We welcomed Kira Leigh onto the show this week. Our first topic of discussion was prompted by their passion to change the world through their writing—a sentiment that we could relate to. They mentioned especially during the pandemic they had an urge to create meaningful pieces of art that people could enjoy. Ashley then asked the question as to whether Kira had started writing during the pandemic. Kira explained that Constelis Voss was inspired by their roleplaying games with friends. They had initially created it as a hobby, and something to do for fun, but soon they realized they could do more with their work.
This conversation merged into one about genres. Kira writes primarily in sci-fi, but blends their sci-fi with fantasy. They are more partial to ‘what if’ questions based around scientific principles. We agreed that more important than genre, there must be relatable characters and an underlying story that captures the reader’s interest.
This led into Sarah’s next question, about what other art and literature inspires Kira’s writing. Kira is very interested in Russian literature and enjoys works such as Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Kira laughed when they admitted that they also love anime, despite how polar opposite this is from Russian literature, and a unique blend of these elements influences their work.
Kira then discussed their book series, Constelis Voss, which will become a three novel series. They are also writing a number of companion novels to go alongside the series which explores each character’s life in greater detail. The basic premise is about a futuristic ship called Constelis Voss, and what happens when humans find a data disk and inserts it into one of the robots. The book is an exploration of the lives of the characters, including the robot, Alex.
In their book, Kira attempted to blow apart common tropes and ask questions about who and what characters become when unexpected and unique characters fill ordinary roles. Our following discussion focused around writing diverse characters, and what questions are important to be asking as both writers and as participants in a broader society. We talked about the importance of being sensitive about delicate topics when writing, but about how there is still a necessity for this work to be made, even if only to raise awareness and ask questions of the world. In summary of this deep philosophical discussion, Kira put it beautifully when they said,
“Maybe we can get to a place where it’s more about negotiating a shared reality made out of empathy.”
Kira falls more into the category of ‘panster’ than ‘plotter’, though they do take a step back after most the novel is complete to work out how best to round it off, and how to give it direction. They find it generally ends up being cohesive and flowing, and the more structure they give, the more creatively stifled they feel.
The final question Ashley posed was surrounding Kira’s publishing journey. Despite having a background in the tech industry, in marketing and in freelancing, Kira has found the self-publishing world tricky. They found the world of self-publishing a whole different ballgame, but they also spoke of challenges related to ‘cliques’ that divide traditional and self-publishing. This is something they would like to see change in the future.
If you would like to learn more about Kira and their book series, Constelis Voss, you can visit their website or contact them through Facebook or Linked In.