25 Sep '12
Today we're interviewing one of the long-time authors of SoFurry, K.M. Hirosaki !
How did you get/choose your name?
Hirosaki is the name of a city in Northern Japan that I happened to be quite fond of. There's a lovely castle there, and they say it has some of the best cherry blossom viewing in the country. Also there was a video arcade I saw there that had a crane game machine filled with live lobsters.
As for the "K.M.," there's sort of a running joke about nobody being able to figure out what those initials stand for, and I'd hate to ruin that mystery here.
What species is your fursona, and why?
I'm a river otter. I've always thought that otters were nifty animals that were cute and playful. Plus I love the water.
Male, Female, or Hermaphrodite (it had to be asked)?
How long have you considered yourself a furry?
If you want to count the few years I spent as a "closet furry," I guess that goes back to '98 or '99. As for being active in the furry fandom, that started in 2001.
How did you first come across the furry fandom?
Are any of you old enough to remember 'webrings'? Yeah, so those used to be a thing. And I used to be a biology student in my undergrad years. Long story short, one of those animal-related webrings led me to Mongoose.net (which is another thing that makes me feel old), and thus did I plunge head-on into this whole furry thing.
Do you own a Fursuit?
No, but if I ever get the money, I think it'd be neat to.
Have you ever attended a furry convention?
Oh, dozens and dozens. Going to conventions is one of my favorite things to do!
If you were given the chance, would you want to become the physical embodiment of your fursona?
Is this a trick question? Am I supposed to not want to be a cute, slippery otter-person? Well, okay, so I suppose it might be weird to be the only animal-person walking around in the real world, so that would give me pause (about being given paws).
When did you first start writing?
Apparently I started writing fiction when I was in second grade? I don't remember that far back clearly, but my parents and teachers tell me so. I definitely remember writing later in elementary school, just for kicks, with other kids thought was weird (and yes, I was writing about talking animals frequently back then, too).
Do you ever write non-furry stuff, or is the fandom your only creative 'outlet'?
I do write non-furry stuff on occasion. The overwhelming majority of what I do is furry, though.
What, if any, famous writer do you consider the greatest influence on your style?
That's an interesting question. I definitely draw inspiration from plenty of authors, but I don't know that many of them have directly influenced my style. I can probably credit David Weber for my tendency to interweave forward narratives with backstory elaboration (as opposed to compartmentalizing the two), but I think the bulk of my style has probably evolved on its own.
And overall, what would you say is your favourite story, be that furry or non-furry?
As anyone who's listened to my podcast can tell you, I absolutely love the novel Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I think it's an amazing piece of writing on a technical, emotional, and inspirational level, and I look to it something I consider the pinnacle of what amazing writing can be.
Would you ever consider doing commissions for people within the fandom?
I held a commission auction earlier this year, and I still haven't even started writing the piece for the winner after all these months. So I'm guessing that means I'm pretty bad at this.
If you could, would you go "pro" and do writing for a living? (Provided that you are not already)
You know, I'm kind of torn on this one. On the one hand, it would be great to have nothing but time that I could devote to writing, and it would be great to get to do what I love, but on the other hand, I'd hate to have to think of what's (usually) a fun hobby as "work," so I'm not sure.
Would it have to be furry, or would you go for a more "mainstream" subject?
The way I see it, if I were writing for a living, I'd be trying to get my work out there and get it published based on what I'm passionate about, and for me, that's furry writing.
Where do you do your best thinking and writing?
I used to do my best thinking while in the car on my long, long commute, but I don't have that commute anymore. Nowadays, though, I do make it a point to walk around three miles a day, and that walk gives me a lot of time alone with my thoughts.
I do my best writing in coffee shops, usually. At home tends to be too distracting, but I've been working on countering that more, lately.
What inspires you to write?
More than anything, I'm inspired by good stories. And that doesn't just mean writing--things like TV, movies, even roleplaying game sessions all provide inspiration for me. It's less about the content, though, and more just the exposure to engaging, moving storytelling that inspires me to want to create those emotions in other people.
What, if at all, is the longest period of creative drought you have suffered?
I didn't really write much fiction during high school, at least not that I remember, really. In college, I dabbled a little bit where I could, but it wasn't until later on in college and then after graduating that I got around to writing more regularly again.
Finally, who is your favourite author or artist here on SoFurry?
Kyell Gold, without question. He's been such an amazing inspiration, a great writer to work with, and an awesome friend since right when I first met him and all through the last several years. My writing wouldn't be anywhere near where it is today (either in terms of quality or 'career') if it hadn't been for him, and I have so much respect for him, his work, and what he's managed to accomplish.
Are you currently in a relationship?
What qualities do you first look for in a potential boyfriend/girlfriend/mate?
