Kim Wilkins

Kim Wilkins published her first novel, a supernatural thriller, in 1997. Since then she has successfully maintained a busy writing career, as well as earning a PhD and holding down a job as a senior lecturer in writing and publishing at the University of Queensland. Under her pseudonym, Kimberley Freeman, she has published seven novels of epic women's fiction.

She is published in seventeen languages and has written for adults, young adults and children. For fun, she likes to hang out with her chihuahuas and ride her bicycle up mountains. She has won many awards, including most recently the 2013 Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Fiction with The Year of Ancient Ghosts.

Praise for Kim Wilkins

“Kim Wilkins has a gift for creating narratives that swivel between the world of fantasy and reality. This is a tribute to the measured purposefulness of her prose…Inhabitants of the real world will be seduced by this fantasy.” – Sydney Morning Herald

“…superb world building…intriguing, genuine, rich.” – Kirkus Review

“Rich with the dense texture of authoritative research.” – The Age

“Wilkins's human characters are endearing and her mythic monsters spring into vibrant life.” – Publishers Weekly

 

Creativity in the age of distraction: Kim Wilkins at TEDxUQ 2014

 

Do I Have a Basement Full of Elves? – The Writing Process

I write. A lot. People often express astonishment at my output (26 novels in 17 years, or about two-and-a-half million words in print). Aspiring writers want to know what my secret is. Do I have a basement full of elves who write for me? Do I perhaps cut all the corners and write half-baked nonsense? Do I just copy and paste the same words over and over again? Or, the answer they fear the most, do I simply find it easy?

None of those things are true. But I think I have a perspective on writing that is unique, and it's a perspective that any aspiring writer can develop: I only think about writing positively. Writing is not the last thing I do; it's not an extra job to fit into my day. It isn't work for me, it is my joy. In fact, it's the thing I turn to when my day has been full and crowded and emotionally draining. It restores me.

My writing has taken me on imaginative journeys and real-life journeys. My latest book, Daughters of the Storm, is the product of years of research into Anglo-Saxon literature, language, and history. Over the last two years, I have read Beowulf in the original Old English, I have visited the Sutton Hoo burial ground, and seen Anglo-Saxon manuscripts exhibitions at churches and museums throughout England. All of this rich inspiration has fed into my first fantasy novel in nearly ten years, one that has been brewing deeply inside me and which nurtured me during one of the most difficult personal times in my life.

I came to writing because I love it. It is my vocation, and it's important to remember here that the root of the word vocation is vocare, which means ‘to call’. I was called to writing at a very early age. Along with the usual complement of human emotions such as love, anger, lust, joy, grief, I got one called ‘story’. I feel it in my bones and body and blood as much as I feel any of the other emotions. When I'm feeling ‘story’, I need to write it down. If I don't, the feeling gets backed up and I feel blocked and miserable. Writing is not easy. Writing novels is particularly difficult because they are such a long haul: they required sustained energy and skilled project management. But neither is it easy to raise children or maintain a good marriage or ride up mountains on my bicycle, and I do all those things too and take immense pleasure from both the process and the outcomes. My writing, my vocation, takes a lot out of me. But it gives back to me a joy that I cannot measure. When I am involved in bringing a story into the world, I am a happy woman.