Thrilled that YA author, Katie Keridan, has joined The Spotlight this week to chat about Reign Returned

Author Name: Katie Keridan

Book Title: Reign Returned

Book Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Date: September 13th, 2022

Publisher: SparkPress

Welcome, Katie! How would you describe Reign Returned

Enemies-to-lovers become a found family as a healer and an assassin give and take life while uncovering magical secrets capable of transforming their realms forever.

What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?

My favorite part about writing is creating entire worlds within my head, worlds that I can evolve or destroy or alter without anyone else ever knowing they existed. In real life, we have true control over so few things, and I’ll probably always be working to accept that (as a Capricorn, control is kind of a big deal to me), but when I write, I’m 100% in charge…well, at least until the characters take on lives of their own and make it very clear what they think ought to happen next!

            My favorite part of being an author is connecting with readers. There is no better feeling in the world than hearing that someone related to one of my characters or enjoyed a scene or came to see something in a different way because they read something of mine. A blogger posted a while back that her new favorite fictional crush was Sebastian Sayre, and I had to do a double take before going, “Wait, that’s my character!” I’m so hopeful that someday readers will write fanfic about my realms and characters, because they don’t just belong to me anymore.

            As for what I find challenging…you don’t know what you don’t know. And I hate not knowing things! But you can’t foresee everything that will come up and when things happen you didn’t expect, you have to make the best decision you can at the time and try to just keep moving forward. It’s so challenging to learn as I go when I’d prefer to have everything spelled out for me so I had a clear path to follow, but at the same time, there’s a lot of freedom in charting your own course, and I’ve always had a fiercely independent streak.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Reign Returned?

I’ll give you three reasons: 1) Because it has very opinionated talking animals. 2) Because it’s a fantasy and real life is a lot right now, so we need all the mental escapes we can get. And 3) Because it features two of the best tropes in the entire world (at least in my opinion): enemies-to-lovers and found family.

What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?

I’ve been so surprised at the support I’ve received from other authors, authors with huge platforms and multi-book publishing deals, authors I look up to and want to be like. The act of writing can be such a solitary process, it’s incredibly important to find others to connect with who understand that. For me, becoming involved with workshops through the Highlights Foundation (yes, the organization that published the Highlights Magazine we all read as kids in the doctor’s or dentist’s office) has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve been so warmly welcomed into publishing by so many people, and I didn’t expect that, but I’m happy to have been proven wrong!

Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?

Believe in yourself. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will believe in you…and you especially have to believe in yourself when others don’t believe in you. The publication process is full of rejection; there’s a hundred times more rejection than acceptance. Persistence and consistency aren’t nearly as glamourous as being an overnight success, but it’s not about how fast you get where you’re going, it’s about the fact that you get there. I know it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to others, but try your best not to, especially when social media is involved. I was at a Highlights Foundation writing retreat in August, and author Mia Garcia said, “Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” That really stuck with me and has helped me focus on enjoying my journey and appreciating (and celebrating!) each milestone along the way.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I love to travel! I’ve been to the Sahara Desert twice, in Egypt and Morocco, and I can’t wait to go back, especially to Morocco. Traveling to new places and meeting new people is so inspiring and has really helped me become more open to new experiences (generally I’m a big fan of routines and predictability). I also love to kayak. My husband and I have a tradition where we kayak near Monterey Bay every Thanksgiving, and no matter how many times I see seals and sea otters, I still lose my mind when one pops up next to the boat. I’m an avid yoga practitioner, I’m always down to attend a music festival, and as an animal lover, I’m a huge believer in supporting organizations caring for abused or neglected horses: check out The Medicine Horse Project (https://medicinehorseproject.org) and Skydog Ranch & Sanctuary (https://www.skydogranch.org).

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.

I just received the second round of edits from my phenomenal editor for the sequel to Reign Returned, which will be published October 2023, and I’m so thrilled to share more of Kyra and Sebastian (and the Cyphers!) with readers. I’m also working on a middle grade novel about a girl with autism spectrum disorder who discovers she has magical powers that is very near and dear to my heart.

Where can readers find you?

I love connecting with readers, so I’m always hoping people will reach out. My author website is www.katiekeridan.com. I do have a newsletter, but I send it out sparingly, as I never want to clutter people’s already cluttered inboxes. On Twitter, I’m @KKeridan and on Instagram and TikTok, I’m @KatieKeridan. I’m having an in-person book launch at Barnes & Noble in Corte Madera, California, on Saturday, September 17th. I’m beyond thrilled to be going back to my alma mater, Johns Hopkins, and doing an in-person author event at their campus bookstore on Saturday, September 24th. Definitely check my social media for announcements about additional live or online events as they get scheduled!

Thank you, Katie! Reign Returned is available as of TODAY!

Kyra Valorian is the most gifted Astral healer the golden-blooded realm of Aeles has seen in ages. When tragedy strikes, Kyra discovers she possesses a life-changing gift: she’s a Recovrancer, able to enter the realm of the dead and recover those who’ve died before their time. Unfortunately, recovrancy is outlawed in her realm. Desperate for answers, Kyra will do anything to get them . . . even partner with a dangerous enemy.

Sebastian Sayre is the most sought-after Daeval assassin in all of Nocens. A silver-blooded Pyromancer, he wields fire and dreams of finding Rhannu, a legendary sword that makes its holder invincible. Since the sword was long ago stolen from Nocens and hidden where no Daeval can retrieve it, however, such a dream seems impossible . . . until he encounters the one Astral who might be both able and willing to help him.

As Kyra and Sebastian work together to uncover the secrets of their realms, they also uncover secrets within their own pasts—pasts that are far more intertwined than they ever imagined. Ultimately, in this tale of discovery, destiny, and a love strong enough to outlast time, remembering the past just may prove to be the only way to change the future.