Thank you for taking the time to stop by Moxie Girl Musings today. I really appreciate your time. I'm also happy that you're sharing an excerpt of your latest novel, Ten Kingdoms, with us. Let's get to the interview first. Welcome, Kyra!
How long have you been writing?
I started writing when I was nine and I had a few poems and short stories published when I was a teenager. But I only seriously started my writing career in 2009, when I wrote my first true novel Flight of Dragons.
What inspires you?
All sorts of things. There are story ideas all around you all the time. All you have to do is keep your mind open and you'll find them.
Can you tell us a little bit about your newest release?
Ten Kingdoms is book two in the Firebrand Trilogy. It's a YA fantasy about two young nobles who have the power to create and control fire.
Who is your favorite character in this novel and why?
Zazere, a slyph mage who can read minds. He's very mysterious and the only character who can really match wits with Jada, who is one of the Firebrands.
Hmm...he sounds fascinating. I'm not sure if I'd like to read minds or not. It's one of those things that could end up being a horrible curse. Can't wait to find out more about him in the book.
What comes first--characters or plot ideas?
That's hard to say. I'm a pantser, so the characters and the plot just sort of organically grow around each other as I write. I discover the characters and the plot kind of at the same time, I guess.
How important is setting? Does it play an integral role in this story?
Setting is important, but the characters are the most integral part of the story. All my novels are very character driven.
What motivates your main characters?
A desire to save the Ten Kingdoms.
What is the central conflict?
A plot to destroy the unity of the Ten Kingdoms.
What is your favorite aspect about being an author?
I love to write. I've been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember and it's wonderful to be able to share them with other people.
What draws you to this particular genre?
Ever since I was a kid fantasy books have always been my favorite. Stories like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz fascinated me with their tales of ordinary children whisked away to magical lands. So, I think it's only natural I grew up to write fantasy stories myself.
Are there any other genres you can see yourself writing and why/why not?
There are a couple of science fiction ideas in my future novel folder, but whether I'll ever write them or not I can't say. Most of my ideas are fantasy related, so I'll probably stick mostly to that.
What’s your goal as an author? By that, I mean...why write? Why is it important to you?
I'm a socially awkward introvert and being very shy makes it hard for me to connect with other people. It takes a long time before I can feel comfortable talking and even then I often find it hard to properly express myself. Books have always been my refuge from the world. And when I write, I find a freedom to express myself that I could never have in a face to face conversation with another person.
I completely understand that! I've battled shyness all of my life. Although I'm out of my shell most of the time these days, there are still moments when it washes over me. I still need alone time to recharge. Thanks for sharing that!
If you could snap your fingers and transport yourself anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Greece. I love Greek mythology and I've always wanted to go and see the Parthenon and all the old ruins.
Tea or coffee?
Night person or early riser?
Tell us 5 little known facts about yourself.
I can't sleep without a blanket over my feet.
I'm terrified of wasps.
I can't stand the taste of black licorice.
My favorite sound is the sigh of waves lapping up against the shore.
I love the feel of the wind on my skin.
Ooo...I love your five things! Okay, now that we know more about you, let's look at your novel.
A blurb of "Ten Kingdoms"...
A plot to overthrow the Ten Kingdoms has been discovered, but the only ones who know of it are a band of fugitives wanted for murder and treason. They barely escaped Castle Sovereign with their lives and have spent the last year in hiding. But now the time has come to strike back against House Andrassis. The only hope they have is finding a way to warn the kingdoms who are not part of the plot and rally them under the same banner. Which is exactly what Jada Suvari intends to do.
Being daughter of the High King ensures that Jada will get an audience with any monarch she chooses to visit, but it will be no easy thing to tell a friend from an enemy and a single slip could cost them all their lives. Against the wishes of her friends, Jada enlists the help of a telepathic mage. A man whose loyalty can be bought. A man who once worked for the enemy. A man who may prove to be their undoing.
They were not pursued as they made their way to the entrance hall. Once there, Verdin held up a hand to stop them. “Let me have a look first.” He went to one of the narrow windows beside the door and looked out. “I count twenty three guards between us and the gate, and those are only the ones I can see. It’s dark out there.”
“Three mages on the second story parapet overlooking the courtyard,” Zazere added. “Six archers. Should make for an interesting evening.”
Interesting was not exactly the word Jada would have used, but she couldn’t deny a certain thrill at the thought of taking her fire into battle. Perhaps she was a little more like Zazere than she thought.
She glanced at Carlan as she strode toward the door. “We may as well go out blazing. Perhaps we can catch them by surprise.”
“Don’t think about it,” she said, holding her voice low so that only he would hear. “Just do what you were born to do.” She lifted her hands toward the doors and fire danced across her fingertips.
Carlan raised his hands as well and though they trembled, the fiery glow that surrounded them was steady. “I can do this.”
Red fire and blue met to blast the double doors outward. Jada was off and running down the porch steps even as a shower of splinters rained down all around her. There were cries and startled shouts, but she paid no heed to any of this. She called up her flaming sword and met the first guard brave enough to step to her. Sparks flew as fire and steel collided.
Arrows whizzed past them as she and the man danced that most deadly of dances. He was older and likely better trained, but a sword of flames is a strange thing, solid as stone one moment, ethereal as the wind the next. A sword such as this could take even the most well trained of men and the guard went down in a spray of blood, his throat split when her sword slid right through his.
Jada pressed on beneath a sky grown black with clouds. “Esren, the gate,” she called out. A moment later she caught sight of him from the corner of her eye, running for the gate with Rinitha by his side.
Off to her right, Darlois was slinging daggers as fast as he could, Verdin guarding his back as he bent to retrieve them on the run; to her left, Carlan was flinging fireballs and finding a target with every throw; where Zazere might be she didn’t know, but she hoped he was dealing with the mages.
Esren and Rinitha made the gate, but even together they could not open it and there were two guards bearing down on them. Esren turned and took a swipe at the nearest guard with his long knife. The
Jada tried to get to them, but there was too much in her way. The guards closed in. The nearest one’s sword flashed in the starlight and Esren fell. Rinitha screamed as the second guard grabbed hold of her arm.
Carlan had a clear path and he was running, his fire a blue blaze before him. Then he stumbled, and fell face down with an arrow in his back. Jada ran her sword through the guts of the guard in front of her, hardly aware of what she was doing, she was so desperate to get to Esren. Her mind was screaming it was too late, too late, he was already dead, must be dead, and if he was she didn’t think her heart could stand the pain.
Something struck Jada in the back, something hot and fierce that knocked the breath out of her lungs and brought tears to her eyes. She lost control of her fire as black spots danced through the air. Her sword sputtered and went out.
Watch Kyra's Book Trailers: YouTube
More about Kyra...
Kyra Dune was born in Oklahoma, but spent most of her life travelling with her family. She is the author of more than half a dozen fantasy novels, including: Shadow of the Dragon, Elfblood, and Firebrand. As a child, her favorite stories were those that told of ordinary children being whisked away to magical lands. She has yet to find her own secret wardrobe or rabbit hole, but she hasn’t given up the search. You never know what might be waiting over the next rainbow.