Interview with Kay Bowman, Runner Up in the WOW! Q4 2022 Contest

Sunday, November 13, 2022


Kay Bowman grew up in England, but has spent most of her adult life in New England. As a child she was disappointed by the lack of magical worlds behind wardrobe doors, so decided to create her own with words when she was nine-years-old. A “few” decades and many imagined worlds later, some of those words have been published in various online and print anthologies. Kay is currently working on a rewrite of a middle-grade novel she hopes her nine-year-old self would be proud of. This will be the first CNF piece Kay has written and shared publicly. She still lives in New England, a place that provides the perfect inspiration for the spooky stories she tends to write. 

 ----------Interview by Renee Roberson 

WOW: “Defying Gravity” is complex, layered, and moving. What was the writing and revision process like to get to the final version? 

Kay: It took me a while to get it to this final version, but it always started with me packing the suitcase. When I started writing I kept getting stuck, it was clear I was too close and needed some separation. Once I switched to 2nd person POV, I found it easier to write about my feelings and emotions around going home for my mother’s funeral. I focused on the moments that really stuck with me; agonizing over what to pack, seeing the lights on the surface of the ocean, the Christmas tree at the airport, the empty vase, her perfume, among so many other things. It struck me that these were all things that, by themselves didn’t mean all that much, but putting them together brought all the memories of that time back to me. And writing it as one sentence felt right. 

WOW: Thank you for sharing that glimpse into your writing process with us! What was the first piece of writing you ever had published? 

Kay: When I was nine-years-old I entered a contest to write a story based on the movie “The Black Hole.” My entry placed and was published in a national newspaper. It was around Christmas and the prize was a trip to London to see the film with my family. I also got to light one of the advent candles during school assembly—all very exciting. Then in 2019, a ghost story I wrote, “Violet’s Blossoms,” was published in Devil’s Party Press - Halloween Party 2019 (thank you Dianne Pearce and David Yurkovich). That was just as exciting, even without the trip to London and the advent candle. 

WOW: That is such a fantastic prize and an amazing start your life as a writer. When is your favorite time of day to write and why? 

Kay: I love writing first thing in the morning. There’s something about the quiet before the rest of the house is up; something about the possibility of the day before it starts that inspires creativity. 

WOW: Can you share with us what the topic is for the middle-grade novel you’re currently working on? 

Kay: That’s a tough question! It’s a light fantasy novel with some adventure elements, featuring a 12-year-old girl and her dog getting into all kinds of shenanigans—it’s about a lot of things, but down to its bare bones it’s about a family learning how to navigate their way through grief. It’s about regret and how we long to change the past and often forget to live in the moment. 

WOW: We’d love to hear about some of these spooky places in New England that have inspired your writing! 

Kay: Our local cemeteries have some deliciously haunting stories and urban legends attached; there are abandoned buildings—even some currently occupied ones—with creepy histories; a road not too far from where I live is supposedly haunted by a mysterious creature and ghostly children; and let’s not forget Ed and Lorraine Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, CT. Also, if you happen to venture beneath the New Haven Green you’ll run into an ancient burial ground. Even hiking in Connecticut will bring you up close and personal to the paranormal. And who doesn’t love a fog-enshrouded beach?

WOW: Me! That's a great endorsement on why one should visit New England if given the chance. Thank you so much for joining us today and we look forward to reading more of your work in the future.


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