1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
My latest project is a new novel that I’m working on called Stargazer, the sequel to my 2013 novel Summerhill. In the course of writing Summerhill, the nature of the setting kept expanding and growing more complicated, and I realized I’d need more than one book to fully explore it. This time around, I’ve flipped the dynamic a bit: this is the story of Katherine, one of Summerhill’s traveling companions from the first book, and now he’s her sidekick, which will hopefully let me tell a fun story that’s sufficiently different to its predecessor. I’m posting the first draft to Patreon (for free!) as I’m writing it, too, so readers can follow along as the story takes shape.
2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
For me, it depends on whether I’m working on a novel or a short story. For novels, I tend to have a central theme and central conflict in mind, I start writing a first draft, and about halfway through I stop to outline the rest (and after I complete that draft I look at the whole thing and re-outline it so that it makes better sense). When it comes to short stories, usually those ideas are simple and self-contained enough that I can just hop onto the page, play around with them, and see where they go (which sometimes winds up being ‘nowhere,’ but that’s thankfully pretty rare!).
3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
I suppose I’m quite fond of writing stories where I really get into someone’s head, for better of for worse, and show the reader what makes them tick. Even the nicest person you know has issues they’re dealing with and sometimes thinks nasty thoughts about certain things, and even a complete jerk can be relatable or sympathetic on some level, and so I think it’s fun to explore that sort of thing, and to leave the reader with some thoughtful insights. That, and I like to use fantastical backdrops to explore otherwise mundane, everyday issues, because then you’re giving the reader something fun and different while also giving them something they can personally relate to.
4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
This is a tough one! If I had to pick one, though, I’d probably have to say Arkady Ryswife from my novel The Seventh Chakra — not because I’m an artificially augmented super-spy ferret, but because his entire core conflict is doubting his own capabilities and putting too much pressure on himself for fear of letting down others, and those are both things I can personally identify with a whole lot.
5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
I drew a lot of inspiration early on from the works of David Weber, particularly his Honor Harrington series, when it came to laying out large, convoluted plots and interweaving setting and story without having to resort to info-dumping on the reader. Nowadays my style doesn’t really resemble his at all, but I learned a lot about long form structure and plotting from those books. Kazuo Ishiguro’s wonderful novel The Remains of the Day was a great example of how feature an unreliable narrator in addition to showing how a slow and subtle buildup can still reach a devastating conclusion, and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas was just monumentally inspirational for how diverse one single author’s writing can be within a single work.
6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
David Mitchell again, with The Bone Clocks. It’s a masterful look at an individual’s life from so many different perspectives, and a story that goes from banal to surreal in a way that’s hard not to be impressed by.
7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
My big hobbies include tabletop roleplaying, amateur photography, wine, and Star Wars (honestly a lot of my time goes to Star Wars in some form or another).
8. Advice for other writers?
Read. Read, read, read. Read things that you like, read things that are outside your normal area from time to time, read things by your peers and by people who inspire you, but read. It’s such a fundamental part of being a good writer that it can often be too obvious, and it’s something I see get ignored all too often. You can’t be a good concert pianist if you don’t listen to music, and you can’t be a good writer if you don’t read stories. So read. Read short stories twice; you’d be amazed how much different the experience can be, even if it’s only been a day. Learn to identify what you like and what you don’t like, and then try to discern why you do and don’t like those things.
9. Where can readers find your work?
My novels are all available on Amazon if you search for me by my people-name, and of course directly from the furry publishers themselves: FurPlanet and Sofawolf Press. My short stories are available on FurAffinity, where my username is ‘Rikoshi,’ and I’ve had stories published in numerous anthologies, such as New Fables from Sofawolf Press and ROAR from FurPlanet.
10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?
Honestly, just the sheer amount of creativity that this fandom has bundled up in with itself, and I think it’s important for people to not lose that spark of imagination. We’re not all writers or artists, but we’re all here because we’ve got a fantastic propensity for make-believe and suspension of disbelief; sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s silly, but it takes all kinds and I’ve never come back from a convention not feeling energized to write something, whether it was a larger project or just some quick thing.
Check out Kevin “Rikoshi” Frane’s member bio here!