Stacey – Hi, it’s great to have you here! Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?
K – Thanks for the interview offer! Alright, so, I’m Kayla, but I also go by K. Matt. I live in an extremely rural part of New York state. Yes, there’s a huge chunk of New York that’s NOT NYC. Sorry…I get a little salty about that. Anyway, I’m both a writer and an illustrator.
Stacey – When did you start writing?
K – I can’t remember exactly when I started writing, but I have been writing at least one of my characters for about…17 years or so, if memory serves.
Stacey – What genres do you write in and what drew you to them?
K – I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and I enjoy writing them. The thought of writing things that take place in different worlds is a fun way to forget about reality for a while.
Stacey – What do you enjoy most about writing?
K. – Probably the fact that I get to create a different world, play with characters that aren’t entirely human…
Stacey – What scares you?
K – Probably the feeling that I’ll never amount to anything in my life. Ever.
Stacey – Where do you get your inspiration?
K – Just about anything can inspire me. My first book came from a dream I’d had, the antagonist of the first story arc was based around the villains you see in slasher films…I never know what will spark something.
Stacey – Which authors have influenced your writing along the way?
K – Oh, that’s a hard one…Stephen King’s one of them. I’ve also gotten some influence from J.K. Rowling, and various other sources that I’m trying to recall right now.
Stacey – What’s your writing process like?
K – It’s rare that I’ll plan anything in advance. I generally sit down and start writing when an idea won’t go away. I’ll write a little bit of it, before I’ll lose focus, do something else for a while, remember I should be writing… When I finish, I’ll wonder just how terrible it is. Leave it alone for a while, come back to it, realize it’s not as terrible as I thought…
Stacey – What was the first story you had published?
K – That would be Visions, which was inspired by a dream I had where I was one of my roleplay characters. The rest of the series is basically the aftermath of that.
Stacey – Do you have a favourite character from your own works?
K – That may be Travis. I love all of them, yes, but my monkey-human hybrid is probably my favorite.
Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish? Why or why not?
K – There are a few books I haven’t finished. I’m trying to remember which ones, exactly, but it wasn’t for lack of interest. It was just that I got distracted and found myself focused on something else, eventually forgetting to return to my reading.
Stacey – What’s the last Horror movie/tv show you watched?
K – Last horror movie was Get Out; the last show was The Walking Dead.
Stacey – If you could go back in time who would you go back in time to see?
K – I probably shouldn’t go back in time, period, because I just know I’ll be that one idiot to screw up the timeline.
Stacey – What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone who is just getting started on their author journey?
K – Advice and critique are both beneficial, but don’t forget to listen to your own intuition.
Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?
From Deception, book 4 of the series:
My lungs feel like they’re about to explode, and the world around me is a haze of pain. At least the grass feels nice.
Less nice is the laughter from nearby.
“…Shut up, Travis…” I mutter.
“Dude, you’re gonna have to do way better than that,” he says.
He’s standing over me, a hand extended to help me to my feet. Travis has been putting me through an intensive training regimen lately, with the intention of helping me learn to better defend myself. For this session, I’ve found myself being flipped head over heels onto the ground. Beast was going to do it, originally. But her job comes first. And so, she’s asked Travis to step in for her.
The only real results it’s yielded have been soreness and a reluctance to leave the ground. I reach up to wave him away. Or pathetically flail my arm in an attempt to wave him away. One of those.
“No, leave me. The grass is my new domain,” I groan.
But he’s clearly not having any of it, pulling me upright. I wait for my arms to pop out of their sockets as he does so. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen.
“How about we go in for a drink?” he asks.
“Need me to shoulder you in there?”
“If you would…”
And so, with Travis’ support, we make our way into the house. My metal foot is creaking in a way it shouldn’t be. Maybe we should see about dialing back the intensity of our workouts a bit. I doubt my cybernetic leg was really built for this sort of activity, anyway. Let’s face it, I’m kind of a delicate person, myself, and the leg is a lightweight piece of technology.
I would not, of course, need the leg were it not for one Jesse Lynn Belle. She may be locked away in prison until her execution date, but she still haunts my nightmares. Thankfully, the nightmares have been few and far between since her arrest.
We reach the kitchen, and I pull myself onto one of the bar stools, prepared to rest my head on the bar itself and take a nap. But first, I’m hoping for some water.
