Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kory M. Shrum Author Interview

Photo Content from Kory M. Shrum

Kory M. Shrum lives in Michigan with her partner and a ferocious guard pug. When not writing, she can be found teaching, traveling, and wearing a gi. Her poetry has appeared in North American Review, Bateau and elsewhere. Her first urban fantasy novel Dying for a Living is now available on Amazon, as well as her short story, Dive. She’d love to hear from you on Facebook, G+, her blog, or Twitter.


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think it happened in my early youth, though I was definitely writing. My cousin just produced a poem that I’d written apparently around the age of 11 and it is pretty clear that I was very serious about writing already—everything from the careful script, underlining of the title, and the overuse of multisyllabic words.

I do remember the moment in college, when I was a sophomore or junior, that I abandoned my premed/biology path and switched to English as my major—with the full intention of being a penniless bohemian come hell or high water—both of which I thought were more exciting prospects than organic chemistry. I couldn’t have been more than 19 or 20 years old at the time.

If there was a “defining moment” that was it.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
That is an excellent question. It can’t be denied, of course. You’ll find storytelling in every culture and evidence that stories will remain, assumingly because they are cherished, even after civilizations are long dead (I’m thinking of mythologies as far back as Sumerian). And despite the fact I can make arguments that literature survives because people love to make connections to other people and to know what happened to them, I have an aversion to speaking for other people. So, I can only say why storytelling is important to me:

It captures the human experience, particularly my experience, preserving me in a particular space and time. I will never care about the same things the way I care about them now. I will never see the world exactly the same way I do now, or at 40 years old or 50, or 60 or on my deathbed (hopefully at 125 ;)—and writing is a way to preserve and connect some of the most precious moments of our time—and of my time, along the way. So when I’m writing and telling stories, I’m not just telling our stories, chronicling what our time was like—about what we are experiencing and caring about now—but I’m also preserving myself along the way. How self-centered is that? ;)

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My current favorite is A Tale for the Time Being. I wrote a whole blog post [KS1] about it. There are so many things about this book that make it amazing, you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

And because I do a lot of genre-blending, I’d argue that there is no book “outside” my genre.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Don’t stop.

In your book; Dying for a Living, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
Sure. Dying for a Living is the first book in an urban fantasy series. Jesse Sullivan is a death-replacement agent who dies for a living—dying so others don’t have to. Her job isn’t easy, but it gets even harder when she is murdered and framed for a crime she didn’t commit.

For those who are unfamiliar with Jesse, how would you introduce her?
I wouldn’t. She’d do a fine job of introducing herself. ;)

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I also have a short story, “Dive”, which is available on Amazon. It’s a revenge story about a woman who overcomes her fears, masters her powers, and avenges her parents. Next month, I’ll release another short, “Blind”, about a boy with mechanical eyes who sees the world for what it really is. The second Jesse Sullivan book will be released in September.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would throw Jesse into Harry Potter’s world, and let her follow around all the good guys, replacing them so they wouldn’t die. Dumbledore and all of them—maybe even Dobby, though we’ve never tried a house elf replacement, so not sure how/if that would work.

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Are you nervous/scared? *I have a penchant for bravado*

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
First read a lot. All kinds of books and let them get all mixed up in your head. Then write a lot and let all of that get all mixed up on the page—you’ll find something in the middle there that’s “you”.

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I once worked in a greenhouse dead-heading petunias and growing tomatoes. That horrible song Train “Hey, Soul Sister” song was big that year. Anytime I hear it, I’m automatically taken back to the sweltering glass building, wearing my scratchy polo shirt and smothering in the smell of flowers and dirt.

Who was your first boyfriend?
I think I had a boyfriend in the 3rd grade. But I’ve dated girls ever since.

Tell me about your first kiss
This actually was a boy and it was in the Walmart parking lot, he was far too old for me and he smoked. I remember the kiss tasted like stale nicotine, was slobbery, and about as exciting as making out with my own hand—which I totally did to practice—I stared at the Walmart sign the whole time.

What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?
I don’t love them back.

When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday, I watched a video from the Ellen show. She gave $50,000 to these homeless/ poor kids in a Detroit school who were singing Pharrell’s “Happy”. It was so beautiful.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I’d like to be a teenager in the 60s. I’d be a good bra-burner.

What is your greatest adventure?
This life.

On the morning before her 67th death, it is business as usual for Jesse Sullivan: meet with the mortician, counsel soon-to-be-dead clients, and have coffee while reading the latest regeneration theory. Jesse dies for a living, literally. As a Necronite, she is one of the population’s rare 2% who can serve as a death replacement agent, dying so others don’t have to. Although each death is different, the result is the same: a life is saved, and Jesse resurrects days later with sore muscles, new scars, and another hole in her memory.

But when Jesse is murdered and becomes the sole suspect in a federal investigation, more than her freedom and sanity are at stake. She must catch the killer herself—or die trying.

You can purchase Dying For a Living at the following Retailers:


Post a Comment