Kiwi author Kickstarts fantasy novel

30 October 2017

University of Canterbury Writer in Residence Karen Healey is kickstarting her new novel in a novel way.

  • Karen Healey

    University of Canterbury Writer in Residence Karen Healey

University of Canterbury Writer in Residence Karen Healey is kickstarting her new novel in a novel way.

An award-winning New Zealand young-adult fiction author, Healey (Guardian of the Dead, the When We Wake duology) is teaming up with American writer Robyn Fleming for her first effort at self-publishing – aided by a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds.

The book, a high fantasy novel titled The Empress of Timbra, concerns two half-siblings who meet for the first time in their ruler’s palace, and are pulled into a conspiracy that threatens to destroy their homeland.

Healey, who is currently an Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury, says she and Fleming first wrote the novel a decade ago.

“It was before my first book was published. It was definitely a bit rubbish at the time, but when we came back to it, it was with all the experience we’d developed since.” (Fleming, who lives in Tucson, Arizona, writes romance under a pseudonym.)

“We completely gutted the plot and rebuilt it. We’re really proud of what it is now.”

Why self-publish?

“The book doesn’t fit traditional publishing categories,” Healey says.

“The protagonists are eleven and fourteen, and they’re in this complex, politically intricate world. They’re too old for middle-grade, and too young for young adult or adult fantasy. It’s like, where do you put it in the bookshop? But we think there are readers who will really enjoy this book, and self-publishing ebooks is definitely viable these days, so we’re going for it.”

She says that the Kickstarter campaign was an obvious solution to the problem of funding the self-publishing process.

“We could throw something together ourselves, but we’re writers, not designers. We want really good production values and a professional proofreading job, which costs – as it should. And with a Kickstarter campaign, you can offer some great rewards to people who help you out.”
Those interested in learning more about The Empress of Timbra can find more at the Kickstarter campaign.

For further information please contact:

Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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