Interview with K.M. Shea, author of Life Reader

Publisher: Take out the Trash!

Publish Date: May 26, 2013

Order Links:  Amazon

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Raven Wishmore was supposed to snatch a cauldron. Instead she accidentally blows up a library.

When Raven’s father—a spy for Kingdom Quest, a secret society devoted to protecting magic and punishing magic abusers—is charged with finding a priceless cauldron, Raven is coerced into joining the investigation. She reluctantly goes undercover at Saint Cloud Library, the supposed location at which the cauldron is being guarded. Raven—in her gum snapping, skirt wearing, ditzy disguise—is employed at Saint Cloud, which is ruled by a tyrannical library director who has declared all book sections closed. Her coworkers are wary, unfriendly, and unconcerned that the library’s magic is taking on the disposition of a chained monster.

It gets worse. Thanks to a cyber security leak an organization of magic abusers know the cauldron is at Saint Cloud. They will burn the library to the ground to get the cauldron if Raven doesn’t find it first. The only things Raven has going for her is her friendship with the mischievous Montamos brothers, who specialize in breaking and entering, and her dubious magic, the ability to read things to life. However, Raven is unwilling to use her power as she knows firsthand that her magic-based creations are willing to destroy her. Raven must decide if saving the library and recovering the cauldron is worth the personal risk of using her dangerous magic, or if she should let Saint Cloud and its employees fall.

Interview: Q. Please tell us about your current release.

‘Life Reader’ is a young adult urban fantasy story that stars Raven Wishmore—a passionate book lover who has the magical ability to read things to life. Raven is a part of a secret society that works to protect magic, and she is charged with recovering a magical artifact, a cauldron, as part of a high security mission.

‘Life Reader’ is all about challenging your definition of magic. Normally we think of magic as something that has to take place in a mystical or gritty setting. In ‘Life Reader’ the most powerful magical place in the city is the public library. While most fictional characters gifted with magic freely blast their powers around, Raven isn’t fond of her unusual power because it comes at a steep physical and emotional cost. Plus just because she reads something to life doesn’t mean it won’t bite her head off.

Q. How did writing this book affect you?

It made me realize that wearing a skirt in October is the worst. Raven’s undercover persona is that of a super girly-girl who wears skirts in the middle of fall. When writing the book I thought I would give the skirt in fall thing a try so I could accurately describe it. That was not my brightest idea as we had an early winter that year.

But in all seriousness, writing ‘Life Reader’ made me aware of the power of words. As I further developed Raven’s magical abilities I noticed how much words affect us, particularly words you say about yourself. For instance saying something like “I can’t do this” is usually a self-fulfilling prophecy. It will become true because by saying it you have decided it is true. Words are powerful.

Q. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to writing?

Like every other author I read a lot as a child, but what led me to actual writing was when I would read a book and be disappointed with the ending. (Usually this was when the heroine didn’t end up with the guy I thought she should have gone for.) I would make up my own endings, which led to making up original characters, which led to making up original stories.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Honestly? Writing the synopsis. I HATE it! Trying to summarize a plot and a bunch of prideful characters in 300 words or less is nothing but an invitation for a headache.

Q. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to while writing? If so, what kind of music?

I mostly listen to classical music or movie sound tracks. I can’t listen to anything with lyrics or I start writing in rhythm to it or, even worse, I’ll unknowingly make everything rhyme.

Q. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Whenever I meet someone and their name strikes a chord in me I write it down and file it away for use in a story. Some of the most beautiful names in my books are borrowed from people I met for five minutes at a party.

Q. Do you plan any subsequent books?

‘Life Reader’ has the potential to become a series, but currently I plan to leave it as a single book. The next story I’m working on is a spinoff of King Arthur, which I am really excited about.

Q. What are you currently reading?

I’m working my way through ‘King Arthur and his Knights’ by Sir James Knowles, and I’m bawling my eyes out. Poor King Arthur, he always gets the short end of the stick.

Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Jane Austen is by far my favorite author. Not only is she fun to read, but she is an inspiration. The plots and stories she wrote have been retold hundreds of times, but no one has been able to write them better than Jane because of her vivid, flashy characters. Half the time you don’t know what the characters look like, but you can identify them whenever they speak because of their particular way of talking.

Q. Please tell us your latest news (book-related or not!).

‘Life Reader’ will be available for free on Amazon June 6 through June 10. Please tell all your friends!

Q. Please tell us a fun-fact about yourself!

I’ve worked as a librarian for a number of years, and I actually held the position Raven has (library page, yes it is an actual title) for a summer when I was in college. The libraries I worked at weren’t nearly as big as Saint Cloud, but you would be surprised what weird sort of things happen in the public library.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

You severely underestimate your power as a reader. The reach of my books are dependent on you spreading the word about them—a trait that I deeply appreciate. Also, I really want to communicate with you because I want to write the kinds of stories that you want to read. So tell me your likes and dislikes! And finally, thank you for reading and I love all of you!

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