This is our full interview with K.A. Honeywell, author of the thrilling Fantasy Western, Damn Wilds!

– Is it true that Damn Wilds was your first novel? What was your experience writing before Damn Wilds?

It’s my first! I have many other novels that I’ve started and have worked on in random spurts when inspiration hit, but that wasn’t getting me anywhere. I got older and getting older makes you sit down with yourself and face some hard facts. Mine being that I still hadn’t finished anything and I wasn’t going to unless some things changed. Damn Wilds was the first novel where I decided that I was going to write it without breaks so I wouldn’t lose momentum or be enticed by another idea. I gave myself a schedule with times set aside for writing (I became a mostly morning writer) and due dates (flexible ones because I’m not a monster), and I got that shit done.

– What inspired the story and artwork behind it?

The seed of the story came from a painting. It was a woman in a field with a werewolf in the distance. I forget the details of it, but it sparked the idea of what if your husband was a shapeshifter who had to hide in the woods? Everything else unfurled from there pretty quickly.

For the postcard artwork, I’ve always liked when artists put their characters in moments that are casual and easy. It’s usually a fun way to see a side that doesn’t usually get to come out when you’re trying to propel a story forward.

– Are there any hidden Easter eggs behind the story that readers might miss? What are they? 

Sure! The D signed with blood in Joss’s list of phone numbers (mentioned in chapter 3) belongs to Delmira. When he questions Clover about loving Cy, he says it’s fine for married people to not love each other (also chapter 3). Guess who he’s talking about then. 

There’s another that’s not really an Easter egg because it’s just my headcanon, but Damn Wilds came from my head so I guess that makes it officially canon. In this world there’s a cartoon very similar to Disney’s animated Robin Hood which Clover liked as a child. So when she’s hallucinating (in chapters 9 and 10) and Joss appears as a fox it’s because she subconsciously sees him as a dashing, thieving fox.

– We loved how your prose let us fill in the gaps, how it focused on the little details only when they were important. The ‘camera’ in our minds felt very close to Clover and Joss the whole time, it made it all feel very personal. How would you describe your writing style? How much of that was deliberate? 

Honestly, I still feel like a widdle baby writer who doesn’t really know what they’re doing. I am learning to be more deliberate. My writing style changes depending on the story that I’m trying to tell—at least I’m trying to hone it in order to get it that way. For Damn Wilds, I wanted the reader to feel close to the characters and their emotions, so I’m glad that came across.

– It felt like a Fantasy Western, but where would you say the DNA of Damn Wilds comes from?

I like the loner characters that you find in westerns and Japanese stories about ronin, but they’re often cantankerous misanthropes. I knew I wanted Joss to be a wandering loner, but affable, maybe even charming. He seems like he should be the wild card, but that’s where Clover started heading, especially when she initiates their failed heist. Boiled down, Damn Wilds is about these two coming to terms with their personal struggles and developing a partnership along the way. There’s nothing I like more than a duo that works well together.

– I often notice repeating patterns or themes or ideas in my novels, even across genres. Is there anything you’ve noticed you do in your latest book that you did in Damn Wilds?

Besides constantly misspelling the same handful of words? My novella, Veiled Scarlet, has similar elements of overcoming prejudice from both internal and external forces. Overall, things relating to nature and transformation find their way into my writing more than anything else.

– What has been your own experience with road trips?

Well, I’ve never been chased through the desert! My road trips have all been very normal camping trips, sometimes in the desert. I love getting out of my normal environment. I allow myself to take a break from writing even though I have a notebook handy. A lot of the time that’s when something I’ve been stuck on will resolve itself, or I find some little detail that makes its way into a sentence.

– Do you have a favourite Wild? Ours was the big jellyfish!

That one is up there (punny!), but I also like the burrower with its many arms and teeth. It’s so sneaky until it snaps out at you and then you’d better hope you have a friend with a sharp knife or an explosive potion.

– If you could cast both Clover and Joss in a film, who would play them?

Tough question! I never picture real people when writing. I loved Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black and I bet she’d make a killer Clover. No idea on Joss. Tell me who you think!

We had such a wonderful time speaking with her, we hope you enjoyed the interview and deep dive into Damn Wilds as much as we did! If there are any questions we missed, or something you want to know more about, please don’t hesitate to ask us a question in the comments below! Don’t forget to check out her latest novella, Veiled Scarlet.

To learn more about what K.A. Honeywell is up to, check out her website here! 


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