Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth (E:1)
By: Kathryn Jenkins
Q: Your first publication, Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth is being released August 30, 2014. What can you tell us about your book without giving anything away?
A: Without giving anything away, all I can say is that it’s about a girl who learns a startling truth about her past, which ultimately puts her life in danger. As the series progresses, she learns that she has more enemies than friends, and finds that she has to rely on herself for survival.
Q: Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth, is a part of an interesting publishing design that has begun to become popular for young writers. Can you tell us about the process of doing a serialized book over the traditional route?
A: It took me a little over a year to work out how I would be able to do the serialization of the series effectively. I was in a ‘novel’ mindset, and these types of stories can’t be written in the same way. They are much shorter than a novel, and each one not only has to be part of the larger story, but has to contain a story within itself. It’s much like the episodes of a TV series, which is how I came up with the idea of writing episodes. I had to plan the overall storyline first, and then start coming up with subplots that I could put into each episode that would drive the main plot. I’m only planning about 3 or 4 episodes ahead at any given time, though. I want to leave the story open to evolve on its own, as long as that evolution doesn’t deviate from the main plot.
Q: Who are your main characters that will be featured throughout episode one? Can you also tell us about each?
A: The main character is Auren. She is raised in the Serpent Isle to believe that she is as normal as any other person, but then she has to cope with the reality of who she is and what that might mean. She is a good person and doesn’t like hurting people, but she is often easily influenced to do the wrong thing. She has a bit of a stubborn streak as well.
Another important character is Kado. He is Auren’s guardian and has raised her since she was a baby, but he is much more than just a father figure to her. He’s very reserved and doesn’t really show much affection at all. He likes to just get right to the point, and is very logical in how he solves issues. It’s not often that he lets emotions dictate his actions, but on very rare occasion it does happen, which is not a good thing for the person who angers him.
Q: How is your book important to your readers? And what type of entertainment will it provide for them?
A: I believe it’s important for my readers because it’s really going to get them to look at people and situations from a different perspective. Not everyone who is good does the right thing, and not everyone who is bad does the wrong thing. In many stories the lines between good and evil are clearly drawn, but in Shadow Stalker, that will not always be the case. It will be an exciting and sometimes very suspenseful story, though. I think people who love fantasy mixed with a bit of thrill and suspense will get a lot of enjoyment from the series.
Q: What are shadow stalkers and what are their purpose throughout your serialized novel?
A: Shadow stalkers are a very shamanic-like race of people. They come from an island that is far from the Serpent Isles, but they have a tie with the people of the Serpent Isles and that as well as their true purpose will become clearer as the series progresses. They are very powerful, but their power and their purpose is governed by beings that exist in their version of the afterlife, known as shadow people. There are rules and codes that they have to follow or they can lose their power and/or be banished from the shadow stalker’s society. They are very feared by the people of the Serpent Isles who tend to shun the shadow stalkers until they need their help for something.
Q: Does Shadow Stalkers: The Hidden Truth, have an interesting background in its creation?
A: I have actually wanted to write a story with a shamanic type of race for a long time, but I wanted the story to be something that might change the way a person looks at the world. I was actually inspired to write Shadow Stalker after reading The Celestine Prophecy back in 2007, but all I had was a concept. It took a few years for the characters and the story to start developing.
I had an entire novel completed where the main character was a guy, but a friend of mine, who is a published author, encouraged me to change it to a female. I’m glad I took her advice. It was also originally written in the 3rd person, but I decided it would be better told from the main character’s point of view, as though she was telling the story herself. The serialized version that I’m writing now is actually the start of my third rewrite of the series.
Q: Who designed your cover and how did you come up with its concept?
A: My cover was designed by a friend of mine (who wishes to remain anonymous). At first I wanted to design a simple cover that had the symbol of the shadow world on it. Then I decided I wanted some kind of image of what it might look like in the shadow world. I attempted some of my own graphic design work for it (which really wasn’t all that bad for someone who knows nothing about graphic design), and showed it to my friend. She asked if she could play around with it, so I told her to go ahead, and she came back with a similar version to what the cover is now. I loved it because it represented what it looks like in my mind for a shadow stalker to enter the shadow world, leaving the physical world behind.
Q: Would you say that each episode of Shadow Stalker, can be a stand alone book? Or is it depended on the whole work to make sense?
A: No, I thought about doing this, but it would have been too difficult. So it will need to be read from start to finish to make sense.
Q: After finishing your first episode are you happy with the direction you took?
A: I am extremely happy with how it is going. As I said, this is my third attempt at writing the series, so I’m definitely ready for the story to be told. I think I’ve been very successful in working out all of the kinks, and even after all these years I’m still coming up with ideas. If the series does well, I’m considering writing a prequel novel that explains the events leading up to the series. Also, at my daughter’s request, I’m considering a series of chapter books for junior readers that will be based on the world, but with new characters and new adventures.
Q: What is the hardest part about writing Shadow Stalker: The Hidden Truth, in a serialized book? What advice would you give other writers that wish to use this publishing model?
A: The hardest part is being consistent. I think this is an issue for any writer, but once one of the episodes is published, I can’t deviate from the concepts and storyline I’ve already established. So even if I come up with a great idea in the future, if it contradicts what I’ve already written, I can’t use it. So making sure you know the story well enough before you start publishing each segment is very important. I’ve been writing and planning this story for about seven years, so it is firmly imprinted on my brain by now. Planning is very important for serialized fiction.