Answer: It has been delightful. Writing for young adults gives me the freedom to explore more mature themes and weave in plot threads that make the story richer, more layered and complex. It's like working a giant jigsaw puzzle: challenging, but fun.
Why did you make the crossover?
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Answer: The short answer is the child's when asked, "Why did you step in that puddle?" Because it was there. Writing a novel was the obvious next step for me. I've always loved reading novels, but even though I was a writer, a novel seemed daunting. I kept thinking there must be some magic key to unlocking a story that spans hundreds of pages. Studying for my MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I discovered the magic key. It's called hard work. With that discovery, writing a novel became a challenge I couldn't ignore. I jumped into the puddle with both feet, and I'm glad I did.
Answer: In Eye of the Sword, Melaia is trying to adjust to the life of royalty, which requires her to marry someone of her status, even though she loves Trevin. When he leaves on a quest assigned by the king, she must face the unwanted advances of a dangerous suitor. As she tries to decide whom to trust and how far to trust them, she makes a crucial decision that she hopes will save Trevin's life. But it may keep the two of them apart forever.
Speaking of Trevin, what a hunk he is on the cover!Â Is this how you pictured him to look?
Answer: Actually I pictured Trevin a bit more rugged and a little older. But I'm not disappointed. This model is a good-looking guy. After my publisher sent me the mock-up of the cover, I put it on one side of my computer screen as I worked on revisions so I could visualize him in every scene. Yes. This hunk works!
How did you shape Trevin's character? It must have been different than writing the first book from a female's perspective, especially as a female writer.
Answer: In some ways it's different, and in some ways it's not. Except for me, my household is male â€“ two grown sons and one husband. So I felt like I had a bit of insight into the male psyche. I also read novels that had male protagonists to see how other writers approached the male viewpoint, and I read books about the male mind. I learned that males generally tend to speak in short, active words and use few adjectives. Usually males are spatial, while females are verbal. But information like that makes it easy to stereotype males, and I wanted to avoid that danger. So I see each of my characters as individuals with different backgrounds and personalities. They face situations in their own unique ways. Many issues Trevin deals with are universal, but he looks at them with a male point of view as well as a "Trevin" point of view.
Eye of the Sword offers fans so much action and adventure as Trevin fights not only to stay alive but to win Melaia's heart â€“ what was your favorite scene to write?
Answer: The sword fights were my favorites. I bought a good book on sword fighting and tried to make each scene as realistic as I could. I really enjoyed challenging Trevin by giving him a female swordfighting instructor.
Just one more book in the trilogy to go â€“ any sneak peek you can give us?
Answer: Book three alternates the point of view between Melaia and Trevin. As the window of time for restoring the stairway to heaven narrows, Trevin insists that he, not Melaia, will retrieve the third harp from the Dregmoors. But Melaia has her own plans, as does another angel, who puts all their efforts in danger. Trevin and Melaia must trust their love to hold when good appears evil and evil lurks in the guise of good.
An accomplished veteran author, what are the top 3 things you suggest new writers do to fine-tune their craft?
1. Read, read, and read some more. All genres.
2. Write, write, and write some more. Practice your craft. Exercise your art.
3. Get your first draft written, then get feedback from good readers whom you trust to be honest with you. Don't be afraid of critique. And don't be afraid to rewrite until you've told the story you want to tell in the best way you can tell it.
Your bio says you're a speaker as well as a writer. One of the topics you address is communicating with children and teens. What's one suggestion you could give?
Â Â Â Â Answer: Listen. We listen respectfully and consider what the child or teen is saying. When we listen, we gain a better understanding of where the child or teen is "coming from." Sometimes all they need is for us to listen as they talk, and they sort out the issues themselves. When we do speak, they're more likely to listen to us, because we've earned their respect by respectfully listening to them first.
So did you listen to teens before writing Eye of the Sword?
Â Â Â Â Answer: Not specifically. But I know that developmentally a teen is forming his or her own identity as a person separate from Mom and Dad. I also know that one of their greatest desires is to be wanted and accepted, loved and respected â€“ which is what we all want. The teen I really listened to was my own teen self. I remember what it was like. So I tried to write the book I wanted to read. (Which is good advice for any author.)
Facebook: Karyn Henley
This interview was reprinted with permission from JKS Communications, for promotion of this hot new title!Â I have read "Breath of Angel" and can't wait to read the sequel, "Eye of the Sword"!