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KIKI HAMILTON INTERVIEW AND BOOK GIVEAWAY
KATHRYN PACKER ROBERTS
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Today I’m excited to interview Kiki Hamilton about her debut novel, THE FAERIE RING that’s being released tomorrow. I’m especially excited to help Kiki celebrate her debut because I’ve become friends with her through following her blog. And I loved THE FAIRIE RING because it involves fantasy and fairies, two of my favorite things to read about.
Here’s a description of THE FAERIE RING from Goodreads:
The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.
Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.
Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…
Hi Kiki. Thanks so much for joining us.
Hi Natalie! Thanks so much for inviting me over to your awesome blog (!) and for your kind words about my book.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your book.
After reading the beginning books of the Harry Potter series and falling in love with reading again, I decided to write a story for my daughter. That’s when the madness set in. I LOVE writing. I had so much fun with the characters, the plot, the world – loved the process. Soon, the book wasn’t for my daughter any more (it was too old for her at the time) but was for my characters, who wanted to tell me their story. That novel is still incubating on my hard drive. Ahem. THE FAERIE RING was the second book I wrote. I loved writing that story even more!
2. I can’t believe how similar our start to writing was. I read the first Harry Potter book and it rekindled my love of fantasy. I decided to try writing a fantasy I’d been thinking of, which I wrote for my daughter too. THE FAERIE RING is set in 1871 London. I read that you’d never been to London before writing the story, which I find amazing since you describe the era and London in such detail. What research did you do into London and the Victorian era in writing your book?
My story is considered historical fantasy, so I’ve worked hard to keep all historical facts accurate. The Faerie Ring is set in 1871 because that’s the year one of my characters, Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria’s youngest son, was 18. My research was conducted through a variety of sources – several books were a wonderful resource: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool (Simon & Schuster 1993) and Victorian London, The Tale of a City 1840-1870 by Liza Picard (St. Martin’s Griffin 2005). Additionally, I used online resources including Google Earth.
After I’d sold the book, but before I’d worked on any editorial revisions, I had the opportunity to visit London for the first time. It was such a wonderful experience! As everyone knows, London is an ancient city with so much history oozing out of the buildings and sidewalks, it can’t help but to inspire a writer! I got to walk in Tiki’s footsteps (my main character) from Charing Cross to St. James Park to Buckingham Palace and more. The trip was surreal and fantastic (!!!) and very beneficial in filling in some of the more oblique, but still very important, details.
3. You did such a good job nailing the historical facts. And I’d love to visit London. Tiki is such an interesting character. Even though she’s a pickpocket, she’s doing it for a cause—surviving and because she’s driven to take care her new family that she found while living on London’s streets. And she’s independent in a time when women were dependant on men. How did you develop her as a character and what were the challenges in balancing her independence with the time she lived in?
There is a fine line in creating the heroic character you (usually) want and adhering to the class and moral structure of the era. But I don’t believe that women are ever really dependent on men. Though they may make it *seem* that way, even in the 19th century, I truly believe, when there is a will – there’s a way. So, though it might have been more difficult to control the outcomes of some events in the Victorian era, there are always ways around an imposed structure, whether it’s pretending to be a boy, employing a man’s name as a front or simply being clever enough to convince a man to think his choices are his own and not influenced by a woman. Blasphemous, aren’t I? ;-)
4. Ha! I totally agree with you. I loved Tiki’s relationship with Rieker, especially because their chemistry was not love at first sight. Can you give us some tips on how to build the tension in the relationship like you did here?
Tension is built by conflict or an impediment to that which you desire. In a novel, there are many ways to thwart or confuse a relationship – just like in real life. People are complicated and multi-layered – where a person might pretend to be transparent and lay their soul bare – they rarely do. And then of course, there are the types who have so many layers of secrets even they may not know their own truth any more. Those types of characters fascinate me and I’m drawn to including them in my plots, with the final result (hopefully) being that the tension is not manufactured simply as a plot device but because the characters are multi-dimensional and layered. The key is how quickly or slowly you peel back the layers.
5. That’s awesome advice. I read that you wrote books 2 and 3 of this series and then worked on combining them so you could write a new book 3. How much of the complete story did you know when you wrote THE FAERIE RING and what advice do you have on writing a series?
When I first started writing I wasn’t intending to write a series. I just had a story I wanted to tell. But when I got to the end, I realized that the story was far from over. I had only peeled back a few of the layers of my characters – there was a lot yet to discover!
If you can outline, it would be much easier to outline the entire series before you start, that way you can see where your turning points are and the shape of your story arc. In a perfect world – that’s the way I would do it if I could!
6. I’m glad you decided to make it a series. I want to learn more about Tiki and Rieker. I love that your magical system involves faeries. I love them! What research did you do in developing this aspect of your story?
I love the idea of worlds existing unseen but intersecting with our own. We’ve all had moments of seeing shadows move out of the corners of our eyes and we turn and nothing is there; the sense that we’re being watched;
For research, I read alot about faerie lore and faeries of the British Isles, through books and the internet, and then used my imagination.
7. I think that’s the draw of fantasy—the unseen world we long to be real. At least it’s one of the reasons I love to read fantasies. From following your blog, I know you’ve already been taking steps to market your book, such as being interviewed by bloggers who review books and getting really good reviews from some like Kristi at The Story Siren. (This is a really popular book blogger site that I really recommend BTW.) I was so excited when I read Kristi’s review. Tell us how you’ve reached out to the book blogging community and other marketing steps you’ve taken that you think are spreading the word about your book.
The blogging world has been phenomenal to me! I am SO grateful!! Honestly, a year ago – I didn’t even know it existed. I started reaching out to a few people and I’ll tell you – what a WONDERFUL group of people. I feel so lucky to count many of them as my friends, now.
8. What are you working on now?
I just finished a YA contemporary called THE LAST DANCE and I’m having my crit partners read it. At this moment, I have two things I’m working on – one is a fantasy with an alternate history set in London 1895 with a male main character, Blackjack Bailey. The other is a fantasy that I’m very excited about. I’m going to leave it at that. LOL – don’t you love and hate secrets at the same time? ;-)
Yes, those secrets are torture! Can’t wait till you can tell us about them. Thanks so much for your advice Kiki. Good luck with your book.
Thank you so much for having me, Natalie, and for your good wishes. Good luck with your book too! When do we get to hear about that?
Thanks so much for asking. I’m hoping to get my revisions done by early next year so I can start querying. Gulp!
You can find Kiki at her blog, website, Twitter and Facebook.
Kiki’s publisher generously offered an ARC for a giveaway. All you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on October 8th. I’ll announce the winner on October 10th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.
I’m going to do something different with my giveaway. If you mention this contest on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, please let me know in the comments and I’ll give you an extra entry.
I’ve got a lot of awesome interviews coming up in October. On October 3rd, I’m interviewing Hilary Wagner and giving away a copy of THE WHITE ASSASSIN. On October 5th, I’ll be blogging again so I can interview Jean Nadol and give away a copy of THE VISION. Then on October 10th, I’ll be interviewing Janice Hardy and giving away a copy of DARKFALL. I’ll tell you about the rest of my awesome October later.
Hope to see you next Monday!
Posted by Natalie Aguirre on Monday, September 26, 2011