Interview with Kimberlee Ann Bastian, Author of The Breedling and The City in the Garden

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author? 

For me writing had always been an escapist way to express myself, to help deal with the sometimes craziness of life, but that was really only my first chapter with writing. My second chapter began quite the same way, a year after I graduated from college. I used writing to pull myself out of a traumatic experience, but then, once I was on the other side, I kept writing because it was a story I needed to tell. And it helped that writing had always been my one true ambition.

As this your second book, was anything easier this time around? 

What is still the most difficult part of the process? The whole publishing process was easier this time around, partly because I now have a team of seasoned professionals at Wise Ink Creative Publishing who have been incredible in their advice, collaboration, and support. As for the difficult part, I’m in it right now. It’s one thing to write a book and publish it, it’s another thing to get the word out. There of course is no right or wrong way to go about it, but there is certainly a board learning curve of what may or may not work. This time, however, I am more prepared for the promotional side. And it starts with synching up with individuals like Laura at iReadBookTours and her network of amazing bloggers.

What type of research is needed to bring a sense of reality to fantasy storylines? 

A lot, well at least for mine. Early on, it was important to me to create a fantasy unlike any other. To root the story in history, particularly American history. For the research, not only did I use every vital online database I could find, but also, dozens of books, documentaries, maps, and actual site visits. The Breedling and the City and the Garden doesn’t necessarily blend the two evenly, but that is purposely by design. As the series continues so too will the balance of fantasy and history.

Where did you find inspiration for The Breedling? For the books characters? 

Review HERE!
The concept of the Breedling came about as I was going through a long list of mythical/fairytale creatures. I knew I wanted Bartholomew to be a soulcatcher, but I didn’t want to use that term. So, I came across changeling and I don’t remember how I finally settled on Breedling anymore, but that’s what I chose. As for other characters, to name a few: The Apothecary was inspired by Lo Si (The Ancient) from Kung Fu the Legend Continues; I got inspiration for the final version of Grocer Pawlak from the Gypsy in Pinocchio; The Chameleon is a grand mixture of the talking cat motif from various references.

In reading this book, it appears to be the first in a series. How is the process different approaching a series of books instead of a single story? How many books do you see this series offering?

Well, during year one, I didn’t have a series necessarily in mind, I just wrote. 240,000+ words to be exact. From there, after some feedback, it was clear I had more than just one story, but three. The interesting thing about it is that I had only five chapters of Book One in that monster and so had to create a full story from it. The rest of it was the foundation for what is now Books 2 & 3. I have had eight years working on this series so I have mapped it all out bullet-point style with an arsenal of characters, and have already written the ending, which will not change. My plan is 9 books in the main story arch, 2 paralleling stories and 2 short story anthologies that will highlight different characters from the series. Ambitious I know, haha.

Any advice for young authors wanting to write books in this genre?
  • World building is a form of labor that will stretch your creativity and your sanity. You won’t have all the answers up front, so start with your biggest pieces and fill in the details as you go. Also, be prepared to live in two worlds. The “real” one and the one you are building. Be sure to find balance between them. 
  • If you are planning to add some historical fiction aspect to your fantasy, make sure to do your homework. You don’t have to get it all right, but if you want to make it as authentic as possible, you can’t just rely on cliff notes. 
  • Know that the journey to becoming an author (of any kind) will be a rollercoaster of emotions and that as much as you believe it is taking far too long to complete your journey, know that it is taking the amount of time that it should. 
What would you most like readers to know about you?

I have a unique sense of the world, a romantic one really. It brings out my quirky side, which is only amplified by my geekiness. I am fascinated by history, which explains my old soul, and I love connecting the dots in stories or as I like to call it “playing the game” #theorizing. I no longer apologize for what makes me me and I celebrate individuality. I believe one can bring about his or her dream through determination and hard work, and that there is no box.

What do you do to relax? 

My greatest form of relaxation is coloring!

What type of books do you like to read? 

I tend to stay close to fantasy/scifi/magical realism, but I do venture out into the mystery realm on occasion, and then there are the random discoveries, like Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Currently, I am in the process of reading four books: The Ill-Kept Oath by C.C. Aune; Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow; The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman; Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

Thank you kindly for your time, Marilyn, and for letting my stop by Olio by Marilyn. It has been a pleasure chatting with you.

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