I’m thrilled here at Celtic Connexions to host debut YA Fantasy novelist, Stephanie Keyes, on her blog tour for her launch of The Star Child.
So, over to you Steph. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Sure Melanie! Let me start off by saying thank you for hosting me on your blog! It’s very exciting to be here. So, let’s see, I am a Corporate Learning and Development employee by day and a wife and mother at night. My husband and I just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and we have two little boys, one 4 1/2 and one 2 months. We also have a little cock-a-poo who thinks she rules the house. Actually, I think she does, who am I kidding?
Did you always feel compelled to write? Yes, I’ve always been writing. I wrote my first novel at 14, which was a dedication to Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Brian Boitano, that detailed a fictional romance between the pair of us. Did I know how to live or what? Needless to say we never got together. However, I moved on to different topics and have spent the time ever since writing – short stories mostly. When my father was diagnosed with Cancer in 2007, I found that I really needed an outlet for all of my emotions. That was when I started the Star Child. It wasn’t even a book in my mind for a while, I just called it “The Project”. However, a book it was.
Who were your favourite authors growing up? My favorite book was “Gone With the Wind”, which I remember reading about fifteen times in the seventh grade. I loved Margaret Mitchell. Aside from that I think I read every book in the Nancy Drew and Anne of Green Gables series. I also read classical fiction, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Victor Hugo. It really didn’t matter what was put in front of me, I would read it.
What authors do you prefer to read now? Well, because I am writing for a YA audience, I’ve been reading alot of that genre to keep in touch with what that audience is reading. Some of the authors that I’ve really enjoyed are J.K. Rowling, O.R. Melling, Cate Tiernan, Melissa de La Cruz, Carrie Jones, and PC and Kristin Cast.
Do you think they influenced your writing in any way? Absolutely. JK Rowling really intrigues me because she takes figures in history and mythology and gives them a real place in her stories. You think that they’re fictional when you read the books but then you find that they actually existed and they’ve just been placed in a context to suit the story. You’ll see that influence in The Star Child. Although it’s fiction and weaves in quite a bit of Celtic folklore and mythology, I’ve included many figures in the storyline and simply placed them in another context.
What made you decide on the YA fantasy genre? What really got me hooked on Fantasy is the idea that there could be an entirely different world co-existing with our own. Any story that blends reality and fantasy is interesting to me. The thought of something magical happening in between the day to day activities, for example, Kellen attending his graduation and stepping through a portal into another place, that’s something I would love to have happen to me. Imagine going to pick up milk and you find there’s a gateway to another universe in the dairy section below the sour cream.
I understand the idea for The Star Child came to you in the shower. Can you elaborate? Definitely. I was getting into the shower in the smallest bathroom in the world (smiles) when I looked out the window and saw a single star. Two words popped into my head: star & child. I got into the shower and started to think about a young woman who lights the stars every night. I didn’t know her name and I hadn’t even made a connection to Celtic mythology yet. However, I knew there would be a girl. Calienta and her immediate family, with the exception of Lugh, her father, are all fictional – they don’t even appear in legend.
In addition to your blog tour, what other methods of self-promotion have you employed? I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In. but I also have my own blog on Blogger, Stephanie Keyes and my website Stephanie Keyes. This month, the trailer for The Star Child came out on You Tube. I am also a featured author on loveahappyending.com and there will be a promotion there. Finally, I’ll be targeting local bookstores and book clubs.
Where can we buy The Star Child? The Star Child is available in paperback and ebook format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Smashwords.
Thank you, Stephanie, for dropping by Celtic Connexions today. You are very welcome! I appreciate the invitation and good luck on the release of your own novel next summer!
Stephanie says she got the idea for The Star Child in the shower. What’s the strangest place you’ve been when a brilliant idea struck you? Use the comments section below and you could win a Starbucks gift card! Then use it to buy your coffee to accompany your read of The Star Child! Only comments posted on December 15th are eligible.