19 January 2012

Stephanie Keyes - Star Child

Who I Am
Hello everyone! My name is Stephanie Keyes, but you may call me Steph. Personally, I am many things: a choc-o-holic, work-a-holic, mom-a-holic- well, you get the idea. For the past twelve years, give or take, I’ve been working as a full-time Corporate Educator and Curriculum Designer. That means that I’ve done everything from writing training programs, to delivering them, working on graphic design projects, developing on-line promotions, technical writing, and mentoring.


I started out as a Music Education major in college, but quickly learned that playing the clarinet wasn’t going to give me the income that I needed. So I put on my IT hat and switched to Management Information Systems and later graduated from Robert Morris University, eventually going back to school for my Master’s degrees in Education. I worked in the IT field for roughly eight years before making the switch to Human Resources, which has been a great move for me personally.

Writing became serious for me when I reached my twenties. Prior to that I was always making up short stories and penning them, but the characters were never interesting enough for me to follow through with them. Kellen St. James in The Star Child changed all of that.

The Star Child
The Star Child was my first foray outside the short story arena. Like many other writers I was spurred on by tragedy in my own life. My father was very ill when I started to formulate the outline that would become the earliest version of my novel. In addition, I was also suffering from post-partum depression after the birth of my first son. So there were many not so great things happening to me and then the idea for The Star Child came to me.


Many of you may have read that the idea for the book came to me in the shower, which is absolutely true. However, I wrote it because of the events afterwards. I came out of the shower, grabbed a journal and a pen, and started writing the first chapter. Two hours later, I knew that I had the idea for my first novel. Why? Because I cared. I finally came up with a character that mattered to me.  Interestingly, my husband was hooked too. From the moment he read the first chapter, he said, “You have to write this, Steph.”
The storyline came alive and I instantly felt a desire to write and never stop. However, I am married to a very wonderful man and at the time had one son who was two years old.   In addition, I was also working about fifty hours per week, so it was challenging finding the time to write the book. I ended up limiting myself to my son’s naptimes on weekends.


Video Trailer designed by Avalon Graphics
soundtrack by Bronwen Harrison

What It’s About
The Star Child is about Kellen St. James, who is incredibly bright. He’s a prodigy, has a photographic memory, and a truly dysfunctional family. Kellen also has to contend with constant, strangely-realistic dreams that he has about a girl he met when he was six years old, Calienta.  She simply turns up one evening in a remote cove in Ireland, several hundred yards from Kellen’s Gran’s house. After the encounter, she is frequently in his dreams. Then, after his Grandmother’s death, he meets her again and finds out that she’s more real than he imagined.
This encounter hurtles Kellen from his reality in upstate New York straight into the underworld of Celtic mythology. He is forced to navigate in an environment that he never believed existed, all the while fighting the clock to meet the demands of a prophecy that places him center stage.



One of the things that I love best about Kellen is that he is such a skeptic. Everything that crosses his path is met with a great deal of scrutiny and sarcastic wit. In that regard we could be twins. The other thing I enjoy about this character is that he has no special “powers”. There’s no super strength, he isn’t drop-dead gorgeous, he isn’t particularly athletic; he’s just very intelligent. So when he gets into tight situations he leverages his brain every time. There’s also a strong moral backbone to Kellen. Early on you really get a sense, I believe, of what he will or will not do. He’s honorable, but real.
I’ve always enjoyed Celtic folklore and a branch of my family is from Golden, Ireland. The stories, the traditions, the warnings about the good people - this was all passed down to me through my grandmother. There’s so much content that’s been written about this topic and each author seems to take their own liberties with the content so that the tales aren’t usually consistent.


When I began to build the storyline that would surround Kellen, I decided that I would pull in some of the legend that I heard or read about and place them in the context of the St. James world.  The TuathaDanann is the underlying legend of the story, the idea that gods and goddess were banished to the underworld and have become the faeries of Irish folklore today. Again, I took pieces of that concept and wove them into the story of the Star Child.
I love the idea of our world blending with fantasy, the concept that magick could be just around the corner if you only choose to look closely. That’s what you get in The Star Child: reality intertwined with fantasy.



My Dinner Party Guest List
If I could invite anyone to a dinner party, these individuals would be on the guest list:

Sting, Musician, Alive: I am a huge fan of new and interesting music. He is always coming up with something new, something that hasn’t been done before.

Carl Jung, Psychiatrist, Deceased: His viewpoints on inborn personality traits are interesting to me.

