Morrigan's Harvest (Book 1 of the War for Inisfail) By Kaiya Hart
Shea is living a simple, country life and is well pleased with it. Then Galen, the elf guardian Shea's mother chose for her, appears. Between the threat of being carried off by him and a vicious attack on her village, everything begins to change. Shea sets off on a noble quest, but what begins as only a rescue mission will reveal dark secrets buried deep within the heart of her magical world. Shea must discover a way to overcome the obstacles in her path while learning about her own capacity for hatred and love. If she cannot balance the two, she may lose more than just her friends. She might end up losing herself.
This is a brand new book that I have had the honour of being one of its first reviewers. I know that this story has been in the works for many years and I am so happy that I get to help introduce it to the world!
The book is fantastic! The writing is brilliant, why you ask, the descriptions of the characters and settings take you to this new world and if you close your eyes you can see what Shea is seeing right at that moment! That is not easy to do. Right from the beginning you know that not all is as perfect as it seems on the surface and you are taken on an amazing journey full of adventure to try to right the wrongs. All the characters are well-rounded and have their own personalities which helps make the story inviting. Between the lyrical descriptions and the on-going adventure, Morrigan's Harvest will have fantasy fans wanting more!
I highly recommend this to all fantasy fans!
And here is Kaiya Hart in her own words as she took part in my Self-Publishing Month interview:
Tell us about yourself.
It is really hard to talk about myself; I find it kind of embarrassing. I grew up in the small town of Villa Grove, Illinois. I guess I had a strange childhood; I was surrounded by books and horses. My parents were really strict, so, I spent a whole lot of time reading while everyone else was out at parties. Now, I am a military wife living in England. My love of books has permeated my adult life as well. When I was younger my father used to say I should be a writer. I always laughed at him, because I didn't believe I would ever be able to imagine the vibrant and expansive sorts of stories that I always loved. My parents were supportive from the first creative writing class, of course, and they have never said ‘we told you so’, even though they have more than earned the right. I owe them so much that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pay them back for everything.
Tell us about your writing experience.
It has been a long journey to get where I am now. I had to get over a lot of self-doubt. I had to get beyond the discouragement of people saying that writing is not a "real" job. Everyone thinks because you don't get a weekly paycheck that writing is a cop-out. People always refer to it as a hobby. I have been known to put in 18 hour days 7-days a week. When I realized how much I was working, I realized it wasn’t a job or a hobby. It's a passion. I believe it should be that way; if you are going to create something, why not give it everything that you have? I don't write for money or praise, I write because I'm a reader and I want to create the kind of stories I love to read. That's what brought me to the point I'm at today. Writing and loving it.
What lead to you coming up with this book?
I have had the main character in my head since I was 15 years old. 10 years ago, I decided to get serious about the story but I didn't know what her story was. Over the years, as I have evolved as a writer, so has the book. I realized that Shea’s story wasn’t just about going on an adventure, but that it was about someone struggling to find herself. I wanted my main character to grow realistically rather than just be another cardboard damsel in distress or being the sort of character that jumps up fully developed. The story took shape around her, and it is one that will take a full trilogy to complete. That, believe it or not, was actually the part that was hardest to admit; I wanted to tell Shea’s story in one book and no matter how many times I tried to cut it down, it still ended up being well over 1500 pages. Eventually, I just gave in to what I had suspected all along, that I was just going to have to write a full trilogy. Once I allowed that to become fact, everything else got a whole lot easier.
What led to your decision to self-publish?
As for most writers, up until the last year or so, the Holy Grail for me was being published the traditional way. However, I was always conflicted about it as well. I was so conflicted that I never did more than post a couple of query letter to agents when I felt like I needed to at least try to move forward. Anyway, my book was still struggling and there seemed little reason to bother these people until it was absolutely ready… which, it didn’t seem like it was ever going to be back then. While doing a read for another writer, we began discussing the pros & cons of self-publishing. At first, I recoiled from the idea, because as any old school writer knows, vanity publishing was typically thought of as something only the most amateur writers who could not hope to be published did. I remember reading that in a hundred books on publishing and hearing it from my creative writing teachers so many times that the very mention of it gave me horrors. Of course, that was in the days when vanity publishing was expensive and could only hope to reach a limited market. Thanks to the advent of e-readers, anyone who self-publishes now instantly reaches a world-wide audience. During this discussion, I began researching facts and found both readers and writers alike were embracing their new found freedom. The readers could choose the books they wanted and the writers could write in any genre, sub-genre, or anywhere in-between. No longer was publishing a popularity contest that I would have to compete in, it was free to all who had something to share with the world. I decided right then that the best way to give my story to those who would love it best would be through independent publishing. I also had to eat a little crow with the other writer, but I always think a little knock to let us know that we don’t ever know as much as we think we do is a good thing. It keeps us human.
What obstacles did you come across in the process?
I am a little OCD, so one of the biggest obstacles has been editing. Luckily, I have some very helpful beta readers who have been known to read my manuscripts more than a few times. Among them is the same writer who opened my eyes to the brave new world of independent publishing and she is an absolute gem. Another obstacle is the re-formatting for e-readers. I grew up just before the internet became normal, in an age where typing on an actual typewriter was still a class. My freshman year of college is when technology really began leaping forward. I’ve managed to keep up with a lot of the new stuff; I can work a cell phone and most computer programs. I can fill up my I-Pod and my Kindle without too much hassle. I can even set my phone to ring a certain way for a certain person. Yet formatting is proving to be the bane of my existence. A file that looks good for Kindle won't even work for Nook and vice versa. Sometimes I reformat a file only to see that it has caused all sorts of rifts in the once perfect text. I have kittens over it, thanks to my mild case of perfectionism. I go through the book later, find all these problems, and begin doing Rumplestiltskin type stomping around the house. Create-A-Space, by far proves the biggest of these walls, especially since my husband and I are overseas and getting the proof copy in the mail can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month. It is all worth it, though. I published another book earlier this year and it was sort of my dry run. I figured that, if it didn’t work for me, then I would go back to the traditional route, no harm, no foul. I found that I was comfortable with independent publishing, though, and it felt like a huge step in the right direction.
Would you / are you planning to self-publish more books in the future?
Absolutely. I have the rest of the ‘War for Inisfail’ trilogy rough drafted and somewhere around ten more novels in my head to be written. I see no reason to change what works. I wanted to give my stories to the world and that is what I have done. It might take more time for the right readers to find my books than if I had a professional publicist, but that is alright by me. Thanks to my husband, who goes out of his way to support me, and people like you who sacrifice their time in an effort to help out those of us who choose the hard way, I think getting noticed is something that will happen. I have both faith and patience. My only concern is that those who do read my books enjoy them, no matter how they discovered them.
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