This interview is from INTERVIEWS THAT MATTER by Johan Dahlberg.
Kim M. Kimselius and some of her 50 books.
Kim M. Kimselius has a goal to write 100 books before she dies. Photo by Bertil Knoester.
Reviews often highlight how she fuses fiction with historical facts. Her books can be found under the youth section, but the enthralling writing attracts all ages. What’s the secret behind Kims’ passion of writing?
Kim M. Kimselius lives with her husband and three dogs, in a house in the countryside. At the time of writing, she has released 50 books, translated into six languages, including her debut Back to Pompeii from 1997. The majority are about Theo and Ramona, two youngsters who travel back in time to numerous exciting historical places and time periods.
But what’s driving her? Is it an urge to be seen, a need to teach and share information – or just the inner satisfaction of seeing her accomplishments lined up in a bookshelf?
Interviews That Matter: What does the “M” stand for?
Kim M. Kimselius: Mystique and magic is what I usually say. I build my lectures around the M, so I can’t tell.
ITM: Is being a writer living up to the expectations you may once have had?
KK: Yes, absolutely! My dream was to put my own stories within hard covers in order to put them in my bookshelf. Then I would proudly present them to others.
But I never dreamed of my books being published. With 11 000 copies sold within the first week of my debut, I have to say that being a writer exceeded my expectations by far.
ITM: What do you feel while writing?
KK: Enormous joy and creative desire.
I’m rich in life quality, since I get to do what I love. I’m rich in love since I get to be with the one I love.
ITM: Have you ever googled your own name?
KK: Loads of times! It’s a good way to find reviews of my books. The first time I did it, I was impressed that I got 4 000 hits. At the most, I’ve had 200 000. It varies all the time.
ITM: Is it related to if you just released a new book?
KK: I don’t really know. Maybe it’s when there’s a new book, or maybe it’s when I’ve been out speaking a lot.
ITM: Whenever I read about you, you’re praised by readers and authors alike. There’s never a bad word about you! Have you ever encountered any mean comments that hurt you?
KK: Thank you for the kind words, now you made me even happier! Unfortunately there’s always people who can’t grant other people success. I’ve had a few mean glitches, but they’re a very small part of all the positive comments, so I don’t care much about them.
ITM: I don’t want to ruin your good mood, but do you have any examples?
KK: No, no examples. The few negative comments are instantly buried. Jealous voices is all they are.
ITM: You’ve already mentioned your lectures twice. You do a lot of those. Can you live on your writing alone, or is lecturing a must?
KK: I can live on my writing, but the lectures do help in many ways. They give an increased income and spread the knowledge about me and my books.
ITM: So they’re a marketing tool? What are they about?
KK: I do different kinds depending on what whoever hires me wants. Historical ones, lectures about writing, about my books, about being an author, writing courses, and so on. Of course those who listen get curious about my books.
ITM: Which is your primary source of income?
KK: The books, definitely.
ITM: Are you rich?
KK: When people ask that question during lectures I always answer yes! I’m rich in life quality, since I get to do what I love. I’m rich in love since I get to be with the one I love. Money isn’t wealth. I manage, and that’s what matters to me.
ITM: When your books are translated, do you have any part in it or do you have to blindly trust the translators?
KK: Unfortunately I have to blindly trust them, since I don’t speak Slovenian, Finnish, Icelandic or Spanish. The English one I’ve been more involved in.
ITM: Have you ever read any of your own books from cover to cover, after they’ve already been published and just for enjoyment?
KK: I’ve read them from cover to cover, something I do every time it’s time to publish a new edition. But never for enjoyment, there’s no time for that. No wait, that’s not true! Boudica’s Battle with the Romans I had to read since it got such great reviews, and some said it was better than Twlight, which was the hottest book at the time.
ITM: So how does it feel as you stand there admiring your collection?
KK: Absolutely incredible! It warms my heart, my stomach, my soul. It makes me shiver of joy when I see my books, and at the same time I just want to write more to add to the bookshelf.
I forget to eat and shiver of anticipation to get the words down.
ITM: Which of all your books is your favorite?
