In which we host Karen Healey in support of The Empress of Timbra Kickstarter – a high fantasy novel co-written with Robyn Fleming. The Kickstarter is doing super well and with six more days to go, there are some stretch goals to reach. Check it out!
Please give it up for Karen!
A brief list of things I love:
– Awesome women changing societies.
– Fantasy worlds with complex magical systems.
– Gender struggles.
– Children and teenagers growing up and working out who they are and how to be.
– Stories about the effect that stories can have, personally and politically.
– Dangerous herbivores.
– Political intrigue.
– Pitched battles at sea.
– Fantasy monarchies where the righteousness of traditional feudalism is questioned.
– Invading armies where the invaders might have a point.
– Charming but undeniable jerks doing One Good Thing they can’t quite justify with self-interest.
– Disrupting a protagonist’s sure sense of how the world/gender/power should operate.
– Fantasy religion.
– Girls getting really furious and showing off how accomplished they are, so there.
– Boys who could go pro in the Teenage Grudge-Holding World Championships.
– Families made up of the people who choose each other, fiercely and faithfully.
I love those things so much I could write a book about them.
So I did, with my best friend and co-writer Robyn Fleming. It’s called The Empress of Timbra, and when we tell people what it’s about, we usually reference our imagined back-cover copy:
“Fourteen-year-old Taver didn’t know he was a nobleman’s bastard until his real father died. Eleven-year-old Elaku has always known she was the bastard daughter of the same nobleman – and the Empress’s Witch. When the two siblings meet in the Empress of Timbra’s palace, neither is aware that treachery and war threaten their home – and that they must rely on their magic, their wits, and each other to have any chance of victory.”
Marianne Kirby (Dust Bath Revival) says that The Empress of Timbra “made me remember the heady pleasure of being a kid consumed by reading”.
Stephanie Burgis (The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart, Snowspelled, Kat, Incorrigible) says that reading it is “giving me the same feels as the Patricia McKillip/Tamora Pierce fantasy adventures I read as a teen. Just wonderful!”
And we’re glad. We’re so glad.
Because really, The Empress of Timbra is about that list of things we love and the way they make us feel. It’s about the joy of writing a bigass fantasy novel with one of the people you love most in the world. It’s about knowing that traditional publishing categories don’t have much room for both an eleven-year-old and a fourteen-year-old protagonist at the same time, especially when your intended sequels will follow them into early adulthood, and not caring, and writing it anyway.
It’s about saying, we love this book, and we think there are readers who will love it too, so we’re going to self-publish.
It’s about saying, we believe in this book enough that we’re going to ask for your money to make it as professionally as possible, and watching people – friends, family, readers, perfect strangers – agree that this is a project worth funding.
It’s about spending a month working on your Kickstarter campaign before it launches, and freaking out with joy in your kitchen at 1am when the campaign funds three days after it opens and you start inching towards the stretch goals. Video of me freaking out here
It’s about being able to tell artist Laya Rose that you can afford those character portraits now, so she can go ahead and start, because Taver and Elaku are going to look great in the back of the book.
At this moment, right now? It’s about maps. We’re about $1 000 NZ off being able to commission Dylan Horrocks (Eisner Award winner! NZ Arts Laureate!) to use his incredible skills to create an honestly-for-reals fantasy map to go in the front of the book.
Do we have stretch goals after that? Do we have one that reads “Audiobook?” Yes, we do!
If you love the things we love, and you’d like to read The Empress of Timbra, then you can head to our Kickstarter campaign. Pledging 10 NZD (about $6 US) will get you the e-book, and your name in the back.
Pledging more will get you extra treats, including a novella set in the same world, some of my short stories (one totally new!) and manuscript critiques.
Pledging anything at all gets you our most sincere gratitude. We’re so pleased, and so fortunate, to be able to publish this book about the things we love.
We hope you’ll love it too.
Karen Healey is the author of the young adult fantasy novels Guardian of the Dead and The Shattering, and the science fiction When We Wake duology. She lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she is currently the Ursula Bethell Writer-In-Residence at the University of Canterbury.
Robyn Fleming writes romance under a pseudonym. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, where she teaches martial arts and corrals small boys.