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DPP Contributor Interview: Nicola Kapron

A photograph of an open hard-cover book resting on a white surface. It's sunny and bright. A blurred-out background suggests the outdoors. Text over the image reads "Author interview! Meet Nicola Kapron"

Author Nicola Kapron has been working with Duck Prints Press for over two years, and in that time she has been one of our most prolific authors. Her work ranges from the sweet and fluffy to the dark and grotesque, with an emphasis on horror elements, trope twisting, love and the monstrous, and cross-genre queer works. We’re thrilled to have Nicola as the debut author in our new Creator Interview series!

A photograph of a plushie in the shape of a chibi duck. It has a white body with large black eyes embroidered on it, an orange beak, two small orange feet, and tiny rainbow wings on each side of it's chunky body.

Author Biography: Nicola Kapron has previously been published by Neo-opsis Science Fiction Magazine, Rebel Mountain Press, Soteira Press, All Worlds Wayfarer, Mannison Press, and more. Nicola lives in British Columbia with a hoard of books—mostly fantasy and horror—and an extremely fluffy cat.

Links: Personal Website

Nicola works with Duck Prints Press as an author, and is also the crafter whose skilled hands are behind our adorable Dux plushies.

When and why did you being creating?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Most of my work was very small when I was younger because I have dysgraphia and handwriting is physically painful for me. As soon as I learned to use a keyboard, I started working on longer and longer projects. Now there’s no stopping me.

What are your goals as a creator?

I want to write stories that linger.

What do you consider to be your strengths as a creator?

Dialog[ue], genre-blending, worldbuilding, coming up with cool monsters, slow-burn romance (or at least obsession), crafting background lore that is impossible to tag.

What do you consider to be your weaknesses as a creator?

Description, pacing, writing healthy characters with healthy relationships, easy-to-tag stories.

What’s your favorite medium to work in? Why?

Fiction writing, particularly fantasy. I enjoy coming up with the most bizarre situations and then thinking about how people might react to them. After all, mountains may crumble, oceans may rise, but people will stay fundamentally people.

Are you a pantser, a planner, or a planster? What’s your process look like?

A planster. I spend a lot of time coming up with detailed story outlines and summarizing character arcs. Then I start writing and 80% of that goes out the window. I like to say that my first drafts are dedicated to figuring out what the story isn’t about. Unless I’m writing a short story, in which case draft 1 may well be the final draft. I don’t control the process.

I typically write in chronological order from beginning to end, but for a short project I may pause and write the middle bits ahead of time as they drift into my head. This isn’t viable for a longer project because the pacing always begins to confuse me.

What do the phrases “writer’s block” or “art block” mean to you?

Writer’s block comes in two kinds to me. The first kind is the most common: I’m not actually blocked so much as I am swamped. I have too many ideas and too much stuff to do. As a result, I can’t focus on anything and writing words is like pulling teeth. This kind just has to be muscled through until I hit another vein of inspiration. The second kind is the kind where I genuinely run out of writing energy completely, leaving me feeling drained and empty. I only hit this state once. It lasted for about a week. Worst week of my life. The second kind can’t be worked through, only waited out like a sprain. I recommend going outside and finding something else to focus on until your writing muscles recover.

Tell us about a creator who is an inspiration to you. When did you first encounter them? How have they influenced your work?

Charles de Lint. I had the opportunity to do a Co-Op with him in high school. He supervised me writing my first novella, an urban fantasy story about the people whose job it is to keep magic secret. Although our writing styles are rather different – he’s a pioneer of dreamlike mythic fantasy, I prefer to write about the ‘realistic’ consequences of fantastical things existing – I feel I learned a lot from his approach to worldbuilding and character-crafting. There’s nobody who writes flawed, troubled, and incandescently beautiful characters like Charles de Lint.

What book or media franchise or other creator’s work do you always come back to? How many times have you rewatched/reread/reviewed it?

Neil Gaiman’s work has a way of bringing me back in. I don’t think I could tell you how many times I’ve read and re-read his various creations. Just know that it’s a lot.

What’s your favorite part of the creation process?

Daydreaming about writing the story is always the best part. That and reading it after it’s done.

What are your favorite tropes?

Cute monsters, involuntary body modification as trauma metaphor, codependent relationships, coping mechanisms that aren’t good but are at least keeping you alive.

What are your favorite character archetypes?

My favourite character archetypes are anything that is clearly meant to evoke a classic heroic or villainous archetype, but with the alignment swapped. Luminous holy maidens plotting destruction. Ominous armoured overlords trying to bring salvation. Man-eating monsters struggling to live happy, productive lives in the shadow of cities they’ll never truly belong in. Chosen ones choosing to turn their backs on what they were meant to save. It’s the defiance of fate and expectations both.

What motivates you to create?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear answer for this one. Just breathing motivates me to create some days. In general, though, I think that the desire to share my thoughts with others is what makes me put my fingers on the keyboard. I can’t chat about my work with people if I don’t write the work.

Which of your own creations is your favorite? Why?

Whichever one I just re-read and got invested in as if someone else wrote it.

Which of your own creations is your least favorite? Why?

Whichever story I just finished always causes me physical pain to think about.

Do you like having background noise when you create? What do you listen to? Does it vary depending on the project, and if so, how?

Rain noises help me think. Music is a very hit or miss addition, because if there are words I’ll end up mentally singing along instead of thinking about writing.

When you look at your “career” as a creator, what achievement would you most like to reach – what, if it happened or has already happened, would/did make you go “now – now I’m a success!”?

I would love to publish a full novel.

What advice were you given as a new creator? Did it help you?

Show, don’t tell. It definitely helped me when I was younger and had a grudge against the entire concept of descriptive language. Now I keep having to remove entire paragraphs of description for word count, though, so it does have an expiration date.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new creator who came to you for help, what would that advice be?

Worldbuilding is your friend, but sooner or later, you have to actually start writing the story.

Short Stories and Novelettes Nicola has published with Duck Prints Press:

Nicola is also a contributor to our upcoming anthology Aether Beyond the Binary. We’ll be launching crowdfunding for this campaign in late December, and we’ve invited Nicola to host an Ask Me Anything session during the campaign! The time and date for the AMA aren’t set yet, but if you want to make sure you don’t miss it, join our Book Lover’s Server.

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