Focus On… – Cayla Kluver autor of Alera.

I am very pleased to inaugurate this new category today, but Focus on… it’s what? Interviews with author on books that I enjoyed or simply to learn more about the authors.

picture copyright Cayla Kluver

Today I am pleased to present the interview Cayla Kluver. Cayla Kluver was born in 1992. Alera is his first book, written at the age of sixteen. Real international success, this first volume of a trilogy hasbeen sold in fifteen countries. She is above all a very friendly person, listens to her readers and agree to answer my question.

What is your route as an author?

When I get an idea, I usually scribble it down somewhere.  I have a tiny notebook that’s supposed to be for all my ideas, but more often than not I don’t have it with me when something occurs to me that I want to write down, so my ideas end up on bits of paper or on my hand.  When I start to write, I have this overpowering excitement inside me – I’m thrilled by the concept of creating people and their relationships.  That’s what drives my writing, and I hope it shows.  Then once the excitement settles down, I fall in this sort of mud pit.  I struggle with balancing plot threads and revealing information when it should be revealed.  Through to the end of the novel, it’s like climbing uphill.  But it gets easier the closer I get to the finish line.

Tell us a little about yourself, your education, and your life every day.
I’m from Wisconsin in the United States.  I have two sisters, and I love animals – every stray animal in my neighborhood seems to find its way to my house.  I even have conversations with my cat Nina when no one else is around.  When I was younger my family moved a lot – at one time I lived in the middle of the city and another time I lived on a rural eighty-acre farm.  I went to a lot of different schools but I was always able to keep in touch with my best friends and see them regularly.  I graduated from high school early so I would be able to keep up with my writing, which was really strange – most people graduate high school just starting to think about what they want to do with their lives, which is great, but I had the exact opposite experience.  Now that I’m a full-time author, I make sure that I write every day, update my blog frequently, keep up with my Facebook and Twitter pages, do interviews and answer questions from readers, try to always be reading something (fiction and non-fiction) to keep my mind open and working, and check my email about every five minutes in case I have something from my agent, editor, or foreign publishers.  Just the other day I had to write an essay for my Japanese readers that will go on the back cover of the second book in my series
Tell us a little about ‘Alera’.
‘Alera’ tells the story of Princess Alera of Hytanica.  She’s being pressured into a marriage to a man she detests, while her kingdom balances on the brink of war with the Empire of Cokyri.  When a boy from Cokyri is arrested in Hytanica, Alera meets and falls in love with him.  He teaches her that women can be respected and capable, which the men of Hytanica don’t believe.  Alera becomes a bit of an outsider in her own society because she wants to choose her destiny.  But she and the Cokyrian boy, Narian, both ultimately have to face the possibility that they don’t have a choice in their fates.
What made you want to write this book?
Honestly, I think I did it for fun.  I always wanted to be a writer, and the story of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (who was published when she was thirteen years old) inspired me to quit being lazy and doubting myself because of my age.  I had and have a lot of things to say, and I’m really glad I started when I did – I still sometimes worry that I won’t have enough time to write everything that I want to.  In terms of the message of the book, I hope it speaks for itself.  I hope it teaches young men and women that they are equals, and challenges the way they view society.
In the second volume can we expect the return of Narian?
Absolutely.  I don’t know that there could be a book in this series without Narian.  He’s going to have made some serious choices when he returns though, and Alera is going to have to reevaluate everything, including her relationship with him.
Can you give us exclusive information about the second volume?
I just did some German promo actually where I gave away the following facts:  In book two, Alera will face off with her father; the Overlord will show his face; there is a wedding; at least two characters we know will die; and Steldor and Galen start at brawl in the palace ballroom.
How much volume will be wrote for ‘Alera’?
There will be three books in the series – in the United States the sequels will be called ‘Allegiance’ and ‘Sacrifice’ but I don’t know about other countries yet!  Book two is almost exactly the same length as ‘Alera’ and book three is slightly shorter actually.
Where do you find inspiration for the story of your books?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer.  Inspiration comes from everywhere – people, places, tiny things that happen in everyday life that for some reason you stop to look at differently.  Video games, music, movies, quotes, other books, blog posts.  It’s all about how your mind interprets things.  I’m usually struck by people’s relationships with each other.  Entire story ideas have sprung from a look two of my friends exchanged.  Alera and its sequels are the result of a character I made up for a make-believe game with my sisters.  I used to pretend to be Narian in my backyard.
What are your readings and your favorite authors?
I absolutely love The Other Boleyn Girl, The Constant Princess, and The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory.  I have her book The White Queen waiting on my shelf to be read.  P.D. James is another of my favorite authors – I’m only on book three of the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries, but already she has such a beautiful and easy writing style – so easy that you know she works harder than almost anyone else.  On my blog I’m always professing my adoration for Robert Louis Stevenson – The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the most amazing, disturbing, ingenious stories I’ve ever read, and his novels are perfect.  I also read a ton of Sherlock Holmes and Jodi Picoult.  I just realized Jodi Picoult is the only American author who made the list!
What will be your literary news in the coming months?
February 21st, 2011 is the release date for book two in Spain (interestingly, the second book is called Alera there!).  On March 10th, Germany is releasing its edition of the second book, called Alera: Zeit der Rache.  In July book one, Legacy, will come out in paperback in the United States.  There are a lot of exciting things coming up!  I don’t have a release date for book 2 in France yet, but I have a “release dates” page on my website (www.caylakluver.com) where I post information as I receive it.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to do this interview, and I wish all the best to you and your readers!
A thousand thank you to Cayla for accepting this interview and thank you for your time and your kindness. And for you my readers I hope that you liked this new category and you liked this first interview!
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