Kiki Hamilton

Award-winning Author of Young Adult Novels

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ask the Author

To continue on with questions re: THE FAERIE RING series, Iris says:

"Thank you very much, Kiki, for answering my question about the Faerie Ring series! I very much appreciated it. Looking forward to read your answer about the Midnight Spy! But I have one more question: could you recommend some books you have read about the faeries? Thanks again. iris"

Hi Iris! Thanks for your interest.  Here's a quick pix of some of the books I used in my research!

I'm not going to list all of the books pictured but a few that were extremely helpful about Victorian London were as follows:

For THE FAERIE QUEEN I had Dunvegan Castle send me their catalog. (But of course, you'll have to read the book to know why.... :-)

And after I wrote THE SEVEN YEAR KING I visited London and took a picture of the Cup of Edenhall in the Victoria and Albert Museum:

And then there were LOADS of books about Faeries that I read. Some of my favorites:
Faerie by Brian Froud

Good Faeries / Bad Faeries

The Idiot's Guide to Elves & Fairies

The Fairy Bible

The Ancient Art of Faery Magick

 And LOTS of online searches on a multitude of topics. Which was half the fun of writing the question led to another and another. The history of fey is fascinating and so intriguing because it spans every continent and every culture.

Hope this helps, Iris!  

Coming up next:  I'll talk about writing  THE MIDNIGHT SPY! If you have questions leave them in the comments!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Book News!

Hi Guys!  So here's some fun news - the entire FAERIE RING Series is now available as ONE BOOK on Kindle and Nook! You can read start to finish - all the way through. 

Immerse yourself in the dark, mysterious world of Victorian London as Tiki solves the mystery of the faerie ring! And if you like the stories - post a review online for me - that would be awesome!

Want to check it out? Go to Kindle here or Nook here.  Thank you for your support!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ask the Author

I love it when I get emails from Readers, whether directly or through Facebook, Twitter, whatever!  I recently received this note:

"Dear Kiki, I love your books. Loved the Faerie Ring series and now just finished the Midnight Spy. Great story! But I would like to know more about the background of the stories. Where did you get the information and inspiration for the Faerie Ring series ( I love to know more about faerie legends) and how did you create the world of the Midnight Spy? Where are the languages coming from? Or how did you develop them? Did you take Nostradamus quatrains and change them for the purpose of the story? Thank you very much!" Iris

THANK YOU, Iris, for reading my books, and caring enough to ask questions!  I'm going to split my answers into two posts.  Today I'll tackle your questions about THE FAERIE RING.

"Where did you get the information and inspiration for THE FAERIE RING series?"

I wrote THE FAERIE RING back in 2008.  I'd just finished reading a faerie story that I'd found disappointing, so I decided to write the story I wanted to read. I actually wrote the entire book  in 30 days! It was so much fun - I had to keep writing to find out what happened next!

I remember sitting on my couch and I'd just written the part where Tiki steals the Queen's ring. I was sitting there going  'now what?' (haha - the classic author dilemma!) and I looked down and the light caught the diamond in my wedding ring and it looked like there was a fire burning in the depths of the stone - and that's all I needed to know to keep writing!

When THE FAERIE RING sold to Tor Books, my editor, Susan Chang, wanted all the historical details to be accurate, so I did LOTS of research - online and in the library. So. Much. Research. I purchased books that talked about life in Victorian London and actually had the chance to travel to London, where I went to all the places Tiki went - Charing Cross, St. James Park, the Birdkeeper's Cottage, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park etc.  I even went to the Buckingham Palace gift shop and got books there about the royal family and the layout of Buckingham Palace. I included all those real-life details in the story.

"Where did you get the inspiration for the faerie legends?"

When I started writing THE FAERIE RING I had no idea I would end up writing a four-book series! But when I got to the end of THE FAERIE RING, I knew the whole story hadn't yet been told. Plus, I *love* faerie stories and the 'what if' part of mythology. Such as...what if there's more to the reality than has been told in the stories we know?? So I started reading about Britain and faeries and found throughout history all the way to present day there are persistent beliefs in the fey and their stories are intertwined with ours.  It was so fascinating to find many relics exist to this day and are prominently displayed in museums that claim a link to faeries. As the story progressed over the four books, each book has a link between real-world items that can be visited today and the fey.

Thanks again for asking, Iris! I hope this answers some of your questions!  Check back soon and I'll do another Ask the Author about the THE MIDNIGHT SPY!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Inspiration: Pont de l'Archevêché - the Lock Bridge

*Pont de l'Archevêché and Notre Dame, Paris France, April 2014. Photo by Kiki Hamilton

Inspiration comes in many forms, from many places and often when least expected.  As a writer, lots of things can spark that creative impulse to craft a story - a picture, a thought, a question, a piece of history.

I think I may have heard of 'The Lock Bridge' first in ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins - one of mine and my daughter's favorite YA contemp stories. It is a bridge in Paris, where lovers go, and as a symbol of their unbreakable love, they put a lock on the bridge and throw away the key in the Seine River. How romantic is that??

Anyway, I knew when we went to Paris, we would need to go see the bridge for ourselves.

