Traveling with Kim Fielding

Posted on October 2, 2012 by


I love traveling … would do it all the time if money were no object. I’ve got a dream travel list as long as my arm. There is something about seeing a new place for the first time and imagining what treasures you’ll find around every corner. And some of those places will become much more than just a stop-over on the way through, they become little pockets of home and hope that you can revisit as many times as you want.

Here is Kim Fielding to talk about her recent trip and how a similar trip gave her confidence to push her writing career in gear.

Right this moment I’m sitting in a hotel room in Zagreb, listening to the accordionist beneath my window sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” in Croatian.

I’m having one of those moments when I say to myself, Wow, I can’t believe I’m really here doing this! The really fantastic thing is that I’ve been having a lot of those moments lately.

The accordionist, playing to tram passengers. And me.

So I’ve had an average and boring life with a house in a part of California that people generally just zoom through on the freeway (quickly), an unthrilling job as an academic, and a truly wonderful husband who is… an accountant. Yawn. (I also have 2 kids who are neither boring nor average, but then whose kids are?) And all along there were these voices in my head. A lot of them were good voices, telling me stories about wizards and werewolves and handsome men. I like those voices. But there were the bad voices too, the ones who whispered, You can’t and You’ll never be able to….

I don’t know why, but I used to listen to the bad voices. (Okay, now I’m sounding like I need medication. Please, just bear with me.)

A couple years back, I started tuning those voices out sometimes.

Three years ago I stopped listening to the voices say I couldn’t write a novel. I did write a novel—in 30 days, for NaNoWriMo—and self-published it, and people liked it. That’s Stasis, and it’s sold thousands of copies. It’ll be available in audio version sometime in the next year. I wrote a sequel the following year—Flux—and then finished the trilogy with Equipoise. Not only that, but I donate all my trilogy royalties to Doctors Without Borders; I’ve been able to donate some fairly hefty sums.

Flux, my second novel.

Then last year I ended up living in Zagreb for 5 months—in a country I’d visited only once before, and only for a week—and I took my older daughter with me (she was 11). Neither of us speak Croatian, and I’d never lived without another adult in the household. You know what? We had an amazing time. We dragged ourselves all over Europe (to all sorts of other places where I don’t understand the language, like Scotland), met wonderful people, and just generally enjoyed ourselves. I homeschooled pre-algebra, which I’d last used when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Never experienced a single disaster (wonky water heaters and temperamental furnaces, yes. But no disasters). Zagreb became a second home to me—and I’m delighted to be visiting it again for a few days now.

And shortly after we returned to the US, I decided to submit my first works for professional publication. Even after my self-published books sold well, I’d lacked confidence. But you know what? In the past 10 months I’ve had 3 novels, 1 novella, and 6 short stories accepted by publishers. Think of what my publications list would have looked at if I’d started long ago!

My novella.

Now I’m pushing myself more, because who knows what else those voices were lying to me about. When I was in Paris last week, and with the help of a friend, I pimped my books at a gay bookstore. May not seem like a big deal, but the thought of doing this even in the US had previously filled me with anxiety. But the clerk was very nice and seemed interested and maybe I’ll even collect some French fans.

I also discovered anatomically correct baked goods in Paris. The brioche was yummy. Also, I took this through airport security and nobody there said a word.

And the next new thing? GRL. I’ve never attended a writing conference as a reader, let alone as a writer. I’ve never done an author Q&A. I’m hoping I’ll be terrifically impressive—or at least manage not to completely embarrass myself. But if you see me standing there and frowning, please come over and say hello. I’m not frowning at you—I’m just telling those voices to shut the hell up.

Kim Fielding’s blog:
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At Dreamspinner Press:

I’d like to give away one 1 e-copy of any of my books (winner’s choice). To enter, please leave a comment about a time you’ve done something you thought you never could. Also leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Open until Thursday, October 4th at 11:59 pm (PST). Winner will be selected and notified on Friday.