Thursday, April 15, 2021

An Author Interview: Kara Swanson

    Hi, everyone! Today I am thrilled to be interviewing Kara Swanson, author of Dust and The Girl Who Could See. Every time I've talked to her she has been so welcoming, and her kindness is a true treasure! I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did.

    I have slightly interviewed the interview to make it easier to read, without changing any of the author's answers. To see all of the interviews I've done in the past, including ones with Jen Calonita, Christopher Healy, and Kaley Rhea, click HERE.

    To check out my review of Kara's book, Dust, click HERE.

Wonder and Writing: An Interview With Kara Swanson
April 12, 2021

For those who don’t know about you, can you tell a little bit about yourself and your publishing journey?

I was first published as a teen with a children’s fantasy novel while I was living overseas in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, as the daughter of missionaries. Growing up in that unique culture and in a isolated village in the middle of the jungle sparked my love of reading and storytelling, and is one of the reasons I love to write stories of young people discovering their own sense of value and finding their place in a unique world.

When we eventually moved stateside, I independently published my award-winning novella, The Girl Who Could See. My latest release, a Peter Pan retelling/sequel Dust, released in July of last year, and its sequel, Shadow, comes out in July of this year.

What inspired you to write Dust?

I’d always enjoyed Peter Pan, but one day a friend and I were chatting about the original book, since she had recently retuned from a trip to London and had seen the Peter Pan statue in the Kensington Gardens. We were brainstorming aloud and I had told her that I’d rarely read a Peter Pan retelling that I felt really built off the original character well, and that generally retellings tended to shift that fundamental version of Peter, which changes the entire context of a Peter Pan story at all. I told her that if I ever wrote a Peter Pan retelling, I would have it be more of a sequel, set it in modern day, age Peter up a bit, and have it be a story of him discovering more about himself and a lot of the pieces set up in the JM Barrie novel but left unexplored (like Peter’s frequent amnesia). I would also set the story against a backdrop of a secondary character, a young woman who was the antithesis of Pan — someone who had to grow up too fast, and was responsible and grounded, but had lost faith in magic and pixie dust, even though she had unique flakes of gold that would sometimes drift from her skin.

The more I turned the idea over in my head, the more pieces clicked into place. And well…the rest is history 😀

Shadow, the sequel to Dust, releases in July 2021. What is a part of the story you’re most excited to share with your readers?

Neverland! I am SO excited for them to get to explore Neverland and see so many different sides to the island. There is also a HUGE aspect of Peter’s past that comes into play in this story and that twist is pretty wild, so I’m curious to see what readers think of it. 😀

Do you have a favorite candy or dessert? If so, what?

Fun question! I love cherry cheesecake 😀

If you could meet any character from your stories, who would you choose and why?

Ooooh great question! I think Peter would be so much fun to meet. I think Lily and I would get along best, though, and she’s the character I’d probably want to be best friends with. (Though, wouldn’t we all? XD)

Do you tend to base your characters off of people you know in real life? 
Why or why not?

Nope! I like to really create characters that feel very grounded and developed in their own worlds, so I don’t really pull from outside sources. That said, I may use certain aspects of influences that carry similar vibes — for example, Tom Holland is British and has the same youthful charisma that Peter has, so I’ve draft from some of his roles in some of the ways I tried to humanize Peter a bit. But in general, the characters stand on their own. 😀

What are some of your future projects?

I’m actually outlining a contemporary fantasy trilogy right now. 😀 I’ll share more on that when I am able to! 😄

What advice would you give to other writers?

I think the biggest thing is… just keep writing. Read a lot. Write a lot. Receive lots of feedback from other writers and readers. Those are the three best ways to internalize skills and put them to use, outside of looking into a mentorship program or joining something like the Author Program that I run with Brett Harris.

    Thanks for joining me for this post. To connect with Kara, check out her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, or author website. And, of course, if you've never read any of her books, I suggest you go and start reading them. (Especially Dust. 😉)

    As always, if you want to suggest a post request, please look at my Review Policy page and then ask away! If you have any questions, of course, feel free to comment below.

    Stay tuned for another review next week!


  1. Ooooh, girl, I LOOOVED READING THIS!!!!! Aaah, I've been SO dying to read Dust and I really wanna read The Girl Who Could See because one of my friends read my short story "Fairly Impish" that was published in a teen anthology and said it reminded her a lot of The Girl Who Could See, so I figured that was a book I needed to read asap. Aaannnddd now I'm starting to ramble. ;) Anyway, I've not really read any Peter Pan retellings so I think I'd REALLY enjoy Dust!!! (Also, girl, I LOOOOVED how all de questions you asked Kara Swanson were a mix of typical and unique. It makes the interview more engaging!!!!!) Well, this was soo much fun and I can't wait for the next review!!!!! *jumps up and down*

    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed the interview, and you're interested in Kara Swanson's books. Wow, that's so cool! I'll have to check out "Fairly Impish" now ;) Thanks so much for stopping by!