Promotional Feature. An interview with Hedon author Katy Miller.
At the age of 25 Katy Miller has re-published her first book “Fight – Perfection”. First published nearly four years ago and reviewed by the Hedon Blog at the time, we caught up with Katy to see why she’s re-published.
Katy has been writing for a little over ten years, has lived in Hedon all her life and says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love living in Hedon. I feel like it’s the perfect place to live and it fits very well with two of my other hobbies. I love walking and I love photography, two things which go very well together. I also do voluntary work with Hedon Museum, something I thoroughly enjoy. I’m an avid collector of books too, having over five hundred, a number which is permanently rising. I unashamedly consider myself a nerd, especially where Harry Potter is concerned, and I take great pride in belonging to Hufflepuff house. I certainly have no reservations about wearing my house colours.”
You’ve just re-published Flight – Perfection; what is it about? Who is the book aimed at; who will like it?
“Perfection is the first book in the Flight series, and begins when the main character Alya decides to run away from her dysfunctional family for a new start in America, but her story is not the only one told. The Flight series is told through different points of view, and follows Alya and the Faber’s battles for the freedom to live without prejudice and trauma. Amidst these struggles, Alya and Jordain manage to find time for a relationship which is complicated by his very long past.”
“The book was written to appeal to older teenagers, my own age group when I was first writing it. I say casually that it’s aimed at ages fifteen to twenty five, but it has been read and enjoyed by age groups more than double that.”
Are the characters based on real people? And is the story pure fantasy, or have you based the premise and plot on existing folklore, events or reality?
“Alya was born in Hedon and has recently lost her dad. In that respect, Alya is based on me and the book served as a kind of outlet for my feelings about my dad’s death. That’s about as far as the basis on real people goes. Some of Alya’s relatives have been based loosely on my own, I have a brother and a much older step brother as Alya does, but where these similarities occur the characters have different personalities and lives to the real people, so that each character can serve a purpose for the storyline.”
“The Fabers are pure fantasy, manifested from my desire to talk to real people from the time and religion they belong to. Without giving too much away, the time and religion they are from makes an odd combination and is historically unlikely, if not close to impossible. I’ve tried to include historical information where possible though, without compromising the storyline.”
“I chose Maine for a very strange reason. I thought the movie Lake Placid was funny and I used to watch it a lot, with my eyes closed for the scary bits. I loved the shots from high up of all the trees. It was beautiful so I based my characters there, minus the giant crocodile.”
What prompted you to write the book in the first place and how long did it take to write a manuscript that was ready for publication… and I understand it’s the first in a series? So what else are you writing? Who influences you in your writing? Who are your favourite authors?
“The book was originally a way to deal with my dad’s death of heart failure in 2008, and the second edition is a way to deal with the death of my Jack Russell, Snoop, of lung cancer in 2017. I added a lot of Snoop in the second editions and dedicated the book to him because he was very important to me, and I didn’t like the idea that such a big part of my life wouldn’t be remembered. There are a lot of dog lovers out there, but there are also a lot of doubters. Shortly after he died more than one person used the words ‘just a dog’. I knew he wasn’t, and this was a way I could prove it.”
“I started writing Flight in 2008 and, since I made changes for the second edition, it would be reasonable to say I didn’t finish it until last year. Back in 2008 it was only one book, a year later it was two and by the time I was eighteen it had become five.”
“I currently have one hundred and fifteen books planned, in almost every genre. I thought of two in the first week of November, one a paranormal/fantasy and the other a spy thriller. The number is bound to keep climbing. I stopped trying to control my imagination at about the fiftieth story idea.”
“I make no secret of how much I love the Harry Potter stories. They are my biggest inspiration because they’re the reason I became obsessed with reading. J. K. Rowling is my hero. I’d love to thank her someday. Her stories helped me to realise my passion for books, both reading and writing them.”
You’re 25? Isn’t that a little young to be writing a book?
“I don’t think it’s young to be writing a book! I started writing when I was a teenager. I think most people do a little writing during such a transitional stage, it’s just that many stop when they grow up and I didn’t.”
“People have come to me and said they’re thinking of writing a book, or they’ve always wanted to write a book. My immediate question is ‘who’s stopping you?’ and usually the answer is a shrug. If you want to write a story it’s between you and a notebook, or a word document. Nobody has to read it until you feel it’s right, but you won’t find out what you’re capable of if you don’t start writing. I sometimes wonder how many amazing stories there are out there which I can’t read because the would-be writers don’t think they’re good enough. Everyone is good enough to share their dreams with a notebook. The great thing is that once you start, it’s difficult to stop. There is a free download on my website to help guide would-be writers to start their own story. I encourage anyone to give it a read and I hope it helps.”
The book design – what’s the story there? What’s the relevance?
“The doe represents innocence and vulnerability, and appears in the main character’s dreams to represent herself. When her instincts tell her she’s in danger, the doe appears. As for the fresco, I wanted all of the covers to feature art forms which would have been available in the twelfth century. The second book cover has a tapestry, and the third an illuminated manuscript.”
You are re-publishing the book after it first appeared 4-years ago. Why’s that?
“There were elements of the first edition I wasn’t satisfied with. Top of my list was that there just wasn’t enough of Snoop in it. Next in line was the cover, and I was lucky enough to meet a very talented Hedon artist, John Parks, who was very willing to work with me on the cover. He has graciously agreed to work on the covers for the rest of the series too.”
It’s on shelves in time for Christmas – So where can you get the book? How much does it cost?
“The price varies from £6.99 to £11.99, both online and in stores. I’ve been lucky to receive the support of two businesses on Hedon main street, Green Print and Calceus, and a new independent book store, J. E. Books, in Hepworth Arcade in Hull. Perfection is also available on Amazon, both in the UK and in the US.”
The Fabers are weird! They look weird and they act weird. The staring, non-speaking, Jordain Faber is particularly strange. The other kids at the school in Old Town, Maine, USA are nervous of them, and nobody there had actually heard the reclusive children talk in their peculiar English accents, until that is Alya Drake also English, from Hedon, arrives as a newcomer and begins to converse with them. But the strange stabbing sensation in Alya’s neck and the nagging voice in her head which both began when she first met the Fabers, just will not go away. Run! urges the voice. Don’t believe them! it pleads. Just what is going on!? Find out by reading Flight – Perfection by Katy Miller.
More at Katy’s website: http://katy-books.wixsite.com/katymiller/flight-perfection