Brian Boitano, Figure Skater, Alive: Not only could he provide entertainment during the meal but he’s apparently an excellent chef.

Scarlett O’Hara,Character From Gone With the Wind, Immortal: Scarlet was the eternal optimist. After all, she coined the phrase “tomorrow is another day”.

Dexter Gordon, Jazz Saxophonist, Deceased: I play the saxophone myself and I love Dexter’s bebop style. I’d be very interested in hearing about his treatment of reeds. 

J.K. Rowing, Author, Alive: I don’t believe that I would be writing in the Fantasy genre if it weren’t for the influence of the Harry Potter series and Rowling’s determination to write as a young mother.

Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, Paranormal Investigators, Alive: After the meal is over they could lead us on a ghost hunt where we debunk individual perceptions in favor of scientific evidence. The deceased guests could play a starring role.


The Star Child is available from:
In paperback and on Kindle

Find out more about Stephanie at her website

Friend her on Facebook

Follow Her On Twitter

next time: we go to sea with author Margaret Muir



23 comments:

  1. Hi Steph! Great to see you here and I have to laugh as I do all my best thinking in the shower!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Star Child! Very imaginative story and Kellen is a wonderful creation. I hope he continues to inspire you!

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  2. Hi Steph, great to see you here, and a great post and as always, wishing you great success with your fantastic book.

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  3. Cathy, Thank you very much! I am so glad that you enjoyed reading the SC. As a matter of fact, I am already working on book two if the series - so we haven't seen the last of Kellen!

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  4. Thanks very much for stopping by Pauline! It's always a pleasure.

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  5. What a fabulous article. It's so nice to get t know Steph better. I think many of us have our best ideas in unlikely places; I also think a lot whilst in the shower!

    Best wishes for successful sales.

    CJ x

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  6. Hi Steph - great post. Great trailer and nice to see the images you've put with The Star Child.

    I'd like to have Sting over for dinner too!

    Sue

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  7. Good post, and I like your dinner guests. Nice to see Scarlett getting a mention!

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  8. Ooh, I like it when a character isn't 'perfect in every possible way'. I like a good hunky hero... I wish, but real people are not made that way, are they? Kellen gets my vote.

    Sorry about the 'not so great things' that were going on, Stephanie. Sometimes these sort of life-events allow us to get in touch with our emotions. Maybe Kellen was a way to channel them. Nice post! :) xx

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  9. Loved this piece!! And I'm guessing you do know Sting is a neighbour of mine?!

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  10. Richard HolmesJanuary 19, 2012

    Great stuff Steph!

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  11. Great post!

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  12. Kathryn,
    Thank you so much for stopping by. I know! Isn't it amazing how much we can accomplish in the space of one shower?

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  13. Thanks Sue! The images actually came from Cathy Helms at Avalon Graphics who did a wonderful cover and trailer. The music was from the talented Bronwen Harrison.

    Hey, want to have a dinner party together sometime? I'd have to fly over as I don't see Sting flying to Pittsburgh anytime soon.

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  14. Thanks Helen! Yes, I just loved Scarlett. Tough as nails and a heroine with a brain.

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  15. Hi Sheryl,
    Thanks very much! I agree. A hunk it definitely a plus, but I encounter so few with the exception of Mr Keyes. :)

    Yes, Kellen definitely helped me channel quite a bit. I owe alot to him, I think. Thanks for stopping!

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  16. Thanks Lady Baggot! I am so glad you enjoyed... Yes, I am VERY aware that Sting is your neighbor. I am such a fan. Would you like to come to the dinner party that I'm planning with Sue Fortin and Sting?

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  17. Richard and Darlene,
    Thanks very much for stopping by!

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  18. Fun post to read - loved it! And Scarlet O'Hara, yes indeed (laugh). Love the pics too.....

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  19. Thanks, Hellen, for bringing us the lovely Steph and her wonderful book, The Star Child. It's great to get to know Steph better and The Star Child is a terrific book that I read (almost) in a single sitting! Well done, all.
    PS: If there's a dinner party with Sting going on, I'm coming, too! XX

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  20. my pleasure to have such a lovely guest Nicky

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  21. Great interview. Loved the story behind the story of The Star Child. Very interesting dinner guests lol!

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  22. Thanks Linn and Nicky! Nicky, I'll be sure to let you know all the details. It will have to depend on Sting's schedule of course.

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  23. Thanks Janice! Glad you enjoyed. I have to say, I do love originals!

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