Author Interview: KN Nguyen
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
What I love most about being a writer is that it affords me a creative outlet to manage my stress and emotions. I started writing because I was unsatisfied with my job and needed to regain control over my life. Writing has changed my life for the better.
What is your genre? Did you write outside your preferred genre for this anthology?
I prefer to write high fantasy, but I want to keep an open mind to things like young adult, dystopian, and paranormal/thriller fantasy. "Beyond the Banyan Tree" is something I normally don't do because it incorporates low/urban fantasy with portal fantasy. I adore reading portal fantasies and hope to really dive into that genre soon.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? Why?
I started out as a plotter, but I realized that I'm a pantser. I find that it's easier to lay down the bones of my stories and then let the character and the world build itself organically around my ideas. It keeps me from getting stuck for too long (hey, we all have our days lol) and really helps keep everything smooth and natural. I would love to be able to plot stuff, but I just start pantsing, and then everything I've plotted goes down the drain.
What is your favorite thing you've written?
I wrote a piece that I submitted to another anthology where the theme was survival. I normally take my time to stop and think about whether the anthology is right for me, and what kind of story I want to write. As soon as I read the open call, I had the story of a young girl calling out to me. This story was different for me on several levels: it was in first person, it's set in an urban setting with no magic system or any fantastical elements, and it covered a very sensitive, very serious topic. I like to think that I did my main character justice in telling her story since she gave it to me so clearly.
What inspired the story you wrote for Another World? What was your writing process like for this story? Was it different from your regular workflow?
I am a huge fan of mythology. Almost all of my pieces are inspired by the mythology of ancient cultures. "Beyond the Banyan Tree" came about because I haven't read too many stories focused on Vietnamese mythology. I used this as an opportunity to learn more about my husband's culture and picked the brains of a few of his family members to make sure that it was as accurate as possible for a story loosely based on the story of one of the Immortal Gods. The writing process for this story consisted of a lot of research and finding a way to modernize the story. I spent a lot of time just looking at the screen trying to fit the pieces together.
Lastly, what is a piece of writing advice you'd give seasoned or new writers?
I would tell people to make sure that whatever you write is for you first and foremost. You can't try and write for the current trends, or for what you think people want to read. Write what you want to read and it'll never feel like a chore.