Hey, folks! I am so happy to share with you my interview with Donald Allen Kirch, author of the recently released TG horror novel Drop Dead Gorgeous, as well as the TG classic The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight, one of my all time favorite TG works.
1. What are your top three TG experiences in terms of books, films, videos, songs?
I kind ‘a fell into “TG” fiction. I loved the movie “Just One of the Guys” and “Switch” when I was younger. I have always found the “possibilities” of this genre fascinating.
2. One of the things I admired about Ka-Ron was that you created a very detailed and fascinating fantasy world of your own in which to place the TG adventures of Ka-Ron. Can you talk about the world building process and why the details of the world were important to Ka-Ron’s story?
First and foremost, if the background of a story is not believable, neither will the front story. I created the “Ka-Ron” universe to be taken seriously. I hoped that it would be seen as a serious fantasy story. The “TG” element was added later on. Most stories which take this route, the main character deserves what happens to him. Ka-Ron, on the other hand, is an innocent. He is an honorable man. The story of the love that grew between Jatel and him/her would never have worked if their world was not believable. My favorite part of the Ka-Ron universe was the creation of “My Dwarfs.” Unlike any other fantasy, Dorian was a class act. The wizards and wicca masters, the steampunk quality of the Argo, and even mixing horror with science fiction – all of it was just plain fun to create. I love these characters. They are like family to me.
In creating this world, I took the best and most tragic memories of my own life and incorporated them into the story. I have a “game” I like to play when writing: I, honestly, place myself into each story I write. In other words: One of the characters in Ka-Ron’s world is “me” – in mind, body, and spirit. In this case: Jatel. If anyone who has ever read this story were to meet me, they would say, “Hey! You remind me of Jatel.” Don’t know what I would do if I woke up as the “female” version of Jatel, but it would be fun trying to find out.
3. In both Ka-Ron and your latest, Drop Dead Gorgeous, the men are turned into women as a punishment. Can you discuss why the themes of forced sex-change and revenge interest you as a writer?
There is nothing more frightening that losing one’s identity. These two characters are normal men doing their parts in the world they are both comfortable with. Then, BAM! They wake to discover they have brand new bodies and that everything they know, have been taught, and understand about the universe…is gone. Scary stuff.
I also am a sucker for the “fish out of water” story. You’ve probably heard this said before, “If I had boobs I’d never leave the house.” Guys say that with a confident chuckle. What would they really do if they woke to a 38-24-36 body? They’d scream themselves into a coma. Their understanding of the world would be gone. It’s within that frightening fear that I like to walk.
4. Can you talk about your journey as a writer? What was the process like for you in terms of reaching the point where you felt ready to put your work out there for the world to see?
Writing is a cruel taskmaster. It’s demanding, lonely, and fantastically fulfilling. It takes great courage to expose your work. I have been writing since I was 13. Each story is a complete journey, and I learn so much about myself upon completion. However, I was quite shy when I first started doing this. It took a great deal of soul searching for publishing my first book. One bit of advice I can give to any writer starting out: Always remember – no matter how good your work is, there will always be that “one” who will gain great pleasure out of trying to bring you down. Whether it be the local “Grammar Nazi” or critic…you cannot please everyone. Learn to ignore what people say, and accept praise with honest humility. Most important: Never take “No” for an answer. Learn to accept rejection as a learning experience, and move onward to the next publisher, agent, or editor.
5. What has been the most positive aspect of publishing your work?
I’ve learned so much about who I am. Before “The Misadventures of Ka-Ron the Knight” I barely understood what “TG” was. As I have moved forward with this adventure, I have come to admire the courage and pioneering spirit of these brave people, and I hope that I have created heroes for them to embrace. Friends have come forward, informing me that I gave them the courage to stand tall and make their personal choice to go forward with their transition. That it was the acceptance of Ka-Ron and Jatel, when each went through their adventures; and that it was love which saved them both – these stories helped them say “Yes.” I am happy with who I am and where I stand in my life. If, however, I awoke within Jatel’s female body…after a few hours of heavy meltdown…well…I could live with it.
6. What’s coming up next? Let’s hear about your next projects!
I am working on a second book in the “DROP DEAD GEOGEOUS” series. An audio book will be coming out for DDG later this year. Keep in mind, “DROP DEAD GORGEOUS” is a horror novel. It is filled with gore and some disturbing scenes. Not at all like “Ka-Ron.” Speaking of Ka-Ron, the rights of the first trilogy revert back to me at the end of 2017. I plan to see if I can republish in the States. I am also finishing up a prequel trilogy in Ka-Ron’s universe which follows the heroic adventures and tragic downfall of Count Voslow. Next to Dorian, the Count is one of my favorite characters. I have at least four novels I am currently researching. I am always looking for a great story to tell.
I hope to meet all of you, one day. Perhaps, we can meet, plan a quest, learn a little about each other, and fulfill a quest on our way to Mull Garden.
You can find links to all of Donald’s books on his homepage where you can also buy his books from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats.
Thanks, Donald, for a great interview!