Author Interview + Giveaway: K. C. Neal
Please Note: Giveaway information is found near the end of the post.
Hi, K. C. Welcome to my blog. It’s a pleasure to have you here with us.
K. C.: Glad to be here, thanks so much for having me!
Would you take a moment and introduce yourself to us?
Sure! I’m the author of Pyxis: The Discovery, the first book in the YA fantasy Pyxis Series. I work full-time as a Medical Writer, so fiction writing happens evenings and weekends. Pyxis is my debut novel.
How long have you been writing?
I wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I started writing stories in a spiral notebook when I was 9 or 10. English was always my favorite class. In high school I wrote a lot of poetry. I didn’t write much through college or for several years afterward, and then I started writing my first novel over 3 years ago, after I had a dream that gave me an idea for a book. It was a genre I don’t really read – women’s fiction – and all along I never felt like that was the genre I should be writing. But when I started writing Pyxis, I felt like I was much closer to my “genre home.”
Can you tell us a little more about Pyxis?
The main character, 16-year-old Corinne, discovers there are two universes – the waking universe we live in every day, and a universe our minds enter when we’re asleep. Her destiny is to become the Pyxis, protector of the convergence, a weakness between the two worlds. If the convergence is left vulnerable, evil and harm cycle between the two worlds, infecting people’s minds in the dream world and wrecking havoc in the waking world. But Corinne’s grandmother, who was the Pyxis before her and who was supposed to teach her everything she needed to know, died unexpectedly. Corinne discovers that she and her friend Mason are having the same nightmares, a sign that the convergence is becoming weaker. They must find help before their nightmares break free into the waking world.
How did you come up with the idea for the story?
I knew I wasn’t going to write a paranormal book with any of the usual creatures. And that wasn’t because I was trying to be different; I really didn’t think I was clever enough to put a new twist on vampires or werewolves or fairies. I’m not really sure where the idea for Pyxis came from, but the first seed of the story was the pyxis box with the bottles full of mysterious colored liquids that influenced people’s emotions. I thought the story would center around the potions, but it grew into something much larger.
Around what worlds does Pyxis revolve around?
Pyxis is set in the everyday world, in the small mountain town of Tapestry. But in this world there’s magic, a whole other universe, and cool abilities like ESP and dream walking.
What type of research did you do for the book?
Most of the research I did was for the terminology. The word “pyxis” came from the research. And I had to find terms like “convergence” and “pyramidal union” to describe the concepts in the story.
Can you tell us a little of what we might expect with the second book in the series, Alight: The Peril?
I am really excited about the next book because I set up a whole lot of mysteries and questions in Pyxis, and nearly all of them will be addressed at least in part in Alight. You’ll find out early in the next book how the pyxis influences (the colored liquids) work and what they’re for, and who the second Guardian is. Things definitely heat up between Corinne and Mason, but there will be a new love interest that complicates the situation. Corinne finds out she’s not the only Pyxis in the world, and also realizes that she’s very underprepared for what she must face. She has some heavy burdens and a lot to overcome as she tries to grow into her responsibilities. You can expect a lot of revelations, surprises, and confrontations in Alight.
When is the next book scheduled for release?
I don’t have a firm date yet, but I’d love to get it published by the end of April.
Have you experimented with writing for other genres? If so, what kind?
I’m writing some adult fiction right now that I may publish under a pen name. I’d love to write science fiction at some point, perhaps keeping it within YA.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
Alight is my main project right now, but I also have plans for some bonus material to accompany Pyxis. It may be published with the book as a special edition or on its own, I’m not sure yet. It will include the prologue to Pyxis, so you’ll get to see what happened between Corinne and Mason before he left for Africa. It also will have Corinne’s journal entries, as well as a section from Mason’s point of view.
How do you find inspiration when writing?
For certain types of scenes, music can really inspire me to get into the right emotional space. But in general, when I sit down to write I just have to do it, whether I feel especially inspired or not. Writing requires consistency, so you really can’t wait around for inspiration to strike. You just have to treat it as a discipline and dive in!
What, or who, has influenced you the most?
Even though they may not be very apparent in my writing, I definitely feel the influence of the great storytellers I’ve read. Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robert Jordan come to mind.
Do you have any recommendations for books that you think the blog’s readers may enjoy?
For sure! Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace is a great new take on vampires. Exiled by M.R. Merrick is a really imaginative story and a great read. Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan is one I highly recommend to horror fans. Airel by Aaron Patterson and Chris White is quite unique, kind of a mix of modern paranormal YA and more traditional high fantasy. And I’m really digging Amanda Hocking’s zombie series (Book 1, Hollowland and Book 2, Hollowmen).
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I was a bit of both for Pyxis, but deep down I like structure so I prefer to plot. I think I like the security of an outline, but knowing I have the freedom to see where things go within that structure.
Do you have any tips, or thoughts, that you would like to offer to the blog’s readers?
Just one last note – I’m giving away a Kindle to celebrate the release of Pyxis. If you haven’t entered yet, head over to my blog.
Thank you so much for the interview, K.C. I hope my readers have enjoyed learning more about you. I look forward to your next book and what else is to come in the future. Best of success always.
K. C.: Thanks so much, L.B.! :)
Synopsis: Corinne lives an average teenage life working at her dad’s cafe, hanging out with her best friend, and trying to forget a falling-out with her almost-boyfriend Mason.
Things take a strange turn when she uses her late grandmother’s food dyes for a bake sale, and her customers suddenly find her irresistibly alluring. Then she discovers she and Mason are haunted by the same dreams of a dark force that consumes everything in its path.
Pursued by shadowy figures and a crazy woman with secrets from the past, Corinne must find out who her grandmother really was. In her quest to unravel her family’s history, she learns she is destined to protect this world–and the dark world of her dreams. She races to find the answers she seeks before her nightmares break free.
About The Author:
K.C. Neal lives in Idaho with her husband and their Maltipoo, Oscar. She holds degrees in Chemistry and Health Sciences, and works as a medical writer. She’s a competitive vegetable gardener, occasional surfer, avid reader, and enthusiastic cupcake eater.
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