I first met Kaza Kingsley shortly after she got her eight book (yes,
EIGHT BOOK) series deal with Simon and Schuster. She is a friend of a friend,
who put us in contact when I first started writing. I was a rank newbie and
Kaza graciously took time to say hello. Shortly afterwards, she happened to be
in the Chicago area on a signing tour, so I snagged a slew of signed books for myself and my kid’s teachers. At the time she
was promoting her third book in the Erec Rex series (1-The Dragon’s Eye, 2-The
Monsters of Otherness, 3-The Search for Truth). Since then she’s released Book 4
(The Three Furies) and Book 5 is set to come out February 7th (The Secret of
Ashona), which you can preorder here. Yay! The Erec Rex series is a great combination of magic and mystery,
one that lovers of Harry Potter will enjoy.
My kids love a good, long series
like this (me too – keeps them occupied). The series has won many awards and hit the bestseller
list (so exciting!). Here’s the blurb:
twelve-year-old Erec Rex. His single mother can barely support her six adopted
kids. And they’ve moved into an
apartment so tiny that Erec sleeps with the washing machine. Worse, there is a
strange force within Erec that is making him do odd things. His urge to obey
these thoughts grows — until it becomes impossible to resist them.
mother is missing. The force inside Erec commands him to find her, leading him
on an adventure that will change him forever. When he arrives in Alypium, a
hidden world where old knowledge of magic is kept, Erec learns that his mother
and the entire kingdom are in peril. And he might be the only one who can save
basically venturing out on faith in your book and, with the help of a friend,
self-publishing. This was before the advent of Kindle and the self-publishing
craze, which are just now coming around to (maybe) embrace middle grade
e-books (The Dragon’s Eye was first published in 2007, in print, the
old-fashioned way). Can you tell us a bit about what made you decide to take
self-publish in the beginning! I was extremely lucky and got a great agent –
Jennifer Lyons who was with Writers House in New York at the time. Writers House is the
top agency for kids / YA lit, as well as a lot of amazing adult lit. My
manuscript sat there forever, though, and she gradually sent it to only a few
places where it got rejected. Jennifer then left Writers House and I stayed
with them . . . only to find out that none of the other agents there wanted to
take my book on as it had been sent out to a few places already!
agent, or even tried a small press, but I happened to meet Amy Collins who had
just left F and W Publication and had 15 years experience in book sales with
Penguin Books. It seemed like fate – Amy loved my book, and between her
expertise and my efforts, the big bookstores (Borders and Barnes and Noble)
bought large quantities of Book One (Erec Rex: The Dragon’s Eye) that year! The sales were great, and after Book Two (Erec
Rex: The Monsters of Otherness) came out Simon and
Schuster bought the entire 8 book series. It was very exciting!
the biggest change in the middle grade market that you’ve seen? Fantasy still
seems to be king in middle grade, but do you see that waning or growing in the
compared to whatever is the best selling book out there at the time. At
first everyone was talking about what my series had in common with the Harry
Potter books (I’d say suspense, mystery, humor – but a very different story.)
Then when Eragon was hot everyone talked about how Erec Rex had dragons. Now
it’s Twillight that people mostly bring up – no . . . sorry, no Vampires in
this book. But the market seems pretty much the same to me. Kids like to buy
good books, whatever the good books might be at the time!
you thought about what might be in store after Erec Rex?
want to write – too many unfortunately to find the time for them all! I’m
working on Book Six now, but I’m also developing another story I’d like to
sneak in before Book Six comes out. It’s unrelated to the Erec Rex series, but
something I’ve been playing around with for a while…
to follow in your footsteps?
it the better you will get.
- Join a writing group. It’s great
to get feedback, and even better to read other people’s work and learn how to
critique it. That process will help you improve your own work the most.
- Read books on writing. There are a
lot of great books out there that talk about writing fiction – characters,
plot, scene and setting . . . Fiction writing is unlike any other and nobody
can reinvent the wheel. A wise person once said to learn what all the rules are
so you know what you’re breaking.
- Make sure you have perfected your
work before you submit it to an agent. You have one shot with it – always put
your best foot forward!
all the Erec Rex books) great ongoing success!
pleasure being on your blog. I look forward to seeing you again sometime as
p.s. the winner of the Indelibles on Fire Giveaway of Open Minds is … Jennifer Clements! Thank you to everyone that entered the Giveaway!!