2017 YA Debut Author Bash: Interview with Kim Foster, Author of Game of Secrets + Giveaway
December 16, 2017
Title: Game of Secrets
Author: Kim Foster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: May 15th, 2018
* BLURB *
Felicity Cole sells flowers in the streets of Victorian London to feed herself and her young brother. But she has a close-guarded secret–her brother is a Tainted, born with special abilities that society fears and a shadowy organization called the Hunstsman scours the country to eliminate. When Felicity becomes the target of one of these individuals, she discovers something horrible: she’s Tainted, too.
Rescued by a mysterious gentleman on the eve of execution, she’s whisked away to a school funded by Queen Victoria, established to train selected Tainted into assassins in service of the crown.
Struggling to harness her incredible strength, speed, and agility, and despised by her classmates, all she wants is to use her new position to find a cure so she can be normal and reunited with her brother.
But with the Golden Jubilee fast approaching and the discovery that there’s a traitor in their midst, she has no choice but to embrace the one thing she’s been fighting all along.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Foster writes YA and adult books about thieves, spies, and assassins. Her YA debut GAME OF SECRETS will be out in Fall 2017 and is a historical fantasy—a spy thriller set in an alternate Victorian world. Prior to becoming a writer, Kim went to medical school and practiced as a family doctor (don’t worry; it doesn’t make much sense to her friends and family, either).
Kim lives with her husband and their two young sons in Victoria, BC, where she’s hard at work on her next book.
INTERVIEW WITH KIM FOSTER
What’s the inspiration for your debut YA novel, Game of Secrets?
I love all things British (my parents are English and Welsh, and I've lived in the UK twice) and the story for GAME OF SECRETS was borne of three British things that appeal to me: James Bond, My Fair Lady, and Victorian England. The Victorian era is fascinating—a time when there was a lot of emphasis on etiquette and society, and very little tolerance for anything considered different or unusual– and I began imagining an alternate Victorian England, one infused with fantasy elements, that would push that conflict even further. X-Men-ish, if you like, but in Victorian times.
I soon started dreaming up a story about Felicity, a poor sixteen-year- old flower seller in Whitechapel (the infamous location of the Jack the Ripper murders) who is rescued from execution and secreted away to a spy academy run by a gentleman spymaster, a mentor Henry Higgins-esque character (who is actually more like a badass James Bond-Charles Xavier mashup).
I read on your bio that Game of Secrets is set in an alternate Victorian world. I personally love historical settings, and Victorian era is probably my favorite. How much time did you spend researching things related to Victorian era? Did you research while writing at the same time, or did you do your research first and then proceed to writing?
Like most authors, I have a bunch of trunk novels (the books I wrote during my unofficial “apprenticeship” as an author — the books that will never see the light of day, thank goodness!) and one of those trunk novels was set in Victorian England, so I had already done quite a lot of research prior to starting on this project. Before starting to write Game of Secrets I went back to all those old notes and my reference material and refreshed my memory, plus filled in a bunch of gaps. But I tried not to get too bogged down with pre-writing research (that’s a good way to never get around to writing the actual book!). Once I started drafting I continued to research, pretty much the whole way through the writing process.
How long did it take you to finish writing Game of Secrets
It took about nine months in total, including several revision drafts.
Game of Secrets is your first YA novel, a shift in genre from your first series Agency of Burglary and Theft which is an adult series. What is the most challenging part of writing YA?
The most challenging part of writing YA is also the most fun: remembering what it was like to be a teen. I feel lucky to have a pretty vivid memory of that phase of life, and I suspect it’s one reason I made the switch to YA in the first place, but I wanted to be sure to maintain a young adult voice throughout the story. Of course in this particular story my protagonist comes from the a very harsh neighborhood in unforgiving Victorian London, so in fact she has *way* more street smarts and life experience in her 16 years than I’ve had…:)
What are the differences that you noticed when writing YA compared to adult novels? Which is easier for you?
One of the differences I’ve noticed– and something I love– is the tendency for YA to have a very close POV. As a reader, I love a close POV– it’s a wonderful way to lose yourself in a book! And I love writing this way, too. YA also tends to be strongly about voice– another thing I enjoy.
Is Game of Secrets part of a series, or is it a stand-alone? If it’s part of a series, can you tell us how many books we’re going to expect?
So far, it’s a stand-alone. But…well, you never know. Felicity’s world is one I would relish the opportunity to delve back into– I think there are more stories to tell. But we’ll have to see how things play out!
When you’re not writing, what do you do in your spare time?
Besides reading, you mean? I run by the ocean, I do yoga daily (west coast, yo), and I love to cook. Also, I’ve always been a major movie buff– my husband and I have a weekly date at the movie theater– but in recent years I’ve found a few TV shows I can’t get enough of. Outlander, Game of Thrones, Bloodline, Grey’s Anatomy, Orange is the New Black…these are a few of my current obsessions.
If you’re given a chance to collaborate with other authors, who would it be and why? You can name up to three authors.
There are some uber talented YA authors I would love to collaborate with. If you’re going to force me to only choose three, I would have to say: Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In The Ashes was amazing), Leigh Bardugo (her characters and intricate plots– in everything she writes– are incredible), and Elizabeth Wein (her book Code Name Verity rocked my world many years ago).
What are your favorite genres, and can you name your favorite book under those genres? You can list up to three.
Historical fantasy (both YA and adult) — Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is my favorite.
YA fantasy — it’s very hard to name a single favorite! But I think I might have to say An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
Spy thrillers — Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett is my favorite spy book.
Can you tell us more about your debut YA novel, Game of Secrets, and what do you think readers should look forward the most from it?
For me, it was a ton of fun to write because it’s exactly the type of story I love to read. It’s a fast-paced adventure with lots of secrets, intrigue, romance, and action. I think it will appeal to readers who enjoy stories set in an evocative, atmospheric world– a fantasy version of Victorian England, in this case. Also, if fish-out- of water stories are your thing, Game of Secrets will definitely fit the bill, because Felicity finds herself swept up in a dangerous and unfamiliar upper-class world that she must navigate.
Lastly, do you have a message for your readers/future readers?
Just this: I hope you enjoy Game of Secrets as much as I enjoyed writing it!
This giveaway is sponsored by Kim Foster. Open to US/CAN ONLY.
YA Debut Author Bash Organized by:
YA Readers America