UC Writer in Residence Kickstarts fantasy novel

UC 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.”