Kim Wilkins was born in London and grew up the seaside north of Brisbane. She has degrees in literature and creative writing including a Ph.D. from the University of Queensland where she also serves on faculty as a senior lecturer. 2014 will see the release of her 25th and 26th full-length work of fiction. She is published in 17 countries and under her pseudonym Kimberley Freeman has been a bestseller in Germany and the United States.
1. Daughters of the Storm is due out from Harlequin in November – a big historical fantasy novel under the Kim Wilkins byline. What excites you most about this release?
What excites me the most is that this is going to be my first major publisher release under my own name since 2005 (almost 10 years). I have loved being Kimberley Freeman and writing under that name has given me opportunities and successes that I couldn’t have imagined. But fantasy has always been closest to my heart. I’ve been very lucky to do a wonderful collection with a small press, and write a few short pieces, but the big fat fantasy novel that reaches a wider audience has been my unfulfilled dream for many years. Also I fucking love it. It’s easily the best thing that I’ve ever written. Truth.
2. You previously explored several characters from this new fantasy series in a standalone novella. Were they always intended to be part of a larger narrative? How much has changed in the time since the novella was published?
Yes they were always intended to be part of a larger narrative. I started thinking about this story in 2007. It really has been a long gestation period, covering a long and troubled period of my life including a divorce, a new relationship, and raising two very small children. But my vision has held and I poured all of my passion and every aspect of my craft into the composition of the novel. It has made me a better writer and a better person.
3. You’ve been busy in recent years with the double career as Dr Kim Wilkins: university professor, and Kimberley Freeman: author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. Does this release mean we can look forward to a lot more from Kim Wilkins: fantasy author?
Absolutely. Harlequin have asked for another book in the series and specifically instructed me not to kill off the main character (I had only considered it idly). As well as that, I’m working on a special secret project for another small press, writing a Viking themed urban fantasy.
4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
I love everything Kate Forsyth writes, and her “bitter greens” and “the wild girl” have been two of my favourite books in a long time. I also loved Kirstyn McDermott’s “perfections”.
5. The publishing world has changed a lot in recent years, and continues to shift rapidly under our feet – do you feel the pressure to adapt to survive? What do you see yourself doing differently in the future?
I have always adapted to survive. That’s where Kimberley Freeman came from. In fact I’d say that being ready to diversify is one of the most important qualities a writer has to have if they are to sustain a career long term. Good work habits, good relationships, and adaptability are the backbone of my career.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:
Tansy Rayner Roberts