The Mapkeeper and
the Rise of the Wardens
by Katie Cash
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GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy
A teenage girl in future North America discovers that she is heir to a magical map which transports her to another world called Praxis, where her position as Mapkeeper is held in high regard. She is expected to learn to use the map’s magic to help the creatures of Praxis defend their homeland against the dark magic of the Wardens, a group of ancient beings whose magic is stirring again after centuries of peace.
The walk to school was gorgeous and still. The gentlest snowfall drifted from the gray sky, dusting last night’s snowfall with a fresh final layer of fluff. The padding of snow muffled the sounds of the small town coming to life.
To Lucy’s surprise, there was a large crowd of townspeople gathered around Frostbite High when it came into sight. They spilled into the parking lot, cramming themselves against one another, trying to get a view of someone or something at the center of the outdoor courtyard. Lucy’s curiosity was piqued—nothing interesting ever happened at Frostbite.
“What’s going on?” Luke asked.
“I don’t know… I don’t remember any of the teachers saying there would be an event on Monday,” Mack replied.
The Barnes siblings quickened their pace. The low murmur of excited voices emanated from the crowd. People pointed toward the center of the courtyard and stood on tip-toes to get a better view. An inexplicable apprehension formed somewhere deep within Lucy’s stomach.
The siblings weaved through several parked snow mobiles and reached the edge of the crowd in the parking lot. They shouldered their way in until they had a clear view of the courtyard. There was a group of people seated in high-backed chairs on stage, but Lucy couldn’t make out their faces.
“Who are they?” Mack asked a man who was squeezed up against him.
“It’s Mr. Quincy and his staff!” the gray-bearded man muttered. “He’s supposed to make some special announcement, just for us here in Aglid.” The man’s eyes darkened with mistrust.
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Katie Cash, author of The Mapkeeper and the Rise of the Wardens.
Hi Katie, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I grew up mostly in San Diego, California. While being outdoors, playing sports, and going to the beach have always been a big part of what makes me who I am, I have always loved to read and write, and always knew I wanted to be an author. I am thrilled to have kicked off my career as an author with the publication of my first novel!
What were you like at school?
I always preferred English and Language Arts to math, although I enjoyed science quite a bit too. I ended up majoring in oceanography in college, which was wonderful. I guess you could say I enjoyed things across a wide spectrum at school. I was also a huge doodler and note-passer with my friends 😀
Were you good at English?
I like to think that I was, but English is such a tough language that everyone always has room to improve! There is always more to learn; room to grow.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I hope to finish out The Mapkeeper series with two more novels, then I am considering branching out into different genres—maybe suspense thrillers. Then again, I just might continue to write in the YA fantasy genre. We will see how it goes! Either way, I will definitely continue to write.
Which writers inspire you?
I am constantly discovering amazing new writers to add to my bank of inspiration! Most recently, I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and was absolutely enthralled by her clever use of colorful language. She has an incredible gift for crafting magical, imaginative narrative. A.J. Banner’s The Good Neighbor was a suspense thriller I could not put down! She captured my imagination and left me craving answers to the unknowns of her novel. I also find Clive Cussler’s writing to be especially gripping. As far as more classic writers, I am a big fan of Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, and even John Donne. There is something to be gleaned from all types of writers, and I just can’t get enough!
Give us an insight into Lucy Barnes. What does she do that makes her special?
Lucy Barnes does not think there is anything especially unique about herself, but she discovers that she is braver than she thought when she is faced with challenging situations. At a young age, Lucy is forced to step into a massive leadership role, and while she is perpetually nervous that she will not live up to expectations, she discovers that she has more to offer than she ever thought possible. She is also exceptionally loyal and devoted to her family and friends. She will go to the ends of the earth to help someone in need, another quality that, never having had to do so before, she did not know that she possessed.
What are you working on at the minute?
