Author Spotlight #9

The Author: Kristen Temple

Kristen Temple resides in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland, Australia, with her husband and two young children. She works part-time as an occupational therapist. In the hours she steals between work and family, she is a writer and artist.

Kristen’s love of reading and writing blossomed at an early age, and has only grown since. She began focusing on her writing in 2014, with particular interest in fantasy and romance. Her current priority is The Active Eight Series, with book one released in September 2020, however she anticipates this is just the beginning of a long writing career. 


The Book: Paired (The Active Eight Series Book 1)

A sheltered girl. An awakening power. Can she defend against an enemy who wants her dead?

Kaylee Saunders longs to make her own choices, but her controlling mother refuses to give her the freedom a seventeen-year-old should enjoy. Full of defiance, Kaylee sneaks out to a party. The overwhelming sights and sounds trigger a panic attack, releasing her undiscovered powers in an eruption of force, sending those around her scrambling.

Vincent, who witnessed her outburst, tracks her down and reveals the truth: they harness the power to control the elements.

Vincent helps Kaylee embrace what she is and the consequences that come with it, but is it all too late? Kaylee must find the strength to control her element beyond imagination or her kind will perish at the hands of an enemy that has been hunting them for centuries.


The Review: 4/5 stars!

Paired is a fun read.
Kristen Temple created a fascinating hidden world within the pages of this book – one full of magic and secrets that kept you captivated until the final page. Her main character, Kaylee, would have to be one of the most relatable characters I have ever read. Seriously, how many protagonists have you read that suffer from anxiety and panic attacks (that actually read authentically)? Not only does our MC suffer from this, but she also had to learn to control abilities that link to her emotions.
The way that Temple has divulged the world history and relevant information in this book is excellent too – little tidbits peppered throughout to keep the reader needing to continue on. Now add in danger, lies, and a swoon-worthy list of support characters, and Temple is clearly on to a winner with this book.
I personally thought that the premise behind the book was terrific, and I’m going to say that I’ve never read anything like it before.
I finished this book way too quickly – devouring it in two short hours! I was disappointed when that final page turned – I wanted the story to keep going.
So, I am officially (and impatiently) waiting for the next one in the series.


The Interview:

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book?

I wasn’t prepared for the personal development that occurred throughout the writing process. First was the boost in self-confidence, and then the sense of self-accomplishment from creating something from scratch to finally holding a physical product in my hands. And finally, the passion. As soon as I started writing, I knew this was something that I would be doing for a very long time.

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

While the genre of the book is young adult urban fantasy, there’s also a side of romance!

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

My protagonist (Kaylee) has anxiety, and I’ve had several comments from people loving how relatable that is, and how well it is written. I have personally struggled with anxiety, including panic attacks (which my protagonist also experiences) and believe that’s why it comes across so well. Anxiety isn’t something that I’ve read much about in fiction, but is so prevalent in today’s society, so I wanted to bring that into my novel.

What was the inspiration for the story?

The story originally came from a dream. I often have quite elaborate dreams but generally cannot remember them. This dream had felt so real that as soon as I woke, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I remember thinking that I should write about it, and eventually put pen to paper.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

I didn’t go into the book with a specific agenda, but I knew I wanted to try to portray someone realistic in today’s time. Kaylee has anxiety, often second guesses herself and has to learn to find her own voice.

What is the significance of the title?

Paired is something that relates to the element users in my story. It’s something unique that I haven’t come across before in the books that I’ve read. You’ll have to read the book to find out more!

What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?

Definitely! I anticipate that the Active Eight Series will be a trilogy, hopefully releasing one a year over the next two years.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book? What was the highlight of writing this book?

This book took seven years to write! Funnily enough I’d finished the first draft within a year but then self-doubt crept in. I think writers often start out wondering if they’re good enough, and I was definitely no exception to that rule. The highlight to me was when I had BETA readers read the book and they all said they loved it. Because I didn’t personally know these people, I knew that their feedback was honest. This was a massive turning point for me where I realise that I’m actually a pretty decent writer!

Where do you draw inspiration from?

My mind is my greatest tool. Between dreams at night and daydreaming, I’m often off in the clouds thinking of weird and wonderful things.

