Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Star Catcher - Interview with Stephanie Keyes

What They Say:

Magick and destiny intertwine as he fights to save his kingdom and the goddess he loves.

Her kiss…the feel of her skin…the beat of her heart…For seventeen-year-old Kellen St. James, each memory is marred by a single sentence on a lone strip of paper.
Cali has been taken…

Armed with an amulet that channels the ultimate power of Faerie, Kellen searches for his love. However, control of the amulet’s energy comes with a price, and Kellen soon learns that Cali’s captor has plans for the stone. With the threat of the Star Catcher’s evil looming above Kellen and his kingdom, he’ll have to free the Heart of Faerie and break the curse the binds the Children of Danu to the darkness. But before that, he has to find his real father, the king. No pressure, right?

Kellen and Cali will battle bewitched armies and unknown foes as they fight to stay together. Will Kellen embrace his immortal destiny? Or will his world, and the man he is fated to become, be destroyed by The Star Catcher?

Interview with the lovely Stephanie Keyes

Hi Steph, Thank you for coming on Comet Babe’s Books today.

Hi! Thank you so much for inviting me to guest on your site.

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about The Star Catcher?
Sure! The Star Catcher is the third book in The Star Child series. In this installment, Kellen and Gabe seek out Rowan for help in finding Calienta. All they have is a note indicating, “Rowan will know what to do...” and not much else to go on. Plus, there’s this powerful amulet that Kellen’s been given. He’s supposedly the only one who can control it, but he has no idea how. They’ll all need to come together before The Star Catcher releases The Scourge: the embodiment of all the negativity in the world. But will Kellen survive the power he’s been given? And will Kellen and Cali make it in the end? That’s the short version.  

Where did the inspiration for these books come from?
The two biggest influences have been my own childhood and my travels...

When I was a kid, my Gran used to tell me stories about Ireland and the “Good People.” My family is from County Tipperary, so these were stories that got passed down through the generations. I’ve read everything I could on Irish folklore and faeries ever since.

Also, my travels to Ireland and throughout New England added a ton of ideas. I had these vivid pictures in my mind from places I’d been. I wanted to pull those experiences into the books. One of my favorite chapters in The Star Catcher is when Gabe and Singer are in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and impersonate members of the American Guild of Organists before finding a secret portal to a star in the organ loftSo much fun to write!

Did you always plan for it to be a trilogy or is that something that happened along the way?
In theory...I just hadn’t really firmed up the concept in my mind. When I got offered a contract for The Star Child from Inkspell Publishing, they asked to see theoutlines for the other books, which I hadn’t written down. It was in my head. I took a day and just wrote everything down. I had an outline really fast!

What are some of your favourite Fantasy novels/authors?
J.K. Rowling, O.R. Melling, T.H. White...Okay here are a few without initials. Cate Tiernan, Cassandra Clare, Neil Gaiman, I could go on...

When reading other Fantasy based novels, what do you take from them to inspire your own work? 
Interesting question... mostly technique. Craft is very important to me and I don’t want mine to remain stagnant. I want to be the best writer I can be.

One trait I will say I consciously adopted came to me via J.K. Rowling. I remember the first time I realized that Nicholas Flamel from The Sorcerer’s Stonewasn’t fictional, but a real alchemist in history. I thought, “Now that’s cool. Taking a real figure in history and giving them a fictional twist.” So, I’ve always done that. A majority of the characters in The Star Child series appear somewhere in Irish or Welsh folklore. Lugh appears as the “Sun God” or the “Many-Gifted God” in legend. The Tuatha Dé Danannor the Children of Danu are part of Irish folklore as well. They were given a new twist in The Star Childseries.

Have you ever written anything outside the genre? If so, which was harder? If not, which do you think is harder?
Well, it’s funny you should mention that, I’m writing one now! I don’t know if it’s necessarily harder, it’s just different. The rules change with genres. The most important thing for me is that I’m always writing what I love. If I don’t feel drawn to constantly follow the story, then it’s not the story I’m supposed to be writing.

Are you currently working on anything else at the moment?
Oh bunches of things...I’m co-writing a New Adult romance with a very talented local writer, Melissa Struzzi Englesberg, I have another YA Paranormal in the hopper, and I’m about to start a Middle Grade project for National Novel Writing Month. Also, Gabe will be back in a new novella, The Last Protector. Release date TBA.

What message would you give to aspiring writers out there?
The best advice that I can give is to find a good critique group in your area that you can get involved in. I wrote before I found mine, but I became a writer when I connected with them. They’ve been instrumental in helping me hone my craft. Being part of a group like that also helps you learn how to give and receive feedback on your work and others. Great writing doesn’t happen overnight—I don’t care who you are. It takes time and it takes passion. You’ve gotta love it.

Did you always have a clear idea of how the trilogy would end?
Nope! Honestly? I knew it would be a happy ending, but that’s about it. I always plan out my books, but I believe in giving the story room to grow. Sometimes, the characters just don’t want to follow the plan.

In the case of The Star Catcher, I had a general ideaof what I wanted, but as the characters began to develop, everything changed. I originally didn’t have a love interest for Gabe at all in The Star Catcher. But again, as a writer I have a need to follow the story. And I found myself writing in Singer with a gun. I had no idea who the heck she was, but I had to find out.

Was it hard to say goodbye to your characters?
Yes. I was convinced I would never be able to write another book. I sobbed. I ate copious amounts of chocolate. Of course, I got over that in about two daysI’ve never really been a moper—I’m more of a let’s get on with it kind of person. I’ve written two books and two novellas since then, but Kellen St. James will always be my first love.

Thanks for your lovely answers!

About The Author

Stephanie Keyes grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and spent years traveling and working as a Corporate Trainer before she made the decision to pen her first novel. As a teen, her family always accused her of having an “overactive imagination.” Now, she’s encouraged to keep her head in the clouds and share her world with readers.

Still a resident of the ‘Burgh, Steph is now Mom to two little boys who constantly keep her on her toes. In addition, she’s best friend to her incredible rockstar of a husband. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), a speaker and teacher, as well as a featured author for Love a Happy Ending Lifestyle e-magazine.

Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series, The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, and The Star Catcher, all from by Inkspell Publishing. The Fallen Stars was a 2013 semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. The Star Child has topped the Amazon best-seller list several times since its 2012 release. Steph writes YA novels because she’s a hopeless romantic who lives to believe that Magick truly does exist. She is hard at work on a new YA novel.

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