I’m happy to introduce Karen Hughes and her fourth novel in the Kalika Magic series, The Howling Sands, as a part of her Books On Tour promotion.
Howling Sands – Susan’s Review
We love reading new books here at Astro’s Book Club, especially ones written for children who are ready to sink their teeth into longer more complicated stories.
Well, today we are so lucky to be hosting Karen Hughes, the clever author of Kalika Magic: The Howling Sands.
As you can judge from the cover this is no fairy story, but it is a great book for mature kids who want to read something of substance. The characters are realistic, and it is so important for young readers to have characters which they can love, and others they wonder about. It’s part of their growing ability to learn to accept their own feelings and trust their instincts within the safety of a book’s pages.
Apart from the characters, the plot is amazing and I’m sure kids won’t want to put this book down until they have finished it. So, expect an argument if they have started reading this just before bedtime! Once hooked, I’m sure your grandchildren will want to read the whole series.
Below is fun interview, Karen kindly gave to us. We hope you enjoy reading it and grab a copy of this book, or any of the others in the series, for your grandkids this holiday season.
Howling Sands – Questions for the Author
The cover is pretty scary. Did you have to have the light on while you designed it or at least approved it?
The book is pretty scary, too. The cover designer is a clever guy called Andrew Carraro. He designed all the Kalika Magic covers, so I guess he’s used to shadow animals, wraiths and howling sand ghosts. I’m not as brave as he is, but I know that sand ghosts can’t hurt you once the sun goes down. So yes, I did leave the light on while I approved the cover, but only because it’s really hard to see in the dark.
I know you are not supposed to have favourites, but is there one character in the book you like more than the others? Please explain. (It’s okay, none of them will be reading this.)
Well, I would say Indie, but she’s so frustrating in this book! I love her in the other books, but in ‘The Howling Sands’ she does all kinds of things that I wasn’t expecting. I have three teenagers, so I should have guessed this was coming, but it still surprised me.
I’m quite fond of Fintan. I wonder if Chris Hemsworth would like to play him in the movie.
There’s an awful lot of words in your book. Did you get a cramp typing them?
Yep, my hands are still sore. I like to write the first draft of my books with a pen and paper. I write fast, and I have to stop and shake my hands out every now and then or they start to ache. I type up the second and third drafts. Typing isn’t so bad. I’m a slow typer, but my fingers are strong because I’ve played the piano for so long.
Are you good at spelling? Did you win a lot of spelling bees as a child?
I like spelling, but I’ve never actually been in a spelling bee. When I was a child, I went to a tiny little school way out in the bush. There were only six kids in the whole school. I was always the best speller, probably because I was the oldest.
What one thing would you like a young reader to ask you after reading your book?
‘When’s the next one coming out?’
I love it when kids get really involved with the characters in books and ask me what Indie would think about this, or what Kai would do if that happened. A girl at one of my school visits once told me that her favourite character was Sofia, because ‘she’s the worst villain ever’.
As there are many adventure, Sci fi books on the market, was it difficult to come up with a plot which was distinct enough to keep the reader’s interest?
I read a lot of books over a wide range of genres, so I have a pretty good idea of what’s out there. When I first started writing, I was influenced by all the magical books I’d read as a child, so my first book is a little nostalgic. The later books took on a life of their own. I’m not sure where the ideas came from, but I’m excited to see where they’ll take me.
When a story hits, I can’t stop writing. I spend a lot of time down by the river, scribbling wildly. I never know where it’s going or what the characters will do next. My books are always exciting and unpredictable to me, and I’m surprised by how well they come together in the end.
Apart from eating and breathing, is writing your favourite thing or is there something else you’d rather be doing like folding the washing?
I hate folding the washing. I have four kids and we have mountains of washing at our house. I’d much rather be writing. My favourite thing is travelling to places I’ve never been – trekking in Nepal, rafting in Thailand, climbing glaciers in New Zealand. Writing comes a close second.
What’s your favourite planet in our Solar System and why?
Saturn, of course, because it has all those funky rings around it. My daughter, Lily, aged 11, says I’m crazy and Mars is the best planet. She says it’s closer to Earth and we might be able to live there one day. She’s so wrong. Saturn has rings around it. Rings! How can Mars possibly compete with that?
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