Sunday, December 4, 2011

Author Interview: Kiki Hamilton, author of The Faerie Ring

Earlier this fall, Kiki Hamilton debuted her novel The Faerie Ring. I had heard such wonderful early praise about it, that before I even read it I knew I wanted to interview her! Here is that interview:

First, a little background:

Hey there! Thanks for your interest in my writing.  My debut novel, THE FAERIE RING, is out now!  I hope you see enough interesting stuff here to make you want to track it down and read it!

Probably like you, I've always been an avid reader. There's nothing better than to escape into the pages of a book where you can go anywhere and be anything.

I've enjoyed writing on and off all my life, but to be honest, it was reading HARRY POTTER that inspired me to write a young adult novel. I will always be grateful to the brilliance of JK Rowling for reminding me of the power and magic of books.

I've written several books, about adventure and mystery, about love, about betrayal and trust. With an array of characters who seem like real people to me, and places, like London 1871, that of course I've never visited, but I feel like I have.

Which brings me back to my love of reading:  you can go anywhere and be anything within the pages of a book.  I hope you have a chance to read one of my books and enjoy what you find hidden in the pages.

Drop me a note - I'd love to hear from you!

 Doesn't she sound great! Here's more!

ME: Where/when/how did you come up with the idea for THE FAERIE RING?
KIKI: I wrote THE FAERIE RING in 30 days during June 10th and July 10th 2008.

ME: What was the hardest part about writing THE FAERIE RING and what did you do to deal with and get past these blocks?

KIKI: To be honest, there wasn’t a hard part.  The story just fell out of my head onto the page and I had to type as fast as I could to keep up!!!! However, I’ve had hard parts in other stories and there are a couple of things I do: 1) keep writing and see if I can get the momentum going again and figure I’ll fix any problems in revision. 2) Think up the worst possible thing that can happen to my main character and throw it in there, or 3) figure out where I got stuck – sometimes plots will take a wrong turn and if you go back and eliminate a scene, you can get things moving again.

ME: Did you always have this series planned for four books?

KIKI: No, I wasn’t planning to write a series – I was just writing a story that I wanted to read. But when I got done, I realized the story wasn’t over.  I’m not sure how many books will be in the series – I’ve written the next one and I’ll probably write book 3 this winter.

ME: Why did you pick Victorian London as the setting?

KIKI: I love Victorian London – it was a time of so much mystery and belief in magic, yet great technological changes were occurring - which changed the structure of the city as well as the class system, thereby providing a great gap in motivations and outcomes.

ME: How much research was involved while you were writing THE FAERIE RING? (i.e. setting, speech, faerie lore)

KIKI: I did a LOT of research for the book. All of the historical details are accurate (to the best of my ability.)  Additionally, I did a lot of research into British faerie lore so that I could thread historical beliefs with the fabric of my imagination to create the faerie world.

ME: What is your experience with getting your novel published? (i.e. how much time it took for each stage, how many rejection letters you received)

KIKI: I think my experience has been pretty typical. THE FAERIE RING was my second book. An agent had requested a partial of my first book and I wrote TFR while I waited for her response. She asked for a revision on my first book and I mentioned I’d written a second book so she said send both back. At that point, (November 2008) the agent  (Kate Schafer Testerman) offered to represent me and she went out first with THE FAERIE RING. We got close several times but it took about nine months to find the *right* editor at Tor.

ME: Do you have any advice for those of us who want to be published authors, especially teens?

KIKI: If writing is your dream than you can never give up.  The industry is VERY competitive and you have to go into it knowing that rejection is not personal.  It will take time to sell your book. You might not sell your first book. (I didn’t.) One editor / agent will love a story and the next won’t.  It’s subjective.  But stick to it and write for the love of telling a story.  There’s a lot to learn about writing and you will be well-served to take classes, join critique groups and attend writing conferences. Always be open to revising to improve the story and never give up!!

ME: A question for fun! What do you like more: A love triangle or one true love? Why?

KIKI: I’m always about one true love. Because I believe in true love. In love that spans time. But love triangles are always fun!

ME: When is the sequel planned for and how far along are you with it?

KIKI: I’ve written books 2 and 3 but recently combined them into one book.  So that’s my new BIG book 2. J  I haven’t sold it yet. My agent is reading it now. I have just finished writing a YA contemporary story and I will probably write book 3 this winter.

ME: Do you have any say over the titles or the covers?

KIKI: Tor was wonderful in that they asked for my opinion on the cover and did pretty much everything I asked for.  I LOVE my cover and I’m very grateful to Seth Lerner, Tor’s Art Director, and my editor, Susan Chang, for letting me have some input.

ME: In other words, how much freedom as an author do you have over the presentation of your book?

KIKI: I think my case is fairly rare. Usually I don’t believe the author has the chance to give input. But I could be wrong!

ME: Finally, how amazing is it being a YA author? 

KIKI: So SO amazing.  And since my book hasn’t released yet, it still feels a little bit like a dream.  But the BEST and most surprising part has been the wonderful, kind people I’ve met at conferences and who have sent me emails that have read my book and loved it or are so excited to read it.  The blogging world has been so AMAZING to me and I’m so grateful!!!

Thanks so much Kiki! And sorry it took me so long to get this interview up. Let me know what you think in the comments below! Oh, and go pick up a copy of The Faerie Ring, it's a really wonderful novel.

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