Today I bring you a great interview with author K.M. Allan. An Australian author of YA fantasy fiction. Her debut novel, Blackbirch: The Beginning, was released in February 2020, the second book, Blackbirch: The Dark Half, in July 2020, and the third book, Blackbirch: The Ritual, in August 2022.
Lets find out more about the author.
Tell me about yourself
I was born in Sydney but have lived in Melbourne for the last 9 years with my family and two fluffy ragdoll cats who are the real stars of my social media posts. I have an identical twin sister (who unfortunately still lives in Sydney), and we have an ongoing rivalry to prove which one of us is not the evil twin.
How long have you been writing?
Quite a while. I remember writing as a teen and sharing first draft stories with friends between classes in high school, and one of my first full time jobs was writing articles about hairstyles. I got more serious about publishing 7 years ago, and it’s been non-stop writing books and blogging ever since.
Did you have a favourite book as a child?
I loved fairy tales, especially a book of classic stories that contained all the dark parts that Disney has glossed over in their retellings. I also learned all my essential early life lessons from The Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, The Fear Street Series, and Christopher Pike books.
What do you enjoy about writing your chosen genre?
I write contemporary fantasy YA books and I really love mixing things like magic and mystery through a modern, everyday world. It’s fun to see how believable and unbelievable elements can combine and what help or harm they can create for characters who are just starting to hit those first big, life-changing moments in their lives.
Tell me about ‘The Blackbirch’ series.
It’s set in a small town that uses its history of spooky woods and rumours of witchcraft to keep itself afloat as a tourist destination. What most of the townsfolk don’t know is that there’s dark magick in the heart of the woods. The main character is 17-year-old Josh Taylor, and he discovers this after the death of his parents in a car accident that unleashes memories he’s mysteriously forgotten. He’s helped by another teen girl, Kallie Jacobs, who has magick like him. Together, they must keep it from different villains who are after the power they have. All the books deal with family secrets, action, twists, teen friendships and romances, prophetic dreams and visions, dealing with trauma, heavy responsibilities, and of course witchcraft and spells.
What inspired this series?
All the teen shows I was watching at the time I started writing it, like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the original series of Roswell. I liked the idea of a teen friendship group, some with special powers and some without, working together to fight evil.
Who was your favourite character to write and why?
My favourite character is Kallie. At first, she appears to Josh in his dreams, and he’s not sure she’s real, but she is and has a lot to teach him about the magick that they share. She also has prophetic dreams and visions, and that mysterious skill is always so much fun to write because you get to hint at things that aren’t fully revealed until later--and I love a good reveal!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I need to concentrate, I like going into my own little writing bubble. I’ll put on noise-cancelling headphones and listen to the same instrumental track on repeat until I’ve finished whatever task I’m working on.
What advice would you give a new author?
Learn to trust your own instincts and always write the story you want, but also be open to taking on advice from those you trust who aren’t so close to the work. They’ll help you see the weak points so you can create a stronger story.
What would be your spirit animal and why?
I’ve got to go with a cat on this one. They don’t need or want anyone’s attention or approval. They just do what makes them happy.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like walking out in nature and taking photos of pretty much every flower or tree that I see and spending my weekends unwinding from the week with a good TV or movie binge-watch.
Thanks to Kate for sharing her inspiration with us. If you would like to check out her work, click on the links below;