To me, what matters most is that someone else and I 'click' on a special sort of level (which can be different for each person, I think). Also it helps if they appreciate my sense of humor. And can put up with my being fussy about my own creative output.
What qualities do you think you personally can bring to a relationship?
Well, I know an awful lot about sushi. And wine. And Star Wars. Also I apparently make people laugh a lot. And sometimes I write stories about sex.
Aside from traditional relationships, would you ever take a master or a pet?
No, that's not my scene at all.
Public displays of affection. Yes or no, and why?
I think anything more than a quick (okay, occasionally a not-so-quick) kiss is best left for private time. I mean, come on people.
Sex before marriage. Again, yes or no, and why?
I've certainly never been married, and I've also had actual, real-world sex with actual people in meatspace. More than once, even. So yeah, I can't condemn sex before marriage. Not without being a massive hypocrite.
What are your thoughts on casual sex? Do you think that only serious commitments should lead to sex, or are one night stands okay?
I think that mature, consenting adults should be able to live their lives the way they want so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. And, by and large, a person's private sex life doesn't hurt anyone else. Unless we're talking about cheating. Or the consensual kind of hurting, which is also okay, pretty much by definition.
What about yiffing or 'cyber-sex' as it is more commonly known in the mainstream?
Are you kidding? Online sex makes up the vast majority of my actually getting laid.
I mean, I think that online sex is a perfectly healthy sexual outlet that no one should feel ashamed of indulging in.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People trying to have deep, involved arguments about deep, involved subjects (like politics or religion) via Twitter. 140 characters is not the ideal medium for detailed discourse, people.
Your deepest fear?
Death. Which I think is pretty self-explanatory.
Now for a few less intimate questions:
Your favorite meal?
Boiled Maine lobster with drawn butter and a side of corn on the cob.
Your favorite dessert?
Your favorite drink?
Honig Last Harvest Sauvignon Blanc.
Your favorite console and game (PC/Mac does not count)?
Oh, see, this is a loaded question for me, because I've been playing video games since the Atari 2600 way back in the early 80s (why do so many parts of this interview make me feel old?).
The NES will always have a soft spot in my heart, and it's got so many great games that I think still mostly hold up today, from big-name franchise spawners like "The Legend of Zelda" and "Metroid" to cult classics like "Crystalis" and "Faxanadu."
I'm also a big fan of the Xbox 360. My highlights there are the Mass Effect and Portal series.
Your favorite TV show?
It's so hard to pick just one. I've recently been making my way through "The Wire," though, and I have to say that it's probably some of the finest television ever put to the screen (I just finished season three and OH MY GOD). "Game of Thrones" is another show that I watch with a fervor I've rarely felt before.
I'm also a big fan of the remade "Battlestar Galactica" and--if you want to call it one series--the U.K. version of "Life on Mars" and "Ashes to Ashes."
This is your chance to tell the readers about the piece of work you are most proud of. We'll stick a link in for you, all you need to do is give them a little commentary about it in your own words!
I feel weird pointing out a story that's something like four years old, but I've always been very proud of "Stray" and how it was received. I didn't think that the majority of the site's readership would identify so much with a middle-aged protagonist having long-term, grown-up relationship issues, and I guess I'm happy I was wrong about that. And it's always stuck out in my mind as one of those stories that surprised me by getting a much better reception that I'd ever hoped for.
Out of the works you've submitted to SoFurry, are there any characters which you can relate to on a personal level? If so, which one would you say this is truest for?
I identify a lot with Reylin Saticoy, the cacomistle who I've been writing a series of stories about. He isn't based on me by any means, but so much of what makes him who he is comes from issues I've had about life and love and relationships. Some of what he's going through are issues that I resolved for myself long ago, and some of them are things that I still personally have trouble with, and so either way, I have a lot of emotional investment in the character.
Are you offering commissions? If so, what pricing, what are the usual wait times, Any things you won't do?
Well, as mentioned earlier, I do still have that one commission I've been sitting on for months and months. I should probably get to that...
Our interview is almost over, but there's just enough time to quiz our artist with a few more random tidbits. No, these questions don't have any relevance to anything in particular, but dammit! I think they're fun!
Tentacles. Yes or No?
I wrote a story with tentacles once but it was all Kyell Gold's fault.
MACRO, micro, or Mid-Size furs?
While I'm a fan of some size difference, I prefer that different to be in matters of feet and not orders of magnitude.
Fasten and zip, or zip and fasten, or none of all that?
When getting dressed, zip and fasten. When leaving the restroom, fasten and zip (or, as often seems to be the case fasten and forget to zip).
And one final question that cannot be avoided. 1337 speak within the fandom?