“Music is what feelings sound like,” wrote an unknown author. In Kain B. Fairbrooks’ new release, The Music Girl,” a victimized child kept in isolation by her own parent not only discovers that the timeless power of music holds the key to express her emotions but also to facilitate her freedom. At just 20 years old, Fairbrooks is a newcomer to the writing scene but has made the inventive decision to ignore many of the conventions of fictional storytelling and write The Music Girl as a poem.
Interviewer – Christina Hamlett
Q: For starters, tell us a bit about your journey as a writer and what (or who) inspired you to pen your first story?
A: Ahhh the one who inspired me was my mom. She used to tell me and my sister stories only using her imagination. And I absolutely loved it to death! She would even encourage us to tell stories back to her and this started my whole “I wanna be a writer” when I was five years old. In first grade, the principal of my elementary school noticed that I wouldn’t go out for recess but I would spend my time writing inside. I showed her a short story I wrote and she loved it and got it published. It sat in the school library for years while I was attending there. After that I played around with my writing, improving it- learning more techniques until the end of high school where I started getting…haha somewhat serious!
Q: Did you read books before bedtime as a child?
A:Yes I did! Just quite a few, though.
Q: What are some of the titles we might have found on that childhood bedside table?
A: The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter was one. The Road To Elyon, Dr. Seuss’s array of stories, a bunch of fairytales, Mother Goose, and newspaper comics!
Q: So what might we find on your bedside table these days?
A: Haha nothing! I know, it’s weird.
Q: One book at a time or multiple books?
A: One book at a time. It tastes better that way.
Q: Would you describe yourself as an introvert or an extrovert and what influence does that have on your creativity, energy levels and response to feedback about your work?
A: I would think I’m an extrovert. Sometimes my creativity runs really high and boosts up my energy causing me to write multiple stories at once. Especially when I’ve had a social interaction.
Feedback can either make me go “I like your criticism! Let me get started on that right away! Oh! I can even do [insert a bunch of random things]” or “gbvaghvbdhbj why did I even start writing this- I’m a horrible being.”
Q: Tell us what The Music Girl is about.
A: The Music Girl is about a young lady who went through ten years of abuse and neglect from her envious mother who locks her in the attic. In the attic, she realizes that she wasn’t alone. There stood a very old piano that still worked and so she began learning how to play. Crying out her pain through music. One day, she escapes her mother’s wrath by killing her mother and burning down the mansion she was held captive in. She throws away her name and all that she is and begins her musical journey, learning how to play various instruments from people off the streets and professionals.
Q: The choice to craft The Music Girl as a poem story is an interesting one. What governed that decision for you?
A: There was this story before The Music Girl that I wanted to write in the fashion of a poem but tell a story. Though, my inner thoughts told me that people wouldn’t like it- I shouldn’t try it- what if people don’t get it? So I dropped the idea, now regretting it horribly! But a few months later, I thought of The Music Girl and went…maybe it won’t be so bad? What’s the worst that can happen? A few chapters later and I absolutely loved writing in such a strange way. Also the people on Figment* helped me see that this was a great decision to write it like this, so I kept it!
(*Interviewer Note: http://www.figment.com is an online forum where writers in a multiplicity of genres meet, create, share and connect with one another.)
Q: Did you work from an outline or just allow the scenes to flow spontaneously?
A: I let the scenes flow naturally. Though sometimes I wished I used an outline.
Q: Writers often spend a lot of time editing, editing, editing. Did you do your edits as you were writing or wait until the entire thing was finished?
A: I edited as I was writing it. Because I posted each chapter on Figment every day, I had to make sure that it was on point or else my conscious would get to me. ‘Why did you post that crap?’ it would say.
Q: Was there anything significant you ended up editing our prior to publication?
A: I’m pretty sure I ended up doing the opposite and adding more in than editing out.
Q: Who’s your target readership for The Music Girl and what would you like them to take away from it by the time they reach the end?
A: Probably adults who had a horrible past and couldn’t let it go. I wanted to show people that things happen, horrible things, and it’ll try to pop itself up back in your life and make you afraid of the future. But you can’t let it do that. You can’t let it ruin you. Something like that, I suppose.
Q: The choice to self-publish has become a popular one for today’s writers, especially insofar as the desire to control one’s intellectual property and move it on to the market as quickly as possible. What are some of the things you learned during this process and what are you doing to spread the word that your new book is available?
A: Some of the things I learned are that there are people willing to help you spread the word but also to do your research beforehand. I ran into a lot of free promotional things while trying to spread the word. People do free postings on Facebook, tweets from Twitter, and give your book a read and make a blog post about it. Even book tours. It’s really incredible!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m in the process of publishing two illustrated children’s books by Light Books and working on a horror novel called Thy Broken Mind which you can vote for online!
Q: What do you do if you come across a dry spot in your writing or hit the all-dreaded writer’s block?
A: I usually walk away and go hang upside down on the couch while looking at Oblique Strategies on my phone. Or play video games! Depends how bad it is.
Q: Ever have a bad day? If so, what gives you strength to get through it?
A: Yes I have! Laughter and music. Sometimes when it rains, it pours hard and you forget to laugh.
Q: Morning person or evening person?
Q: Cats or dogs?
A: Dogs all the way!!
Q: Boba or Cheesecake?
A: Oooh….cheesecake. I’m sorry my beloved Boba.
Q: Movies that make you laugh or movies that make you cry?
A: Movies that make me laugh.
Q: The most favorite thing you have in your closet?
A: My Alucard cosplay coat that I got autographed by Crispin Freeman, an English dub voice actor!
Q: Pandas, polar bears, koalas or grizzlies?
Q: What would readers be the most surprised to learn about you?
A: That I enjoy raves!
Q: Where can they learn more about your work?
A: Probably the best place is my Figment page, which has all the rough drafts of a lot of my writings, Basilica Press, and Twitter!