Before the Gods - KS Turner interview
Camilla Pia speaks to the infectious Somerset author KS Turner about a genre-defying debut novel and the compulsive power of her imagination
From the moment you pick up Before the Gods, with its tantalising mix of fantasy, science fiction, psychology, mythology, existential questioning and spirituality, it’s clear that we’re dealing with no ordinary fictional debut. But with its lofty title and incredibly weighty subject matter, it could have been a bit of a dry read, right? Not in the capable hands of infectiously enthusiastic full-time dreamer turned author KS Turner. ‘I am completely engrossed in writing at the moment,’ she tells me gleefully from her Somerset home, an abode she shares with ‘a posse of fluffy animals’. ‘Parts of the story are sitting in my head playing over like scenes in a film and I have to get it down, in fact I can’t write fast enough. When this happens I don’t want to sleep and I love it because it’s what all authors dream about: your imagination just takes over.’
Despite an obvious passion for her craft, KS (Kate to her friends) hasn’t always wanted to be a writer. She grew up in Norwich, studied Art and Design at Central Saint Martins and Middlesex University in London and has dabbled in everything from playing music and chess to sculpture and studying maths. Once she put pen to paper, however, she knew she had found her metier for life. ‘I’m always having very vivid and very unusual dreams. In fact, the dreams specific to Before the Gods actually started when I was a child. Then in 2004 I started having lots of them in quick succession, sometimes all in one night. So I started taking notes on them because each one would be from a different perspective, as if I was watching a different character.’
So what was it about these dreams that made Turner think she was onto something special? ‘I think the strength of them and also the characters I saw were so striking and so beautiful and they had such depth. The situations I was dreaming about were so unusual that they were already a story.’ For Turner, it then all became about how she would express her night visions. ‘At first I tried to illustrate them but the drawings weren’t enough, so I started writing, and the more I wrote the more it turned into a novel and, now, novels. It was a eureka moment; it was then I knew I was meant to be an author and I haven’t looked back since. To find something that grips me with such fervour makes me feel very fortunate.’
Before the Gods is the first part of what promises to be a compelling trilogy. She has just finished Tumultus which is due out in the summer, while Time will complete the series. For now … ‘It all starts with the journey into the light and life and creation and consciousness, and Tumltus is the journey into the shadow,’ she explains. ‘The third book is the effect of time itself on all choices and all fates, it weaves the darkness and the light together. But it’s so unique that I can’t imagine these characters just finishing at the end of it. In fact, I think they’ll have many more stories to tell.’
Before the Gods is published by Ruby Blaze Publishing on Mon 25 Jan.