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Author Interview: K. Leigh M.

I’m K. Leigh, a bi trans man and freelance graphic artist, whose alter ego is a cyberpunk robot misfit. I live with my partner in Rhode Island, alongside our furry companion Rolly, and spend the majority of my time making art and planning a global be gay do crimes takeover.

Interview

Use three to five words to describe yourself.

Annoying, Loud, Loyal, Irreverent, Chaotic

Can you give us a little background on your debut?

When I was a kid, there were two things that captivated me beyond reason. The first was anime, namely the adult action titles found on the SciFi channel. The second was Russian literature, specifically Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. The CONSTELIS VOSS series aims to bridge the gap between highbrow existential literature and irreverent, full-octane action. It’s a series that some readers have likened to “Asimov, but make it anime-inspired.” If I had to give a brief rundown of my cyberpunk indie series, it’d be “robots fighting a space dictatorship in the super-future” but it’s so much more than that. It’s every symbolic easter egg, every anime nod, every human condition quandary, amped up to eleven and thrown into a swear-filled blender. I aim to make cultural commentary with copious comedy. That’s where the good stuff lives.

Can you give us any insight into your planning and writing process?

Honestly? I don’t plan a lot, and what I do plan is locked in my skull as mind-movies. Inevitably, through the act of writing, I let the story take itself where it needs to go. I may know what has to happen, or what I want to happen, but as characters grow and shift, so too does the story-world around them. My writing process is mainly listening to music, latching onto a feeling, and letting the words fly.

Silence or music or other when writing/editing?

Definitely music while writing, but silence while editing. Music inspires everything I make, so it need to be there to fuel the prose-process, but when it comes time to tweaking you need a clear head.

You can erase one book or series from your mind entirely so that you can read it again for the first time, which do you erase?

It would definitely be all of the Russian masterworks canon.

Who are some of your favourite authors/books?

I’m partial to single books, am deplorably picky, read fast and DNF most. That being said, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Rice are all staples. I’m a fan of Mercedes Lackey’s “The Black Swan” as per older fantasy, and maybe as silly as it is to say, all the Animorphs titles by K. A. Applegate. The nostalgia is real. Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is solid as well. I’ve only read one contemporary YA series to completion, and that’s “The Raven Cycle” by Maggie Stiefvater. I’d say she’s my favorite contemporary author, but yeah, all my faves are ancient.

Who are your favourite book characters?

Memnoch by Anne Rice is one of my favorites. He’s just really funny, petulant, and calls Lestat on his bullcrap. Rice has a great sense of humor, which I’m not sure many people pick up on. A second favorite would be Ronan Lynch from The Raven Cycle; I relate to him a lot, personally.

Do you have any favourite magic systems?

I’m going to be that guy and say that “magic systems” are very uninteresting to me. To be blunt, I only really want them if I’m playing video games or invested in a DnD campaign. I’d prefer not to engage with them in single-person, written narratives.

You can bring one world from a book or series to life and live there, which world do you choose

This is such a hard question! While I’d love to live in the world of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” if only because of transhumanism, I know the world is very corrupt and life would be agonizing. I’m not sure I’d want to bring any series to life, except maybe my own, because it’s wildly more gentle than what works its inspired by.

What book or series would you love to see on the big screen?

A Memnoch movie would be amazing, but I’m not quite sure we’ll ever get there, as per Rice’s track record with adaptations.

You can collaborate with one other author, who do you choose?

I wouldn’t collaborate with an author; I’d collaborate with Sam Esmail of Mr. Robot acclaim. He’s the one I’d want to work with, hands down, out of any creative on the face of the planet still living. If we could get Satoshi Kon back (God, my heart), then he’s the choice, but I’d prefer to collaborate with people who work in moving pictures.

Have any cultures/civilisations inspired your writing?

I tend to take a lot of cues from many cultures other than white American monoculture. I’m not very interested in telling the stories of people swaddled by the country I live in. I’d rather tell the stories of people not like myself—but much more relatable—so you’re likely to find references in my works that span the globe. I can’t be specific: I have three books out at the moment and two in the works. That’s a lot of ground to cover 🙂

What is your favourite mythical creature?

I’m partial to Mermaids, especially the scary kind. The ocean is beautiful, dark and mysterious. There’s just something about living underneath the waves with finned folx that seems really fun and adventurous to me.

What is your favourite mythical race?

Faeries are really fun, for much the same reason I like Mermaids. They’re tricky, smart, have their own interesting intellectual rules, and looks can deceive. I enjoy being kept on my toes.

You can have one superpower, what is it?

If I could have one superpower it’d be immortality. I have far too many things I want to do, there’s too much life to experience, so much art to make, and too many delicious foods to eat. Living forever would be the perfect superpower.

You have the ability to morph into any real creature. Which creature do you choose?

I’d love to be a raven. They’re rather beautiful and have such lovely wings. They’re smart, too. Flying seems like it’d be a fantastic experience.

You can go back in time and live a different period of history, when do you choose?

I’d most likely just teleport back to the 80s because that’s where my brain lives anyways. There was a lot wrong with the world then [for marginalized people, especially], a lot of pain, a lot of difficulty, but for the music scene alone I might choose it.

You can meet any five people in the world, who would you choose?

I’d love to meet Sam Esmail, Trent Reznor, Kate Bush, Jimmy Urine and Hayao Miyazaki.

Would you rather…

  • ride a dragon or fly a spaceship?
    • Fly a spaceship, definitely.
  • have the ability to fly or be indestructible?
    • Be indestructible!
  • be an elf or an orc?
    • Hmm. Can I be an elf adopted by orcs?
  • have the ability to travel to mythical worlds, from your favourite books, or the ability to travel faster than light and visit planets and solar systems in this universe?
    • The ability to travel faster than light and visit planets and solar systems. Space exploration is fantastic.
  • face one orc or three goblins in battle?
    • I’d rather face three goblins, because I have a really solid punt-kick.
  • be an expert swordsman or archer?
    • Archery always eluded me every time I’ve tried it, so that one.
  • be able to wield elemental magic or raise and control the dead?
    • Being a necromancer would be metal as heck. Definitely raising and controlling the dead.
  • live in a city under the ocean or one floating in the clouds?
    • Living in a city under the ocean would be lovely. I imagine it’s serene and mysterious down there.
  • be able to see the past or see the future?
    • Seeing the future means a lot of saved time; you wouldn’t need to spend time worrying about things if you knew what was to come.

Thank you for taking the time, we really appreciate it.