Space Rep: Oh no! You're going to sacrifice her to the Space Breaking News?
Liza: Were you not listening? I said she was shy. I'd never expose a shy person to Breaking Space News. It could traumatize her for life.
Space Rep: Thank goodness. Is there a prize?
Liza: Eleven of them.
Space Rep: What? Eleven chances to win. Tell me more.
Liza: Kristen is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter and ten audio books to ten additional commenters.
Space Rep: I'm going to be commenting all over the place.
Liza: Well, first let's ask Kristen some of my strange interview questions.
Space Rep: They are strange.
Liza: Kristen, thanks for coming. What part of your book took you most out of your comfort zone?
Kristen: The “publishing it” part. I’m ridiculously shy, as in the “cross the road to avoid acquaintances” definition of shy, so releasing my books meant I’d have to do a lot of things that make a shy person uncomfortable—reading in public, book panels, signings with strangers, answering interview questions, putting my books (essentially me) on public display for scrutiny. It’s helped me grow, but it’s definitely not the most pleasant growth track.
Liza: I'm not shy, but I don't like most of those tasks either. What part of your book was the hardest to write?
Kristen: Any time I have to write a death scene, I cry. I still cry when I edit those scenes, and when I read them. I cried when I listened to the audio files as I worked with my voice artist. I can’t help it. I get attached to my characters. When I have to kill of someone I love, I definitely go through a mourning process.
Liza: I went into mourning for two months after I killed off a secondary character. I finally went back and wrote an ending with him living. I was tired of mourning. Speaking of secondary characters has one ever threatened to take over your book?
Kristen: Most definitely. In the third book of my Ærenden series (The Zeiihbu Master), the first Spellmaster, Zeyed, has a lot of backstory that influences the characters. The problem is that he’s been dead about a thousand years, so having him hijack the story to talk about his experiences doesn’t really work. I had to promise to write a series of short stories at a later time to get him to shut up; he’s a persistent ghost, that’s for certain. But it’s a good idea, so I didn’t mind so much.
Liza: Describe your hero in five words.
Kristen: My hero, Nick, is best described as brave, selfless, compassionate, loyal, and intelligent.
Liza: And your heroine?
Kristen: Meaghan, my heroine, is inquisitive, intelligent, caring, strong, and stubborn.
What's your favorite line in the story?
Kristen: Faillen, the Zeiihbu leader’s son, says about his wife in The Zeiihbu Master, “She always told me she loved me for my stubbornness, even when I was wrong. But she loved me more when I realized I was wrong.” It’s such a great line for me because it’s so true of long-term marriages—the way couples can be bluntly honest with each other, while still laughing over their own flaws and having the highest respect for each other at the same time.
Liza:What event occurred in your life that has influenced your novels?
Kristen: While at work five years ago, one side of my body went numb. I called the doctor and he told me to rush to the emergency room. He felt I was having a stroke. Six hours and an MRI later, the doctors had found two brain aneurysms. I went in for surgery a month later (stents, coils, fun times). A month after that, my doctor found swollen lymph nodes in my throat and sent me for an ultrasound. My diagnosis: Thyroid cancer. I spent the next two months terrified because I couldn’t have the surgery to remove it so close to my brain surgery. Let me tell you, in two months’ time, you can reanalyze a large amount of your life. I survived, of course, but because of the worst three months of my life, I decided to start writing again. Life is way too short to not do what you love.
Liza: Wow, that was one scary time. Totally agree with living the moment. So let's get silly. If you met an alien from outer space, how would you explain what you (as an author) actually do.
Kristen: I entertain the people of earth with stories that I craft after visiting foreign worlds in my head, meeting the people there, and retelling their plights. So tell me, how was your childhood?
Liza: I was raised by feral cats. It was pretty awful. Wait, you were asking aliens. Nevermind, let's get back to you. How is your life different from Stephen King’s?
Kristen: I actually grew up down the road from Stephen King in Bangor, Maine, so I can tell you exactly how my life differs. For starters, he has an awesome wrought iron gate surrounding his mansion that I don’t have. It’s adorned with gargoyles. It’s one of the coolest (and scariest) things I’ve ever seen. I used to walk down the sidewalk and run my hand along their twisted little faces, imagining what it would be like if they came to life at my fingertips. In hindsight, they probably would have bitten my hand off, but what does a kid know? A friend of mine accidentally rear ended Mr. King in high school and he was kind enough to let her go without even asking for information. He told her he could afford the damage. I definitely couldn’t have done that! I also don’t walk around town with a toothpick between my teeth and a plaid, flannel shirt on my back, like he did often when I was a kid. Flannel shirts, yes (hey, LL Bean is popular in Maine, what can I say), but a toothpick, no. Oh and then there’s the whole idolized by people around the world, ten million dollar royalty checks, one of the top sold authors of all time thing…that’s definitely not me either.