A cold water bottle is set down near my head. I knew there was a reason I was friends with Travis. He knows me like no other sometimes. I push myself upright and open the bottle, chugging some of that beautifully cold liquid.
“Travis…would it be possible for us to go a bit less…intense with our workouts, do you think? I’m not sure my leg could hold up to it.”
He sits on the stool beside me, cracking open an iced tea.
“You know we’ve only been doing this on your days off. If you had more free time, we’d be able to spread this out.”
“But I’m exhausted…”
“I know, dude, I know. But you’d need to be able to defend yourself better. After the whole thing with that bitch Jesse, you’d be better off with it, y’know?”
I’d have gone for a gun were it not for his aversion to firearms. I don’t think Gemmy would be too pleased with it either, to tell the truth. My leg doesn’t have any weapons of any sort, not like Beast. Her limbs essentially are weapons. My wife has that enhanced speed that she rarely ever uses. Travis is gifted with a strong regenerative ability. Ivy has those psionic abilities of hers, and her sister is a magic user. I may be the only normal-ish human of my family. I mean, even Serena has the feline attributes and has forgotten more than I could ever hope to learn about robotics.
Though I do wonder what it would take to become, say, a magic user. It’s something I’ve only really started thinking about in the last two weeks. Not sure what brought these thoughts about, to be honest. I imagine that it would take great mental prowess. I would not admit to being a genius of any sort, but I have been able to pull myself through school to become a doctor. And not to brag, but I am quite good at my job. Never lost a patient yet.
Perhaps this idea has legs…
I take another sip of water.
“So… Trav? What do you think it’d take for someone to learn magic? Do you suppose they would have to be born with a certain spark? I know it’s not merely the realm of fantasy. We’ve both experienced the use of it firsthand, right?”
He chews on his bottom lip for a second or two, finger tapping the counter.
“True. But Yvette’s out on a job with Beast and Ivy, so it’s not like we can just ask her, y’know?”
I nod. What if we were to run a search online for ways to learn magic? Of course, I would need to deal with our ancient computer. I still have yet to upgrade that thing… And by “upgrade” I mean “replace entirely with a new model”. It’s approximately five operating systems behind, and the keyboard has that one key that continually pops out of place. The CD drive is a bust, and the display is just awful. I sometimes hear the hard drive clicking, and it’s slower than a snail trailing its way through a pool of molasses. Half of the USB ports only work about half of the time, and something seems to have chewed through the casing of the power cord.
Yes. I think we need a new one.
“Think Gemmy might know anything about it?” Travis asks me, propping himself up on the counter by his elbows.
I hadn’t considered her to be a possibility there. But perhaps…
“That is a possibility,” I reply. “But how does one ask their wife about that?”
“I dunno. Just come right out and ask?”
I sigh, trying to figure out how to word it. As I think, I hear the soft beep of the door unlocking. In walks Gemmy, our son strapped into the baby harness on her chest. She didn’t have any classes to worry about today, and so took Daniel to the park. I pull myself off of the bar stool to greet them, hearing the creaks and groans of my joints.
I’m only nearing 30. I should not be hearing these sounds from my body just yet. It makes it seem like I should have some gray hair (and given my previous experiences, I’m actually quite amazed that I don’t)
Thank you so much for your time, Kayla! If you would like to find out more about K. Matt, check out the links below.
Apex Magazine is an outlet which many love to read and many of you likely have submitted to. Unfortunately, the magazine is shutting down indefinitely. Here is what Jason Sizemore had to say about it on Apex’s Website:
Sleep now, Apex Magazine, you’ve earned it.
Where to begin?
Let’s jump into it. After much consideration, I’ve decided that Apex Magazine will go on an indefinite hiatus. Our last new issue will be 120–the Afrofuturism issue guest edited by Maurice Broaddus. It’s filled with incredible, diverse work and a fitting sendoff for our zine.
Why stop now?
The last few months have been difficult for me both mentally and physically. This leads to soul searching. And that leads to life decisions. One thing that became obvious to me is that I was neglecting both myself and the book side of Apex. I need to take time to exercise, take some time for my health, do more things for fun, enjoy having my kids around before they leave for college in a few years. I need time to read more books! And on the book side of Apex, I had been failing to do the minimum for success because so much of my time was being poured into Apex Magazine. The magazine flourished, while the books languished.
