Interview with Kyra Halland

Published 2022-07-01.
When did you first start writing?
I liked to write stories and plays as a child. The first story I remember writing was the tale of Daisy the Horse-Farm Horse, in 2nd grade. I also wrote a play about Sir Francis Drake when I was in the 4th grade, and my very awesome teacher, Mrs. Garrity, allowed me to perform it for the class. The scene with the storm at sea was very exciting!

Starting in 5th grade, I became more of a music person, and ended up getting two degrees in music before becoming a stay-at-home mom with my oldest son. I decided at that time I was ready for a new intellectual challenge, so, since I'd always loved to read and had trouble finding the kinds of romantic fantasy novels I wanted to read, I decided to start writing my own. That was more than twenty years ago, and now, with ebook self-publishing, the time is finally right for me to start sharing my stories with the world!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My current project is Mage of Storm and Sea, a four book series (three novels plus a prequel) set in the same world as my Wildings series but in a different time and place, the Islands of Silas's ancestors. The core of the main character, Esavas, a scholarly mage who is forced to fight in a war because of a connection he has to the villain, was inspired by a book I enjoyed in high school in the 70s. I always wanted to know what happened to the main character next, but no sequel was ever published. So I built a new character based on that core concept, set it in my own series world, and added the romance I wanted so much for the hero to have!

Winds of Magic (book 1) and Sea of Magic (book 2) are currently available. Dreams of Magic, the prequel, is currently only available by subscribing to my email newsletter; it will be coming to stores later this year. Storm of Magic (book 3) is in edits, and will be released later this year.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in, and still live in, the desert areas of Arizona. I hate the heat, and I love to see green and water and trees and stuff, but the harsher beauty of the desert has sunk deep into me. Many of my novels are partially or entirely set in desert settings. It's different from the typical fantasy setting, and there's something about the desert that suggests mystery and ancient magic, in addition to providing plenty of conflict and challenge for the characters just by its dry, harsh nature. Urdaisunia is set entirely in a desert land, and the land itself is very much a character in the story; I don't think that story could exist in any other setting.

However, as a child I was also fortunate enough to spend two separate years living in Germany while my father was a visiting professor at a couple of different universities there. We traveled a lot and saw a lot of old towns and castles and cathedrals, and this experience helps add realism and dimension when I do write in a more European-style setting.

Finally, taking "where" not in the sense of a place but in the sense of the social surroundings I grew up in, my father was a professor (retired now), so I grew up in the academic world. A lot of the people my parents socialized with were also professors and their families, we made regular visits to the campus, our family life revolved around the academic year, and learning and academic achievement were highly valued in our family. This is reflected in the search for lost and hidden knowledge that makes up an important part of the plot in some of my books; The Lost Book of Anggird and Sarya's Song are especially examples of this, and part or all of those novels take place in an academic setting.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
When I first started writing novels, in about 1990, I wrote my first novel, hunted up an agent in Writers Marketplace who handled fantasy, sent off my query, received a request for the full manuscript (and a reading fee, if you please - this was way before the Internet as we know it now exists and before all the helpful information on it was available, so I didn't know reading fees were bad), then got one of those encouraging rejections that made me feel like I would hit the target with the next book.

Somewhere along the line, I had also become aware of the importance of marketability in convincing an agent or editor to buy your novel. So I sat down to write my next novel and found that the idea of having to write something not only good but also that the powers that be would deem marketable made me freeze up. I struggled and struggled with that second novel, trying to turn it into something like I'd seen on bookstore shelves, and finally gave up. I knew then that trying to write for the gatekeepers just wasn't for me. So I gave up on the idea of publishing for the time being.

When it became possible for people to set up their own free websites, I experimented with that. I posted an earlier version of my novel Chosen of Azara on a website I set up, and began posting that other novel I'd given up on years before. Then, a few years ago, when self-publishing as it exists now came into being, with the development of the Kindle and print-on-demand publishing, I realized that was what i had been waiting for for twenty years. I could write what I wanted, how I wanted, when I wanted, and be in control of the entire process.

That novel that I gave up on because I couldn't make it "marketable"? The first thing I did when I started thinking about becoming an indie author was write it the way I wanted to write it and revise it into something I was proud of. It became my first published novel, Urdaisunia.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's hard to decide on one greatest joy. I have these fascinating characters living in my head, demanding that I tell their stories, and bringing them and their stories to life is tremendously fun and fulfilling.

The other greatest joy is when a reader writes to me and says, "I loved your book, is there a sequel, and when's your next book coming out?" No matter how many times that happens, I always get a huge smile on my face and all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings.
What do your fans mean to you?
I love it when my stories affect someone, whether it's giving them a few hours of entertainment or providing uplift and encouragement when they're going through hard times. It's a tremendous feeling when someone writes to me and says they loved my book, especially when they want to know when my next book is coming out! There's no greater compliment than to hear that someone enjoyed one of my books and wants more. I would write even if no one but me was reading it, but knowing that others enjoy what I write makes it even more fun and fulfilling.
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm working on revisions to Storm of Magic, book 3 of Mage of Storm and Sea. I'm also writing the first draft of my next series, Children of the Wildings, the next series in the Wildings saga.
Who are your favorite authors?
Carol Berg is my favorite author. She could write the phone book and I would read it. I also like Steven Erikson (Malazan Book of the Fallen series), Brandon Sanderson, Lindsay Buroker, Pauline Ross, and Jonathan Moeller.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Mostly I'm reading, or feeding my cats.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My top favorite is Flesh and Spirit/Breath and Bone (two books, which actually go together to make one long novel) by Carol Berg. Amazing writing, amazing characters, amazing story, amazing world. The first time I read them, I was torn between not being able to put them down and not wanting to read too fast because I didn't want them to end. So I read them twice in a row without stopping in between.