KK: The flight from the terror of World War II is a book I like a lot because I managed to find so many strong women to include in it. As you know, my books are independent historical adventures based on real historical facts, and real people. I loved the portraits of women and how I managed to make them come to life in the book.
But my absolute favorite is The day everything changed. It’s a completely different type of book, something I wrote in my youth. It was laying in my drawer and after around 30 years it was finally published.
Kim enjoying the pool water in Mexico during a study trip for one of her books.
ITM: Your books about the time travelling duo, Theo and Ramona, range from ancient Egypt to the second world war. How do you come up with the next place and time period to write about?
KK: It just comes to me. I get curious about a place or historical event, and then I just start gathering material.
ITM: It might be impossible to answer, but in ten years, what new places do you believe your characters will have visited? You must at least have some idea…
KK: It’s not impossible to answer, but I don’t want to. There’s a plan, but I won’t give it up in advance. There’s always some other book that comes in between, some custom order.
ITM: What books are such orders?
KK: The forgotten war 1808-1809 is one, and A journey with Snapphanar another. The first was ordered by a cultural center in Finland, the other by four municipalities in Sweden.
ITM: I read that you get your inspiration from dreams. Examples?
KK: When I wake up in the morning I often have a finished story in my head. Then I have to write the first and last chapter down and write key parts for the rest. Then, the story has to lie dormant for a while until I find the time to finish the whole thing. Sometimes as I work on a book I dream and wake up with several chapters complete in my head.
ITM: Are you so into your writing that it takes you over completely?
KK: Absolutely! When I’m in it I forget to eat and shiver of anticipation to get the words down.
ITM: Do you ever dream of new stories while working on another one? Don’t they ever collide, and it all becomes too much to handle?
KK: Of course it happens. But it’s never a problem. As soon as I’ve written single chapters and key events, I put it aside and keep working on the book that has to be done.
ITM: Say I want to become a writer. What do I do?
KK: If it’s your dream, all you need to do is sit down and write the book inside you. Write from your heart. Write to yourself, without any thoughts of others reading what you write. Don’t mind spelling and grammar, just let the words flow. That’s when the story will turn out the best! Don’t give up, even if a publisher sends your manuscript back to you. Look it through and send it again. Good luck!
ITM: Are those the final words of wisdom you want to end this interview with?
KK: Yes. Write from your heart, write for yourself, and write with passion!
Read the interview at its origin here.
Interview with Kim M Kimselius – Author of more than 50 books
By Teen Authors journal, Irma Kjellström
Kim M Kimselius is my biggest inspiration in writing. She was the one who (three years ago) made me believe in that I – as a teen – could write. I’m very happy to be able to share this interview with you all. Kim is still my big inspiration, and now a friend of mine, since I was at one of her amazing writing courses.
Kim is a Swedish author who has published over 50 books (mostly historical adventure books) since she published her first book, Back to Pompeii. Her books have been read and loved by people in all ages. She holds writing courses, and visits schools to inspire young people to read.
Now, to the interview
Hi Kim! How old were you when you first started writing, and what was it that made you start?
I wrote my first book when I was eight years old, and that was when I decided that I wanted to be an author. I had an older sister, Birgitta, who was four years older than me and liked to have a school for me.
You’ve written over 50 books, how do you get all the ideas?
To the historical adventure books I often get the ideas when I long to learn something about a special subject, or a special place.
The readers often give me tips on what to write about.
How do you have time to write so many books?
To be able to write as many books as I do, discipline is a must. You can’t just sit and wait for inspiration, you just have to sit down and write.
How can one handle self doubt in writing?
If you only write on and don’t read what you’ve read until the whole story is completed, you often get impressed of how good the text sounds. Much better than if you read it right after you’ve written it.
What do you say about writer’s block? Is it a real thing, and how do you cure it?
I have a lot of tips on how to cure writer’s block in my book “Att hitta glädje I skrivandet”. I want to share one tip here: Don’t feel sorry for yourself because you have writer’s block, sit down and write instead, and the writer’s block will pass.
Lastly, what tip would you like to give all the young writers at TAJ?
Write from your heart, about what you’re passionate about. Don’t think about that someone else will read what you’ve written, write to yourself, and your story will be the best possible. Good luck!