There are 14 authors who wrote the stories of the Fairy Tale Confessions collection. This post will focus on KR Wilburn, author of The Little Mermaid- Retold.
KR Wilburn has traveled the world with her family but currently calls Graham Texas home. When she isn’t writing about the creatures that intrigued her Irish ancestors, she is busy studying nutrition science and reading everything she can get her hands on. She’s a fan of Supernatural and Gone with the Wind, Jennifer Armentrout, Amy A. Bartol and Tara Brown and makes a mean omelette.
She is the mother of six crazy, creative and hilarious children and married to her childhood best friend and hero Ben. When she isn’t busy with her dogs Trouble and Denali, you’re likely to find her in a corner with her nose buried in the latest Deadpool and Red Sonja comic books and counting down the moments until she can find inspiration capturing the perfect Aurora through the lens of her camera.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us…
Q: What type of comics do you prefer?
My favorite comics are from Marvel and Dynamite. Deadpool is my jam, as is Ryan Reynolds so when they released the trailer for the new movie at Comic-Con my friends blew my phone up! He’s snarky, and vicious and we share a common passion for chimichangas. I’ve also got a decent collection of Red Sonja and Ms. Marvel comics, as much for the comics themselves as for their writers.
Gail Simone did the reboot for Red Sonja and she’s been a favorite of mine for quite some time. I didn’t start following Ms. Marvel until G. Willow Wilson began writing the stories. There was something amazing about finally having a female Muslim superhero. Comics and superheroes have always paved the way for inclusivity, and to be honest, it made my heart happy to have a comic I could give my pre-teen daughters where the female heroine didn’t have all her body parts covered in latex and hanging out for display.
Although if that’s your thing, I highly recommend the Hawkeye Project.
Q: What are your subjects of preference for your photography?
I like to think of myself as a lifestyle photographer. I think images are as capable of telling a story as words are, but it’s difficult to get to that story when you’re composing the shots. One of the most beautiful photographs in my portfolio is of a couple I was privileged to work with in Denver as part of a workshop. I was trying to capture the moment, with the sun coming down between the buildings and setting this golden glow over everything, when this man starting screaming at my couple, hurling slurs. When I looked at them through my lens, I saw a couple deeply in love. All this guy saw was a transgender man and a woman, and he berated them and took off running like the coward he was. I asked the couple if they wanted to return to the center, but they declined. They wanted this shoot, they wanted their moments, and they weren’t letting some jerk take that from them.
It was that moment, when they took comfort in one another, and reassured one another that everything aligned and I found THE SHOT. The image that captured what the man on the street didn’t see. It told a story in a single frame of the depth of love, and the power it can wield. After that I knew I could never go back to posing people, I wanted to narrate life with images.
Q: What drew you to Irish tales and mythology?
It started with Greek Mythology. Every kid learns about Greek Mythology in school, and that just ballooned into a love of mythology in general. What was intriguing to me was that unlike Greek and even Egyptian mythology, Irish and Celtic tales aren’t as well documented. There’s really so much more room to play.
Q: Did you find it difficult to ‘twist’ a well-known fairy tale for the Fairy Tale Confessions anthology?
Somewhat. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to change why the mermaid was on land. As a kid I loved the story but the older I got the more my inner feminist railed at the concept of changing everything about yourself for a relationship. Once I knew what I didn’t want to do, it made things easier, bringing the story into better focus. The real trouble I had was keeping the story contained within the word limits! There’s such a rich vein of material there. I think that’s probably true for all of these tales though, any of these could have easily been full length novels.
Q: You have also written contemporary fiction that tell tales about second chances at love. Do you find yourself drawn to that genre now, or do you prefer to write paranormal books?
It depends on the story. I have basic outlines for the next seven books in my pipeline and it’s an even mix between contemporary fiction and paranormal fiction. It depends on the story. I’ve always been told if you can take the paranormal elements out of the story without it affecting the story, it’s not really paranormal anyway.
Q: Is there a character from one of your stories that has surprised you in some way?
I think all of them continuously surprise me. I start off every story with this idea that I know who they are, but without fail I’m wrong. Like real people, there’s a depth to them that you only discover when you really get to know them by spending time with them. People will always surprise you, characters are the same.
Q: Where (or when) do you get the most story inspirations?
Listening to music. I always get the best story ideas while I’m listening to music. I have a contemporary I’m working on that was inspired entirely by Pink’s Truth about Love album. Sometimes I will hear a song and my husband swears I space off for hours at a time, lost in the words, sifting through the melody until I find the spark that contains my story.
