Kyra Halland lives in southern Arizona with, who she admits is a very patient husband and three not-so-patient cats. She’s a family woman: a mom, mom-in-law and a grandma. When she isn’t writing, Kyra enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and anime.
Thank you Kyra for agreeing to meet with me today. I appreciate you’re a busy woman, so thank you for taking time out to chat.
Tell our readers a little about yourself – when did you start writing, when did you first publish your work?
Kyra: I started writing in 1990, when I was making the transition from graduate school to stay-at-home motherhood. I loved being a mom, but I was also ready for a new intellectual challenge, so I decided to try writing the kinds of books I wanted to read but had a hard time finding. I soon figured out that the whole publishing thing, submitting to agents and editors, made me want to run away screaming, so I didn’t publish my first book until 2013, after Smashwords and the Kindle made indie publishing as we know it now possible.
What’s it like, being an author?
Kyra: Lots of procrastination 😀 When you work at home and you’re your own boss, you have to be very self-disciplined to stick to a schedule. Mostly I do marketing/publishing chores in the morning and write/edit in the afternoon.
That’s a great schedule. How do you get ideas for your books?
Kyra: I love fantasy, and I love romance. I wasn’t really satisfied with how romantic relationships are usually handled in epic/high fantasy, so I started writing the kinds of books I want to read, that combine the two elements in equal balance and make them both important to the story. I listen to a lot of music as I write, mostly hard rock and symphonic metal groups like My Chemical Romance, AFI, Xandria, Kamelot, and Myrath. When I need something mellower, I listen to Dire Straits.
That’s quite an eclectic mix! Do your storylines or characters come from music? Do real people you’ve met find their way into your books?
Kyra: Most of my book ideas start with characters who appear in my mind (not based on real people, they just show up out of nowhere). But Beneath the Canyons started with a setting. I wanted to write a high fantasy, with magic and set in a different world but based on the Old West. I just thought it would be cool 🙂 I started thinking about why people leave their homes in civilized lands to settle in the wilderness, and how magic would fit into that world, and came up with Silas Vendine, the bounty-hunting mage. Of course, where you have the handsome, mysterious bounty hunter who drifts into town, you have to have the rancher’s daughter who is smitten with him. That’s Lainie Banfrey, who quickly turned into more than just the love interest – the whole series, Daughter of the Wildings, is named for her!
Speaking of Beneath the Canyons, it’s in our free collection of sci fi and fantasy books. What else can you tell us about it?
Kyra: Beneath the Canyons is high fantasy (fantasy set in another world, with magic and a heroic storyline as major elements) inspired by the Old West and the traditions of the classic pulp westerns. Plain, or non-magical, people have fled from oppression in the mage-ruled land of Granadaia to settle in the Wildings. Silas Vendine is a bounty hunter authorized by the ruling Mage Council to hunt down renegade mages who have rebelled against the Mage Council’s authority, but he’s really more interested in protecting the Plain folk of the Wildings. Lainie Banfrey is a Plain rancher’s daughter who is developing magical powers (passed down from a mage ancestor). Since the settlers hate and fear mages, she has to hide her power. But when a renegade mage comes to town and stirs up trouble, Lainie has to put her powers to use to help Silas stop him.
There are a few major themes in my books: the importance of family, freedom, and self-reliance; being honorable and doing the right thing even when it’s hard; and the healing power of love.
Is it part of a series? We love it when there’s even more from an author that we enjoy!
Kyra: Yes it is! Beneath the Canyons is book 1 of Daughter of the Wildings, which is complete at 6 books. Books 2-5 follow Silas and Lainie on their adventures around the Wildings as they hunt for renegade mages and slowly uncover a plot that threatens the freedom of everyone who lives in the Wildings. I started the first book thinking Lainie would just be the love interest, but she quickly grew into a major character, equal with Silas. (And she just might be a little more magically powerful than Silas, too!) The series is also about the growth of Silas and Lainie’s relationship and the challenges they face, and Lainie’s growth as a mage – and how her growth into a powerful mage influences Silas as well.
Great! So what are you writing right now?
Kyra: At the moment I’m revising a novel set in my other fantasy world, Tehovir, where magic comes from natural features of the landscape. I’m also starting revisions on Defenders of the Wildings, the follow-up series to Daughter of the Wildings.
Oh! And if readers want to explore your books, where can they find them? (Aside from getting their hands on their free copy of Beneath the Canyons from GeektasticBooks.com, of course!)
Kyra: My books are at all major retailers and a number of minor ones, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, Smashwords, and DriveThruFiction, and a number of stores that Kobo distributes to, including Chapters/Indigo.
Before we let you go, Kyra, please share some links to where our readers can find you.
Thank you so much, Kyra for chatting with us today!
Readers can claim their free copy of Beneath the Canyons here.