For those who don’t know: I’ve been a full-time professional writer for 30 years now. Authored computer games, tabletop games, novels, comics, and have been working hard at breaking out into feature film and TV. I’ve been a part of furry fandom since 1986, and wrote the first furry novels written from within the fandom: “MUS OF KERBRIDGE”, “FANGS OF K’AATH”, and “A WHISPER OF WINGS”.
– And I’m still writing!
1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
Well – I’ve just finished writing the first book in a new series called “Spirit Hunters”
– “SPIRIT HUNTERS Book 1: The way of the Fox”.
This is a novellisation taken from a huge ‘furry’ television series I have written. The stories are wonderful ‘Samurai Ghostbusters’ tales set in a sort of magical medieval Japanese otherwhen. The starring character is a wonderfully lackadaisical, devious, charismatic fox priestess. We follow her story as she battles monsters and unravels intrigues – somehow flitting along the path to wisdom. These are delightful tales that all link together into a great, sweeping story arc full of adventure, love and action.
I’m releasing this book in the next few weeks. I wanted create something the furries would love. Hopefully it will be a big hit amongst the furry community.
Previous to that, I have just finished a titanic 4 book series called ‘Effectuators’ – deliciously ormolu tales set in London in 1869. Ancient mysteries and weird creatures – and a deliciously bewitching main character.
I’m also now just finishing up a new furry roleplaying game. So far, it looks gorgeous!
2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
For me, writing is a calling – not a job. I do it because I have to. It’s what I do.
I tend to spend a while fretting and taxing myself to come up with ideas – covering the room with notes, scribbles and drawings. I push hard – often too hard – adding to ideas bit by bit, until one starts to gel. I then sit down and start to flesh that idea out into a full project.
A lot of what I write comes from very extensive research. This can be physical experience, or deep research. So – research is all a part of the development. I make a story plan, but it is very generalised: the story will write itself in its own way. Once I have the feel properly set in my head, I start writing and just let it flow.
I find the writing stage to be full of fun. I research as I write, and let the piece try to find its voice. But it is a very hard grind: 12 hours a day for months and months.
I am extremely disciplined and driven. I forge forward diligently to the end of a project, and utterly exhaust myself. The trouble is, when I’m not writing and creating, I become horribly restless and depressed. So I have to fling myself straight into another idea.
I’ve been doing it for 30 years, working all that time as a full-time professional writer. I’ve never earned a dime doing any other work.
3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
I’m a romantic. I love stories filled with cunning and cleverness, heroic deeds and adventure. Love and friendship. Stories with heart. Stories with humour. Stories that entertain.
I do love to write good action scenes – fights grounded in the real.
And I love to make a visual world – something full of colour and vista. Something the readers can close their eyes and see.
One thing I take pride and delight in doing is in creating strong female characters. Many of my books star a female lead character. I’ve always felt that genre fiction does a terrible disservice to female characters. I take a great joy in trying to redress the balance.
4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
Wow. Hmmm – I love them all.
I have utterly loved Kitsune Sura, the main character from SPIRIT HUNTERS. Having written 53 TV movie scripts starring her, I guess I live in her head and she in mine. She embodies the foxly ‘virtues’ so beautifully. Fiercely loyal to her friends – scornful of authority, derisive of pretension, reveling in the beauty and the motion of the world – a weird branch of Taoism all of her own. She’s a delight.
Brilliana Stetham from the EFFECTUATORS novels is another favorite character of mine. Prolix and stylish and wonderfully devious. A total delight to write! She has that terrible parade of esoteric knowledge and weird ghoulishness that I’ve always adored.
The ones I love most are extremely ‘human’ – strong and passionate, and made all the more beautiful because of their unique flaws.
5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
Jack Vance’s work. Jack’s beauty of expression, his use of vocabulary – the delicious, seductive way he painted his visual and sensual landscape. Those are just unparalleled.
Bernard Cornwell’s work taught me a great deal about how to write action sequences.
And Patrick O’Brian! His delicious narratives and his skill for turning the golden phrase are such an utter joy. The way his characters reveal themselves through their dialogue (and in the prose surrounding that dialogue) is simply marvellous.
Oddly enough: Sven Hassel! Sven’s ability to spin a yard – to just tell a rollicking good tale of larceny and engaging roguish characters was a very early lesson in how to tell a good story.
6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
Hmmm – I always re read my old favourites.
For absolute pure love: Mary Renault’s “THE LAST OF THE WINE”. This is just an absolutely riveting, haunting, passionate novel. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is an utter masterpiece. Elevating, ennobling – and it will definitely make you cry.
7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I’m a manic, dedicated wargamer and role playing gamer. We do tabletop RPG’s every weekend (and I’ve been doing that since the 1970’s!). I paint lead figures. I’m a history fanatic, and constantly read military histories, social histories, books on uniforms and equipment. I utterly adore it. One of my most enduring loves is armour – I’ve been an armour historian since I was about 9!
Travel. I utterly love to travel – to wander. I’ve been so very, very poor this last decade that I haven’t gotten to wander the way I normally love to. Got to Rome last year, though, due to bizarre luck! Just wandered ancient sites in Italy with my bag over my shoulder and my Akubra on my head…
I’m a senior student with the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu (“Transmitted directly from Heaven, Katori Shinto Shine Style”), studying with the Sugino dojo. I’ve been a dedicated student there for about 11 years, doing Japanese sword, naginata, staff and spear. Katori is the oldest of the Japanese schools, teaching medieval fencing styles.
I run, do weights, ride my bike.
Oh – and I’m a costumer! I make costumes and fursuits for the sheer joy of it!
I am also extremely kind to bugs. I adore little creatures. I usually keep an eye on local mantises and little insects, lizards (and given where i live – the Bandicoots). I’ve sometimes raised dragonfly larvae in little ponds.
8. Advice for other writers?
If you’re going to do it, then DO IT.
– Be ready to embrace poverty. Doing this properly is a full-time job.
– Do not expect reward. Do not court awards. Do not judge your worth by the paycheck. Write because it is a joy. Write because you want people to see the stories and be entertained.
-And enjoy the fandom. Be a part of it! It will always be there for you when things are darkest.
I’ve taken to self publishing my books. Far, far more satisfying than eternally crawling up to publishers.
My books are all out on Kindle as e-books, and on Lulu for print-on-demand.
My Dungeons and Dragons novels, Gammaworld Novel, etc are all available via Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast, and can be found in games stores and on amazon.com.
You can find all my schtuff linked at:
10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?
Furry fandom is a creative fandom! Other fandoms just ‘appreciate’ – but we build. All furries are creators – whether we write books, paint artwork, or just imagine amazing characters and fursonas. It engages us all in an active creative environment. I love that.
Being with furries is always buoyant and joyous.
Furries are not broken – they’re just gently fractured! ^_^
Seriously – furry fandom is the family I choose to have. They ‘get’ me – i get them.
I love furry fandom. I will always be there for the fandom. These are my people.
Check out Paul Kidd’s member bio here!