I pleased to announce that this author interview is with the lovely Kimber An, author of the Young Adult SUGAR RUSH.
Please note that there are spoilers in this interview
N = Nayu
KA = Kimber An
N: Hi Kimberley! Why pick an owl for a shapeshifter?
KA: Actually, Princess the Barn Owl is not a shapeshifter. There is only one shapeshifter in the story and that is Brandon. (N: I would like to point out I was writing this late in the day, when I tend to forget where I've left my phone in the house, let alone book elements.) At this point, he only knows how to do a raven, because it’s all one color and doesn’t have external ears. Princess is very important and I guess you could say she’s sentient. She is Ophelia’s animal symbol and will be present in all the stories. The owl is powerful, secretive, and beautiful. My daughter loves The Guardians of Ga’Hoole books. Here’s her review of The Capture http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2010/09/guardians-of-gahoole-capture-by-kathryn.html I guess it rubbed off on me. I read pretty much whatever she tells me to, because she’s a member of my potential readership for Sugar Rush. I also loved the owls in Harry Potter and, like Ophelia, I think the Barn Owl is the most beautiful bird in the world. Here’s a link to learn more about it and conservation- http://www.bocn.org/
N: How many novels do you anticipate there will be in this series?
KA: There are four solid novels complete in my head, but there will likely be several short stories. The great thing about ePublishing is Decadent is happy to put out short stories and such.
N: Will any feature Bianca as the protagonist, or will it always be Ophelia?
KA: I have a short story in my head called Bianca & the Blood-Sucking Dead Guys. (N: Yay! I love Bianca) She is the First Person narrator of the story, because I think she has a fun voice. There’s sadness to it, but also humor. You can’t read about Bianca without laughing a little, I think. The novels will expand to include at least Adrian’s Point of View by the third one, and possibly Bianca and Brandon by the fourth. Ophelia, Adrian, Bianca, and Brandon are the four friends, like Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin in The Lord of the Rings.
N: Who are you most like, Ophelia or Bianca?
KA: Personality-wise, I’m like Ophelia, but she’s a heck of a lot smarter than me. She does vector calculus for fun and I can’t count to five with my mittens on. But, I’ve always wanted to be like Bianca, flying off the handle, thoroughly enjoying every good moment, and saying exactly what I feel.
N: Can you give us any hint of what is to come in future books?
KA: Oh, sure. In the next one, Sugar Baby, Ophelia is assigned a new Oldblood Protector, Tristan. She’s still horribly grief-stricken over losing her father, Brandon, and Adrian, so she’s not exactly happy about it or cooperative when he tries to help her develop her empathic abilities. If you want a foretaste of Tristan, check out my short story, Crushed Sugar, which I dearly hope releases before Christmas. I’m hoping to have Sugar Baby out by Spring. Bianca gets a kitten who helps her work through her grief. The cat is Bianca’s animal symbol. Brandon returns and the Oldbloods come into the picture big time as the Newblood threat escalates. And Ophelia saves another Sweet’s baby who was fathered by a Newblood. In the third book, Ophelia and Adrian are reunited. And in the fourth, Ophelia discovers a way of finally defeating the Newbloods. Also, Martin, the villain, returns in each new book more twisted and creepy than the one before.
N: You've proven that writing what you know really is the best course of action for writers (as well as what you don't: human/alien hybrids!) What advice would you have to budding authors?
KA: Don’t just write what you know. Like you said, write some of what you don’t know too. In the course of writing the story, you’ll be obliged to grow as a writer and a person and it will be a heck of a lot more fun for you, I think. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know much about vampire mythology before starting this series. I’m a Trekkie, you know, and I’d never been into vamps. I had to look them up on Wikipedia! My baddies are, indeed, alien/human hybrids, but they are vampire-like and are bent on usurping the vampire myth. After creating them, I came to realize they wouldn’t make sense unless I had the ‘real’ vamps in there too. So, I was obliged to learn the myth. That’s how the Newbloods and the Oldbloods came to be.
N: What's a typical writing week like for you? When do you squeeze the writing in?
Before publication I got up at four o’clock in the morning. Now, I get up at three. This is when I do the bulk of my writing, because my children are asleep and the house is quiet. At least half my time is in promoting, because no one’s going to buy my books if they don’t know they exist! I chisel out an hour after their school work is done (I homeschool two of them) and before lunch. I chisel another hour in after naps. And then another after fetching my eldest from regular school and another in the evening. I’m in bed by 7:30 at night. Basically, I write books and raise babies. I don’t have time for much of anything else. But, books and babies are what make me happy, so I am okay with that. I do squeeze in walking and working out at the gym because physical exercise keeps me sane. Trouble is I’m always eating on the run, so I don’t eat well and still don’t lose weight. (((groan))) I’m working on that.
N: Thank you for doing this! You're a fab writer :)
KA: Thanks for having me, Jessica! You’ve been such a wonderful help and encouragement to me!