Keira Michelle Telford is with us today to promote her book SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain.)
British Columbia, Canada.
Tell us a little bit about your life.
I’m a British ex-pat, born and raised in Worcester, UK. As a child, my favorite toy was an old badger trap. Since I have no siblings, while I was growing up the only thing standing between me and boredom was my imagination – and it got a LOT of exercise. I had so many invisible ‘characters’ in my repertoire, I was never alone.
When did you first start writing?
I’m pretty sure I was born with a Parker fountain pen stuck up my bum. I’ve been writing since before I can remember, but in those early days it was a lot of poetry about birds and nature and how cute bunnies were.
What was your very first story about?
It was so long ago, but the earliest one I remember clearly was a micro-fiction story about a girl who was standing on a mountaintop and saw a UFO. It was called ‘Oval’, and it was probably quite terrible.
Have you written anything that you were too afraid to let anyone read?
Not unless you count the really ancient material from the years when I was still developing as a writer. Much of it is horrifyingly bad, and I’d die of shame if anyone ever saw it. In particular, I used to write a lot of X Files fanfic, much of it involving Mulder and Scully professing their undying love for one another. I guess that’s pretty embarrassing.
Did you experience anything you’ve written yourself?
There’s a grain of truth in everything. When you’re a kid and you’re in English class and you’re being taught how to write creatively, you’re told to ‘write what you know’. The best way to find the raw emotion in anything is to draw it out from someplace real. Here and there I scatter random truths in my books, expanded upon and fleshed out, some details tweaked slightly. One such random truth appears in Entropy (due out this May), in which a little five-year-old girl keeps a dead bird in a plastic box and checks on it every day, watching it decompose until finally there’s nothing left but bone and feathers.
I am that five-year-old girl.
Who are several of your greatest literary inspirations?
Dante Alighieri (The Divine Comedy – where the title of my book, Acheron, comes from), Edgar Allan Poe (who made me believe in undying love), Fyodor Dostoevsky (especially his book Crime & Punishment, the themes of which inspired my second book in the Silver Series, The Lost & Damned). And there are many others: Oscar Wilde, Sadegh Hedayat, Samuel Beckett. I don’t read very much contemporary fiction.
What kind of education have you received, and how has that affected your writing?
I’ve got a background in biology, and canine behavioural sciences – both of which helped me to create the Chimera in my books. They’re genetic freaks, and knowing a little bit about biology helped a tonne when I was trying to figure out their morphology. And I utilized my education in animal behaviour to give them a realistic set of vocalizations and behaviours. In actual fact, the behaviour of the Chimera is entirely based upon guinea pigs.
How much research time customarily goes into your projects?
It’s an ongoing thing. I watch a lot of documentaries on biology, evolution, quantum mechanics and other science topics. I’m constantly making notes on things I think might become relevant as the Silver Series develops. Anything that catches my interest, I’ll go and buy a few books on the subject and learn more. Before I write a new scientific element into a book, I’ll research it to make sure I fully understand it before I put pen to paper.
Whether it’s how to make C-4 explosives, or how to cook crystal meth, I’ll spend anywhere from an hour to several days exploring the science behind something before it gets a place in one of my chapters.
Who is your favorite literary character?
Sherlock Holmes. Intellect is sexy.
Who is your favorite character of your own creation?
Ella ‘Silver’ Cross, from the Silver Series of books. Ella has become almost like my alter-ego. Sometimes I feel like I know more about her than I do about myself. She’s incredibly strong, and I admire that in her.
If you were ever to write an autobiography, what would its title be?
Living Left of Main.
Tell us about your featured book.
SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain) is the first book in the Silver Series. Set more than 300yrs in the future, the series takes place in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world where humans are a species on the brink of extinction. No longer at the top of the food chain, humans are preyed upon by the Chimera – genetic mutants that outnumber humankind 25:1.
Silver is a Hunter – and she’s the best in the city. She’ll risk her life in the pursuit of a human resurgence on Earth... but there’s a problem. When we meet her in Acheron, she’s been dishonorably charged from the Hunter Division, and banished for crimes she didn’t commit.
Left for dead in a segregated area of the city called the Fringe District, she’s surrounded by murderers, thieves and rapists. Starving, and desperate for money, she reluctantly accepts the Police Division’s invitation to enroll in a covert Bounty Hunter program.
And so the adventure begins...
Why did you write that?
The idea for the Silver Series had been circulating in my head for over a decade. The Lost & Damned was actually written first, as a script, and the series expanded from there. Acheron was conceived because Ella Cross’ banishment is an incredibly significant event in her life, and it seemed like the perfect place to introduce readers to her character.
Is there anything special you would like your potential readers to know?
The Silver Series is a love story. It’s a tale of the passionate, enduring love between Ella Cross and the man she’s been in love with since she was fifteen years old – Alexander King. A love that would be much simpler, were it not for Ella’s childhood friend, the charming womanizer, Luka Kinsella.
What’s a negative trait about other people that you most notice, or that bothers you the most?
Do you ever notice it in yourself?
I’ve got many flaws... but that’s not one of them
Do you own any kind of art collection?
I have a massive collection of art. My house is filled with it. My father was an artist, so I have many of his original paintings. I have a collection of old etchings, many of which were part of his collection before I inherited them. I have some contemporary art, too. My contemporary collections includes a few works by Angelina Wrona, a Canadian artist. And in my office I have all of the art for my books, made into canvas prints. For that art, I have to thank the enormously talented artist Kitt Lapeña. His skill blows my mind.
What is something you absolutely must have in your kitchen?
Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. I would die without them.
What is pain to you?
A broken heart.
You’ve been forced under various circumstances to choose a personal motto. What is it?
Don’t dream it, be it. (Stolen from the Rocky Horror Picture Show).
Do you ever have recurring dreams? What is your most common one about?
I sometimes have sex dreams involving Brent Spiner (aka, Data from Star Trek TNG). How much of a nerd does that make me?
What’s the first thing you would do if you could become invisible?
Sometimes I think I am invisible.
Our thanks to Keira for taking the time to answer our questions. Please, seek out her work below.