1. I loved your debut novel, First of Her Kind, can you share your one or two line hook for the book?
Thank you, Kourtney, I’m glad you enjoyed it. A one or two line hook, huh? Man, those are tough.
Okay, here goes, ” When Ciara is torn from the simple healer’s life she has always known, she finds herself in the center of a battle between magic, blood ties, and the desires of her heart. No one knows the depths of the ancient power she possesses, or what will happen if it manages to escape her control, but someone wants it badly enough to find out.”
2. Where did you get the idea to have Ciara, your main character, be someone who didn’t like the Goddess? It’s a really unique and fresh take on the Goddess.
I’ve always questioned things, and I’m not one who really believes in blind devotion. I also like the idea of deities being more human than we think they are. Something which I explore more in the third book–currently in the early stages. So it made sense to me for Ciara to not be too fond of someone who she holds to blame for the tragedies in her life.
3. When you described her other magic, the wilding, it was so vivid and totally immersed me in the scene. Did you do any research on spell casting or did you rely on your amazing imagination?
A little bit of both, actually. Most of it comes from imagination; taking little bits and pieces of things I’ve researched and then expanding on them.
I also wanted to make sure magic wasn’t an ‘easy out’ as it is in some fantasy books. I’m a firm believer in there being a price for everything, which is why my characters don’t use magic as a first resort. And thank you for thinking I have an amazing imagination. It’s to blame for getting me into trouble more than once.
4. One of the many, many things that impressed me about First of Her Kind was your ability to build anticipation–is that something that comes naturally or did you learn it over time? Any tips you can share with writers on how to do it in their work?
It must come naturally because I really don’t think about it while I’m writing. What I do think about is keeping my reader turning the page. If I don’t build anticipation, if my characters reveal too much in their thoughts or their words, that’s not going to happen.
I guess one tip I would give is this–if you’re getting bored while you’re writing a scene, chances are very good your reader is going to be even more bored. That usually means the scene either isn’t important, or you’re giving away too much. Every chapter, every section, should end with a mini cliff-hanger of sorts. It doesn’t always have to be life or death, but it needs to make the reader itch to find out the solution.
5. How did you decide what to reveal and what to hold back? You were an expert CIA agent when it comes to world building and backstory, giving me just enough info to understand and propelling me to turn pages until the wee hours of the morning.
That was a tough one. There were times I held back too much. Thankfully my beta readers would point that out. It’s a real juggling act. Too much, your reader’s eyes gloss over, and they’re skimming pages just to get back to the action. Too little and you have the white room syndrome.
Personally, I don’t like stories with page after page of description. Unless each tidbit of food on a plate is important in some way to the story, I don’t really care what the characters are eating. A general description to set the tone, and trust in the reader’s own imagination to fill in the details.
I think that makes it a more personal experience for the reader in the long run, instead of being spoon-fed every minor detail. The story is important, to me. The characters. That’s what drives me to turn pages, so that’s how I write.
6. The sequel, Emergence, is coming out soon, please tantalize us with a few teasers of what’s to come for Ciara and Bolin.
Well, I’ve been told Emergence is even better than First of Her Kind, which means I was successful in what I set out to do. There is a much more expanded cast, and the stakes are higher now. Ciara becomes a stronger, more independent, and she and Bolin both will both be pushed to their limits.
I think the last line of the cover blurb sums it up nicely: “Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.”
K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. Growing up as the youngest of nine children, and the daughter of a librarian, Kathi spent many hours between stacks of books and secluded away in dusty archives, drawn to tales of medieval heroes and conquering knights. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.
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Bolin rested his forearms on his knees. “When he calls you, then, you mustn’t answer. I know you can manage that. You’re quite good at not listening when people talk.”
Ciara frowned. “He sneaks up on me.”
“Then turn away from him.” She rolled her head on her arms, angling it away from him as she tried to avoid the conversation. Bolin laid his hand on her arm. “If you ever hope to control this power then you need to listen to me. You’re the one in charge. You have to be. This is the first step. He doesn’t get to decide that. You do.”
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