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July 27, 2012

Friday Fun with K. B. Hoyle

K. B. Hoyle
Today, I actually have 2 guests for Friday Fun. I've mentioned that my niece Jamie had been a reluctant reader until we discovered The Gateway Chronicles by K. B. Hoyle. When I first started blogging, K. B. emailed me about reviewing her series which consisted of 2 books at that point. I quickly read through them and loved them. My mom then read them to my niece last summer. My niece loved them so much that she wanted to give copies to her school library for Christmas. She also received the third book for Christmas; it became the first "big" book she read completely by herself. I'm happy to say she now loves to read.

Though Jamie has read many other authors, K. B. remains her favorite author. K. B. and I thought it would be fun to have Jamie interview her. Jamie was thrilled, but then agonized over what to ask. Below are the questions we came up with one summer evening while enjoying milkshakes. (We let her brother ask one question because he has yet to read the books.) Read past the end of the interview for an exclusive look at the cover for book 4 The Enchanted.

Jamie: I'm a little confused about Narks. Are they more like humans who change personalities or are they more like Fauns in Narnia?

K. B. Hoyle: Narks are like twins that share one body; they are separate entities with similar personalities, but they each control the body only at a certain time. In this, narks are more like humans than fauns, I suppose, but there is definitely something of Mr. Tumnus in Veli and his devotion to Darcy. Realistically, though, they are more like Tolkien's elves than either humans or fauns. They have the empathy of human beings, the devotion and free-spirit of fauns, and the extraordinary nature of elves in how they are, as Veli often says, "good" at everything they do (incredibly fast runners, very strong, good swimmers, excellent of hearing, long of sight, etc...). Narks really are supposed to be new creatures, though, inspired by others, but not quite like anything else out there. I don't know that I've ever read of another fantasy creature that has two entities sharing one body.

Jamie: Can you give any hints to the riddle: Twice wed, twice dead, twice stained red?

K. B.: Hmmm... well, I don't want to give away anything that would ruin the experience for anyone, but I also know that it's fun to try and figure out a riddle in a story. Here's all I will say: there is more information forthcoming on this in book 4, The Enchanted. The riddle has tie-ins to other oracle riddles in the story. And anyone who wants to try and figure out a few more specifics would do very well to take a look at the alchemical process, although this would probably be a bit above the heads of my younger readers.

Jamie: I heard you had a baby recently. What is your new son's name?

K. B.: We named our new son William. As a writer, I believe that names are very important, and I further believe that parents ought to be very purposeful in naming their children. We have three sons now, and they are all named after great men from history. With that in mind, we named William after the historical William Wilberforce, who was responsible for abolishing the slave trade in England.

Jamie: What is your favorite part of teaching?

K. B.: I love when I can tell that my students are not only comprehending, but also enjoying the material we are studying. There is nothing quite like the enthusiasm of students to encourage and inspire the heart of a teacher. And I teach some difficult stuff! I read The Histories by Herodotus with my 8th graders (since I teach at a classical school), and they tend to go into that unit dubiously, certain that this huge old tome they are about to read is going to be as dry as dust, but at the end of the year, Herodotus is almost universally named by my 8th graders as the favorite thing they studied all year.

Jamie: Both Sam and Darcy have crushes on Perry. Why does Darcy like him so much?

K. B.: Darcy likes Perry so much because Perry is a likeable guy! He's good-looking, athletic, charismatic, confident, and he can be quite charming when he wants to be. There tends to be a "type" of guy that girls of a certain age tend to like, and Perry is supposed to fit that to the bill. As far as why I put this sort of character into this story, there was a boy at the real camp I attended whom I and my two best girlfriends all liked. In a way it was fun to all three like the same guy because we could talk about him together, but in another way it made for a sort of competition between the three of us. It was an interesting dynamic in our group relationship at camp, and I wanted to build that into the story. And we ultimately didn't let it spoil our friendship! I haven't talked to that boy in years, but I'm still very close with both of those girls, and I'm even in one of their weddings this October!

Jamie: Lewis has a magic quill, Sam gets a pouch that objects come out of, Dean has a bow and arrow to send messages, Amelia's lyre can reveal what is lost, and Perry's sword serves as a warning signal for  Tselloch. Why doesn't Darcy get a magical object? (Side note: Me to Jamie: Are you sure? How do you know the ring doesn't have magical properties that haven't been revealed? Jamie: No, it's just a ring all the queens wore.)

K B.: This question I can't answer without giving something away! Sorry! You'll find out in book 4.
(Side note: Me to K.B.: Should I make a bet with Jamie that I'm right and she's wrong?)

