I am so excited to be bringing you the first author interview of 2017!! Today I have Kelly St. Clare. She’s a New Zealander who’s currently living in Australia – I love it when Book Scents gets to go international! – and has two books series out right now. Working with Kelly was great! She wrote an awesome book which makes creating scent so much fun. I really liked Fantasy of Frost, which was full of these amazing characters that you just can’t help but like (or hate if they are the bad guys!) and Kelly’s writing pulls you in pretty quickly to the adventures of the main character, Olina. And the fragrance Kelly picked for her candle, Leather and Thrones, was amazing. I think the pairing of the candle and the series is perfect – so I hope you’ll get them both!
Now on to the interview! Kelly was kind enough to take some time away from writing to talk with us. And she provided us with a great teaser for book #2! Gotta love when an author does that!
Hi Kelly! Thank you so much for joining us for this interview.
I wanted to start off by getting to know you a little bit. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started as a writer.
Hey Nalana! Thanks for having me (and making my amazing book candle). I’m Kelly St. Clare, young adult author of fantasy and science-fiction novels. I currently have two series out; The Tainted Accords—a story of a young woman veiled from birth, and The After Trilogy—a dystopian novel set in a post-global warming Earth.
My love of reading indirectly sparked my writing career. As a child and teen, I would close a book halfway through and imagine the ending myself. I always enjoyed writing projects at school, and studied creative writing in my spare time after completing my Physiotherapy degree and joining the workforce. One day, I woke up with the idea for The Tainted Accords and it was as though the bottle was unstoppered—the ideas haven’t stopped since. I now write fulltime and love waking up each day to do what I do.
We love hearing about an author’s inspiration- What types of books and authors have inspired you over the years?
Nothing motivates me more than that feeling I get after reading a great book. I’m inspired to write by many authors. Emily Rhoda, John Marsden, J.K. Rowling, and Tamora Peirce were favourites from my childhood. I’m currently in love with Patricia Briggs and Anne Bishop. I have a huge list of my favourite Indie Authors, too. I just read an amazing Epic Fantasy by Ciara Ballintyne, Company of the Dead, and a tear-jerking contemporary novel, Dying Wish by Margaret McHeyzer.
I mentioned to you while we were working on Leather & Thrones that Fantasy books are hard for me to get into. I get easily distracted by the “other world”. However, I found your characters kept me engaged and that your details about Galacium and Osolis were just the right amount. I’m curious how this story started for you – were the characters first or the “world”?
Thank you! The story always starts with the characters for me. In Olina’s case, she was riding across the desert on horse-back behind her mother, a veil on. I immediately knew she hated her mother, and that she was riding towards an enemy. After that, she began to talk to me more and more, then the other characters start yapping. It gets quite noisy at times (haha). The world comes afterwards, and is one of my favourite parts to play around with. For instance, though my first encounter with Olina was in the desert, there isn’t a desert in the books. Instead, the final Tainted Accords setting is two enemy worlds; one of fire and one of ice.
Can you explain how you developed the world in your stories?
A lot of dream time – possibly called napping in most parts of the world… Once I have the initial meet and greet with a character, my mind takes the idea and begins to turn it over and over in the background for days, weeks, and months. Eventually, the basic idea of the world kind of pops out of nowhere. From there, I take the setting and I study it, and I research it and hone it, and I make up names for the objects, clothing, and animals. I create mannerisms for the cultures and fill the world with things I find interesting. Often the little quirks of the world appear as I’m writing the first draft.
Our main character has had a pretty hard life – I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet – and she somehow seems to find a way to find joy in her life. What is it about Olina that makes her resilient in the face of her upbringing?
She has, poor thing! Olina’s resilience comes from a few places. For starters, she has a couple of secrets she holds close, which give her the strength to keep her head down and accept harsh realities. She has an overwhelming drive to help create a better future for her people, and to do more than those who have come before her. Coupled with this, she constantly pushes to improve herself and be the best she can. She draws from the support of her few loved ones, too, and possesses a huge heart and great sense of humour that help her to see the light in dark places.
King Jovan starts off being a bit mean to Olina. He’s also got a reputation for being a tough leader. But over time you can tell he begins to soften toward Olina. What is it about Olina that breaks through Jovan’s tough exterior?
Initially, he doesn’t think much of her. He has other things on his mind and has become darkened by grief. He gets his first shock when he sees what her veil hides, and as the story progresses, it is Olina’s likeness to himself which draws him. She is intensely vulnerable and yet you would not ever suspect this to be the case, by the way she carries herself and responds to any threat. This reminds Jovan of all the people he has lost, but the façade of strength he must always be seen to have as King.
I’d love a teaser about the rest of the series, if you can give us one!
One of my favourite parts in the series is when Olina enters into a series of pit fights with the biggest and meanest savages on Glacium.
Here is an excerpt from one of my favourite scenes in Fantasy of Flight (The Tainted Accords: Book Two).
“And who have we got here? You save another whore?” He flicks his eyes to Crystal whose cheeks blush the same color as her hair. Alzona steps forwards, but is stopped by the younger girl.
Shard doesn’t look up from where he’s untying his boots. “She’s our newest fighter.” He says.
“Your newest…?” The man blinks, speechless for a moment, then he throws back his head and roars with laughter. He turns to his group of fighters.
“It looks like you’ll be fighting a girl today.” He says. Those who can hear him look disbelieving, others burst into laughter.
“That’s right. The slut is trying to make a joke of you all,” he roars. The groups around us start to pass word to the people around them. Laughter spreads throughout the whole ring. I can see some of the fighters from Trick’s compound shaking their heads. My face flames, but I hold my head high, staring straight at the thin man. I ignore the jeering stares of the fighting males who are walking around to stare at me.
“Look at those tits!”
“I’ll tell you what darling, give me a romp and I’ll let you win.”
“Look at that face boys cause it won’t be long until she’s missing some of ‘er teeth!” People in the levels above are craning their heads to see what all the laughter is about. I want to sink into the floor and somehow arrive at the castle, in my bed, covered with furs.
Alzona steps up to the skinny man. “Well, if she’s such a puny female you’ll have no problem putting her up against Crush.” She says.
Some of the fighters hush. A couple laugh even louder at her words.
“She serious?” One of the men close to Hale asks.
Hale looks at her with narrowed eyes. Then at me for a long moment. My eyes are starting to burn with tears. His frame begins to blur. He grins and spits on his hand, holding it out to Alzona. Without hesitation, she spits on her own hand and they shake. It’s gross enough to shock my tears away.
“You gotta deal. There’s a slot in three fights.” He smirks.
Oh my, that’s a great teaser! Thank you so much for chatting with us today! I hope my readers will pick up a copy of Fantasy of Frost (and the rest of the series!) and enjoy it with our Leather & Thrones candle.
The candle smells just like Jovan 😊 Thank you for your awesome work!
Leather & Thrones
is inspired by The Tainted Accords series by Kelly St. Clare.
A robust blend of leather, cotton, musk and citrus in brown.
What I loved about Fantasy of Frost:
I absolutely loved the cast of characters! Even Olina’s horrible mother is someone you can imagine. Each character, whether a main character or a “sidekick” has an impact on the page. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Fantasy genre books. And even if you don’t, if you love a character driven story this book is definitely that.- Nalana @ Book Scents