This week I'm pleased to throw the spotlight on Katie W Stewart, author of Treespeaker.
Katie is an Australian author. She lives in country Western Australia with her farmer husband, three children and an assortment of animals. By day, she’s a Library Assistant at a local school; by night, she writes fantasy. Treespeaker was the first book she epublished. She has also recently epublished a children’s novel, “The Dragon Box”, which is aimed primarily at boys aged 8-12. At the moment she is busy completing the sequel to Treespeaker, as well as editing another YA fantasy novel.
Blurb: Saving his people means leaving the forest. Leaving the forest means death.
Jakan, Treespeaker of the Fifth Tribe of Arrakesh, knows from the visions he received at the SpringSpeak, that the stranger who has just arrived in his village is not the innocent, interested visitor he claims to be. As the villagers succumb to the mind-bending sorcery of the man, Jakan becomes more and more desperate to be rid of him. But when he accuses the stranger of an act of sacrilege, events take a sinister turn and it is Jakan himself who is expelled from the forest.
Sent on a journey across the treeless land outside the forest, Jakan finds himself fighting for survival – for his people and himself. Somehow he must find a man he hasn’t seen for twenty years, but as a Treespeaker —bound in spirit to the forest — his life hangs by a tenuous thread which grows ever thinner.
Meanwhile, his son, Dovan, must find the strength to carry out the new role he has been given while his father is away, for who knows if the Treespeaker will ever return?
This is not a book about good versus evil. It is a book about belonging, balance and belief. It's an adult fantasy, but suitable for anyone 12+
Treespeaker is available from Amazon and Smashwords
How long have you been writing? I’ve always enjoyed writing and completed my first (woeful) novel when I was sixteen. But I also loved art and put most of my energy into that until 12 years ago when I took a writing course as something to do. I had thought I’d do a course in children’s writing, as picture books seemed the logical thing to go into, but my sister persuaded me to do a general course and I discovered I really enjoyed writing novels, so that’s the direction I took.
What/who inspired you to write? I was brought up in a house full of books. My mother always encouraged us to read and to read widely. I was born in England and attended a small village school. There, too, I was encouraged to read and to write. It was a really happy, non-judgemental school where being creative was not seen as odd, but as something to be nurtured. My imagination was allowed to go wild, something I think should be permitted in every childhood.
Do you have plans for any further books? I’ve completed three and have another two underway, with at least three more in my brain waiting to hit the computer screen. As I said, I’m working on “Song of the Jikhoshi”, the sequel to “Treespeaker” right now and then there’s another YA novel completed, which I’m tentatively calling “The Mark of the Dragon Queen”. I haven’t decided yet, whether to epublish that or to keep trying the traditional route. I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing. I’m always getting new ideas popping into my head and having to put them on the back burner until I have time to write them down.
What is your favorite book and why? I couldn’t possibly name one book as my favourite. I have fallen in love with way too many over my life to choose just one. I love Paulo Coelho’s books for the apparent simplicity which covers so many layers of meaning. I love a lot of Ursula Le Guin’s work, too. She creates worlds that are so different, yet so real. Then there’s Juliet Marillier who uses Celtic Mythology and weaves magic in so subtly that you hardly notice it; you just take it as real. CS Lewis was a brilliant writer, too. The imagination he must have had to produce the Narnia Chronicles amazes me every time I read them. I don’t just read fantasy though. I love John LeCarre and Joanne Harris as well. I’ve probably read every book AJ Cronin ever wrote and as a teenager, I devoured everything by Charles Dickens. “Les Miserables” is a book I’ve read twice and frequently dip into as well.
What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Read and read widely. There is no way you can get a good grasp of language without absorbing the way other writers use words. There’s no better way of learning to plot a good story than getting involved in someone else’s plot. Get lost in a good book and you’ll find the best way into your own.
Thanks to Katie for taking the time to answer my questions. Have a great week everyone!