The world is about to be cloaked in darkness. Only one can stop the night.
Kellen St. James has spent his entire life being overlooked as an unwanted, ordinary, slightly geeky kid. When the sudden death of his Gran takes him from the East coast to the rugged cliffs of Western Ireland, all that changes. That is until a beautiful girl, one who has haunted his dreams for the past eleven years of his life, shows up spinning tales of a prophecy. Not just any old prophecy either, but one in which Kellen plays a key role.
Suddenly, Kellen finds himself on the run through a Celtic underworld of faeries and demons, angels and gods, not to mention a really ticked off pack of hellhounds, all in order to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time?
This was the first book I got given by Loveahappyending magazine to review so naturally I was quite eager and excited to see what they had in store for me and I definitely was not expecting to read something like this! This book is about a teenage boy called Kellen and despite his infuriating father and intelligence beyond his years, is a seemingly normal boy. Until a girl who has appeared in his dreams comes to him and explains that she is a goddess and a foreseen prophecy shows that he must marry her and help save the world from evil that will eventually plunge the world as we know it into darkness and destruction forever. Although this book centres a lot around the mythical stories of the pagan Gods it also teaches you that you can find courage within yourself that you never knew you had, importance of family and what it’s like to find your true love.
When I think of YA fiction, I expect love stories, awkward encounters and generally a quite straight-forward read but Stephanie has taken the meaning of YA to a whole new level. She has very carefully mixed mythology into an otherwise very ordinary story of a teenage boy and being a young adult myself, It has definitely encouraged me to venture out of my comfort zone in the future. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading and found that it was written from a males perspective as I can’t recall reading many books like that as of late. Kellen is a very likeable main character which you quickly learn has had some bad experiences in his 17 years which instantly leaves you rooting for him – whatever he may face. Stephanie describes all the characters in the book very well and pays excellent attention to detail which I think in a book like this is key. I don’t read much fantasy but I instantly liked how the two worlds overlapped. At the beginning, you see Kellen has just graduated from university and hear about some unresolved issues with his father and from the very beginning I had a inkling that there was something different about Kellen then once the story of the Gods unfolds everything starts falling into place. The whole idea of the pagan gods was fascinating and although at first I found myself a bit dumbstruck at all these names flying about I became completely engrossed and actually went through the liberty of doing my own research into the subject matter! It felt very much like ‘Clash of the Titans’ which made me think a story like this would relate very well to the big screen.
This book is everything a YA fantasy novel should be; emotional, heart-warming and amusing at times with plenty of romance, excitement and action. It’s weird and wonderful and truly unique. The epilogue gave me shivers as it indicates that Kellen’s journey isn’t over and there’s more adventure to come in the sequel. Personally, I think the days of werewolves and vampires are over and Stephanie will definitely be a new, upcoming voice for Young Adult readers out there.
1) Hi Stephanie, thanks for answering some questions today. Can you tell us what The Star Child is about and what we can expect?
Sure. The Star Child is about a seventeen-year-old prodigy, Kellen St. James, who is haunted by a young girl for the first eleven years of his life. When Kellen loses his Gran and inherits her home in Ireland, he decides to abandon his life in the US. That’s an easy choice, however, because his father and brother are cruel and unfeeling. On the day of Kellen’s college graduation at age seventeen, he leaves his life in the states behind. When he arrives in Ireland, he comes face-to-face with the girl from his dreams, Calienta, and we find out she’s just as real as he is. Calienta shares a prophecy with Kellen, which claims he is the only one who can save her family and Earth as we know it from an encroaching darkness. The pagan predictions that Calienta shares also imply that Kellen and Calienta will marry and Kellen will become an immortal member of royalty. Together, Calienta and Kellen embark on a journey that will take them through the magical world of Faerie and lead them straight into one another’s arms.
2) Have you always wanted to be a writer?
When I was young, I wanted to be a journalist and then a music teacher. Eventually I moved into corporate training roles in Human Resources and IT. I didn’t revisit writing fiction again until the idea for The Star Child came to me. When I first started writing it, I had no idea it would become my first novel, let alone part of a trilogy.
3) How much research went into this book?
Quite a bit. I liked the idea of incorporating Irish or Celtic folklore into The Star Child. I remember, I had boxes of books arriving from Amazon for weeks! Also, I spent a huge number of hours at the library. I did take a trip to Ireland, though I didn’t realize that I would be incorporating a lot of what I learned into a book later on. Of course, my own Irish Gran provided many of the stories of the “Good People”, which sparked my interest.
4) What inspired you to write fantasy novels over other genres?
These days, it seems as though everything is reality-driven. We have reality-TV, social networking, reality-based film. Personally, I don’t need reality. If I’m going to pick up a book, I want it to be an escape, which is why I started reading in the first place. What better way to do that than through Fantasy? It takes us out of our daily lives and allows us to imagine something a little more fantastic than we normally would.
5) Who are some of your favourite authors that you would recommend?
I am a huge fan of O.R. Melling. I also enjoy Carrie Jones, Kate Tiernan, Melissa de la Cruz, and Alyson Noel.
6) You have 2 young sons and from what I can imagine, most young boys love anything fantasy that they can get lost in. How has having 2 boys impacted your writing career? Do you ever seek ideas/inspiration from them or vice versa?
Ha. You would think so. My six-year-old told me that he doesn’t like fairy tales! I couldn’t believe it. Statements of invalidation aside, I think it’s impacted me in terms of how I write. I used to insist on total quiet and no interruptions. I’ve learned, however, that I’m not always going to get that. Now I think I writer faster and smarter, because my time is limited. Also, my boys remind me to constantly look beyond the black and white—they keep my imagination alive.
7) Did you self publish your book or go with a publishing company? What made you decide to do so?
The Star Child was originally self-published. However, I was frustrated by the amount of marketing that is involved when you self-publish. You really are your own and it’s tough. After a month and a half of working sixty-hour a week, trying to write, and raise a family, I started submitting TSC to small presses. The Star Child was accepted by Inkspell Publishing and released in September 2012. They released the second book The Fallen Stars in April 2013, and the third and final book in the series, The Star Catcher is slated for November 2013.
8) At the back of the book, you’ve put together some characters melodies for the book. Do you have any music qualifications or thought about pursuing a musical career?
That’s so cool that you noticed those—not everyone does. At one time I was a music major. I studied classical clarinet for fourteen years, played the saxophone, and sang. Now I just write music for fun. The character melodies are simply a part of my process that I like to share with readers.
9) Do you have any words of wisdom to aspiring authors out there?
Join a critique group! It’s so important to get feedback. No one is so talented that they don’t need it. It may be tough to take at first, but its crucial for writers in terms of developing their craft.
10) Is there a sequel to Kellen’s story? If so, where can we pick it up?
Yes, there is a free novelette, After Faerie (1.5), which is available for download in any eBook format via my website or on Inkspell Publishing. The next full-length novel, The Fallen Stars (2), is available on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, All Romance Books, The Book Depository, Books-a-Million. The Star Catcher (3) will be released this November.
Stephanie Keyes has worked for the past twelve years as a corporate educator and curriculum designer in the Telecommunications industry. She holds a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University and an Undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University. She is a classically trained clarinettist, but also plays the saxophone and sings. When she’s not writing, she is a wife to a wonderfully supportive husband and mother to three: two little boys and one cock-a-poo princess. The Star Child is Mrs Keyes’ first novel.