I’m so thrilled to have Kristen Callihan here as part of her tour with Kendra Leigh Castle! Kristen is the author of Firelight, the first book in the Darkest London series (read my review), and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Keep an eye out in the next week or so, when Kendra will be stopping by the blog to talk about her newest book, Midnight Reckoning.
Courtesy of the kind folks at Hachette, I’ve got 3 copies of Firelight up for grabs for 3 lucky winners, so check out the giveaway deets at the end of the post!
Please welcome Kristen to the blog!
Kristen, your first novel, Firelight, just came out Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I was always a daydreamer, but I am also slightly dyslexic and left-handed so writing by hand was not something I enjoyed as a child. It was only when I reached my twenties –and had a laptop handy!- that I sat down one day and tried to write out a scene from a daydream that had been plaguing me. I had no idea where the story was going; I was just tinkering around for fun. I never looked back!
Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
Eventually, that first scene I wrote turned into a book. I got an agent and shopped it around. But it failed to sell. The main problems noted were that the story was in 1st person (a big romance no-no), set in America (not so hot in the historical market) and quite long (about 700 pages. –yes, I know, THAT long. )
So I sat down and tried again. And while I probably ought to have been terrified about trying again, the story came on so strong and sure that I never hesitated. I was in total love with it. I didn’t care a whit what anyone thought of it. That story was FIRELIGHT. Selling it wasn’t easy. It took a year and some major revisions –it too was in 1st person (what can I say? I liked 1st person!) and I had to change it to 3rd, but sell it did! And I was very relieved!
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
Honestly, it is everything I’ve read and still read. I have a great love for romance, for spy thrillers, mysteries, and paranormal tales. Each time I read something, those loves grow, ideas take hold, and I find myself wanting to write my own stories.
What’s on your nightstand right now?
My nightstand has a big cubby, in which there are about thirty books. However, currently on the top of all those books is Burning Up, a paranormal anthology, which includes Meljean Brook’s novella Here There Be Monsters. To me, this is hands-down the best novella I’ve ever read. It is a freaking work of art and I am in awe of it.
If you could read a book again for the first time, which one would it be?
Here There Be Monsters would be a good start, lol! The Harry Potter series. I loved each one, but now that I know how it ends, it’s a different read.
Have you ever “faked” reading a book, and if so, which one was it?
All the time! In high school. “Sure, I read Flowers For Algernon! Test you say? Eh…” Actually, I’m a pretty good skimmer. I can flip through a book and find the basic story in about ten minutes. So I faked a lot of books reads throughout high school without much consequences. Nowadays, I won’t lie. If you ask me if I’ve read Ulysses, I’ll answer, no, no I have not, and no I don’t think I will.
When you’re not busy writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Reading! I’m pretty much a homebody. If I’m not reading, I’m snuggled on the couch with my husband and watching TV, or going out to dinner and a movie. I like being with my close friends and family.
If you could pack your bags and travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go, and why?
So many places, so little time! I’m dying to go to Italy. But as it is February, I wouldn’t want to go now. So I’d go to London because I’m writing about there and I’d love to soak up the atmosphere. I’ve been before, but it was years ago.
What’s something that makes you laugh out loud?
Mike Meyers. Thinking about the time my husband screamed like a little girl when he saw a mouse in the house. (yes, I’m a sick woman!)
What piece of advice would you give a struggling writer?
Don’t give up. Don’t let ANYONE talk you into quitting your dream. We are constantly bombarded with rejection, be it during the agent search or by a bad review. These are simply opinions, not fact. They can’t hurt you unless you let them.
Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
Let’s see… Other than Firelight, I have a short story as well called EMBER. Ember was written as a companion piece for Firelight and tells the story of what happens to Miranda and Archer between the time when they first meet until the time when they meet again. People have asked in what order should they read Ember and Firelight, and it is hard for me to say. They go hand in hand, and Ember was intended to be something rather like bonus material in a DVD. It is definitely its own story but it makes better sense when placed in context with Firelight.
And then there is Moonglow, book 2 in the Darkest London series. Moonglow is the story of Miranda’s sister Daisy, and Ian Ranulf, who is now the marquis of Northrup. Daisy has attracted the attentions of a mad werewolf who is terrorizing the streets of London, and Ian is her reluctant and unlikely savior. This is more the classic Victorian horror set up in that this is a battle between good vs. evil. But like Firelight, it begs the question, what truly makes a monster? And how can you love another when you cannot love yourself?
After Moonglow, will be Winterblaze, which is sister Poppy’s story, and then Book 4, which involve characters who appear in Moonglow. As the series progresses, readers will delve deeper into this supernatural London, and the beasties that hide in plain sight.
Keep up with Kristen: Website | Facebook | Twitter
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