December 2020- Featured Author of the Month: Krystal Pena

Author Interview

What is the first book that made you cry?

When I was in middle school, my only friend at the time gifted me a copy of Tara Janzen’s The Chalice and the Blade. Aside from it being a cherished book, there were parts of the book that tore at my little heartstrings and made me cry. This is also the book that inspired me to become a writer.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

My writing Kryptonite…hmmm… I think it would be information dumps or achieving deep point of view. I think cinematically, therefore I like to be very detailed with scenery and visual elements of the story. I always have to go back to add in deeper perspective for my characters or to visually depict how they are feeling without needing to state the feeling.

Who is one author are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

My bookish bestie is New York Times bestseller Margo Bond Collins and she is just the sweetest person you will ever meet. My first short story was published in an anthology she put together, and ever since she has been a great mentor to me. Margo has been really pushing me to publish my work instead of hoarding it to myself, despite my fears of it being ‘not good enough’ for readers. I truly appreciate her taking the time to edit my work and to give me pointers on improvements I can make in my writing. Three are so many ways she has helped me over the past few years, so it is difficult to name just one.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I believe I would tell myself that I am good enough and to get those books finished, to actually publish them. I have spent so much time worrying about the wrong things and the truth is that I didn’t give myself enough credit. I chose not to believe in myself instead of going for it, and sometimes I wish I could get the time back.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

My first book was actually a collection of poetry that didn’t do well. I put it up without knowing most of the things I do now. Seeing how horribly it did made me focus on writing with intention and to learn more about the industry. I now view it as a lesson instead of a mistake.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? If you have not made any money, dream about it?

There are a few things I am happy to have invested in. I have Vellum for formatting, which helps a ton. I also have PublisherRocket, which is worth more than its weight in gold, it is such an invaluable tool. I also invested in a Mac earlier this year, which has helped me write #allthewords easier. For the first four years of my author career  I used the Google Docs app on my phone to write.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

This is a hard one! I love elves so I imagine I would include an elf in there somewhere. Elves are so magical, mystic and mysterious. They’ve always held a special space in my heart.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Too many! But really I have about five works in progress at the moment with plenty of other ideas written down to explore later.

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

I have always been a huge fan of epic fantasy – my dad was super into it when I was younger. I like to think that fiction has different levels of complexity, fantasy being one of the most complex. It isn’t simply because of the world building but also the character development. In series like The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) or The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (Stephen R. Donaldson) I really appreciated the character development, especially the development of the more complex characters who had contradictory traits about them. It helped me to realize that there are both good and bad within each of us, and either can be what helps us reach our goals, depending on the situation.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I honestly use a lot of ancient Celtic names in my works. I also use random name generators by character type if  I’m in a true bind. Most times a character’s name doesn’t come to me until after I’ve figured out who/what/how they are in the story.

What is your favorite childhood book?

As a kid I read a TON of books. My favorites or go to rereads were the Amelia Bedelia stories, the Dear America seriesand also Ms. Piggly Wiggly. I was usually at a higher reading level than my grade, so it was often hard to find ‘appropriate’ books for my reading level. I think one of my defining moments as a kid is when I tried to read the Lord of the Rings series in fifth grade and found it too challenging, but upon attempting it again a year later I had little trouble understanding it.

Author Bio

USA Today bestselling author Krystal Pena resides with her four children near Boston, MA. She writes PNR/UF and fantasy, and enjoys writing stories about strong women who overcome the greatest obstacles to achieve their dreams or goals. 

Aside from writing, Krystal enjoys photography, archery, horseback riding and MMA. She loves history and art, and frequents historical sites and art galleries in her spare time. Above all else, she loves being at home, baking and cooking with her children, visiting her family and reading bedtime stories. She works as a personal assistant to other authors by day and writes late into the night, a strong cup of coffee always within reach. 

Book Blurb: The Cyan Huntress

She will avenge her husband’s death, even if she must kill every knight in Caerleon to learn who betrayed him. Anwyn thought she would finally enjoy comfort and happiness when she married a traveling psychic–that is, until Uthyr Pendragon unleashed a war on all magic-users and had her new husband burned alive. She’s determined to wreak her revenge, until a Druid boy’s prophecy convinces her to put aside her personal vendetta and learn to hunt the ones who want her dead–harder to do when she’s captured and taken to Caerleon to be tried as a sorceress. Now, if she can escape with the help of Caradoc, a man whose secrets rival Anwyn’s, she will have to fulfill her vow of revenge while on the run and attempting to find the one leader who can unite three broken kingdoms under a single banner. Assuming, of course, she can protect herself from burning at the stake, safeguard her heart from the enigmatic Caradoc, and complete her training as the Cyan Huntress. Fans of Jeffe Kennedy, Grace Draven, and Laura Thalassa will love the blend of Arthurian legend and exciting action in this romantic paranormal fantasy adventure!

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