Updated: Aug 8
I am SO excited about today. We are here celebrating my very good author friend and her brand-new release. YAY! Feel free to toss confetti, hoot, and holler! Not only am I so excited for Katie, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this book for a while. And – guess what? I got to read it during the development stage, which - seriously - satisfied my need in so many ways. The professional side of me loves to help in the development of a book in any small way I can. The reader side of me LOVES to get a book before most other people. ELIXIR SAVED did not disappoint. I really hope you pick up a copy for yourself.
Katie is taking the time out of her busy book release schedule to visit with us today and share some of the more difficult aspects of writing ELIXIR SAVED (the second book in the series.) Please give a warm welcome to Katie Carroll. Take it away, Katie!
Kai, thanks for having me on your blog to discuss the biggest challenge I faced while writing my YA fantasy ELIXIR SAVED. Since I’m not very good at picking just one thing (or following directions apparently!) I decided to write about my two biggest challenges.
Biggest Challenge #1 – Worldbuilding
This first challenge of worldbuilding was a surprise to me because ELIXIR SAVED is the second book in the series (though it’s considered a stand-alone, meaning you don’t have to read the previous book ELIXIR BOUND first). So, you’d think I would be all set when it came to worldbuilding. Not so much.
ELIXIR BOUND centers around a small group of people going off into the forest on a quest, and they’re pretty isolated most of the time. Readers don’t get much insight into the fantasy world beyond the forest. On the other hand, ELIXIR SAVED follows three different characters, each of whom goes off on their own journey. That means lots of interacting with different places and a whole new level of development for the economic, societal, and spiritual aspects of the world.
This challenge of having to do more worldbuilding for the second book, though, gave me an opportunity to grow as a writer and as a person. I was able to add a more mature perspective to it. The second time around, I was able to push the boundaries of the matriarchal world I created in the first book.
Biggest Challenge #2 – Kylene
I’ve always been very transparent about how I became a writer after the unexpected death of my 16-year-old sister, Kylene (I’ve blogged about it with “The Story of How I Became A Writer”). I wrote these Elixir books for her. The first one was going to be her adventure, but it was too hard to write from her point of view at the time.
That’s where the second book comes in. It was the book I intended for Kylene all along. It’s turned into a bigger story than that, but at its core, ELIXIR SAVED is Kylene’s story.
So how was that challenging? Well, who am I to write her story? It’s always felt very presumptuous to write from her voice. So, I’ve had to separate my sister Kylene from the one in my story. The character Kylene is based on the real person, but it’s not her. And that’s okay. It’s the only way I could have written this character. Because I’m not Kylene and I could never replicate her voice…and I wouldn’t want to.
That doesn’t mean the book doesn’t pay tribute to her or that I didn’t try my hardest to encompass her spirit in the character. A lot of complicated feelings have gone into this book. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Because I write (and read) to make sense of my feelings and thoughts and to try to make sense of life. I also write to connect to others, and in the Elixir books to connect others to Kylene. I hope readers feel that when they pick up my books.
ELIXIR SAVED blurb
Three lives saved by the Elixir; three lives bound by it.
The Elixir entwines the lives of those it touches. Once upon a time, Kylene, Zelenka, and Devon tasted it and escaped death. None were left without scars. Now, a shocking message from the Ice Queen–one of Mother Nature’s higher beings–sends each survivor on a quest. Kylene travels to the frozen depths of Blanchardwood, Zelenka heads back to the wilds of Faway Forest, and Devon journeys to a reclusive mountain temple. The three paths converge in a war against an ancient and tricky foe. And even the Elixir cannot save everyone. The fate of the world balances on the edge of a sword, and the outcome depends on whether the survivors will sacrifice their second chances.
Escape back into the world of the Great Peninsula in this much-anticipated sequel to the award-winning ELIXIR BOUND. Perfect for fans of the Thrones of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas.
Kai's Review: This was a much anticipated book for me. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Elixir Bound, and I couldn’t wait to get back into the world Mrs. Carroll created. Plus, I knew that this second book in the series was more personal for Katie, so I knew it would resonate even more. I wasn’t disappointed. There were multiple points of view in this book, which Katie handled well. Not only did she successfully avoid the head hopping feeling that can drive me nuts when an author doesn’t do multiple pov well, but she did a great job of driving each storyline to the same conclusion while keeping the reader wondering how it might all tie together. The characters were well developed – a true strength of Katie’s – and the settings were so well written, they were tangible. By taking her time with this story, Katie L. Carroll created a lush story that young adult readers will devour. I recommend Elixir Saved for fans of fantasy as well as though who enjoy character driven stories.
About Katie L. Carroll
Award-winning author Katie L. Carroll began writing after her 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, both real and imagined. She wrote her YA fantasy ELIXIR BOUND, winner of the 2019 Connecticut Author Project for Best YA, and its sequel ELIXIR SAVED so Kylene could live on in the pages of a book. Katie’s middle grade adventure PIRATE ISLAND was selected by the Milford Public Library as the 2018 One City, One Story middle grade read. She teaches writing and publishing workshops for children and adults and works as a freelance writer.