Author Interview: Poppy Kuroki

Poppy Kuroki

1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m working on origin stories for the assassin characters from Oath. Each short story will tell readers how each character came to be a Black Diamond assassin. I’m also working on a “coming out” Steampunk novel, but that’s going on the backburner for now. I’m aiming to get the first draft done by January.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

A Bard’s Lament, my debut, came out in August 2020. It tells the story of a bard named Ella who hides codes in her music for spies. Oath: A Black Diamond novel came out in November 2020 and it’s about a homeless woman who’s forced to become an assassin. Both are character-driven dark fantasy stories that you’ll love if you enjoy sad stories!

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

Doing the final check. By then I’m tired of the story and just want to get it out there – and it’s impossible to find all the errors in your own work anyway.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love that moment when it all falls into place. You know what you want to happen, but you haven’t been able to make it plausible. Then that final jigsaw piece fits perfectly into place and you know you have a good story.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

Jay Kristoff’s amazing prose. Every one of his sentences sings and he has wit to boot.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I wouldn’t really blame the protagonist of Oath, Colette, for me ruining her life. She thought she’d find her fortune when she sneaked aboard that ship to Ranigh, but things didn’t go quite as planned.

I’d tell her that what she was looking for isn’t so far away, and maybe read between the lines of the rules keeping her in place.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

A pregnant teenager from London? I’d floor her! I’ve never played poker, though, so I’d distract her with a cookie and snatch up the chips.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

I don’t know if I really have an area I’m good at, so I’ll give generic writing advice. Read a lot, especially in your genre. Always know that you can improve. Don’t worry about getting the first draft perfect. Take feedback with an open mind and try not to take it personally. Three-star reviews are a good thing. Drop the adverbs and read about writing; there’s a lot of good (and free) advice out there.

9. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I also have a travel blog about life in Japan, I do love chocolate cake; Godiva has been selling their cakes at convenience stores and it’s dangerously good. Looking forward to winter – you can’t beat a blanket, hot drinks, and a nice long gaming session.

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