YA Author Spotlight – Introducing K. A. Barker and her debut novel “The Book of Days”

I am SUPER excited to share with you some Q&A with Australian’s latest up and coming YA Author, K. A. Barker. Seriously, if you haven’t heard of her debut novel “The Book of Days” then you are missing out on something special, check out the blurb for the book below:

“Most people believe the best way to forget someone is to throw them down a well. Or lock them in a room with eight keys, or bury them at a crossroad in the thirteenth hour. But they’re wrong. The best way to forget someone is for them never to have existed in the first place.

Madame Marisol’s Unreality House was where you brought people to make that happen.”

When sixteen-year-old Tuesday wakes from sleep for the first time, she opens her eyes to a world filled with wonder – and peril. Left only with a letter from the person she once was, Tuesday sets out to discover her past with the help of her charming and self-serving guide, Quintalion.

Along the way she runs into one-legged mercenaries, flying cities, airships, and a blind assistant librarian. But danger lurks amidst the steam. The leader of the merciless Daybreakers is hunting her, convinced that she killed the only woman he ever loved. Tuesday will need all her wits about her to survive long enough to find out who she is and her connection with the mysterious Book of Days: a book that holds untold power…

How COOL does this sound! I cannot wait to pick up a copy when the book releases this SEPTEMBER (you can get a kindle copy on amazon here “the Book of Days”).

And now to hear from the Author, first about the book and then some excellent advice for writers:

What an awesomely unique blurb, where did the idea for The Book of Days come from?

History!  I’ve always been fascinated by the Industrial revolution and the idea of a country struggling between two ways of thinking – the old agrarian life vs. industry, city-living, and inventions.  So I wanted to take that concept and transplant it in a world where magic was the old way and it clashed with airships and science.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is unique to her?

Tuesday is, above all things, curious.  She’s new to the world and so is fascinated by everything in it.  I think she would quite happily spend the entire book wandering around and patting everything if I didn’t take her in hand.

But that innocence was great fun to play with as I sent her on a quest to find her identity and threw plenty of bad guys after her.

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaption of your book, who would play your characters?

This is such a fun question.  I think every writer secretly casts their own books.  Initially I pictured Saoirse Ronan as Tuesday, but I think she’s aged out of the role.  My dream casting for Quintalion, however, no matter how old he gets, would definitely be Adrian Lester.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

For a lot of characters, I do.  First off, they have to linguistically make sense within their birth country, so I’m not going to have a Fred and a Mariko.  Secondly, the name has to fit the character – a name with lots of consonants for a warrior, for example.  And if I can sneak a meaning in there, then I’m even happier.

I noticed John Marsden endorsed your book, he is awesome, and that is so cool, have you read your fair share of Marsden books and if so, what were your favs?

You know, I haven’t.  I somehow managed to completely miss the Tomorrow, When the War Began series in high school.  I enjoyed So Much To Tell You though, which is a sign of how great his writing is, because I’m not usually a fan of diary books.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Tell us a little about your writing style

I used to be the biggest pantser in the world, but then I took part in NaNoWriMo, where you’re writing 50k words in a month, and you really can’t be a pantser otherwise your story will suddenly lose the plot and gain a couple of ninjas.  So now I plan the important story beats out ahead of time, while still leaving enough room to breathe so hopefully I can still surprise myself.

 Why did you choose to write in the YA genre?

YA is like storytelling in high gear.  You can focus on story and characters without any of the fluff that a lot of adult books are weighed down with.  I love being able to get straight into the fun stuff.

What authors have inspired you to write?

Emily Rodda and Tamora Pierce for introducing me to fantasy as a kid, and Neil Gaiman for making me try to better myself in the hope of one day having half his talent.

If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living? 

I would probably be chasing the musical theatre dream.  I sang in high school and hoped to attend the Queensland Conservatorium if I hadn’t studied creative writing in uni.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

  1. Write consistently. It’s so much easier to get in the right frame of mind if you’re forcing yourself there every day.  Soon it won’t even be a struggle.
  2. Enter every writing competition you can. I probably wouldn’t be published yet if I didn’t enter the John Marsden Prize on a whim because my friend said I should.  The publishing industry is about contacts as well as talent, and you can develop these by getting your name out there in competitions.
  3. Believe in yourself. Writing is long and hard and lonely.  It can be easy to want to give up.  But you have to believe in yourself… you have a story inside of you that only you can tell, and if you give up now, the world will never get to read it.

 If you want to learn more about K. A. Barker, the link to her website is here. Or you can follow her on twitter: @k_a_barker

Here’s the quick scoop:KBphoto

K. A. Barker is a twenty-something writer from Brisbane, Australia. She writes books about imaginary places and impossible deeds. Her first Young Adult novel, The Book of Days, is due out in September from Pan Macmillan Australia. She is fond of dirigibles, good books, shower singing, cheesy adventure movies, and time periods not her own.


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