Austin: What was/is your favorite part of making The Gateway Chronicles?

K. B.: There are really two things that are my favorite about crafting this series, and they're both worth mention because they are very different. Firstly, my camp experiences were such an integral part of my childhood and teenage years, and I miss those times so much, that it is therapeutic in a way to get to write stories based at a fictionalized version of that camp. Secondly, I simply love writing characters. Characterization and relationship-building is my favorite part of story craft. I love writing dialogue and working on scenes that depend heavily on character interaction. I think I am good at making characters feel real and come alive off the paper, and you always enjoy doing something you think you are good at!

Since meeting K. B. and reading the first three books in The Gateway Chronicles, she had the entire series picked up by The Writer's Coffee Shop who is in the process of re-releasing the first three books.

Darcy Pennington hates her life. She is an insufferably average teenager with no real friends, crushing social anxiety, and an indescribable sense of not fitting in anywhere. A change in her dad’s job forces her to attend Cedar Cove Family Camp the summer before her eighth-grade year, and Darcy once again finds herself on the outside of a social circle of teenagers, with her only advocate being an awkward girl named Samantha Palm. The only problem is, Darcy has no desire to be friends with her, but as the hostility from the other teenagers increases, she decides to return the friendship.

When Darcy begins to experience strange magical occurrences, she comes to believe she’s either losing her mind or on the brink of a discovery that could give her purpose in life. After unwittingly stumbling through a magical gateway to a new world called Alitheia, she convinces Sam and the other four teenagers to travel there with her, and despite their earlier hostilities toward her, they eventually concede leadership of their small group to Darcy. Once there, they learn the “arrival of the Six” was prophesied hundreds of years before, and that they must expel an ancient evil from the land. In the end their lives, and the fate of Alitheia, will hinge upon Darcy. Will she have what it takes to fulfill her mysterious purpose? Or will she fall prey to a deadly foe? From
 See my review. Get it at Amazon.

A year ago Darcy Pennington had no real friends. A year ago she’d thought that magic only existed in fairy tales. A year ago she would have laughed at the idea of other worlds.
Then everything changed when she’d visited Cedar Cove Family Camp and stumbled into a magical gateway to a world called Alitheia.
It is the summer before freshman year and Darcy and her five friends have come back to Cedar Cove Family Camp and Alitheia. This return is bittersweet because her elusive purpose in the magical realm continues to evade her. Egged on by Tellius, the boy prince she is prophesied to marry, Darcy rebels and impulsively “petitions” an entity called the Oracle and requests it give her information as to her purpose. In order to receive her answer she must travel to the Oracle, and so she embarks on a journey along with her friends and Yahto Veli, the nark. Too late she realizes her selfish entreaty has thrown the entire outcome of the prophecy itself into question and endangered everyone. Uncertainties mount between Darcy and her companions as they fight their way through enemy territory to locate the Oracle, and an unwelcome visitor from Cedar Cove adds a layer of mystery that none of them are prepared for.
But the perils of the quest are nothing when compared to what lies in wait for her in the lair of the Oracle. There is a cost associated with every question asked– a cost that may be far greater than Darcy is willing to pay. And someone may choose to make the ultimate sacrifice to free her from it. From Goodreads.
 See my review. Get it at Amazon.

For the duration of her freshman year, Darcy Pennington agonized over the fate of her dear friend, the nark Yahto Veli, who sacrificed himself to the Oracle to set her free. As her third trip to camp, and to the magical land, approaches, Darcy wonders if she’s capable of the daring rescue she wants to embark upon, but soon realizes there’s much more at stake.

Her return to Cedar Cove Family Camp is marked by a mysterious disappearance, and in Alitheia a new message from the Oracle adds to the riddles that must be deciphered if they are to expel the dark evil that hovers over the land. The six friends and the alchemist Rubidius plan a sea journey that will take them beyond the borders of Alitheia, and into the realm of a legendary archipelago. Tellius winds up joining them as well and the foes they meet along the way are both deceptive and charming, while the Oracle’s riddles seem to dog them at every turn.

Darcy is also hiding a secret from her best friend Sam that could test their friendship beyond the breaking point, and there’s an unexpected development in her relationship with Tellius that changes everything and makes her understand that the deepest scars sometimes cannot be seen.

Darcy isn’t sure if she’s prepared for another meeting with the Oracle, but if she wants to have any chance of saving her friend, she must try. To complicate matters, the evil they left behind in Alitheia has not remained dormant. From Goodreads.
 See my review. Available August 16.

Coming this fall.

Learn more about K. B. Hoyle and The Gateway Chronicles at her blog On Alitheia.

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