We had the good fortune of connecting with K.S. Barton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi K.S., what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Ever since I can remember, I have had stories and characters constantly playing in my mind, but it took me many decades before I took the leap to turn that into a career. Writing stories is how I process the world, and writing down these stories and characters is how I learn what is important to me. The more I write, the more I unearth the unconscious themes and archetypes that drive me, and it can be very cathartic. I’m an indie author because I like the freedom of managing my own schedule, and it is important for me to have control over my intellectual property. But, really, the main reason I write? There is nothing as marvelous as a new character popping up out of nowhere and walking into a scene, or a new storyline emerging like a shoot from the earth. It is magic!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I write about Vikings and that always gets a response from people! About a decade ago, I did a deep dive into Norse mythology, which led me to learning more about Norse culture. Ever since, I’ve been writing stories about Vikings, and I write both historical fiction and historical fantasy that uses elements from Norse mythology. What I’m most excited about is writing about Vikings in a way that is not frequently depicted in popular culture: I often write from the point of view of ordinary women who are not shield-maidens, and I also like exploring relationships. In addition to showing the relationships that develop between warriors as a part of the Viking honor culture, I also like to dig into family life, so I have brothers and sisters, parents, foster-parents, and, of course, love relationships. My books and stories have plenty of action and adventure, too! Being an indie author is not easy. One of the biggest challenges for me is learning all the business aspects of indie publishing, and it can be quite daunting. Without a traditional publisher, I have to do everything myself or hire it out, things like editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing. Fortunately, the indie publishing world is filled with generous creators, and I’ve learned a lot from those authors who did it before me. My brand is about bringing the Viking world to life beyond battles and bloodshed.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d do a mix of outdoor and city sites. First, I would take them to Sabino Canyon, an oasis in the middle of the desert. It never fails to amaze visitors to see the soaring canyon with Saguaros littering the hills while water rushes through the desert. We’d take the tram to the top and back to get the full impact of the canyon. I would take them to lunch at either the Little Cafe Poca Cosa or Cafe a la Cart, both of which are small restaurants but huge gems in downtown Tucson. After lunch, we’d walk down 4th Avenue, the quirky part of Tucson and head to the best local bookstore, Antigone Books. On another day, we’d have to go to the Sonoran Desert Museum to learn about the local wildlife and environment. Dinner at El Charro. Most of my friends love music, so we would definitely have to make the drive to Phoenix to visit the Musical Instrument Museum. It is a must-see for music lovers!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Writing is a solitary pursuit and yet so many people have helped and guided me along the journey. First and foremost is my husband. Living with a writer cannot be easy, and yet he takes it all in stride, from the times he finds me staring into space and I tell him, “I’m writing”, to all the conversations we have about my characters as if they are real people. He also helps me with many of the business parts of being an indie author. I have to recognize my mother and father for always providing me with books as a child; our house was filled with books. Finally, I am grateful to the people who give me feedback on my books and talk me down when it all gets overwhelming: Alica McKenna-Johnson, Amy Bright, Ava Bright, Kilian Metcalf, Stephanie Churchill, and Jill Walker.