Interview With Author R.M. Strong (Karis, YA Christian Fiction)

Karis

In your own words, please describe your book….
Karis is the story of a typical 15-year-old girl facing extraordinary circumstances. When Tamara Weatherby’s family is brutally murdered in front of her, life changes more than she had ever thought possible. The friend of the family that took her in happens to be the city’s superhero, and her new adoptive brother is his sidekick. When she is invited to join the team as support staff, she never thought that she would be running around Kingston at night with them, but soon she is doing just that.

While she is excelling in her new night life, however, her real life is in shambles. Her life in public is constantly in danger and her anonymity—which she never appreciated—is completely gone. Despite having an outlet for her anger, grief, and sadness, all those emotions come back to haunt her as often as her parents’ killer does. Nothos, the man who killed her family—angry that she survived and determined she fear him—is continually trying to finish the job he started and kill her as well.

What is the genre?
Young Adult Christian Speculative Fiction. Don’t let the “Young Adult” and “Christian” scare you away, though. Karis has been enjoyed by people of every age group and religious orientation.

Is this book a standalone or part of a series?
Karis is the first in the My Life as a Superhero series. Karis was originally published under that title in 2004. Of course, the life of a teenager changes a lot in seven years and when I received the rights back from my previous publisher, America Star Books, and I had to add things that didn’t exist before, like social media, smart phones, and tablets.

Where Karis follows Tamara through her high school years, the sequel, Flash, tells her story through college. Balancing college and superheroing is daunting enough, but she also has to juggle a boyfriend and a husband (not at the same time) and fight a man who is out to ruin her reputation rather than just kill her. The final installment, Erimentha, continuing Tamara’s story through young adult hood, is going to be out in November.

What books are similar to this one?
I just recently finished the Divergent series, and I could swear that Veronica Roth’s inspiration for Tris and Four’s relationship came from my series. I’m not saying that she did, of course, but the dynamics between her hero and heroine and mine are so similar that it was eerie. The stories are not incredibly similar—except for a strong female lead and her male counterpart—but the interactions are very close.

The story includes many conventional superhero tropes, so fans of Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and the superhero genre itself will enjoy the story.

Where can readers find your book?
Karis is available in eBook format at Amazon and all other formats at Smashwords. Paperback copies are available on Amazon and Createspace.

As a lead-up to Erimentha’s release in the fall, Karis will only be 99 cents in all eBook formats!

What has been the best moment in your writing career?
April of last year, my son (then six years old) discovered that he was able to write a book in November as part of National Novel Writing Month just like me. He was able to make his goal of writing 5,000 words and, best yet, he had a pretty coherent plot and storyline. I helped him finish the book and we will be publishing it this summer.

The second-best moment came just a few weeks ago. I enlisted the help of some new Facebook friends to help me with the last book in the Superhero series, Erimentha. One of them, a 16-year-old girl—my target demographic—when she was done Karis and Flash, demanded to get Erimentha­ as soon as I could send it to “feed her obsession.”

How long does it take you to finish a novel?
I started Karis when I was 15 years old and worked on it off and on for nine years before its first incarnation, My Life as a Superhero (America Star Books, 2004). I left it pretty much alone for the seven years America Star Books had rights to it and by that time, the eBook revolution had started. Since independent publishing no longer involved thousands and thousands of dollars or printing at the local copy shop, we decided to try going independent. Start to finish, it took over 15 years to publish Karis, though most of that time was full of doing other things.

Flash, the sequel didn’t take me nearly as long—just five years from start to finish. Erimentha only took two. All three of those books are over 100,000 words.

The shortest time it took to write a book was my novella, Patient Love, which I wrote last April during Camp NaNoWriMo, but it was only 35,000 words.

How can readers connect with you?
There are many ways readers can connect with me. The best and easiest way is through my website, http://rmstrongbooks.weebly.com. My email is rmstrongbooks@gmail.com.

I’m also on Twitter at @RM_Strong, Facebook , Google+, and LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads, Shelfari,  and Wattpad.

Do you have any other books already released?  
Flash is the continuation of Tamara’s story started in Karis. The final instillation, of the series, Erimentha, will be released this fall.

What Difference Does Seven Days Make? is a young adult historical fiction based on the Passion Week—the week between Palm Sunday and Easter—told by one of Jesus’ disciples.

Patient Love, a young/new adult novella, follows Jasmine Williams as she recovers from an emotionally- and mentally-abusive relationship.

Portal Magic, the book I wrote with my now-7-year-old, will be available late this summer.

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