"Write What You Like": An Interview with Kaitlyn Legaspi.
Today I have the honor of sharing an interview with Kaitlyn Legaspi, an indie author who I discovered on Instagram. I've been following her for quite a while and thought her journey with publishing a trilogy and staying active in the writing community was really inspiring. I'm so pleased I had the chance to interview Kaitlyn, for she is kind, considerate, and gave answers that made me think about criticism, loving your work, and the long road of being a writer.
L: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
K: Right now, I am a sophomore Business Management major at the University of Florida. When I’m not attending classes or doing homework, I’m writing, reading, or doing other things that are book-related. Outside of the realm of writing, I do have other hobbies. I love music! Singing is one of my favorite pastimes, and I am a member of one of my university’s a cappella groups. I also like playing video games, especially any in the Assassin’s Creed, Kingdom Hearts, and Fire Emblem franchises. One random fact about me is that I really, really love boba tea.
L: How long have you been writing for?
K: I have technically been writing stories ever since I was kid, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was in sixth or seventh grade.
L: What are you currently working on?
K: Right now, I am currently working on getting my entire trilogy out this year. At the end of this month, the second book of my trilogy White Blossom will be releasing, and the final book Gray Heart will be coming out a few months after.
As for what I am currently writing, I am working on the fifth and last book of series I have been writing since high school. It’s completely separate from the trilogy I am working on self-publishing this year, and the setting and writing style is completely different.
L: Wow, that's all so impressive! Can you pitch us your trilogy?
K: My trilogy, named the Dark Irregular Trilogy, follows the story of a young orphan girl named Kanna as she is recruited to become an apprentice of a knight. She is trained in order to defeat shadows, dark entities that live in the dark and dead parallel universe called the Void. Her journey takes her to many different places within the kingdom of Sylenia. Along the way, she recovers lost memories and meets a wide cast of characters, a few much more dangerous than others. The first of these dangerous individuals just so happens to be the most powerful dark entity to ever exist, the Dark Irregular.
L: That sounds like an amazing adventure, chocked full of interesting characters. Who is your favorite character to write?
K: This is a really tough question because there are multiple characters that I really loved developing while I was writing my books, so I can’t single out a favorite. Other than Kanna, the main protagonist, Kenneth was a character I really enjoyed developing, and that’s because he was a challenge to develop. Kenneth is a super serious and stoic character, especially at the beginning of the trilogy, so finding subtle ways to make him show emotion was a bit difficult. I really loved the way his character turned out though, so I’m really happy about it.
L: Can you give us information about the second book in the series?
K: White Blossom takes place seven months after the ending of Dark Irregular. Kanna is living her life training tediously as an apprentice, and her repetitive lifestyle gains a breath of fresh air as the royal family from the minor kingdom of Rohnay arrives to inform the queen of grave news. They tell her of the eight Dense Shadows that have been raiding towns and cities on the border between the east and west sides of Sylenia, one of which Kanna finds familiar when they attack the palace during the new knighting. Kanna is one of the apprentices chosen to seek and eliminate the eight Dense Shadows. Eager to find the familiar Dense Shadow, she discovers that her main mission is the least of her worries, for one of the dark queens is trying to breach the wall that keeps the Void and the living world apart.
L: How would you describe your writing style?
K: I think my writing style is a bit varied depending on what I’m writing. For example, I do find there are differences in my writing when comparing my trilogy to the new series I am currently working on. That’s mainly because they are set in two completely different time periods. In addition, the trilogy is written in the third-person while my series is in first-person.
In general, I do think that my writing can be highly descriptive. I love painting pictures in people’s minds, even to the tiniest detail. I also tend to write longer sentences, but when it comes to dialogue, action, and the like, I do try to keep things short and fast-paced. My writing is also more on the flowery side when it comes to the trilogy, and I’ve also been told that it reads somewhat like a movie script at times.
L: What are you most inspired by?
K: When it comes to the settings of my stories, I am inspired by the books I read and the shows I watch. I read a lot of fantasy books, and I watch a lot of action anime and cartoons, so I’m pretty constantly exposed to these unique worlds that I can get easily pulled into. When it comes to the characters, I am mainly inspired by the people I meet in real life. For example, whenever I’m in the middle of writing a new story and I get to introducing and building a new character, I realize that said new character is a lot like a friend or a classmate I used to know. Because of this, I take care to never use names of people I personally know in real life so nobody ever suspects that I have used them, albeit unintentionally, in my books.
L: What do you believe is the most original aspect of your writing?
K: I believe the most original aspect of my writing is that it shows my growth as a writer, and I think it is especially evident within the trilogy I’ve been working on self-publishing. Dark Irregular was the first novel-length work I have ever written, and that was when I had just started seriously writing in middle school. White Blossom and Gray Heart were written within two years after I finished writing Dark Irregular.
When I go back to read each story, I see my writing maturing within each novel. I’m not sure if that’s something people usually see from authors in their own books because by the time they’re published and make a big name, their writing styles have been largely established, and they have years of writing experience. I think seeing an author’s writing style mature with each book and even within each book is a unique thing.
L: Well said! What are some things you think are important to include in writing?
K: I definitely think making sure what you plan to write is something that you know you will like writing. For example, I wrote fantasy books because I really loved fantasy books. I also think it’s important to include aspects of yourself within your own writing. It’s something that I believe is mostly inevitable, but the reason why I think it’s important is that it makes whatever the writing is about more relatable. It makes characters more relatable and realistic, which is something I personally strive to do within my own writing.
L: Any advice for other writers?
K: My advice for other writers is to always be open to criticism. There is more to a manuscript edit than simple proofreads, and grammar and spelling mistakes are only a small part of what readers will criticize. With that being said, don’t be afraid to share your work with others. Criticisms from people who read your story are what will help in making your writing become better. This is because different readers see different things that you, the writer, might have failed to notice while writing the story. Also, if you ever find yourself having a bad case of writers’ block like I’ve been in for several months now, don’t beat yourself up over it. Focus on other things that you need or want to do. The time will come when the creative juices get flowing again, and sometimes it will happen in the most unconventional and unexpected ways.
L: Thank you, Kaitlyn. It was a pleasure having you on the blog!
Kaitlyn's Social Media
Facebook: Kaitlyn B Legaspi.