So, it’s time for another Business of Art interview, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce K. Kazul Wolf, a writer as well as a professional chef! Her creativity amazes me and her story prompts are a great way to beat writer’s block. They are posted every week on her Tumblr.
Hi! Tell me a bit about yourself?
Hallo! My penname may be K. Kazul Wolf, but most people call me Bacon. My day job is a chef-who-turned-baker at a four diamond restaurant in the Finger Lakes of New York, and then I come home to my crazy house of two dogs, too many cats, and chickens who also think they’re cats. Otherwise, I’m a fantasy author that talks too much about dragons.
How long have you been writing? What do you love about writing?
I’ve only been writing for about five years, give or take. I was kind of a late bloomer with both reading and writing — I couldn’t care less about reading until I picked up either Harry Potter or The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (it’s the chicken and the egg, I have no idea which really came first) when I was ten, and couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do with my love of creating worlds until I was eighteen.
As to what I love about writing: I love creating. There’s nothing I love more than to weave any medium into something beautiful, or emotional — something that makes you feel. Writing is perfect for that.
I loved the Narnia books too! What other books are among your favorite?
Ohhhh, that’s such a hard question! My top to go-tos, though, are: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor. No one can ever beat Diana Wynne Jones’s world-building and plot complexity, and Laini Taylor is absolutely beautiful in her prose.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever heard?
This is going to sound lame, but simply: write. Yeah, we all have moments of doubt, but those insecurities you feel are felt by every single author out there. If you don’t push through them and get the stupid words out, you won’t have written, and you won’t be a writer. So, yeah. WRITE.
I couldn’t agree more! Doubt sneaks into every writer’s brain. Tell me a bit about the projects you’re working on now.
Well, I’m coming to an end to my year-long project, where I take prompts every week and write a short story involving all of them (more about this over here
). And as for my WIP novel, I conveniently have a rough query:
Emma wakes up to a man with black eyes and razor-pointed teeth hovering over her, in a strange house, an even stranger land. She can’t even try to run; the town she’s in is surrounded by a ward that keeps out a seething darkness of eaters — formless remains of people who have lost their souls, and will do anything to get another. But even that doesn’t compare to the fact that she can’t even remember who she was before she woke up.
The monster-man, Bob, and the owner of the house, a Magician named Morgan, seem nice enough, though the sink like a bottomless pit, an oven that likes to shoot its racks at unsuspecting victims are a little hard to swallow. There’s no solace outside — the townsfolk blame her for the infestation of monsters, and it’s only Morgan and Bob keeping her safe. Emma can’t understand what motivates them to help her, what’s in it for them and what they want from her. The truth is a tricky thing when you can barely remember your own name.
That query sounds intense! Can’t wait to read the story! You mentioned you’re a professional chef, which is awesome! Do you find your culinary expertise influencing your writing?
Yes! You have no idea how much I annoy my friends with cooking metaphors. For awhile I stayed away from food in my own writing, but looking back, I don’t know why. Who doesn’t love food? On the level of similarities between the two, there’s actually a lot, especially with baking. It takes patience, precision and practice. You’re not going to start off icing wedding cakes like a pro, or cooking tenderloins to a perfect medium-rare, or cutting perfect tourne (those are evil). And there’s always more to learn, and always different ways to perfect your style and taste.
One of the features of my blog is “the business of art” In your life, have you encountered any challenges or confusion relating to business matters and your art?
Oh gosh, yes. As a writer, I could complain about having to be a small business and brand onto myself until I’m blue in the face, but I that’s something other people can cover way better then me. As a chef, it’s a little different. Just like the literary industry, it’s very unique, and it can be hard to break into the fine dining side of things. Especially as a woman. I actually had training and classes on a very nice culinary resume before applying to culinary jobs. Even with all that, one of my first interviews the man kept asking me, “But you’re so pretty, don’t you want to be a waitress?” I wouldn’t have accepted the job, even if it was offered. And as a vast contrast to querying vs. job applications, this was personal. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a right match, it was that I was a girl.
That being said, I got my first fine dining job at a great restaurant on the second day of a stage (unpaid internship), when the head chef came up and asked if I wanted a be hired as a garde manger. Being the quiet introvert on top of being a girl, it’s a hard place to be taken seriously even if I have all the skills. It’s sad that there’s still so much sexism in the culinary field (oh the irony with all the kitchen jokes), but that doesn’t mean it should stop you from trying to do what you want to do.
Thank you so much for a great interview (and for making me hungry. Mmm cake.)
If you’d like to find out more about K. Kazul, here are her homes on the ‘net.