and Fairy Tales. Her work has twice been short-listed for the Tiptree Award, and has appeared in many Best of the Year anthologies. Critics have admired her “literary fearlessness” and her vivid language and imagination. She has had nine novels published. Her first novel, The Jigsaw Woman, is a modern classic of feminist literature. Kim lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, writer Mario Milosevic.

Her latest book is Her Frozen Wild.

Learn more about Kim and her writing at www.kimantieau.com.

About Her Frozen Wild

Scientists in the Altai in Siberia uncover the 2,500 year old frozen mummy of a tattooed priestess or shaman. This mummy has the same mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) as American archaeologist Ursula Smith whose mother disappeared in Siberia 30 years earlier. Ursula travels from the U.S. to Siberia to unravel the mystery of the “lady” and meets Sergei Ivanovich Polyakov, a Russian doctor who graciously invites her into his home. After they become lovers, she discovers he has the same tattoos on his body as the tattooed lady. He tells a disbelieving Ursula that they have met before and she is destined to save the ancient People, considered as devils by some and shape-changing gods by others. A shaman takes Ursula to one of the sacred timeless caves where Ursula’s mother supposedly disappeared. When Ursula allows the shaman to tattoo her, she is thrown back in time where she must unlock the mystery of the People and their link to her past in order to save them and Sergei—even if it costs her her life.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Kim. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Her Frozen Wild?

I’ve been writing since I was about five years old. I wrote stories all through my elementary school years. During high school, I started writing one book a year. I’ve never looked back. I got the idea for Her Frozen Wild after I read a National Geographic article about the discovery in Siberia of what they called the “ice maiden,” a frozen mummy. She had tattoos on her body, and she’d been buried with a conical hat and other accoutrements that indicated to the archaeologists that she might have been some kind of priestess or shaman. I got goose bumps as I read about her, and I knew I would write a book about her.

Q: How did you choose your title and was it your first choice?

Yes, it was my first choice. The book mostly takes place in Siberia and the main character, Ursula, had felt frozen in her life for some time. She needs to go into the wild to discover her true nature. Her Frozen Wild seemed a perfect title for the story.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

I’ve never had any of my publishers do much promotion. I’ve done different things over the years. I’ve sent out postcards to libraries and bookstores; I’ve printed up bookmarks and given them out; I’ve gone on tour to various libraries and bookstores and given readings and done talks. I’ve never found any of that to make any difference in sales. This time I decided to do a Virtual Book Tour and see what happens. I’m doing interviews at various blogs and websites, and some places are reviewing the book. Writers always cross their fingers that word of mouth will generate the most sales. They say that’s what will make the most difference—unless you get on Oprah’s book club or something like that.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

I turned to page 284. Ursula is now in Siberia about 2,500 years in the past. She’s living with the Scythian warriors, who are much like the (supposedly mythical) Amazons. She’s encountered her lover from the 20th century, Sergei, who is younger now and who goes by a different name. He doesn’t know her from before. Opyea, the leader of the warrior class, has been mentoring Ursula, and she’s instructed Sergei to teach Ursula the ways of the clan. It’s night and everyone is dancing. Ursula asks Sergei what the dance means. He says, “They are creating the universe. Everything is made from sacred forms and when we recreate those forms with our bodies, we harmonize with the rest of the universe. Would you like to try?” She’s shy to dance in front of everyone, so they slip away, and he teaches her to dance. Eventually, they end up making love.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?


I have no plans to write a sequel to this now, although readers are starting to ask for one. I’ve got other novels coming up though. In fact, starting in May, we’ve got a crazy novel (in both senses of that word) publishing schedule coming up. We’re calling it Six in Six—or something like that; we haven’t worked it all out yet. But Green Snake Publishing is putting out six of my new novels in six months. These novels are all very different from one another and all have been written sometime in the last two years. Two of them I started years ago, but I put them away until recently. I wasn’t quite ready to write them until this year.

The six novels are Jewelweed Station (an antebellum novel about the Underground Railroad with a Scarlet Pimpernel-like young woman as the main character), The Desert Siren (after her husband of 30 years leaves her, a woman searches for a mythical herd of Irish fairy horses on her Arizona ranch), Whackadoodle Times (a Hollywood screenwriter deals with her demons, lovers, husband, children, and zombie scripts—along with earthquakes, wildfires, and tsunamis), Butch: A Bent Western (in 1918 New Mexico, Butch McLean can solve almost any problem with a gun or a quip or a negotiation—unless, of course, the problem is her own), The Rift (a rift in the road separates a group of people from the rest of), and Pricked: A Jane Deere Novel (a woman on the run settles in Tucson and discovers she has a gift for solving problems in extraordinary ways). I’m excited about all of these books, and I think Six in Six will be so much fun!

Q: What is the one thing you learned about your book AFTER it was published?

I’ve been surprised and delighted that the novel appeals to a wide audience of men and women of various ages. I like that! Recently a friend of mine had a dinner party for me, to celebrate the novel coming out. All of the guests had read Her Frozen Wild, and after dinner, we sat around talking about it. The most enthusiastic reader was a young man in his thirties. He loved all the different plot elements. He talked excitedly about the characters, the love story, and the Scythian warriors. He loved it all. The second most enthusiastic reader was a man who was going to retire the following week. He loved the book, too. He was a voracious reader, and he usually liked hard science fiction stories, but he loved Her Frozen Wild. And women of various ages have told me that the book really hits a cord with them, especially Ursula’s relationship with her mentor Sula who teaches her how to tap into her true wild self.

Q: What is your most favorite time of the day or night to write?

I like to write mid-morning to mid-afternoon. I like to wake up slowly, tiptoe into the day, meditate, go out to the garden, and think about my dreams. By mid-morning I’m ready to go—unless it’s nice outside. I live in a part of the world where the weather is bad for about six months of the year. So when it’s nice outside, I am outside hiking or gardening or just wandering the forest. Any writing plans go out the window when the weather is nice! I don’t write after about six in the evening because I need to unwind. Otherwise, I’ll have trouble getting to sleep.

Q: What is usually better – the book or the movie?

The book.

Q: You’re about to write your next book. What did you learn from your previous book to help you write your next book?

To relax and have fun. Writing stories is one of my favorite things to do; it is also my work, but it’s important to have fun with it.

Q: Finally, what’s your best tip you can give to writers who want to be published?

Don’t worry about getting published until you write the book.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Kim. Do you have any final words?

Thank you so much! I’ve enjoyed this. You can find more about my books on my website (which is also my blog): http://www.kimantieau.com/. My facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/kimantieau. More FAQ on Her Frozen Wild can be found here: http://www.kimantieaubooks.com/2012/01/her-frozen-wild.html

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