Interview with Careless author Kirsty Capes

Brunel Writer had the pleasure of talking to author Kirsty Capes about her debut novel Careless and ask about the process of writing and publishing it. Have a read at the conversation and don’t forget to check out Careless and Kirsty’s social media page (@kirstycapes.author).

Brunel Writer: Hi Kirsty, it is a pleasure to have you at Brunel Writer! Your debut novel Careless is out now, can you tell us about the story and the inspiration behind it? 

Kirsty Capes: Careless follows a young girl named Bess who is in foster care when she falls pregnant at age fifteen. The book follows her, and her best friend Eshal, as she decides what to do about her pregnancy, and as both girls navigate the treacherous terrain of female adolescence. I wanted to write a book about someone in foster care, as there are so few out there in the mainstream right now. I also wanted the book to tell a story about female friendship and unconditional love above all else.

BW: You have been working on this book for over five years, is that so? Which has been your favourite part of the process?

KC: Yes, I started writing the book when I was 21, and now it’s coming out when I’m approaching 28! I think my favourite part of the process has been getting to know my characters and getting stuck into the story. I also found the editing a really fun process which brought me closer to the text and helped me to get more out of the story.

BW: You studied Creative Writing at Brunel and started writing Careless whilst completing your PhD, how do you think your time at Brunel has influenced your journey?

KC: I’m a bit biased, but I think creative writing at Brunel is the BEST. The faculty are amazing. Every lecturer who taught me during my degrees at Brunel shaped my writing and my approach to storytelling in really profound and positive ways. I am forever grateful to all of them for being such relentless champions of the students and their work. 

BW: We have seen you have been working on your second book, how much can you tell us about it at this point? Is going to be a sequel to Careless or a new story? And when can we expect it?

KC: I can’t tell you very much at all! But it will be a new book, not related to Careless, although it will explore similar themes of coming of age, loneliness and learning to love yourself. It will be out in 2022. 

BW: Lastly, what advice would you give to any creative writing student thinking of writing their own novel?

KC: Hard work pays off! Don’t give up, even when you get knockbacks. Take all of the advice you can get, and read as much as you can. 

BW: Thank you and we wish you the best of luck!

Careless by Kirsty Capes is published by Orion and is out now. You can order your copy here.

Interview by Margarida Mendes Ribeiro

Kypsel, a new way to share art

Interview with Brunel student and founder of Kypsel, Luca Mouzannar

Brunel Writer – Tell us about Kypsel. What is it and how does it work?

Luca Mouzannar – Kypsel is a platform that directly connects writers with their fans and enables them to take part in the artist’s growth. On Kypsel, writers can freely publish and sell their work with the advantage of keeping full control over their work. We allow artists to publish their work with a few clicks without interfering in the artistic and creative integrity of the product. Once a book, web comic, music track or short story is published any buyer can resell the work to their friends on their own social networks. In return, the fans get a referral commission for every converted sale.

BW – How did you come up with the idea for creating this platform? Did it come from your own experience of trying to publish/sell creative work or did you simply see a gap in the market?

LM – A little bit both actually. One of the co-founders tried to publish work through traditional publishers and faced several issues – mainly low royalties, no flexibility in claiming these and a lot of changes to the creative product. At the same time, being surrounded by artists who do good work, I could clearly see a gap in the market, especially in the era of social media where it is so simple to publish a post but very hard to publish and sell creative work. When we think that Harry Potter was rejected by many publishers before finally seeing the light, it puts a lot into perspective!

BW – Has your experience of studying creative writing at Brunel played a part in the building of Kypsel as you continuously interact with young creatives?

LM – Of course! I have met so many talented people who have so much to express and I can see how difficult it is to get our work out there. Fans should be able to decide what is good work without any buffer. I’ve seen so many artists and creative talents fall into jobs they hate because they aren’t able to monetise their craft. Before we know it, a side job becomes a main job and writing becomes a hobby instead of a craft we can live off.

BW – Why should creatives choose to publish with Kypsel? How does it benefit them over other more known online platforms such as Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, etc.?

LM – The first big advantage is that Kypsel is free to use and offers higher royalties than any other platform. Remuneration is a lot fairer and the creative product itself remains untouched. Kypsel is more of a self-publishing tool than a publisher. It is extremely easy to start and work can be published with a few clicks. It is also a non-exclusive platform which allows creatives to use all the means at their best disposal to get their work out there and see for themselves what works best.

LM – We also believe the referral engine is unique to Kypsel and will incentivise fans to buy, refer and sell the work instead of downloading it for free. It is a great way to fight piracy and we believe it will amplify the authors’ success and give them access to audiences they might not have reached when using other platforms. We like to refer to this video to illustrate a lot of the issues with the bigger platforms.

BW – Do you see self-publishing as the future of publishing art or are renowned publishing companies and music corporations still the way to go?

LM – We sincerely believe self-publishing is the future of publishing because renowned publishers and music corporations take most of the profits and leave very little for the artists who put in the work. Fans are also the ones who promote the art they enjoy, so the role of those companies is becoming more and more obsolete, especially in the era of algorithms and social media. Another issue is speed. People, especially the younger generation, enjoy content more than the form it comes in and want it faster than ever. We also tend to trust people more than big entities so Kypsel exists to cut the middleman who slows down the process and doesn’t split profits fairly.

BW – Finally, where is Kypsel headed? What can we expect from this platform in the future?

LM – We are hoping it will grow exponentially and allow young artists to express themselves so we can keep reading the stories we love and listening to music we enjoy. We want to connect artists with their fans and expand our offer to include any virtual goods such as short movies and apps. Our vision is simply to free content from the boxes that it is usually put into because of industry standards that don’t match the current realities of web and social media and we believe this can go very far.

BW – Thank you Luca!

You can visit Kypsel here and start sharing your work today!

Will Self in conversation with Matt Thorne

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Date: 21 May 2014

Time: 18:00 – 19:00

Location: Brunel University Library

After the success of our Warsan Shire event in February, we are pleased to announce that our next talk in the Brunel Author Series will be with the internationally acclaimed author, journalist and broadcaster Will Self.

Professor Self will read from his work and then discuss his writing with Matt Thorne, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Brunel University.

Will Self is currently the Professor for Contemporary Thought at Brunel University, and has a worldwide reputation for his award winning writing. At the time of sending this e-mail, he is the prolific author of nine works of fiction, including the Booker short-listed Umbrella, six collections of non-fiction, three novellas and six short story collections. Will is a well-known face on several television programmes such Newsnight and Have I Got News For You, as well as a contributor to many BBC Radio 4 programmes. He is perhaps best known at Brunel for his Psychogeography course, a form of urban geography that employs walking around liminal spaces as a way of exploring the relationship between the environment and the mind.

Matt Thorne is the award nominated author of several books of fiction including Booker long-listed Cherry and most recently a biography of Prince.

The event will take place at 6pm on Wednesday 21st May in the Library, Bannerman Centre, Brunel University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, UB8 3PH. Booking is essential. Free places can be reserved by e-mailing library.events@brunel.ac.uk.

Books will be available to buy on the evening from Waterstones.

We look forward to seeing you there.