In ELIXIR BOUND, Katora Kase must decide if she will become guardian of a secret healing Elixir and bind herself to its magic. It is available on the MuseItUp bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online book retailers, and will be out in paperback later this year. My picture book app THE BEDTIME KNIGHT, illustrated by Erika Baird, is available from MeeGenius. My website is www.katielcarroll.com or you can find me on Facebook and Goodreads.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
After my sister died, I kind of reevaluated my whole life. At the time, I was in college studying to become a physical therapist. I asked myself what I really wanted to do for a career, not a job. Writing fiction was the answer. It took me another couple of years to figure out I was writing a story for the YA crowd.
What book did you wish you had written?
I’d have to say The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, which is about a 17-year-old girl whose 19-year-old sister has just died. It’s the only book I felt compelled to write in (because I never, ever write in books). I think the author somehow managed to get in my head just after my own sister died and so eloquently put into words how I was feeling.
Tea, definitely tea.
Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know?
I work out most of my tricky plot points while in the shower. It just happens when I’m not even trying. Must be something about the soothing sound of falling water and the calming scent of soap.
What was the publishing process like for you?
Difficult. I tried several different paths to publication, including subbing before my story was really ready (a common mistake for a new writer), subbing directly to publishing houses, subbing to agents, getting lots of feedback, growing as a writer, and finally landing with MuseItUp Publishing. It was just shy of 10 years from when I first started writing ELIXIR BOUND to when it was released.
What is some advice you would impart to writers who wish to be published?
I guess that would have to be DON’T GIVE UP! Keep reading, keep honing your craft, keep learning about the business of publishing, and write, write, write. Try not to compare yourself to others and their publishing journeys. Cheer on other writers while you work away at your own stories.
If you could have breakfast with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you eat?
Vincent Van Gogh. I’ve loved his paintings since I was a kid. It was so awesome to get to his Sunflowers painting at the National Gallery in London. As for food, well, something Dutch I suppose. Maybe some Edam cheese and bread.
What is your favorite childhood book and/or author?
The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder were some of my favorites growing up. My mom used to read them to us before bed. THE GIVER by Lois Lowry was the first book to really blow my mind (back when I first read it in 5th grade). I have to mention LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott because I’m a sucker for anything with sisters in it.
What is the next book you want to write?
The book I’m working on now is a follow-up to ELIXIR BOUND called ELIXIR SAVED. Kylene, the character name after and inspired by my sister, is one of the point of view characters. I originally started ELIXIR BOUND from her point of view, but found it too hard to write it that way. I think it was too soon after Kylene’s death. Now I’m ready to give Kylene her story. There are two other point of view characters in ELIXIR SAVED as well. All three main characters have been saved by the Elixir and now they have to decide how much they are willing to sacrifice with their second chances at life.
Effervescent, poink, and flibbertigibbet.
ELIXIR BOUND excerpt:
“Let me start with what I can tell you,” Pop explained. “The Elixir…well, it’s not just any healing Elixir. It’s the greatest healing Elixir ever available to humans.”
Katora remained perfectly still; her father’s words deflated the balloon of anger building inside her and filled the hole with cold shock.
Pop stood and began to pace while he explained. “Deep in Faway grows the plant that gives the Elixir its potency. The Kase family and our ancestors have harvested this plant and acted as guardians of the Elixir for hundreds of years. We developed methods for increasing its potency and have passed these secrets down for generations. I am the current guardian.”
Pop? The guardian of the greatest healing Elixir ever available to humans? Could it be true? As he stood in front of Katora, his eyes betrayed no hint of a lie. How did she fail to notice this all her life? And what did it mean for her?
Pop’s words came in a hurry. “Even though the Elixir has largely remained a secret, there are several very important beings and others close to this family who know of it. Some are human, but others are greater than human, like Mother Nature and her offspring. These beings use the weather to communicate. Sometimes it’s not very clear what they mean, but I believe the snowstorm arriving as the supply of Elixir dwindles is a message from the Great Mother that we need to stock up.”
Katora put her hands on her hips as if she didn’t care, but subtly leaned against the bookcase at the same time. She doubted if her legs would support her. Not only was Pop the guardian of the Elixir, but Mother Nature herself knew. She sent Pop messages through the weather. If Katora took over the farm, she must take over everything to do with the farm.
Katora’s breaths came in shallow puffs. She realized Pop stared at her with concerned eyes. She silently cursed herself for making such a spectacle.
“I know this is a lot to take in,” he said. “I have a little more to tell you right now. My business partners outside of Tussar have reported unrest throughout the Great Peninsula. There are things stirring in this world, things that I have no control over, and I believe they are going to spin out of control sometime in the near future. When that happens, there will be a dire need for the Elixir. There’s so much I can’t control, but the future of the Elixir is in my power right now.”
Pop stopped in front of Katora, placed his hands on her shoulders, and looked her straight in the eyes for the second time that night. Katora knew what was coming, but she held her breath, hoping maybe she was wrong, maybe she had more time before this responsibility fell on her shoulders.
“Katora, you are next in line to be guardian of the Elixir. Its future is in your control.”