Liza: Tell us the stupidest thing you’ve ever done. (Do not say asking for this interview.)
Kristen: I decided to get over my fear of heights by taking a trapeze class. Yup, that’s right; I thought it wise to eliminate a terrifying phobia by climbing a two-story ladder, holding on to a thin pole, and swinging through the air with only a net beneath me. It went about as well as you can probably imagine, with tears, screams of “please make it stop” and only two trips up that shaking ladder instead of the five the class required. At least I can say I tried, though I guarantee I’ll never make that mistake again! Kristen – 0; Phobia – 1. Game, set, match.
Liza: Next time try hang-gliding off a New Zealand Mountain, with a cute instructor attached to your back. Now that's fun!
So let's check out your gorgeous covers for the Aerenden series:
Book One: The Child Returns
Seventeen-year-old Meaghan has no idea her perfect life has been a lie — until she witnesses her parents’ brutal murders at the hands of red-eyed creatures.
After nearly sharing their fate, she escapes with her best friend, Nick, who tells her the creatures are called Mardróch. They come from another world, and so does she. Now that the Mardróch have found her, she must return to her homeland of Ærenden or face death.
Left with little choice, she follows Nick into a strange world both similar to Earth and drastically different. Vines have the ability to attack. Monkeys freeze their victims with a glare. Men create bombs from thin air. Even Meaghan’s newly discovered empath power turns into a danger she cannot control.
But control becomes the least of her worries once the Mardróch begin targeting her. When Nick confesses he knows the reason they want her, she learns the truth behind the kingdom's fifteen-year civil war — a long-buried secret that could cost Meaghan her life.
Book Two: The Gildonae Alliance
Several months after Meaghan’s return to Ærenden, the kingdom’s war has taken a turn for the worse. The Mardróch army hunts the new King and Queen, destroying villages in its wake. And Meaghan and Nick, training for battle in their remote section of wilderness, are far from safe. Danger hides in shadows and behind innocent faces. Allies become foes. Each day is a fight to survive. But in the end, only one threat matters. And it’s a threat they never see coming.
Book Three: The Zeiihbu Master
Separated and on opposite sides of the kingdom, Nick and Meaghan face different pursuits which could change the balance of power in Ærenden forever.
While Nick trains the villagers to be soldiers, Meaghan and a small rescue party venture into Zeiihbu to find Faillen's young son, before Garon can use the boy's power to destroy those still fighting against his rule.
Everyone knows Meaghan could be on a suicide mission, but when Nick stumbles upon a secret concealed in one of the southern villages, he realizes that Garon might not be Meaghan's greatest foe. The enemy most likely to kill her is someone who has also promised to keep her safe.
THE CHILD RETURNS:
Meg,” her father spoke again and her eyes filled with tears. His voice was no more than a whisper. “Trust Nick. He’ll keep you safe.”
She nodded, and then shook as her father gathered his last breath. The footsteps reached the top of the stairs. Her father shuddered into stillness, but she had no time to mourn before Nick grabbed her hand and yanked her out the front door.
Cold air bit her face. Black clouds gathered overhead, shadowing the day in darkness. A gust of wind whipped leaves across the yard, building small funnel clouds, but she ignored them. She focused on the back of Nick’s head, then on her car when she realized they would need it to escape. They had nearly reached the driveway before she remembered she did not have her keys. She skidded to a stop. Turning back toward the house, she caught her breath when she saw their pursuers exiting the front door.
There were three of them, each taller than the last. Dark brown cloaks covered them from head to foot and they all carried heavy wood clubs stained with blood. They moved with an unnatural speed and disjointed grace, as if they floated instead of touching the ground. A putrid, rotting scent emanated from them in waves. It rolled Meaghan’s stomach, pitching her breakfast mid-way up her throat before she controlled the reaction. Nick grabbed her arm and pulled her toward her parents’ SUV.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Kristen spent her childhood at the feet of an Irishstorytelling grandfather, learning to blend fact with fiction and imagination with reality. She lived within the realm of the tales that captivated her, breathing life into characters and crafting stories even before she could read. Those stories have since turned into over a hundred poems, several short tales, and five manuscripts in both the Young Adult and Adult genres. Currently, Kristen is completing the five-part Ærenden series from her home office in the suburbs of Washington D.C.
Google +: plus.google.com/+KristenTaber
Buy Links for Book 1
Buy Links for Book 2