Sarya's Song is the latest work by author Kyra Halland. It is a beautiful dark romantic fantasy set in a world where music is magic (not just magic as in good, but magic as in spells). It offers a strong plot with danger, potent magic and plenty of romantic interest to the reader. For more details, you might like to visit Sarya's Song on Goodreads I wanted to interview Kyra about her writing and she had this to say to me.
1. When did you first discover you had a talent for writing?
I don't know about talent, but I've always loved to read and to tell stories to myself. I was a music person all though school and never even thought about writing, but after I finished grad school and became a stay-at-home mom with my first child, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel to see if I could actually do it, and I did! I found a huge feeling of accomplishment from doing that, and also discovered that I love inventing stories and characters and worlds. It's the most fun thing ever. And then when someone would read one of my stories and tell me they liked it, that just made it even more fun.
2. Of all your novels, which is your favorite and why?
That's like asking me which of my kids is my favorite! Each of my novels has its own unique personality and history, and they're all special to me. But I have to say I'm very excited about my upcoming fantasy-western series, Daughter of the Wildings. Writing a fantasy set in an other-world western-influenced setting is an idea that intrigued me for a long time, then I finally found the characters and the story to go with it, and they turned out to be a lot of fun. I just love the characters, the setting, the story, and the whole idea of it.
3. Which writers do you enjoy most reading?
Carol Berg is my favorite author right now. I love her style and her characters. Brandon Sanderson and Steven Erikson are other favorites, and I've been discovering a lot of great indie authors, too, like Lindsay Buroker, M. Edward McNally, and Jonathan Moeller. When I'm not in fantasy mode, I enjoy reading P.G. Wodehouse and Jane Austen, and I also like romance (especially Laura Kinsale) and the occasional mystery or crime thriller.
4. Who are the main influences on your writing?
I was influenced to start writing fantasy in large part by reading the Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. LeGuin and the Riddlemaster Trilogy by Patricia McKillip. I think Patricia McKillip's writing style influenced mine early on, but I've since developed more into my own style. Carol Berg's and Brandon Sanderson's originality encourage me to experiment and not be afraid of writing things that aren't like anything anyone else writes.
5. Do you believe that books should entertain or educate – or is a bit of both?
It depends on the book. If I want to be entertained, I want to be entertained. Exploring new cultures, places, customs, and history (whether real or invented) is always fun, and I know an author's outlook and beliefs are going to inform her writing, and all that's fine. What I don't want is to read page after page of research or worldbuilding, or to have the author hammer me over the head with her Message. When I want to be educated about something, I'll go find a book on that subject.
6. If you could choose 10 books to take away to a desert island, what would they be?
1. My combo edition of the Bible and the Book of Mormon (seen the play? the book is better!) My faith is the foundation of everything I am and everything I do.
2. Riddlemaster Trilogy anniversary omnibus, by Patricia McKillip. All three books in one volume, so it only counts as 1 :D One of my all-time favorite series, and one of the few books I re-read. I first read this series in high school in the late 70s, and each time I read it, it gets better.
3 & 4. Flesh and Spirit/Breath and Bone, by Carol Berg. My other all-time favorite fantasy series, and also among the few books I re-read. Carol Berg's writing is as rich and smooth as really good dark chocolate - she could write the phone book and I'd read it. And Valen, the main character, runaway sorcerer, deserter, thief, womanizer, con man, and drug addict, is one of my all-tme favorite characters. In spite of the hard life he's led, he has such a happy, gracious, gentle spirit. I wish he was real; I'd love to hang out with him.
5. A big collection of P.G. Wodehouse. Brilliant and funny.
6-10. Books 5-9 of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. I've already read books 1-4, and this won't get me to the end of the series but it should keep me busy until someone comes by to rescue me. Unless I can sneak #3 and 4 into one volume, and in that case I can have Book 10 with me too, to finish the series. :D
7. Do your characters speak to you when you write?
All the time. Mostly arguing, bargaining, and complaining. Sometimes they tell me things I totally did not know about their backgrounds, likes and dislikes, and so on.
8. Why do you think people enjoy reading your novels?
I think they enjoy my characters - one of my favorite reviews ever is one where the reviewer said she fell in love with the male main character. I also write a blend of fantasy and romance that is kind of hard to find, and I'm not afraid to dive deeply into emotions. I've also been told that I hit a good balance between too explicit and not explicit enough in how I write sex and violence.
9. What projects are you currently busy with?
Right now I'm releasing Sarya's Song, a dark romantic fantasy set in a world where music is magic. Up next is my 6-book fantasy-western series, Daughter of the Wildings. I wrote all six books before starting to revise, and now it's in the early stages of revision. I should be able to release the first book sometime this summer. I hope; I'm a couple of months behind schedule right now.
10. In short, can you tell us a little about your background and your aims as a writer.
My background is actually in music. I never thought of myself as a writer until after I finished grad school (Master's in Music History and Literature) and was home with my first baby and decided to try something new. I've always loved to read, though, so I was educating myself as a reader even before I ever thought of becoming a writer.
My aims as a writer are basically to share my stories and characters with other people. It'd be nice to be able to make a decent amount of money, to contribute to the family finances and have a little more to give to my favorite causes (especially no-kill animal rescue). But that's secondary to sharing my stories and characters and knowing that other people love them as much as I do. If I can give someone a few hours of enjoyment, maybe help them forget about their problems for a bit and provide some encouragement and uplift, that makes it all worthwhile.