Tag Archives: dystopian nation of the city-state

An Interview with Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills – Co-Author of ‘The Dystopian Nation of City-State’

Back in May I published a guest post on co-writing by Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills, co-author of The Dystopian Nation of City-State. Today Kaisy is back with us for a QnA about indie publishing, the genre dystopia and more.

Tell us about The Dystopian Nation of City-State.

dystopian 1 completeKaisy: The Dystopian Nation of City-State is a futuristic nation set in the year 3211.  It is a horrible place where the government controls all aspects of its citizens lives.  From entertainment and sports to health care and education, the residents are forced to comply with unreasonable rules and procedures.  Unfortunately, the residents believe this is normal, and they do not fight the system.  And, well, there are the Illegals and a couple of doctors who attempt to debunk the system.

What do you think attracts the reader to dystopian literature?

Kaisy: Dystopian literature is frightening because it is somewhat realistic.  Certain events could actually happen.  Dystopian literature is a steal peak into the future of a society.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Kaisy: James and I have a structured process.  We constantly talk and outline each chapter, section, or short story.  “Seeing where the idea takes us” usually happens in the outline/prewriting stage.

If you were to write in any other genre except dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy, what would it be?

Kaisy: Oh my!  I don’t know!  I think it is safe to say the James and I could attempt any genre EXCEPT romance.  No “crotch novels”, please.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Kaisy: James and I edit and proofread all of our writings.  I am an English teacher, so I can handle most of the grammar and style issues.  James is the lead creative force, and I fill in and proofread.  We make a great team!

Do you think that the book cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Kaisy: Oh yes!  Most readers “eat with their eyes”.  The cover and the title draw the readers to the literature.  It is just as important to create a intriguing title and cover as it is to create the story itself.

The indie author must also be a good salesman/woman. Your take?

Kaisy: Yes, indies need to be charismatic and bubbly, but the word “salesman” may be a little strong.  No one wants a pushy salesman.  If the author is excited about his or her literature and the story is great, readers will take note.

Tell us about something interesting/amusing that happened while promoting your book.

10665226_354663418049537_4933671362393152080_nKaisy: This actually happened the other weekend. I was at Crystal Coast Con promoting City-State’s short stories, and someone asked, “Cool star.  What does it mean?”

Ooops!  Well, the Seven Point Star is City-State’s national symbol, and I had forgotten that James perfectly laid out the Star.  James assigned a word/theme and an explanation for each point of the Star.  I couldn’t remember this information!  FAIL!

As an indie author yourself, what advice do you have for fellow indie authors?

Kaisy: Don’t quit your day job, and BE PATIENT!  Novels and short stories are not written in a day.  Use and trust the writing process.

What lies ahead for Kaisy and James after the City-State Adventures?

Kaisy: James and I will be releasing our first novel, StarChild, chapter by chapter on our blog. You all will get to read StarChild as we create it!  There are three parts to StarChild, and James and I are planning a trilogy!


To know more about the Dystopian world and read the StarChild for free, follow The Dystopian Nation of City-State on WordPress. The City-State Adventures are available via Amazon.

Adventures in City-State: Co-Writing with James Courtney and Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills

This week on Saturday Specials, I have a special guest, Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills, who co-writes Dystopian Nation of City-State (an anthology of short stories related to the futuristic dystopian, post-American nation of City-State) with James Courtney. When I asked her to narrate their experiences of co-writing for a guest post, here is what she shared with me. Thank you, Kaisy for doing this!

The Dystopian Nation of City-State has two authors. City-State requires two authors
with its sophisticated layer system, its corrupt government, its restricted societal class system, its nihilistic cult, and its magical floating city.

And what’s trending in City-State? It’s the hashtag, #helpmejames.

A little background: James and I attended high school together in Melbourne, Florida, in
the mid 90s. We knew each other, but we were not close friends. Later, James went on to marry his high school sweetheart and one of my good friends, Kelly. In fact, I was in their wedding.

We all kept in touch throughout the years.

Fast forward to 2011.

James messaged me and asked me if I could take a look at a novel he wrote – I have two English degrees, and I teach the subject. I was hesitant at first, but then… what the hell, right?

We have been writing together ever since 2012.

So… how do we operate? What makes a successful writing team? A few things…

1. Listen: Have an Open Mind – One major rule when working with a co-writer is
being an active listener. James and I talk about every element of our literature, and we work through every option possible within our current piece of literature. With listening comes communication, and this is important – I never proceed with an idea without consulting James first, and vice versa. Trust is imperative within this process.

2. Shitty Rough Drafts and Brainstorming – There is nothing like having a writing
partner for initial brainstorming and drafting. Bouncing ideas off each other has made City-State a better, well, a more evil and interesting place. When I am stuck, I just ask my partner. If I can’t think of the next great plot twist, character name, or literary device, James will. When he’s stuck, I pick up the “slack” – well, neither one of us slack off. It’s more like filling in the blanks.

3. Time Management/Efficiency – James and I both have full time jobs: I am a teacher,
and he is a postal worker. We can’t drop everything and write (although we wish we could), so the creative process takes time. However, this is where co-writing is extremely beneficial: when I am waiting for him to return a piece, I always manage my time and work on something else to get ahead. On the down side, James and I have three to four projects running at the same time, and sometimes we are not on the same schedule when it comes to City-State’s short stories and the trilogy. But hey, there’s absolutely no excuse for co-writer’s block!

All in all, James and I work together very well, and we are lucky to have one another as
writing partners. The stars aligned. So, back to work. I think I’ll work on… wait, I’m stuck.


The End

You can follow Kaisy on Twitter at @KaisyWMills and James at @jamesacourtney.