Fixing broken computers, wrangling a very spirited little toddler, and creating a world with a tyrant king, are all parts of the average day for Kristi Strong. While she has called Virginia her home for two decades, her head has rested in two countries, three states, and far too many houses to count. She was more than happy to give up her nomadic lifestyle and settle down with her husband, daughter, and their pets.
While attending James Madison University, she was given the rare opportunity to work as part of an archaeological team on a variety of dig sites in Virginia, including the homes of former Presidents, James Madison and George Washington, civil war sites such as The Steven’s House and Fort Evan’s Mississippian Encampment, and a variety of pre-historic hunting sites and camps.
Kristi now uses her extensive studies in human cultures (aka, Anthropology degree), to create her own world in her fantasy novels, beginning with her debut novel, The Lady of Steinbrekka.
First in a four part series, The Lady of Steinbrekka introduces readers to the realm of Kaldalangra as they follow the adventures of Rhea, a young woman who gets kidnapped and taken to Kaldalangra for less-than-friendly reasons. While there, readers will encounter a wide variety of characters, both good and evil, supernatural beings, and watch as Rhea struggles to choose her own destiny.
The second book in the series, Heart of Kylassame, follows the path of Rhea and Rowan as they seek to spread peace and healing over the realm. We are once again united with our favorite characters, and some newcomers are also added to the mix.
A third tale of Kaldalangra, Soul of Asimina, currently in edits and scheduled for a tentative Christmas 2013 release date.
About Kristi Strong:
1. Can you tell us a bit about when you first discovered you wanted to be a writer?
"It sounds cliche, but I have loved writing ever since I was a little girl. My mom was a big journal writer and I always wanted to write pages of beautiful cursive like she did. Once I learned to write, I had fun writing stories about gardens with magical fruit, and found that the school assignments I loved the most were ones were I could write creatively.
I didn't imagine I could become an author until 2011 however, when I discovered the world of self-publishing. It allowed me to write my books the way I did best, without hard deadlines or having to manipulate the characters into something they were never intended to become."
2. Is there a book that most influenced your life?
"Oh wow, good question. I think a big one for me was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (over a decade before it became a movie). I read it when I was a preteen and it helped me realize that life wasn't always going to be fair, or logical, or what I thought it would be. It allowed me to view the world around me in a much different manner."
3. Favorite food?
"Macaroni and cheese, but the home-made kind, not Kraft. I just love when it's all ooey-gooey cheesy with the crispy breadcrumbs on top."
4. Favorite thing to do when you aren't writing?
"Crochet. It's my other creative outlet. I am forever working on crocheting purses, blankets, hats, or other projects."
5. Do you have a favorite writing site you can share with other authors?
"I should, but not really. I read so many blogs and websites during the writing process that I can't keep them all straight."
About Heart of Kylassame:
1. Beautiful cover. Interesting title. There must have been a lot of word-building behind this series. Please tell us about the process of choosing names for your fantasy.
"I tend to live on baby-name sites, particularly those that of other cultures and languages. Many of the names in the Kaldalangra series are Russian, Greek, Norwegian, or Irish, but then I usually change an ending letter, just to make it a little more otherworldly. I also do a lot of research into what words mean, and then see if any of those fall into the realm of a name. In relating to this particular title, Kylassa is the Finnish word for "village", and then I added the "me" to soften it up a bit and take it out of this realm."
2. Can you tell us where Heart of Kylassame falls into the series? And will there be more?
"Heart of Kylassame is the second book in the Land of Kaldalangra series. There will be a third book, Soul of Asimina, being released before the end of 2013, and I am also working on a fourth book, Jewel of the Court, and a fifth, Grace of Kaldalangra. What was intended to be a solo novel, The Lady of Steinbrekka, has turned into the first book of a potentially very long series. All of the books can be read alone, but the reader will gain more by starting the adventure from the beginning."
3. Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
"She is not one of the main characters, but I found myself falling in love with a woman from the village of Asimina named Alissandra. She is just so strong, and has been able to keep a positive and grateful disposition even though she, and her village, had been through so much evil."
4. Can you share your favorite line from the book?
"Forgive yourself, Rhea. Forgive your body. You must start by forgiving yourself for something you never did."
5. And my favorite question to ask: If this book was to be made into a movie, and you were allowed to pick the actors, what would be your dream cast?
"Oh my dream cast :) Rhea - Rachel McAdams or Olivia Wilde, Rowan- Chris Hemsworth, Nyssa - Charlize Theron, Savin - Jason Momoa, Mateo - Erik Skarsgard, King Verikhan- Johnny Depp."
"I love a good fantasy, and this beautiful cover looks like a great one" - Lisa Collicutt
It has been two years since the reign of the tyrannical King Verikhan has ended, and the realm of Kaldalangra flourishes.
Nyssa has taken her place as Queen of the realm, with her secret love, Sebast, now openly at her side. She rules with a fair hand, striving for justice and prosperity for all of her people.
Rowan and Rhea travel the realm, spreading peace and healing wherever they go. In Kylassame, they have formed a strong bond with friends and spread deep roots in the community.
The people of Kaldalangra are joyful, and life in their world is better than ever before.
But a string of tragedies has the ability to bring Rhea to her knees, and with her, the entire realm. While Rowan struggles to recover the village of Kylassame from a devastating crime, Rhea’s faith in her own strength weakens, with dire consequences.
Re-enter the world of Kaldalangra, and join the adventure as Rhea and Rowan endeavor to continue upon their chosen destiny.
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