Today I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the most interesting authors out there; T P Keane! She is getting ready to publish The Paladins of Naretia, her debut novel!
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A; I suppose I’ve been writing all my life. As a child, I was never a really good student. In fact, I wouldn’t be amiss at saying that I was probably one of the worst. That was somewhat of a confidence stomper. But I loved stories, and I would often imagine my new worlds and adventures while I lay in bed at night. It wasn’t until I had my two children, and started telling them the adventures I dreamed, that I began to write them down.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I have many muses. Every time I pick up a work of art by a great author, and see how he/she has twisted words and descriptions to not only describe the world I’ve been plunged into, but also the atmosphere. It’s something I’m trying very hard to emulate, but I’m not sure I’ve gotten it down yet. Most recently, I’ve been reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by NK Jemisin. I have to say, that is as close to perfection as I ever hope to become.
Q: You are the middle child of seven children! What was it like growing up with that many siblings? How close are you in age?
A: Growing up with six other brothers and sisters and be described in two words, loud and constant. Thankfully I was subject to the “middle-child syndrome” where often I would be forgotten, or paid very little attention to. But that only applied to my parents, who were too busy running around after a multitude of diaper-wearing monsters that were only content when they were dismantling the house from the ground up. It was tough going for my parents, and I often wondered how my mother did it all. Most of us, with the exception of the eldest, were only a year to two years apart.
Q: You fell back in love with storytelling when you began telling your two children bedtime stories. Did these stories spawn the birth of your upcoming book, The Paladins of Naretia?
A: The stories I told my kids were more quirky, odd-ball tales of green elephants with ten wings and a perpetual need to fart. While those kinds of stories weren’t the seeds for The Paladins of Naretia, they were the stirrings that began my need, my want, to create a world properly. I wanted to explore my talent, or lack thereof, in story-telling, regardless of my inability to spell (thank God for spellcheck). It has also just occurred to me that if this all flops on its face, I can blame them.
Q: Tell me about The Paladins of Naretia. What went on behind the scenes of creating such an amazing book?
A: I could tell you the plot and the characters behind it, but that can be read on the cover of the book. Behind the scenes, however, is a completely different story. While Olórin, an aged wizard, is set the task of saving the kingdom by also saving his adopted son from his real father, the dark god Dantet, this isn’t the crux of the story. The Paladins of Naretia is about love. It examines, on three fronts, the bravery and destructiveness that love can bring. Firstly, we have the broken love between Dantet and Edwina, the two ruling gods. They are the divorced parents, if you will, caught up in the hatred of each other and using their children, the people of Naretia, as pawns. Secondly, we have the false love between Olórin and his adopted son, Aramus, who he hopes against all odds will have inherited some humanity from his mother’s side. But Aramus, like Dantet, is incapable of truly loving anything. In the end, Olórin must face the truth of what this means. Our third, but not last, portrayal of love, is true love. Through the novel, we begin to hope, to pray, that Aramus falls in love with the tyrannical queen, Aria, who must put aside her demons to help them. Olórin hopes that love between them would help Aramus stay away from the darkness. But there is only one true love in The Paladins of Naretia, and that is between Aria and her seven-year-old brother Pearan. Her love for him is unconditional and fearless. In the end she will make the ultimate sacrifice to save his life.
Q: If you could go back to when you first began writing, what would you tell yourself?
A: Read more, examine how other authors convey their meaning and believe in yourself.
Q: If you could be any one of your characters for a day, who would it be and why?
A: Superficially, I would like to be Aramus, because I would love the ability to fly. But truthfully, I thing I would like to be Sudia, an elf who is half-turned and fighting for her life and for a cure. She intrigues me. Although she is not a main character in the book, she will play a bigger role in the subsequent books and I can’t wait to see how she, a grey-elf, will end up being the moral compass.
Q: What is your absolute favorite book? Why?
A: I have so many. I love John Green’s Fault in our Stars, because it is such a heart-warming and breaking story. I also love Ransom Riggs because of the way he uses old photos to spin a tale in Ms Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. Although I have many authors I love to read, I’m slowly becoming an uber-fan of NK Jeminsin, purely because of his skill… and maybe because it’s an awesome story.
Q: You have lived in several places. What has been your favorite so far? What makes that place special?
A: I’ve lived and worked in Ireland, UK and in USA. It’s been a wonderful experience to get the opportunity to not just visit each of them, but become part of them. There are certain aspects of each that I both loved and disliked, but for the most part, they bring their own unique cultural and social differences… which is fodder for my books, of course.
While I was born in Ireland, and it has many of my family and friends, I’ve never been a fan of the weather. Too much rain and grey skies for me. The States has yielded many more friends and I’ve loved the snowy winters and hot summers of New England. But the UK has always held a special place in my heart. I can’t really explain why, but something inside of me keeps drawing me back to the UK and we may very well end up settling there again.
Q: What is one thing you want the world to know?
A: That if I can do it, so can they. Anyone who knew me as a child, would have never thought that I would publish a book. I would never have thought it either, but my love of story-telling is like breathing to me. It’s something I have to do. So, if I can get around my inability to spell, my lack of experience, the little voice in my head telling me to “not be so stupid and don’t embarrass yourself,” then so can anyone. Self-belief is crucial to following your dreams no matter what they are.
You can find T P Keane online:
Facebook book release party: https://www.facebook.com/events/988671311200675/