Q: How does music help your creative process? Do you have a preferred musical artist?
I think I just covered that pretty clearly lol! I don’t have a preferred artist. I started musical training when I was three so I’ve been around music my whole life. It’s given me a deep appreciation for a wide variety of musical styles. Right now I’ve got Troy Sivan and Shawn Mendez on my playlist, but if I get myself into a corner where the words are binding me, Lindsey Stirling always digs me right back out.
Q: What are you working on currently?
I’m working on a couple projects at once. Continuing the Siofra Chronicles is a priority, but I’m working on a contemporary project From Ashes that I’m posting in serial format on Wattpad and a Contemporary project called Mr. Right Now that started as an Antho but demanded to be a full. If I get stuck on one, I just shift to another and so on. As long as I’m working, I’m happy.
Q: Do you see yourself participating in more anthologies?
I’ve done a couple antho projects so far and I really enjoy working on them. I like the challenge of word limits, and the collective energy of working with other authors. Being an author can be a very solitary profession, so group projects like Anthologies are rare opportunities to invest in the community and each other.
Q: What does your writing process look like?
I like to mainline coffee, not shower for days and threaten bodily harm on anyone who interrupts me. No, not really. My process starts with snowflaking. A one line story idea, that I push out to a paragraph, then four, then more. Once I have the general idea of what I’m doing, it’s a matter of plugging my headphones in, finding time and actually writing. I wear a lot of hats so that’s always the hardest part for me. In addition to writing, I’m a mom of six, a wife, I have a dayjob, and I’m a nutrition coach for a successful fitness company that works with amature and professional physique athletes so time management is something I have to have nailed down or everything falls apart.
I’ve learned to carry a briefcase with me with my laptop, and story binders with me. Each binder contains all my notes, outlines, etc for the current story I’m working on. I even went so far as to install Microsoft word and dropbox on my iphone so that when I’m stuck in lines or in waiting rooms I’m jotting down notes, bits of dialogue or scene sketches. Then when I “sit down” to write at the end of my day, I’ve got a pool of information to draw from.
Q: How important are the character names you choose? How do you choose them?
Character names are my kryptonite! I always struggle with the naming of characters. In this anthology I really wanted to stick with Ariel and Eric, but I didn’t know how Disney would react, especially since the originally story didn’t give any names. I wound up drawing names from greek mythology and going from there. Generally when I hear a name I like, I write it down and try to find a use for it later. Or a friend bribes me to use their name in a story in exchange for candy.
Q: What are your 10 favorite books and why?
This is a terrible question to ask a reader or a writer.
- Gone with the Wind – I love this novel. I’ve loved this novel since I was a child, probably because I identify with Scarlett’s selfish nature and her tendency to push things she doesn’t want to think about off until tomorrow.
- Matilda –Roald Dahl spoke to my soul with this story about an abnormally smart child with a passion for reading.
- Pride & Prejudice – Against the grain here, I love it for Lizzy. Because deep down she’s a smartass, and I love that. And even though Fitzwilliam Darcy is a stuckup jerk, he learns to appreciate her smartassery.
- Wishes (Jude Deveraux) – My mother was ill equipped to deal with a tween asking about boys, and so she handled it the only way she knew how. By handing me a romance novel. I fell into those pages and fell in love hard, but it wasn’t until I came across this novel with its atypical heroine that I learned a lesson every awkward teen girl deserves to hear. You don’t have to be conventionally beautiful to be worthy of love. This was the first story I ever read where the heroine was overweight, and plain, but the handsome hero fell in love with her and thought she was beautiful anyway. It was a powerful thing for my pre-pubescent mind to grasp, and was the first step towards a lifetime of self acceptance.
- Clan of the Cave Bear – This pre-historic series is amazing and Ayla is a character I always loved and rooted for. I can’t even think of her being cast out without crying.
- The Bronze Horseman – If I could only have ten books for the rest of my life, this would be one of them. Paulina Simons reached into my chest, plucked out my heart, and mounted it on her wall as a trophy with this novel. I read it three times in a row.
- Salt, Sugar, Fat. How the Food Giants Hooked Us. My degree is in Nutrition Science so this in depth look at the manufactured food industry by Michael Moss was engrossing and surprisingly entertaining. This is one of my must read books for anyone, even if it is non-fiction.
- Harry Potter – All of them. I’m not picking one out, it’s impossible. This entire series should be considered mandatory reading.
- Taltos – This Anne Rice book is the third in the Witching Hour series, and by far my favorite of all her works.
- The Hobbit . Tolkein’s masterpiece stands alone.