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This superstar sci-fi author has a secret talent you never would have guessed


‘The Diabolic’ is an insanely creative sci-fi novel about Nemesis, a Dibolic made to protect Sidonia, the daughter or a galactic senator. When Sidonia is summoned as a hostage, Nemesis must go in her place and pretend to be Sidonia. It doesn’t all go 100% to plan…

Niall Shrug

You’d think authors had all things creative down, but SJ Kincaid’s foray into crafting didn’t go quite to plan, even after she found Pinterest!

A dangerous thing happened to me earlier this year: I discovered Pinterest.

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I’ve always enjoyed doing artsy things – usually clumsily – for a short time before becoming bored with them. Before I sold my first series, ‘Insignia’, I spent the year painting quite a lot. I actually managed to sell a painting on Etsy, which was mind-blowing… Until I sold my first book, and then painting suddenly seemed too messy and too much work.

I went on to discover other things I liked to do. Mostly, my art was something I did in my nursing school classes, and before that my college classes. I was never able to just sit there and listen to a lecture, and in retrospect, if I had, maybe I would’ve learned more in school. (I also did a lot of plotting for books while in lectures about other things!)

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Pinterest was dangerous for me because it opened up my mind to so many new possibilities crafting-wise. I could take a glue gun and jam crayons in it and then make cool patterns on a canvas! (Well, in theory.) I tried it. It did not work well and I made a huge mess.

I could take a bunch of tiny pins into cardboard or a canvas and thread coloured string between them! That… also did not work out so well.

I could paint seashells! (I wasted seashells). I could use Popsicle sticks to build little lamp shades! (Did not work out). I could spray a stencil design through a pattern cut into another material! (I chose the wrong material and saturated it, therefore blurring any design).

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I’ve tried over and over again to twist wire into a home-made lampshade. Try as I might, I only end up cutting my hands and getting a lopsided thing that would probably have caught fire over a proper bulb. Whittling wood, similarly, gave me a mass of splinters.

What I did manage to do, albeit not so nicely as in the Pinterest pins, was drag cardboard across paint to create a streaky design (which oddly took over two weeks to dry despite the use of acrylic paint), use coloured tape to decorate furniture and containers, spray-paint seashells silver or gold, and glue sea glass to a blank picture frame…

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I’ve had a tiny number of successes at crafty things, a great number of failures, but I think crafting (even as poorly as I do) serves a very important purpose: crafting with my hands is completely unlike writing, and I am free to make crafty things very badly.

I am blessed to have writing as my day job. It is amazing. Once something is a profession, though, the luxury of doing it poorly is gone. A few things I’ve made with my hands actually looked rather nice, but I always shoot down any suggestion I should try to sell them. The day I set out to do these crafting things with some intention of making money is the day I owe the person who might buy them! I’ll have to please someone other than me, and that will always take away a bit of the fun.

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That’s the bind of doing something creative for a living. I still love writing, but I am always aware of the reader. For a while after selling ‘Insignia’, this awareness got to me. I grew nervous about letting people down and lost my love of writing. It was only when I had a dry spell and thought I might not sell again that I remembered how much pleasure writing gave me back when it was a hobby and recovered my joy of it… And now I’ve sold again.

So in this last year as I’ve approached the publication of ‘The Diabolic’, I’ve done a lot of crafting things to remind myself that there is an inherent joy in creativity – just so I never forget it again, even when I need to pay mind to the fact that I am also doing a very real job. In the meantime: I will always try to write the best possible books. And never fear: I will not try to foist upon anyone the bizarre and clumsy things I’ve made outside of that.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve made after seeing it on Pinterest? Let us know in the comments below. 

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