I’m on vacation in Dubaii the next two weeks, so I’m not sure I’ll get up a post next week, but this week I’m excited to introduce fellow author, KC Rivers, who also happens to be my husband’s cousin. However, that’s not why I love her writing. I helped give “Prince of Light” a read-over while she was preparing it for publication and I plain just love the book. So this week I’m interviewing her on her novel and her writing. It’s available at Amazon and B&N in ebook form.
1. When did you first realize you were a writer?
I’ve been writing short stories since I was a child and have always been an avid reader. It seems like there’s constantly been some sort of story going through my head. I think when I first realized that I wanted to write for a living was when I was around 18, maybe 19. I was working at the local library at that time and felt like I was in paradise because I was constantly surrounded by books. I actually started writing a novel around that age but never finished it. Looking back now, I realize that it was a good thing. My writing has definitely changed since then.
2. Who would you say is your greatest writing influence?
It would probably be a combination of C.S. Lewis and Rick Riordan, with a smattering of J.R.R. Tolkien thrown in for good measure. I grew up reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” and fell in love with the Percy Jackson series in my later teens. Lewis and Tolkien’s amazing talent for world-building was really inspirational for me. The other biggest influence, however, has probably been my love of manga (Japanese comics). Even though they’re graphic novels, the storylines can be very intricate and have some amazing character development that it really helped me craft my own characters and their abilities. In fact, I would love to see “Prince of Light” made into a manga someday.
3. What do you find is the hardest aspect of being a writer?
For me, it’s time. I can’t afford quit my day job just yet, so trying to find time to market the book I have out plus write book two while working 40 hours a week is a pretty big challenge. It’s very easy to get frustrated, but the harder I work the closer I can get to making writing my fulltime career.
4. Tell us about your novel, “Prince of Light.”
“Prince of Light” is a young adult medieval fantasy that I’ve sometimes described as every fangirl’s “dream book.” The story mainly centers around a seventeen-year-old human girl who finds herself in an alternate world and has to learn how to survive there. Ultimately, she will have the difficult decision of choosing sides in a war between nations and between the love of two very different men.
5. Now that you’re published, what has changed in your view when it comes to writing and publishing?
Boy, a lot has changed since I first decided that I wanted to become an author. Originally, I even thought that I didn’t want to have an agent! I thought I could just submit to a few publishers and they would snatch my work right up. I had no idea how competitive the realm of authorship really is. And self-publishing wasn’t even an option at that point. I shudder now when I look at some of my previous query letters. They were downright awful. Fortunately, I ended up stumbling across a web site early on that allowed me to connect with both published authors and aspiring writers. They helped me hone my query and offered a positive viewpoint of self-publishing. Several of them chose it even after receiving offers of representation from agents or publishers because they want to have the control over their own work and have the final say. I finally realized just how much work it is to be an author, but also how rewarding it is.
6. What one piece of advice do you have for unpublished writers?
Never give up! No matter what route you choose, whether it’s self-publishing or traditional, it’s going to mean a lot of blood, sweat and tears. The final outcome, however, is totally worth every minute.
7. What’s coming up next for KC Rivers?
I’d really like to get book two out this year. I’m not sure if I’m ready to release the title just yet, so I’m going to keep it a bit of a surprise for now. It’s going to be a little bit of a direction change from book one, but it’ll be exciting to see where it ultimately ends up. I also have a stand-alone novel that’s not related to the “Prince of Light” series that I’d like to finish up.
There was darkness all around us, making it almost impossible to run through the forest. The moon was only half-full, and the tall, ancient trees didn’t allow any extra light. Branches slapped at my face, stinging my cheeks.
“Faster, Evanthe!” My mother was gasping for breath behind me. We ran harder, our legs burning with each step. The attack had been so sudden. I could hear voices shouting behind us and knew it had to be the men who had raided the village. Common thieves, seeking an easy victim. Though rumors had spread through the town of a new band of outlaws that were formerly mercenaries, no one had really believed them until now.
Our long nightdresses tripped us up, making it difficult to stay ahead of them.
“Where can we go?” I asked, holding my fingers against a cramp in my side.
“It doesn’t matter. Just keep moving.” There was hardness in my mother’s voice. It made me feel determined to outrun our pursuers.
The forest floor began to slope upwards, and we had to slow our pace. It didn’t make sense to me. Why would the outlaws target us? My father was not the richest lord in this area. He was too honest to take advantage of the people in his care. As soon as he had discovered that the castle had been breached, he’d pulled my mother and me from our beds and raced with us to the edge of the forest. Then he’d left us, promising that he would catch up when the danger was past.
If the men who attacked were as skilled as my father had thought them to be, it would be only a matter of time before they found two women in the forest. They were killers, bred only to feast on the pain and terror of those they hunted.
“Keep going,” my mother urged me. “We have to find someplace to hide.”
We kept climbing. The night was becoming colder, and soon we were both shivering in our flimsy nightdresses. We came to a stop beside a fallen tree, resting our weary legs. My body ached. The voices came again, closer this time. I felt my mother’s hand grasp mine in the darkness.
“We’re near the top, Evanthe.” I didn’t like the change in her voice as she spoke to me. I knew I wasn’t going to like what she had to say. “Keep going until you reach the peak of the hill. Find a hiding place and do not let them see you.”
“No,” I protested. “We’re going together.”
Her fingers brushed the side of my face. “We can’t outrun them. You go ahead. I will go back to your father and keep them away from you.”
I shook my head. “I can’t do this by myself.”
“Yes, you can.” She leaned over and kissed my forehead. “I love you.”
She stood up before I could say anything more. I clung to her hand, but she pulled away. Tears filled my eyes and I blinked rapidly.
“I love you, too,” I whispered.
“Go now, Evanthe. While you have a chance. Run!” I heard her begin the descent down the side of the mountain. I didn’t want her to leave.
Fear gripping my heart, I forced my body to turn away. I had to keep going. I couldn’t let this opportunity be wasted. I prayed for both of my parents, hoping for their safe return to me. I could feel torn holes in my nightdress, and the night air licked my damp skin like an icy kiss. I was trembling, a chill settling into my bones, but still I kept moving. The voices grew fainter and fainter behind me, and I didn’t stop climbing until exhaustion overtook me.
The air had changed. It smelled different, perhaps because I was higher up now. A sudden snap of a branch to my left made my heart leap in my chest. I could feel a shrub next to my body and went on all fours, feeling along the ground. I pushed the branches aside, a few of them hitting my eyes and wrapping in my lengthy blonde hair before I finally found a way underneath. I kept my back to the tree that was growing right next to the bush, so that no one could attack me from behind. For once I was grateful of my small stature.
I heard more footsteps, but the darkness was so thick that I couldn’t see anything. I was terrified, suspended in the unknown. Something – or someone – was very close. The branches moved, and I felt a warm breath against my arm. My head snapped to the right where a pair of red, fiery eyes glowed in the shadows. Then darkness overtook me completely.
K.C. Rivers is a self-proclaimed geek with a particular fetish for elves, pirates, and winged creatures. She often finds inspiration for her writing from the scenic outdoors that her native Oregon has to offer. When she’s not playing the piano, writing, or reading, she can usually be found taking a long walk or enjoying a cup of coffee. She currently lives with her husband, two dogs and cat. Prince of Light is her first novel.