Updated: Jan 27, 2020
Tomorrow Kalyn Josephson's YA debut THE STORM CROW will be pubbing!!!! I can't wait for this book to officially come out—I got to see Kalyn signing copies at BEA this past May and was super hyped by all the fans who waited in line to get theirs!
So first off, tell us a little bit about the book!
THE STORM CROW is a YA fantasy about a princess who ignites a rebellion to bring back the magical, elemental crows that were taken from her people. Think ERAGON, but with crows and lots of banter.
How did you come up with this story and how has it changed along the way? What was your inspiration for the main character?
I got the idea from a story I read about a girl who fed her neighborhood crows. In return they brought her gifts and her neighbors called her The Crow Queen, which was the original book title. That led to an idea of a kingdom whose entire way of life was based on these magical crows, and what would happen if they were destroyed.
When I first came up with the idea, I had a much more complicated world with like ten different types of magical animals and way too many characters. All my rounds of edits were very much about distilling this book down to the core story about Thia and her connection with the crows. I wanted to focus on someone who would be utterly destroyed by their loss, the same way the kingdom would be. That’s part of why Thia was never heir to the throne, instead training to become a crow rider her whole life.
What was it like working with an editor on revisions? Was it a lot different from getting notes from your agent?
It was pretty similar actually (I mean, they’re both awesome 😉), but the main difference was my mindset. It took me a while to realize that edits from my editor weren’t set in stone, but rather could be discussed and adjusted to best fit the book. Which is probably one of the biggest pieces of advice I’d give to anyone working with an editor for the first time: remember the story you’re trying to tell, and remember your editor is there to help you tell it.
After the contract was signed, were there any unexpected aspects of the publishing process that surprised you?
Oh definitely. I think the biggest surprise was the contrast between how much control people think authors have and how much they actually have, especially as a debut. Things like covers, events, marketing, etc, none of that is up to the author, but the way all that stuff works isn’t really public knowledge, so you get asked a lot of questions you don’t know the answer to!
What part of the publication process has been the most interesting/fun? What part has been the hardest?
The most interesting and fun part has been hearing from readers who loved THE STORM CROW, in particular people who saw themselves in Thia and were aided by her story. The hardest part has been accepting that not every book is for every reader. I knew that going in, but logic only does so much against the impact of a negative review (I made the mistake of hanging around Goodreads early on. Let’s just say I don’t go there anymore.).
You've done a lot of fun publicity for this book! What do you have coming up that we should be aware of and what is your favorite promo that you've done so far?
I have a launch/celebration event at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park on July 13th, and an event in San Francisco at Borderlands Books on July 14th. I’ll also be doing some giveaways of character cards (of my MC, Thia, and the enemy prince, Ericen), and probably an annotated book or two.
I think my favorite promo was the cover reveal tour we did on Instagram. It was sooo cool to see all the bookstagrammers take the cover and transform it to fit their feeds for the reveal. Either that, or the beautiful character cards that Monica Borg designed. It’s like she plucked them out of my head!
What can we expect for Book 2? 😲
Soooo much more magic! Book 1 was very much about dealing with the aftermath of the loss of the crows. Book 2 takes us closer to what we would have expected of the world before that happened.
Anything that new authors can learn from your experiences?
Find your people. This whole journey has been a series of highs and lows that I wouldn’t have made it through without my writing group. Not only to cheer me up, but to help me figure things out, plan them, and celebrate. Publishing is hard! But it’s easier when you have support.
What's a fun fact about yourself?
The first book I ever wrote was a Scooby Doo fanfiction when I was 7. It was also illustrated. My art skills have not improved since then.