Tell us a little about your background and how you became an author.
I’m not one of those writers who always wanted to be a writer. Growing up I wanted to be a baseball player for the Yankees (age 3), a teacher (age 5), a professional soccer player (age 13), and a physical therapist (age 17), but never a writer. It wasn’t that I didn’t like to write; I’ve always enjoyed making up stories. It just wasn’t on my radar as a potential career…until my 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. I was 19 years old, a sophomore in college with a 5-year plan, but when something like that happens, plans tend to change. I reevaluated what I was doing with my life and decided to really go for it and pursue being a published novelist. Ten years later my first novel is being published in Elixir Bound, and a character named Kylene just happens to play an important role in it.
Losing a loved one is so difficult. It's inspiring how that experience shaped your writing career!
What is one of your favorite books and why?
The Giver by Lois Lowry has always been one of my favorite books. There’s this one part of the book (I won’t say exactly what it is and be a spoiler) that totally took me by surprise and changed the way I viewed the world Jonas, the main character, lived in.
What inspired you to write this book?
After Kylene died and I decided I wanted to be a writer, my dad suggested I write a story for her. She loved the Harry Potter books (although she only lived to read the first four books) and shared them with everyone, making many reluctant readers into excited readers. In Elixir Bound, I decided to give her a fantasy adventure of her own. Originally I wanted to make her the main character, but it was emotionally too hard at the time. I’m currently working on another story that takes place in the same world as Elixir Bound and Kylene is the main character.
How would you describe your writing process?
A mess, literally. I create these working files that have all kinds of character studies, research, plot points, scenes, maps. Some of them are computer files and others are scribbles in notebooks. Sometimes I even have novels written by other people as reference tools in my “mess.” Eventually I take all that mess and start writing out the story, from page one to the end.
How have you marketed your book?
I’ve been very active in the kidlit writing community for many years now, being a member of the SCBWI, attending conferences, and participating in kidlit discussion boards, among other things. That has helped me tremendously as far as surrounding myself with a supportive group of people who understand what it is to be a writer. Those relationships are the core of my marketing because those are the people who I hope will help spread the word about my book. I’m also doing a blog tour (this post is part of that) and an in-person event at my local library. I hope to be doing some school visits as well.
I love school visits--there's nothing better than getting in front of your audience!
What advice would you give to other authors?
You’ve probably heard it before, but read, read, read…and write, write, write. My own writing process is painfully slow at times. I’ve gotten better at making regular time for writing, but I still have a family, work, and a life that tends to get in the way. So do as I say, not as I do!
Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.
Since I’ve talked a lot about my sister today, I provided one that is a sweet moment between Katora, the main character, and her sister Kylene. It definitely mirrors some of my own sisterly moments growing up where it seemed we’d be fighting one minute and okay the next.
A light pitter-patter of sound woke Katora the next morning. Raindrops sizzled as they hit the ashes from the night’s fire. Both indistinct gray, it was hard to tell where the ocean ended and the sky began, not at all like the first time Katora saw the ocean with its angry, white-capped waves. The second time she saw the water from atop the cliff, it looked content, an endless blue pool. Today, the sea seemed melancholy, as if mourning a great loss.
The mood matched Katora’s sour emotions. She felt bad for how she treated Kylene. She rolled over to see who else was awake and paper crunched beneath her head. She found a note tucked into her hood. Everyone else slept, except for Kylene who was nowhere in sight. Katora propped herself on her elbows and opened the crumpled paper. It read, “Sorry I was mean to you last night. Love, Ky.”
Katora had more reason to apologize than Kylene, but the note indicated Kylene forgave her. Not two minutes passed before her sister emerged from the forest with an armful of food. Katora suspected Kylene watched and waited for her to read the note. She stuffed the note in her pocket and smiled warmly. Ky grinned back.
What a touching moment between sisters!
Where can readers find you and your book?
Elixir bound can be found on the MuseItUp website, Amazon, the Barnes and Noble e-book store, and many other e-book vendors. To learn more about me visit www.katielcarroll.com.
Thank you for being so candid and for being a guest today! I love stories with magic, and Elixir Bound sounds like a great read!