I also really like the RiddleMaster trilogy by Patricia McKillip. I discovered these when I was in high school, and they get better with each reading. Magical, mysterious, multilayered world, great characters, gorgeous writing.

So technically, that's five, but I'll also mention the Earthsea Trilogy, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre.
What do you read for pleasure?
I mainly read fantasy, mostly by indie authors. I especially enjoy high/epic fantasy with strong romantic storylines. I dabble in other genres, especially romance and historical fiction.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Latest books by This Author

Mage of Storm and Sea: The Complete Series
Series: Mage of Storm and Sea. Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 406,210. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2023 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
He’s content in his life as a scholar, until they make him a hero. It costs him everything… And then she finds him. Together, while growing a love that defies the laws of the mages, they must face and defeat an evil that threatens to consume all the life of the Islands. This omnibus contains: Prequel, Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3 of Mage of Storm and Sea.
Storm of Magic (Mage of Storm and Sea Book 3)
Series: Mage of Storm and Sea, Book 3. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 150,510. Language: English. Published: January 12, 2023 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
After losing everything else, they found each other. But beneath the mannered, elegant surface of mage society lies treachery, and the search for those answers could cost Leshi and Esavas everything as they face the difficult - and heart-wrenching - challenge of stopping the evil that threatens to consume the life of their beloved Islands.
Dreams of Magic (Mage of Storm and Sea Prequel)
Series: Mage of Storm and Sea, Book 0. Price: $2.99 USD. (Free until Dec. 31!) Words: 46,010. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2022 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
Esavas Daruvias wants two things in life - to become a weather mage and to marry the girl of his dreams. He takes desperate measures to make his dreams a reality even at the risk of losing his power, his freedom, his future.
Sea of Magic (Mage of Storm and Sea Book 2)
Series: Mage of Storm and Sea, Book 2. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 119,810. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2022 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Romance » Fantasy
(5.00 from 1 review)
For years, Leshi has been enthralled by her father’s stories of fighting beside the great war hero Honored Master Esavas. When a malign force from the sea brings tragedy to their village, she goes in search of Master Esavas, to ask him to save her village. But what she finds isn’t what she expected…
Winds of Magic (Mage of Storm and Sea Book 1)
Series: Mage of Storm and Sea, Book 1. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 93,540. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2021 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(4.00 from 1 review)
After a terrible mistake in his youth, Esavas Daruvias has found a home at the secluded Tower as a Master of weather magic, vowed to celibacy, self-mastery, and non-violence. Then the troubles of the past resurface, and Esavas must stop a war even at the risk of his vows and everything he is.
Defenders of the Wildings: The Complete Series, Books 1-3
Series: Defenders of the Wildings. Price: $7.99 USD. Words: 269,670. Language: English. Published: March 5, 2020 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
Once, they were hated and hunted by mage hunters and Plain folk alike. Now, former bounty hunters turned renegade mages Silas and Lainie Vendine finally have the life they dreamed of - until an old and vicious hatred of mages rears its head. Silas and Lainie must fight to protect everything they love, everything they've worked for, before it's all destroyed.
Mages' Uprising (Defenders of the Wildings #3)
Series: Defenders of the Wildings. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 103,500. Language: English. Published: October 9, 2019 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(5.00 from 1 review)
When the true extent of the Chardonikans' plans in the Wildings is revealed, Silas and Lainie must somehow work together, even though they're separated by the enemy, to defeat the Chardonikans, reunite their family, and protect the freedom of all the people of the Wildings.
Mages' Exile (Defenders of the Wildings #2)
Series: Defenders of the Wildings. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 82,840. Language: English. Published: February 26, 2019 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Western
(5.00 from 1 review)
Once, Silas and Lainie Vendine, former bounty hunters and renegade mages, had a home and ranch of their own and a position of respect in the town of Prairie Wells. Now, mage-hating foreigners have driven them from their home. With the Chardonikans intent on tearing their family apart, Silas and Lainie must find allies and discover the true nature of their enemies.
Daughter of the Wildings: The Complete Series
Series: Daughter of the Wildings. Price: $16.99 USD. Words: 374,670. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2018 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Historical, Fiction » Western
Cowgirls and gunslingers in a world of magic. This box set contains all six books of the Daughter of the Wildings series, plus two Silas and Lainie short stories. Discover magic, adventure, and romance in this innovative fantasy series inspired by the Wild West.
Mages' Home (Defenders of the Wildings #1)
Series: Defenders of the Wildings. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 85,610. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2018 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
(5.00 from 1 review)
Former bounty hunters turned renegade mages Silas and Lainie Vendine finally have the life they dreamed of - a home and ranch of their own where they can live in peace and raise their family, and the friendship and respect of their non-magical neighbors - until an old and vicious hatred of mages rears its head.
View their profile to see all of their books