#TheHowlingSands #BooksOnTour #BlogBlast #Day3

Karen Hughes lets us in on her motivations for becoming, and committing to being a writer, as well as where her ideas for her Kalika Magic series stemmed. Find out about Karen’s real life magical experiences that have shaped the intricate richness of her books. 😊

In primary school I was always scribbling stories when I was supposed to be doing sums. I’d gaze out the window, lost in a world of secret tunnels, dark caves, and strange and magical creatures.

My childhood was filled with short stories, poems, songs and plays. I started my own newspaper at age 10 and delivered it to everyone I knew for the next two years. I started a rock band at age 11 and somehow we won an ABC radio songwriting competition. I sent lots of stories to magazines – mostly they sent them back, sometimes they published them, once they even paid me.

There were only six kids at my school. It was on a dirt track in the bush, surrounded by farmland. When I wasn’t writing stories, I spent my days running around outside – climbing trees, building stick houses beside the creek and exploring the countryside. I’ll always be grateful to my parents for giving me that freedom.

At age 12, I went away to boarding school and almost died of homesickness. The only thing that saved me was my love of books and the long letters I received every week from my grandmother.

Maybe this explains my love for the land. Maybe it also explains why I believe creativity is so important for kids – it gives them the tools to cope when life gets tough.

As an adult, I missed the richness and wonder of writing fiction, so I created the Kalika Magic series. I was practising as a commercial lawyer in Canberra at the time and I had four small children. Life was pretty intense. Writing magical stories was my escape.

At first, I was influenced by all the books I’d read and loved as a child – books like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, A Wizard of Earthsea, Howl’s Moving Castle, and of course, The Lord of the Rings. As the series continued, however, I found that I was tuning into the natural world and my own experiences. That’s when the writing became really magical.

I was surprised by the themes that emerged in my stories. The Kalika Magic series started out as a fun-filled adventure, but it has developed into something so much more than that. It’s a story of courage and perseverance – reminding young readers that there is magic and wonder in this world, and they’ll be okay in the end, no matter what happens.

Like all good fantasy, the Kalika Magic books have their roots in the real world. I’ve based the settings on places I’ve visited or researched. The Kalika forest, for example, is much like the rainforest property my parents owned when I was a university student. The trek through the Dasa Mountains in The Shaman’s Secret has echoes of my own trek through the Nepal Himalaya in 1994.

The characters are fictional, but I have four children and they have lots of friends, so I’ve had plenty of inspiration. Like most of the teenage girls I know, Indie is strong-willed and no one can tell her what to do. She’s smart and reckless, and she has a fiery temper. Kai reminds me more of my son. He’s quieter and more serious, and he likes to think things through.

At the moment I’m writing fantasy, so I write to create a sense of mysticism and wonder. My writing style is direct and as pure as I can make it. Hemingway, who said ‘Write the truest sentence you know’, inspires me. So do poets like Rumi and Tagore – I love the beauty and simplicity of their language.

I’ve learnt over the last few years that if you’re going to make it as a professional writer, you have to treat it as a job. On writing days, I’m at my desk by 8am and I don’t stop until I’ve written at least 2000 words. I usually spend the rest of the day researching, editing and rewriting. On top of that, I manage my website and social media, and I arrange school visits and other events. It’s a full time business.

When I was that little girl reading Narnia books out in the bush, I never imagined that I’d be writing my own magical series one day. It’s hard work, but I’m loving the journey.

#KalikaMagic #fantasy #adventure #magic

Karen Hughes is the author of the Kalika Magic series for children aged 9+, exploring themes of courage, resilience and the power of the imagination. Karen grew up on a cattle station on the Liverpool Plains, where she spent her childhood climbing trees, riding horses and reading magical books. She attended a primary school with only 6 pupils, before being packed off to boarding school. Karen has been a lawyer, a herbalist and a web designer, but being a storyteller is her favourite job. She now lives in the Hunter Valley.

WEBSITE – kalikamagic.com
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/kalikamagic/
INSTAGRAM – https://www.instagram.com/kalikamagic/
PINTEREST – https://au.pinterest.com/kalikamagic/
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/kalikamagic

The Howling Sands Book Launch will be held on November 30th at 4pm at Organic Feast, NSW. 

More details about the launch can be found here.

#fantasyfiction #adventure #magic #MiddleGrade

The Howling Sands Blog Tour Schedule

November 27 – December 1



Wednesday November 29

Susan Day – www.astrosadventuresbookclub.com

Friday December 1

Brydie Wright – www.brydiewright.com


Simply comment with who you would give this fabulous prize to for an entry into the mega #bookgiveaway! One (1) complete Kalika Magic series (Books 1 – 4) plus three (3) copies of Emerald Child are up for grabs!

Please click here for more information.

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