A flourishing magazine is a great thing, but the profit ceiling for an online zine is disturbingly low. One small press book that does really well (like, for example, Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt) will make 25 times the profit of the zine in a year.
It comes down to health and economics and family. Like most decisions in life.
But I want to celebrate what we’ve accomplished with Apex Magazine. 120. That many issues represents exactly ten years of Apex Magazine. Over the course of that time, we’ve published a mind-blowing collection of short fiction, nonfiction, and interviews. Our work has won and/or been nominated for most of the major awards: Hugo, Nebula, Stoker, World Fantasy, and Locus. And I think we’ve also published many important genre stories: “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky, “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix Harrow, “The Green Book” by Amal El-Mohtar, “Armless Maidens of the American West” by Genevieve Valentine, “The Performance Artist” by Lettie Prell, “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon … I could go on, but at some point it becomes bragging and nobody wants that.
During our ten years, I had the opportunity to publish some of my favorite writers: Jeff VanderMeer, Cherie Priest, Jacqueline Carey, Walter Mosley, Mary Robinette Kowal, Nick Mamatas, Rich Larson, Theodora Goss, and so many others.
I’ve had a fine trio of former editor-in-chiefs who have played a huge role in the success of the zine: Catherynne M. Valente, Lynne Thomas, and Sigrid Ellis. Thank you for your hard work.
In the early years, it was Maggie Slater and Gill Ainsworth who were my right hand ladies. Now it is Lesley Conner and Jane Clark. I owe them so much.
And a reminder … this is an extended hiatus, not a permanent closure. I’m a man of whims, unfortunately. After I ended Apex Digest, it was two years later that I decided I wanted to do Apex Magazine. In two years, if Apex Book Company is going strong, don’t be surprised if I have the itch to reopen the zine.
On to some housekeeping:
- All stories submitted via Moksha will be released back to you. You’re free to submit them elsewhere, of course.
- All contracted stories will be released back to the authors, including all rights. You’ll be paid your kill fee of 30% down the road when life is less crazy.
- The website will remain alive. There are simply too many good stories to lose to digital dust. If an author wishes for us to remove a story, email me and it will be done.
- Lesley Conner and I have not turned our backs on genre short fiction. We plan to do an open call anthology each year that will contain nearly as many words of short fiction as a whole year’s worth of zines. Keep your eyes open for our next project.
I love the genre community. Your support for the magazine has meant a lot to me over the years. Now I ask that you throw your support behind the book side of Apex (http://www.apexbookcompany.com). It’s where I’ll be for awhile.
Interesting news from TOR which you will likely want to follow!
Tom Doherty Associates (TDA) President and Publisher Fritz Foy announced today the creation of NIGHTFIRE, a new horror imprint that will join Tor, Forge, Tor Teen & Starscape, and Tor.com Publishing as part of Tom Doherty Associates.
Foy will be Publisher, and TDA will add dedicated staff in editorial, as well as supplemental staff in marketing and publicity. Under the Nightfire imprint, editors will acquire and publish across the breadth of the genre—from short story collections to novellas and novels, from standalone works to series, from dark fantasy to the supernatural, from originals to reprints of lost modern classics. In addition to publishing books across all formats (print, audio, and ebook), Nightfire’s releases will also include podcasts, graphic novels, and other media.
Of the new imprint, Foy remarked, “There is a renaissance in progress for all things horror. There is a new generation of horror fans who are setting weekend genre box office records, who are binge streaming episodic TV, subscribing to weekly chat and drama-based podcasts, and purchasing more graphic novels. More importantly, there are new literary voices we want to bring to our reading communities and followers…And also because we just plain love horror.”
The first publication is planned for early 2021.
About Tom Doherty Associates (TDA):
Tom Doherty Associates (TDA)—better known by its imprint Tor Books—is a New York-based publisher of hardcover, trade softcover, and mass-market books founded in 1980. Imprints include Tor Books, one of the leading publishers in science fiction, fantasy, and horror since 1980; Forge Books, committed to publishing quality thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction, and general fiction; Tor Teen and Starscape, dedicated to publishing quality science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for young readers; and Tor.com Publishing, which publishes original fiction, art, and commentary on fantasy, science fiction, and related subjects across all media by a wide range of writers from all corners of the field.