Hello, Kathy! I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to stop by and to (virtually) sit down with us here in Shut up, Shealea. I am very excited to have this opportunity to talk about your debut novel, A Shifting of Stars, and I’m sure plenty of readers are looking forward to learning more about the book as well.
To kick off this interview, I thought it’d be fun to prepare a couple of silly questions for you to answer.
If I wanted to snack on something or have a drink in my hand while I read A Shifting of Stars, what food and/or beverage should I pair it off with? And why do you think these would complement or go well with the book?
Wow, what a fun question! Well, since Meadow lives in a kingdom that hasn’t tasted good quality meat, fresh produce or dairy products in a while, I would suggest a nice charcuterie board in her honor!
If you had to spend the rest of your life on a deserted island, which one of your characters would you want to accompany you?
I’d like to go with Vogel!
What dessert best describes or represents each of the main cast in A Shifting of Stars?
Meadow: Berries, peaches or oranges because Meadow loves nature and I can imagine her climbing a fruit tree.
Vogel: A trifle because he has lots of layers to his personality!
Malthe: A devil’s food cake because he’s not the nicest of characters…
Casper: An apple turnover because… you’ll have to read the book to find out!
Anai: A cupcake and coffee. The perfect dessert for when you’re catching up with a friend.
Kalliope: A Prinsesstarta (Swedish Princess Cake) because Kalliope is a princess!
Prinsesstarta (Swedish Princess Cake) | Photo credit: Try Swedish
Thank you for playing along, Kathy! I hope you had fun answering. For the next portion of this interview, let’s delve into A Shifting of Stars and the writing process behind it.
At its heart, what is A Shifting of Stars about? And could you share with us the inspiration behind this story?
Sure! Although A Shifting of Stars is a fantasy adventure novel, at its core it is about a girl dealing with a major loss. From the beginning of the book, Meadow is all over the place with her emotions. Following her mother’s death, she has been sad, numb, confused, filled with guilt—and when we meet her, she’s angry and directs this rage at the new emperor and his senseless spending of the kingdom’s wealth. She’s also terrified of losing her father now that her mother is gone. But despite how she feels—this is a fantasy book, after all!— Meadow is forced to play a larger role in the chaos of the world around her. So she has to adjust to this new life that feels off-balance without her mother, while simultaneously stepping up in ways she never thought she could (or would have to!)
As for my inspiration, a few years ago I had some different ideas that I really wanted to explore in a fantasy novel. I spent time plotting and thinking about interesting characters and their backstories/motivations to pair with these ideas. When everything finally clicked into place, I knew I had to write this book!
What are three of the key themes that are explored or discussed in your book? What are you hoping to contribute to the conversation regarding these themes?
STRENGTH: I wanted to portray a hero who was not “badass” or “skilled with weapons” or “a witty orator”. Meadow is a person with quiet strength. I think someone with her qualities should still be deemed a strong female character. Meadow acts when it matters (even if she makes a mistake!) and her heart is in the right place. There should always be a positive place for girls like that in YA fantasy.
RELATIONSHIPS: I hoped to show a range of relationships within the book (family, friends, lovers, peers, leaders etc.) and show how important, complex, difficult and influential they can be.
GRIEF: In this case I just wanted to write about grief from one character’s perspective. Not really to say anything about it, but simply to express one way (out of many) that someone might experience it.
As a debut author, what were the biggest challenges in writing A Shifting of Stars and getting it published?
The most difficult part was working out a publication timeline and sticking to it. I didn’t know how long copyediting would take. I didn’t know how long it would take to get a cover made. I didn’t know anything about formatting or ISBNs or cover sizes! Having said that, I was lucky to work with some amazing people in publishing who helped me out immensely. And it all came together in the end, but it was a steep learning curve.
In contrast to the previous question, what were the most rewarding aspects of writing this story?
The writing part was my favorite. Plotting, drafting, editing… especially with a cup of tea. I love that. And it’s always satisfying to read over a chapter I’ve worked on for weeks and weeks—and it’s finally reading the way I want it to.
To end this interview, here’s my final question: What can readers expect in A Shifting of Stars?
Readers can hopefully become immersed in another world. Despite the themes I mentioned above, A Shifting of Stars is also a fun fantasy novel with action, magic, love, mystery and plot twists!
Kathy Kimbray is a YA author from Australia. A SHIFTING OF STARS is the first book in her thrilling new YA fantasy series.
After graduating from the University of Technology, Sydney, with a degree in Media Arts and Production, she went on to complete postgraduate studies in education and spent many years as a primary school teacher.
Now a full-time novelist, Kathy is lucky to be able to tell stories every day.
Aside from writing, Kathy is an avid reader, dancer, language learner, musical theater enthusiast and fan of terrible reality TV. She lives with her husband in Sydney, and dreams of one day owning that elusive chateau in France.
by Kathy Kimbray
read the full synopsis.
A squandering emperor. A handsome stranger. A reluctant heroine. And the ancient magic that will capsize a kingdom.
Seventeen-year-old Meadow Sircha watched her mother die from the wilting sickness. Tormented by the knowledge that the emperor failed to import the medicine that would have saved her, she speaks out at a gathering of villagers, inciting them to boycott his prized gladiator tournament.
But doing so comes at a steep cost.
Arrested as punishment for her impulsive tongue, Meadow finds herself caught up in the kind of danger she’s always tried to avoid. After a chance meeting with an enigmatic boy, she’s propelled on a perilous trek across the outer lands. But she soon unearths a staggering secret: one that will shift her world—and the kingdom—forever.
Just in case you missed it: through Caffeine Book Tours, I have organized #ShiftingStarsTour, wherein an enthusiastic bunch of fantastic book bloggers are featuring Kathy Kimbray’s debut novel throughout the whole week! Follow along by checking out the tour schedule and participate through the hashtag #ShiftingStarsTour.
Moreover, in cooperation with the author herself, we are conducting a giveaway that is open worldwide! The first winner will receive a signed paperback copy of A Shifting of Stars, while the second winner will win an Amazon gift card/voucher worth $10.
(Not working? Try clicking here instead!)
As an added bonus, Caffeine Book Tours (@CaffeineTours) will end the blog tour with a fun, spoiler-free chat! The #CBTTC Twitter chat will take place on the 13th of July at 9 PM Philippine time (PHT) or 9 AM EST.
I’d love to hear from you!
🌻 What did you think of this interview? Which of the desserts mentioned by Kathy have you already tried?
🌻 Are you planning to pick up her YA fantasy debut, A Shifting of Stars?
🌻 Will you be joining us in the #CBTTC Twitter chat?