Kyoko M is the Author of the Of Cinder and Bone series, amongst others!
Kyoko M is a USA Today bestselling author and a fangirl. She is the author of The Black Parade urban fantasy series and the Of Cinder and Bone science-fiction series. The Black Parade has been reviewed by Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews. Of Cinder and Bone placed in the Top 30 Books in Hugh Howey's 2021 Self Published Science Fiction Contest. Kyoko M has appeared as a guest and panelist at such conventions as Geek Girl Con, DragonCon, Blacktasticon, Momocon, JordanCon, ConCarolinas, and MultiverseCon. She is also a contributor to Marvel Comics' Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda (2021) anthology. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.
Have you ever written a story from a dream?
Yep. So the current science fiction series that I’m writing had its three main leads come to me in a dream: Dr. Rhett “Jack” Jackson, Dr. Kamala Anjali, and Faye Worthington. They were all lying in bed together asleep and I just knew that they were in a happy, healthy polyamorous relationship somehow, so they became my protagonists and the rest of the plot came from my love of dragons, Reign of Fire (2002), and Jurassic Park (1993).
What is your favourite character of another author?
I absolutely adore Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews’ series. She is the perfect balance of real, badass, and vulnerable, and her relationship with Curran is hilarious and hot and adorable.
If you could cast your book for a film, who would play the parts?
Dr. Rhett Jackson – Sebastian Stan
Dr. Kamala Anjali – Parminder Nagra
Faye Worthington – Adrianne Palicki
Agent Shannon – Michael Shannon
Libby Calloway – Candace Patton
Bruce Calloway – Anthony Mackie
Misaki Fujioka – Ming Na Wen
Yagami Sugimoto – Takeshi Kaneshiro
Kazuma Okegawa - Desmond Chiam
Have you ever met your writing hero? If so, what were they like?
I’m so glad I get to tell this story—yes, I have. So sometime in 2018, Ilona Andrews was still active on Twitter and I adore her Kate Daniels series. She had commented on an author scandal at the time and I had mentioned that it was a shame that author made hundreds and I could barely clear $50/month in sales. Well, I come back to find she had looked at my profile, read the blurb for my novel The Black Parade, and downloaded it. As if that wasn’t enough shock, she then DM’d me and asked if I wanted to talk to her since she’d read the whole book already. She calls me and tells me it’s a great book and she wants to promote it on her blog. After thanking her a million times, she later posted about my book with a positive review and my sales skyrocketed. It was unforgettable. It is one of the kindest things I’ve ever seen and years later, I am still floored at how sweet and helpful she was. She’s definitely my writing hero.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
I have it right now. It’s unfortunately due to me writing pretty much 24/7, then I have a short attention span, then I like to multitask while consuming any form of fiction…and to top it all off, I’m picky as hell.
Can you name a famous author whose work you really don’t like?
I’ll catch hell for this, but I despise Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. She is one of the most toxic female misogynists on Earth and her work is appallingly offensive. I haven’t bothered looking at the series for the last 20 years, but the last time I saw it, it was unbelievable how problematic Anita Blake and her supporting characters had become. And it’s not intentional. The narrative was not trying to create a villain origin story or a backwards redemption arc—Anita is just written as the most problematic female lead you can imagine in that genre.
When did you know you were going to be a writer?
Childhood. I was a lot like Harriet the Spy as a kid, long before I read that book and saw the movie, always writing things down in my notebook. It wasn’t until middle and high school that I was told I was a good writer, and then I eventually decided to give it a try after attending a lecture Jackson Pearce gave at the University of Georgia.
Do you soundtrack your own novels? Give a sample.
I do mostly for romantic relationships. In the first book of the series, Of Cinder and Bone, I always picture this montage of Jack staring at Kamala with big heart eyes to the sound of “My Cherie Amour” by Stevie Wonder. I also think of “Maneater” by Hall and Oates for Faye Worthington.
What’s your favourite under-appreciated or unknown novel?
Earthsrise by MCA Hogarth.
If your book was turned into a musical, who would you ask to write the score?
Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer for sure.
Do you do a lot of research and why, or if not, why not?
Seriously, the first book in this series has a fifteen page document of research. All the books in the Of Cinder and Bone series have enormous research documents since it’s science fiction and I do attempt to make it as realistic as possible. It’s a genre expectation, after all.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
I tend to over-explain my male character’s feelings sometimes. Men are not always transparent about how they feel and so I remind myself to hold a little more back in conversations, though they are emotionally mature enough to show us more in their narration and actions.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I recently taught myself not to read anything lower than a 3-star review. I instituted this policy because from past experiences, anyone who rates the book 1-2 stars isn’t actually trying to be critical; they’re a nasty person who just wants to punch down on something and they don’t care about the quality of the writing. 3-star reviews generally have constructive criticism and aren’t just an angry person loosing their venom on something. I read them sparingly, though, because it can feel discouraging if someone thinks your book is just okay. I work very hard at making my books as good as I can, so I know not to read negative reviews too often.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
I am Kyoko M, queen of the obscure pop culture references! No one can stop me! Mwahahahaha!
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
9 times out of 10, I get stuck in the transition between the second and third act. Most of the time, I know how a book starts and how it ends, but the details in the middle usually give me the most trouble out of the whole artistic process. I don’t always know the story when I start a manuscript so that’s usually the cause.
What’s the worst advice ever given to you as a writer?
People have told me multiple times to change the covers of my urban fantasy series, The Black Parade series, to match all the other generic urban fantasy covers. I laugh at them in defiance. I refuse to make them look like all the indistinguishable ones you see on any given book site. And I will live with the consequences of that.
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