K A Servian returned to her childhood love, writing, after 20 years in the apparel industry as a patternmaker, designer, and tutor. In the past four years, she has published four novels and completed a diploma in advanced applied writing. Her first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Award in 2016. Her short story, “Seeing Him Again for the First Time,” won the 2018 RWZA Chapter Short Story Contest, and her historical work in progress, Together We Will Ride, won the historical section of the Romance Writers of America Arizona chapter’s 2018 Hot Prospects Contest.
Kathy is also a keen photographer. In her spare time, she makes historical costumes, photographs them, and sells the images on stock sites for other authors to use on their novel covers. She also creates digitally composited fine art images that are displayed in galleries.
Her story “The Clockmaker” was published in Capsule Stories Winter 2019 Edition and was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize. “The Clockmaker” is the story of a pragmatic man making the most important decision of his life after the death of his wife. However, he has not considered the wider repercussions of his choice.
Capsule Stories: Where did the idea for this story come from?
K A Servian: Sadly, this story is based on a situation faced by a close friend. I wanted to highlight the difficulties faced by us all as we age and the implications of our decisions on others.
Capsule Stories: What drew you back to writing after years in another career?
K A Servian: I have a creative mind and find myself constantly questioning and imagining, which can be both a blessing and a curse. After I retired from the apparel industry, I began to channel my unspent creative energy into stories. The idea for my first novel, Peak Hill, came from a single scene about halfway through the book. After having it knock about in my head for several months, I finally sat down and began to write. It’s been a huge learning curve, and I cringe when I read my early work as I can see where it can be so much better.
Capsule Stories: Why do you write?
K A Servian: My mind is constantly “whirring.” I need an outlet for this energy. Creating characters and seeing what happens to them when I let my imagination loose is a natural process for me. I’m a born storyteller.
Capsule Stories: How does your photography inform your writing, or vice versa?
K A Servian: The two media are intertwined for me. My digitally composited photos are visual stories. I create a character and place them in a scene that invites the viewer to question what is going on. For me, writing and photography are just different media for storytelling.
Capsule Stories: What are some of your favorite books or authors?
K A Servian: That’s a big question. I enjoy a wide variety of novels and try not to limit myself to one genre. Having said that, historicals are a particular favourite. I think I like being transported to another time and place. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, A Room with a View by E. M. Forster, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte are all particular favorites. I also enjoy anything by Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, or Jane Austen. Contemporary authors whose work I like are Diana Gabaldon, Lucinda Riley, and Kate Morton. I’m a big fan of New Zealand writers such as Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries), Maurice Gee, Deborah Challinor, and Zana Bell. I also love a good short story. My favorite is “The Silk” by Joy Cowley. I could go on, but I’ll stop there. 😀
Oh, I forgot to mention that my writing and digitally composited photos are heavily influenced by fairy tales. I studied myths, legends, and fairy tales as part of my writing diploma and was struck by the universal themes and didactic messages they contain. They are the root of all storytelling, whether it be visual or written, and at the end of the day that is what writing is all about—telling a damned good story.
Capsule Stories: What are you working on next?
K A Servian: To be honest, my latest work in progress (the third novel in my historical series that began with The Moral Compass) has stalled at around 55,000 words. I’ve been working on other projects such as short stories and my photography. I also recently completed a children’s book called Wiremu Wins Without Wifi as part of a charitable project for a design company.
For more information on Kathy and her work, her website www.kaservian.com is the best place to start. She also has Facebook pages @kaservian for her writing and @kathyservianphotography for her photos. You can also find her on Instagram @kathygiannoulis and kathyservian.myportfolio.com.
You can read “The Clockmaker” by K A Servian in Capsule Stories Winter 2019 Edition, available on IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and Amazon.
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