Let me tell you - pictures do not do it justice!  The locks (which the City of Paris is now cutting off because they are so heavy they were concerned they would cause the bridge to fail) are ten and twelve deep the entire length of the bridge and on both sides! It’s incredible!! There are locks on top of locks on top of locks - which speaks to our universal desire  - wouldn't we all wish to have never-ending love?

But it also speaks of our unfailing ability to hope. Pont de l'Archevêché is inspiring in many ways and then to have the grace and beautiful of Notre-Dame Cathedral as a backdrop – Wow!  

As I sit down on this Sunday to write, I feel inspired and hopeful.  What is some of your inspiration? Tell me in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Inspiration: The Luck of Edenhall

     *The Luck of Edenhall on display at the V&A Museum, London, England, April 2014. Photo by Kiki Hamilton

Inspiration is an interesting thing. Oftentimes, it comes when you're least expecting it, or from a source you might never imagine.  For me, inspiration usually starts in the form of a question.... 'What if...' 

The other part of the equation, more often than not, involves a secret... for instance, What if the British Court had a secret alliance with the world of the Fey?  Which is the premise of my FAERIE RING series.

Take the Luck of Edenhall, seen above.  This chalice plays an important role in THE SEVEN YEAR KING, Book Three of THE FAERIE RING series. Dating back to at least the 14th Century, today the Victoria and Albert Museum in London proudly displays this cup and says it is "one of the most famous objects displayed in the V&A." In its description, the museum claims, "Traditionally this cup is said to have belonged to the fairies. When disturbed, they fled and left it behind, crying, 'If this cup should break and fall, farewell the luck of Edenhall!'"

So what should one believe? If the world-famous V&A Museum is suggesting a connection between this real-world item and the world of the Fey - I think the only logical question to ask is... WHAT IF? And to start writing..... :-)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Perspective: Ant or Eagle?

    *Freedom Tower / One World Observatory, New York City. October 2015. Photo by Kiki Hamilton.

Perspective is an interesting thing. Standing on the ground looking up at this amazing building, your senses tell you one thing. Standing on the 104th floor looking out over New York City, your senses tell you something different:

Whether you believe you are an ant or an eagle is often only a matter of perspective. Your choice, right?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

#amwriting - Websites and Time Travel

It is a windy, stormy day here in Washington State - the very best kind of day to write fantasy stories!

The last few days (well, actually nights because I work during the day...) I have been working on re-designing my website, which has actually been quite fun. It has forced me to revisit some of my books and think about what information I want to share.  

If you'd like to hear about my process for writing THE MIDNIGHT SPY go here or if you'd like to hear about my inspiration for THE FAERIE RING go here.  Take a minute and go check it out for me - let me know what you think!

In addition to my website update, I have been working on final revisions for a time travel story with the working title of THE NIGHT GATE that will be going out on submission soon. Check back and I'll keep you posted on my progress!

What are you writing or reading today?


Friday, March 11, 2016

Gratitude: Notes from Readers & Librarians

   *My daughter in Jamestown, Virginia, February 2016. Photo by Emily Taylor

The writing world is a funny place. When you first decide to write a book, the hardest part is the actual writing of the book. But once the book is written, there is an entire sea of other challenges/opportunities to navigate: getting published, getting your book distributed to bookstores, libraries and readers, and then getting people to read the book.  It's a lot. And whether you are traditionally published or self-published the process is harder than one would expect.

Which is why notes from readers or librarians who have read and loved your book mean so much to an author.  Recently, I've received two notes out of the blue. One from a reader of my YA contemporary story, THE LAST DANCE, which is told from alternating POVs (points of view) of Kellen (Q) and Ivy. The note said in part:

"(Kiki's) book brought emotions. I felt like I was there standing right next to Miss Ivy Ly. The perspective change is amazing and made me want to curl up in a ball and... maybe cuss Q out a bit at times or get up and just start shouting with happiness."

That is *exactly* what an author wants a reader to feel: emotions!

And the other note was from a middle school librarian who had just read THE MIDNIGHT SPY. She said in part: 

"I just finished reading your book and LOVED IT. As a MS librarian I read a LOT of YA and Middle grade books. I COULD NOT PUT YOUR BOOK DOWN. I read it in one day. My laundry is backed up but it was WORTH IT!"

It's hard to describe the feeling you get when messages like that arrive in your inbox, but if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be: GRATITUDE. Thank you to all my readers and to librarians for making our books available! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Strength & Beauty + Fortitude

                       *The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, April 2014. Photo by Kiki Hamilton.

It is breath-taking to see The Eiffel Tower in person, not only for its elegant design, but also for that moment when you see something so familiar with your own eyes. Magnifique!

The Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1889 as the entrance for the 1889 World Fair. Initially criticized (quite strongly!) by some of France's leading artists and intellectuals for its design, over time, it has become one of the most recognizable structures in the world and a cultural icon for France.

Which leads one to consider the ideas of strength mixed with beauty, as well as fortitude.  All qualities one needs to embrace if one hopes to succeed as a writer.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Inspiration: Gare du Nord

   *Gare du Nord Train Station, Paris, France, April 2014.  Photo by Kiki Hamilton

Where does inspiration come from? What sparks an idea in your head that turns into a story? For me, the train stations of Europe are fascinating. The buildings are usually old and the flow of traffic constant and immense - all these people with so many different stories flowing in and out of the station - it's as if some of the pieces stay behind, waiting to be stitched into a new story.....
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