Haha- I like the phrasing of the question. At this MINUTE I am working on The Mapkeeper, book two! It is as yet untitled (it will likely be The Mapkeeper and… Something). The title usually unveils itself once the majority of the book is written.
Which actress would you like to see playing Lucy Barnes from The Mapkeeper and the Rise of the Wardens?
I don’t really envision my novel as a movie in all honesty. Of course, it would be incredible if it were to be made into a movie one day, but as this is unlikely, I don’t really bother with thinking about it much. I simply want to share my story with appreciative readers. That is what really makes me happy!
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
As I said before, I have always known that I wanted to be an author. It took me two years after graduating college, but eventually I decided that life wasn’t going to slow down and give me time to write, so I needed to start making time to write. I haven’t stopped since!
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I do not structure my writing time. I generally write when I find I have at least an hour of alone-time, which I am lucky to have most days. There may come a day when I do find the need to structure and schedule my time down to the hour, but for now, I do not need to.
Where do your ideas come from?
I have always wanted to write in the young adult fantasy genre. I usually begin with a set of main characters and then develop the setting. From there, the story grows in my mind around a very general idea of what the plot might be.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I generally outline my stories, but the characters always find a way to surprise me anyway. They take the plots I create and change them, throwing new twists and turns into the story that even I didn’t see coming!
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Devoting time to write can be daunting! Actually sitting down and putting words on paper is surprisingly difficult. I wish I would write more often than I do, but it is sometimes difficult to convince myself that I am in the mood to write, which is silly. I should just write!!!
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.
I am constantly reading! I also listen to audio books in my car, so I generally have anywhere from two to five different books going at once! My favorite authors include C.S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, James Patterson, Clive Cussler, Margaret Mitchell, Mary Higgins Clark, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, Aldous Huxley, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dean Koontz, and too many others to name.
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer traditional hard or paperback books, but I end up reading mostly ebooks because of convenience.
What books are you reading currently?
Currently I am reading The Golden Compass – His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, Paper Towns by John Green, and The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble.
Please tell us about the cover and how it came about.
My wonderful cover designer, Diana Buidoso, was kind enough to work with me on a number of revisions to create the perfect cover design. I am so grateful for her talent and incredible work ethic!
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one?
At this time I do not intend to create a book trailer.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
It certainly helps increase the number of people who have my book in their possession. I did a three-day giveaway, and my number of free downloads in those three days was staggering. Still, I have not seen the reward yet in reviews or purchases. Selling books is a marathon, not a sprint. I do not expect instant gratification and I am still completely satisfied when I engage a reader’s imagination and a able to share my story with someone who appreciates it. That’s all I aim to do at this point in time. Sales are always nice, though! It seems to me that $2.99 is a small price to pay compared to the three years I spent perfecting my work. Of course, consumers are choosy, as they should be, and it will take time and more good reviews to increase my sales numbers. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the ride. 🙂
How do you relax?
I like to run. It gives me time to think about my life and my writing. I sort out all kinds of problems when I’m running—and I’ve even had epiphanies while running that lead to some great portions of book one of the Mapkeeper series! Sleep is also good. I love sleep! 🙂
What is your favorite quote?
It is impossible to pinpoint a single quote as my favorite, but here are two of my favorites:
“Stuff your eyes with wonder… live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds.” –Ray Bradbury
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” –C.S. Lewis
What is your favorite movie?
Again, that is incredibly tough to nail down! I’ll just leave it at this: I love anything with Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, or Melissa McCarthy in it!
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Check out www.katiecashwriting.com
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Katie Cash is an active duty military officer who lives in San Diego with her husband and their cat. She enjoys running, surfing, competing in triathlons, and, of course, writing. She also hosts an annual badminton tournament, rides a 150cc Vespa scooter, and plays the cello. She can most often be found exploring new running trails, at the beach, hunkered down writing in a coffee shop, or sampling a new local craft beer at one of San Diego’s many craft breweries.
Connect with the author
Katie Cash will be awarding a $25 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.