Interview with Kai Kiriyama

Kai is the author of the Pathogen series and other books which you can buy via a link at her website here


How long have you been writing for?


I have been writing with the intention of making this my career since I

was 13. I’m 29 as of this writing, so 16 years professionally, and I was

writing and toying with the idea of being an author for 2 years before

that, when I was 11, so you could count that I guess as 18 years. I feel

old now that I’ve admitted that!


How many rejections did you receive before you first became published and

how did you stay motivated?


I queried 4 books before I made the choice to self-publish my current

titles, although only one of the published titles I have had run the gamut

of queries, contests etc. Each book received between 12 and 16 rejections

before I decided to pull them and try something new. I stayed motivated by

remembering that this is part of the process and that I can always improve

my craft. I pushed myself forward by working on new projects between

editing and polishing the ones that were rejected.


Favorite Author and book when you were a child?


Define “as a child”? If we’re talking like under 10, I think that I was

reading The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew. If

we’re talking like age 11, it was probably R.L. Stine or K.A. Applegate. I

loved Goosebumps, Animorphs, Redwall. Still do. Then I moved on to

Interview with the Vampire and Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park at age

  1. And binge read a lot of classics like 101 Dalmatians, Homeward Bound,

Dracula, Frankenstein… My tastes were varied and eclectic as a kid.

Still are.



What music do you listen to when you write?


Usually I write in silence or listening to which is rain and

thunderstorm sounds. When I go for music, it’s either baroque/classical

or, more recently, I’ve been using video game soundtracks because the

music is scientifically designed to keep you focused on the task at hand

I really like the Halo soundtracks for that!


Any superstitious rituals that you go through when beginning a new story?


Not really. I’m highly superstitious in like every other aspect of my

life, but not when I write. The closest thing I can think of is that I

organize my notes on paper and thumbtack them to my bulletin board, then I

make blank chapters in Scrivener, and write a random first sentence based

on my outlines so that I’m not starting each new chapter with a blank



Favorite book released in the last year?


…oh. My to-be-read pile is so huge that I don’t think I’ve actually read

a book that was released within the last year. Looking at the books I’ve

read, the newest ones were MYTHBREAKER by Stephen Blackmoore, I’m like

halfway through SUITE 17C by Leigh Ann Kopans, and SERVANTS OF THE STORM

by Delilah S. Dawson, as well as BROKEN SOULS by Stephen Blackmoore. Of

those, the only one I’m finished is MYTHBREAKER, but all of these books

are so good that I’m a little jealous that I didn’t write them.



Favorite book released in the last 10 years?


Aw, man, that’s a super unfair question. I don’t know how I can possibly


I was gonna say the end of the Dark Tower series or Cell by Stephen King,

but then I remembered that THE NEWSFLESH TRILOGY by Mira Grant was

published within the last 10 years! Zombies + politics. Awesome series.

Otherwise… Every single Discworld book published from 2005, because that

is a series that’s stuck with me for a long time.



Favorite quote from a book that is not your own?


“There’s no point in driving yourself mad to keep from going mad. Best

just get it over with and save your sanity for later.”

-Ford. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy



Favorite quote from one of your own works?


“I hated the morgue, always had. Dead bodies in coolers was a horrifying

concept. Like macabre leftovers just waiting for the time when they’d be

brought out, reheated and examined. I shuddered at the thought and

reminded myself to throw out all the leftovers in my fridge back at my

apartment when I got home.”

-Blaze Tuesday and the Case of the Knight Surgeon


Advice for new writers who are struggling with character creation?


Streamline your characters. Having information like what their birthday

and favourite colour is is great, but unless it’s really completely

relevant to the story, it’s not necessary to know right away. I like to

use D&D character creation sheets to get my basic information down, then I

fill in things like motivation, background and all the fun stuff that

might not be necessarily relevant.


E-Reader or Physical copy?


I prefer physical copies but I have no space. I had to downsize my books

due to space constraints –  I downsized my library from 1200 physical

books to 175 – so yeah, strictly e-reader copies of things right now.


What first inspired you to become a writer?


I honestly don’t know, so answering this is really hard.  I’ve always been

writing, it’s always been a huge part of my life. I would always hand in

huge stories in school and taking that passion to a professional level

just seemed like the natural progression for me. I know that sounds kind

of pretentious, and I apologize. I didn’t know how else to answer this

question that didn’t sound really self-deprecating or otherwise arrogant.


Tell us your favorite joke.


“I like my men like I like my milk: cold, white, and straight out of the




You can find Kai on twitter here and visit her website here