An Interview with a New Author: Monica Lee Kennedy

Lit by the Tree is so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to interview a great new author.  Monica Lee Kennedy has just written her first fantasy trilogy, “The Parting Breath Series”.  Aside from being a beautiful person, her trilogy is not to be missed! Tomorrow we will post our review of the first book, so be sure to come back and check it out.  Today, we are happy to learn more about Ms. Kennedy!DSC01883

Can you describe the kind of audience you intend for “The Parting Breath Series”?

I wrote this series for high schoolers and above. I wanted to create a series that was entertaining and fun, and could appeal to both adults and young adults alike.

What inspired you to write this book? Can you tell us more about the rest of the upcoming trilogy?

I love reading. I love stories. I love language. These things have formed me and taught me and continue to stretch and change me. I think my desire to write flowed naturally from them, because I wanted to be part of all the beauty, part of all the fun.

Specifically though, the idea for “The Parting Breath Series” came to me one night when I couldn’t sleep. A story began to play out in my head of a world where the land was alive and could communicate. It was fascinating! Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. I leaped up out of bed to go and write down the ideas before I forgot them. I found a random napkin and jotted down notes by the light of the coffee maker. That was the conception of Massada.

The Land's Whisper cover

The series covers several years of time. Eyes in the Water begins four years from where The Land’s Whisper left off, and Brenol is now a grown man. He returns to Massada to discover the world is much altered, and must somehow care for this place he has sworn to protect. The Forbidding Blue follows this after several years, but I do not think I can say much without giving the previous books away! The Forbidding Blue is my favorite of the three.

Which authors most inspire you in your writing?

C.S. Lewis & Tolkien for their goodness and inspiring stories, Patrick Rothfuss, Lois McMaster Bujold, & Laurie King for their ability to craft stories and use words, and Jane Austen because she understands people in remarkable ways. Plus, she can weave a romance like no one else.

You are a Christian writer, what does your faith mean to you in your storytelling? Do you intend for others to see Christian values in your writing?

My faith spills over into everything I do. I can’t hide it, or at least hide it well. It certainly shows up in my writing, but my aim is not to make my stories unapproachable to non-Christians. As a child I read the Narnia books with the regularity of breathing. I loved them. The heroes treated each other well and worked toward goodness, even at great personal cost. The stories and characters both inspired me to be a better person, and I would walk away from reading glowing with joy. I knew that when I wrote, I wanted to give that to readers too. I wanted to encourage goodness, morality, virtue, kindness, honor. This is one reason why I love the fantasy genre. I find I am able to convey truth and promote virtue in a manner that people can palate.Eyes in the Water cover

Do you plan to write more after “The Parting Breath Series”?

I would love to write more. I actually already have a new fantasy story I started dabbling with last year. I’m excited because this is in first person, with a lead female heroine. I look forward to seeing where it will go.

What was it like to publish your own trilogy?

It has been a lot of work! I had no idea all of the things that went into the completion of a book. But even more so, the process has taught me so much about myself. I have discovered I am far more capable than I will ever feel, and that working toward a goal is something that must be taken one bite at a time. I doubt anyone feels courageous and capable in every moment, but the important thing is to keep trying. It is a very vulnerable thing to present my writing to the world, but I am a better person for having done it. Creating art is a beautiful enterprise.

Tell us something about yourself that we won’t read on an author description.

My sister is my best friend, despite the five years spacing us. I thought everything she did was magical, but one specific memory always draws a smile to my face. Once when we were kids, we constructed a boat in our backyard with a hammer and random pieces of old lumber. Several boards were nailed as a base to frame the bottom, and one particularly large plank jutted up in the center to serve as the mast. We collected a spare sheet and used my The Forbidding Blue coverfather’s staple gun—promised to be handled only by my sister—to affix the sky blue fabric to the board, and when the wind came through, it would flap around fabulously. The kids from our neighborhood all flocked to our fence, begging to come play, and we ushered them in to join in our imagination and games. I swelled in bliss. No one else had a ship. Our backyard alone was the place for pirating, and my sister was a splendid captain. We ate on our ship, dreamed on our ship. We enjoyed two, maybe three, glorious weeks with that boat before my mother finally deemed it time to go, for the grass beneath the boards was turning yellow and brown. Even when taking it apart, I remember being so grateful to my mother for allowing us to do something so strange, so unnecessary, so wild. It was like I had lived in a storybook for that brief window of time.

You can follow Monica Lee Kennedy on Facebook here.

You can follow her website here.