I am so pleased to present this Soapbox Spotlight today–because this installment of Spotlight is my 100th post! Today’s Spotlight author is Kyra Gregory, a YA fantasy novelist from Malta. She is here talking about her latest work, Secrets Clad in Light.
Welcome, Kyra! Tell us about yourself.
I’m a young writer from the island of Malta. As I write and self-publish, I’m studying to become a teacher for early years. My family says I’ve been writing since a very young age; this developed from short stories to fan fictions, lyrics for a bands, and novels. I have a real passion for reading manga (Japanese comic books), and they’re probably the only thing that can steal me away from writing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was always picking out my favourite moments in things I’d seen or read or even things I’d felt and then making a story out of them. I was always reading; story-telling seemed quite natural to me at the time. Years later, I was writing lyrics to a song a friend of mine had composed; you could say I had been caught because I’d had no intention of showing them to him. From then on, I was continuously encouraged by him to keep writing lyrics. I did so but my passion was always more in prose so I kept writing stories, first with fan fiction and short stories and novels later on.
What inspires you to write and why?
Plenty of things inspire me and I think the only thing they all have in common with each other is that they evoke feeling out of me, a deeper emotion. A lot of my stories are very much character-driven which I find enjoyable because everyone is so unique; their feelings and actions to a situation, different combinations of people make completely different stories and I love exploring that. An issue that needs to be talked about is something that inspires me to shed some light on it in the most relatable way possible.
Tell us about your latest work. Can you share a little of it with us?
It could be said that I got a lot out of writing this story. It was achieving a massive goal that I’d had set in my mind a long time ago. I had wanted to write a story in 19th Century London, my favourite period, but found it so incredibly difficult. It’s a moving and mysterious story.
London,1888. Henry decides to abandon all social conventions and rescue his lover, Seth, from an abusive household. He has replayed the moment in his head and has always known it wouldn’t be easy. He has never thought that it would be Seth who would cut his time too short. With Seth barely breathing, Henry must make the hardest decision of his life: try to save Seth, possibly condemning him to a life of suffering, or let him pass on in peace. But the arrival of a young stranger forces Henry’s hand, doing little to ease his qualms of uncertainty as everything he thought he knew changes.
Caught between self-doubt and his own selfish desires Henry learns to fight it all, using this stranger as a light to shine on what he hopes is the right path… All the while aware that there is still so much he doesn’t yet know…
That sounds interesting! Can you tell us a little about your main character?
Henry knows what he wants and prepared himself for all the consequences that would come from trying to get it, but when the circumstances change and things don’t go as he’s imagined, he is instantly lost. He has enough self-awareness to realise that his desires can border selfishness and this makes making decisions extremely difficult for him. He’s also a very caring, loving character but he’s not trusting by nature; that kind of conflict within him gets him into a lot of trouble.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
They developed almost all by themselves to be perfectly honest with you. I first came up with the idea for this story when I was completing Lady in Red; there were two characters in that novel that I wondered how they would have developed had the circumstances been a little bit different. After many failed attempts at writing a story effectively in 19th Century London I chose to try again and once I developed the circumstances for Henry things went on from there. There was little intention for the story to become as mysterious as it did. The character Mary became unlike any other character I had written before; she was more mysterious than I thought she would be, even to myself. I felt intrigued by her but she also scared me. She definitely made writing the story a challenge but absolutely exciting at the same time.
It’s amazing and wonderful to watch your characters become real people with depth of personality! Do you feel you have you developed a specific writing style?
I would say that I’ve developed a writing style that suits me best, but I don’t think I could quite describe it even if I wanted to. I suppose the reason is because I always adapt it to whatever I’m writing at the time. Since I write so many different genres my writing style changes to suit the story. For Secrets Clad in Light, I wrote in a way that I don’t think I have before in order to suit a period in which I had never written before. Historical fiction is tricky because you need to try to make the dialogue suit the time but also keep it understandable for readers. I worked with my style to try to find a balance in that.
How do you come up with new novel ideas?
I’m inspired by so many things, but usually my novel ideas come from a character. Sometimes I would want to experiment with a character and their qualities, and I start to build a story around them. You could say it’s like a puzzle because frankly I don’t know where the bigger ideas come from sometimes. It’s very much like putting together a puzzle without knowing at all what the end result will look like until I’m further into the writing process.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I would have to say I’m a plotter. I don’t particularly try to be but the thing is that I often have plenty of novel ideas in my head at one time and I consider it a shame if I were to just let them disappear like that. While writing a novel I begin scribbling a few notes for another story; by the time I’m ready to start that story I already have one or two others in my head. In order for me to effectively keep all the feelings and scenes pertaining to a particular story in the right place I’ve learnt to plot things efficiently. This doesn’t mean that things don’t change or that I keep myself confined, spontaneity is good for the soul after all, but it definitely helps. It also means that I write stories a lot faster which I’m happy about.
What do you love about independent publishing?
For how much work it is it’s all worth it for me. I tried traditional publishing and it never happened because there were problems from the start. I’m a control freak; I want my hand in all aspects of my projects. I have a vision of what I’m creating and I’d like to stick to that vision. It’s not as though I won’t accept others opinions but it means that in the end what closest fits my vision will be what I decide to do. There’s no one around to tell me “you can’t do that” and I love that.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Still writing, definitely. Writing, being able to write like this, means the most to me right now so I hope that in five years time I hope I’d have even more time to devote to writing. After all, the thing I’m most passionate about is the thing I want to do all the time, no matter how tough things may get.
Thanks for joining us, Kyra!
Thank you so much for having me!
You can find Kyra at the following links:
You can find Kyra’s book at the following links: