FEATURING KB Elijah

Hey, lovelies! Today I’m here with the lovely KB Elijah, author of The Empty Sky. Great to have you, KB!

Hey Sasha! Great to be here (virtually)! Man, these written interviews are great. You can show up in your pyjamas on your sofa.

Haha, they are, aren’t they! I won’t lie, I’m in my pyjamas on my bed. So, KB, for those who’ve never heard of it, what can you tell my readers about your novel, The Empty Sky?

There are people who have never heard of it? What’s next, you’ll tell me that they haven’t heard of Mikael Appelgren! (He’s a table-tennis player who won the World Cup in 1983. I had to Wikipedia it: I had never heard of him either.)

So yes, on the assumption that there are millions of readers who have not yet come across The Empty Sky, here’s what (I think) you need to know:

  1. It contains eight short-medium length stories in the fantasy and science fiction genre;
  2. There is an almost equal mix of characters in terms of age, gender, race, sexuality and general levels of sarcasm;
  3. Each story contains a twist (or two) which hopefully you won’t see coming!
  4. No hardcore stories with pages of historical world-building, or characters with apostrophes in their names here. These stories are (mostly) set in our world or one similar, with a touch of a magical “what if?” floating through them;
  5. Of potential interest may be the fact that these stories contain serial killers, genies, monsters, demons, sorceresses and time-travellers with too many scarves. Aw, is that too boring?
  6. I loved writing The Empty Sky. To my surprise, people loved reading it! I’ve only received positive feedback so far, so I’m crossing my fingers that it’s not because everyone wants to stay on my Christmas card list;
  7. A pretty sweet cover. I can say that and not sound conceited because it had nothing to do with me (to my regret). I just said “do something with a dandelion” and voilà!

It’s quite appalling, eh? We should ALL know about The Empty Sky because from that, it sounds quite amazing! What was your favourite part about writing it?

My favourite part about writing has always been the creation of the ideas. I write to communicate them, but for me, the real spark of excitement comes the moment before I put pen to paper (or more accurately for me, fingertip to phone keyboard). Rehearsing the dialogue, plotting the twists, working out a key connection that explains an event in the story or a character’s personality trait: it’s all just so exciting!

I have been known to pull out my phone in the middle of work meetings and start drafting a story concept that had just struck me. There’s nothing more annoying than forgetting a brilliant idea…except maybe realising that your brilliant idea wasn’t so amazing after all. I’m talking to YOU, 3am inspiration.

That’s so cool! I’ve always had trouble thinking of good ideas! Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Just keep going. Even if it feels terrible. Even if you think you’ve taken it in the wrong direction, or your characters suck, or you’re actually pushing the wrong message. Just get to the end, one word at a time, because when you’re there it will be much easier to go back and tweak things. Oh, and always have your mum as a proofreader (hey mum!).

Thank you! Have you ever had a moment when you just wanted to throw everything you wrote in the fire?

Several. In particular, there were two stories (both from the second volume) where I declared that I hated the characters and that they’d ruined everything (of course, it was naturally their fault). But I kept going, mostly because I loathe the idea of putting energy into something that goes to waste, and my beta readers were more than happy with how both stories turned out. Neither would ever make my list of favourites, but reading them again a few months later, I didn’t feel nearly as dissatisfied as when I was writing them. Who knows – maybe in 100 years I’ll actually like them!

I’m sure they’re great! You mentioned a second volume- any tidbits?

How about the promise of dragons, cursed pirate captains and sentient book characters? We see the return of a couple of favourite characters from the first volume in addition to some new ones, including immortal deities, determined humans, and a gender-neutral robot called 83. And lots of plot twists, of course! Interested?

Damn right I’m interested! What can you tell us about the inspiration for your stories?

They’ve all come from a different place. Chasing Fate, one of the stories in The Empty Sky, was the result of years of intellectual debate with my mum about the role of fate in our lives. I built the story around Fate and Chase’s discussions about the same concept.

Even the Cake Was in Tiers was written during the lead-up to my own wedding, and was a little bit of a dig at families who want to control their relative’s big day: my husband and I were lucky enough not to have this happen to us!

The Cursed Captain in the second volume was born out of a slight (okay huge) obsession with the TV show Black Sails, which I was binge-watching at the time.

News articles are also a great place for ideas. There’s nothing stranger than the truth, sometimes!

Generally I will have an idea in my head for months before I put it to paper, building on the world, the characters and the twist. Only once I have those things will I write.
I suppose you’re going to ask what I’m working on now…
That’s super cool! I was actually going to ask you about your favourite authors, but either works!

Oh I’m glad you didn’t. ‘Favourite authors’ is such a tough question. We’d have been here for years! How could I possibly condense my love for books over the 26 years of my life into one paragraph?

Oops, I gave away a personal detail. This interview must be censored, immediately!
I’ve currently just finished writing a story for volume 3 about superheroes and supervillains. One girl’s quest to prove that she’s ‘The Extirpator’s biggest fan’ backfires when she loses the one thing that matters to her the most: her fandom…

Censored! Ooh, that sounds fun! Since you won’t tell me about favourite authors, what about the books on your To Be Read at the moment?
State secrets, Sasha! I’m sure there are dozens of spies out there as we speak, trying to figure out my identity…

My to be read list, as with most booklovers, is longer than a trip to the moon. But at the top of my list is Bits & Pieces by Dawn Hosmer (see, Dawn, I didn’t misspell it this time!), To Best the Boys by Mary Weber, and Evermore by Sara Holland. What about you?

Most probably! That would be a fun adventure to write about ;)! Yeah, mine certainly is! I love To Best the Boys!!! Hm, how sweet of you to ask! Top of my list are Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare(it was meant to arrive today, but there’s always tommorow…right??), The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi and A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir! Okay, one more question for you! What’s your favourite food?

Chocolate mousse, hands down.

Although if I had to pick a day’s worth of meals, it would be Shreddies for breakfast (we just can’t get the English cereal in Australia!), peri-peri chicken burger for lunch, and my dad’s roast dinner for…well, dinner. Aww, now I’m hungry.
Sorry! That sounds delicious! Well, KB, that’s a wrap! Thanks for coming and chatting with me, I can’t wait for Book the Second!
Thanks, Sasha, it’s been great fun. All the best for your blog! I’ll leave you with one of my favourite writing quotes:

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” – Neil Gaiman

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