Who is your favorite author, and why?

I love reading young adult/new adult fantasy, and adore Sarah J Maas. When I started writing, I’d read that writers should try to avoid reading while they’re writing, to stop themselves being influenced by others work. However, my writing journey lasted seven years for this story, so I went a long time without reading! It wasn’t until recently when someone chastised me for not reading that I went straight back to A Court of Thorns and Roses and re-read all the books in the series. Sarah’s writing sucks you in from the beginning, taking you to a world you never want to leave.

What are you reading now?

Lately I’ve been helping other writers and authors by BETA and ARC reading, so I’ve recently finished a wonderful unpublished novel. 

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult, and what was your favorite book when you were a kid?

As above, as an adult I love A Court of Thorns and Roses. As a child, like many others, I was obsessed with Harry Potter. I was in year six when my teacher began reading Harry Potter to the class and I was hooked. I still have my collection of Harry Potter plush toys, and my three-year-old son has Harry Potter bedsheets even though he has no idea who or what Harry Potter is. 

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I have two young children at home so they fill up most of my day. Beyond that, a year ago a sewing machine landed on my table so I’ve been teaching myself to sew this last year.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?

I’ve seen this advice a number of times but it’s something I try to follow: keep on writing, regardless of whether you think the writing isn’t great quality. Writing can always be edited, but if you don’t write anything, you’ve got nothing to work with.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I’m fortunate (or possibly unfortunate) to drive an hour to and from work. I often drive in silence and let my mind wonder to my stories and my characters, and let that help progress the story.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

To me, having an engaging story is priority. Something that makes the reader want to keep turning the pages. 

What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?

For Paired, the plot came first. I knew where I wanted the story to go, then had to build my characters into that. A lot of my plot or character development comes from my daydreaming. I’ll imagine a scene and allow my mind to take it in different directions, or have characters have different conversations, and just see how everything develops.

Describe a typical writing day.

I’m the worst person to set an example for writing. Often I write of a night once my children have gone to bed, but it’s not a daily occurrence. I allow myself my driving time to create the story in my mind so that when I find time to write, I can get straight into the story. If I need more writing time, I often send the kids off to the grandparents or daycare for the day and spend the whole day in bed writing (my bed is my writing domain, I did say I was a bad example!).

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

The most difficult part is editing. I already mentioned that my story was finished in the first year, but the reason it took seven years to be completed is that I couldn’t stop editing. I love how time and editing transformed my story into what it is today, but I definitely need to learn when to stop!

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I’ve had some wonderful reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. A lot comment on the uniqueness of my story, and as mentioned above, I’ve had comments on the relatability of my protagonist.

How do you do research for your books?

I’m very much a ‘write now, research later’ kind of writer. It’s not until I get to a point in my story where I need to know about the climate or something simple like whether the local school has mandatory uniforms that I realise I need to research. In that case, Google is often my best friend for answers.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get in the mood? How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

A lot of the time when I’m writing, I put myself in the position of the protagonist. If you were to observe me writing you’ll see lots of arm actions and facial expressions as I try to ‘live’ the experience. I find putting myself in the scene helps me to connect with the emotions.

It’s an odd thing to feel happy about feeling sad, but I know if my writing is making me emotional, then I’ve done my job as a writer. Often it’s taking that moment to reflect and realise I’ve done well that helps me work through the emotional toll.

How do you handle literary criticism?

After all the self-doubt in the beginning, I’ve come to a wonderful place where I now have a very open mind. No person experiences the same book in the same way, and therefore each person will have a different opinion. Criticism is just an opinion and you have to decide yourself whether there was some merit to any feedback and how you go about making necessary changes if you feel that it is required. Sometimes it is through criticism that we develop further as a writer.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

Very little. Usually if I have a story I’m excited about, I want to get straight into writing it. Even if that means writing the ending first, then having to go back and develop everything around that (which is how I started writing Paired). Coming into writing the second book in the series, there’s definitely a lot more planning involved beforehand, though!

Where can readers find out more about you and your book, and are you on social media? Can your readers interact with you?

I have a website, kristentemple.com, that has all the links to my social media accounts. I’m most active on Facebook and Instagram, and love people interacting with my posts.

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