Siri Kagen, the author of Shadows and Fire, released her book in May 2019. We wanted to catch up with the new author and see how life had been treating her since she was published.
- Did you always dream of becoming an author?
The funny thing is, my focus was never on being an author. Or at least, I didn’t think of it that way. When I thought of authors, I thought of writing as their job. Their written product being something they could sell. At first, I didn’t even consider the possibility that I could publish any work. I just wanted to write a captivating story. However, the first time I began to write something more coherent, more complex than short stories, had to be when I was seven.
When I was in third grade, I had just finished some of my favourite book series: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Eragon series, Narnia… They were my absolute favourites, and suddenly, I was done. No more books in the series were coming. I was profoundly disappointed but mostly tired that others got to decide when the story ended. I wanted an eighth book in the Harry Potter series. A fifth book in the Eragon series, and so on. I wanted to write a story which ended when I wanted it to end. Thus, I began writing my first novel when I was eight years old. It was completed at the end of eighth grade, and by then I had written 700 Word pages. However, by then, I felt like the book didn’t represent me anymore if that makes sense. The world I had built on paper, no longer matched the one I imagined in my mind. After all, it had taken me four years to complete, and I had changed a lot during that time.
As I wrote my first novel, the idea of becoming a published author had grown on me. Even though I wasn’t happy with my finished work, I wasn’t quite ready to stow away the thought of being an author, which is how I wound up writing Shadows and Fire.
- What was your first job?
Working in a book shop, where I am still employed. As I’m sure my friends and family would confirm, I couldn’t have worked any other place. I absolutely love it there.
- How did you come about writing your book? Was that your intention or did you start writing for fun?
I’ve always had a wild imagination, and I wanted to bring part of it to life in the shape of a book. So that others might enjoy that imaginary world as well. I also wanted a focus point for my imagination, as a way to control it and make good use of it.
Furthermore, since I was a little girl, I’ve made up imaginary scenarios in my mind. Events I hoped would play out, as long as I remained patient. An example, was when I was a little girl and prayed I had secret magical powers. Or could attain them, if I was at the right place at the right time.
Like the girls in Winx, or the girls in H2O.
But it just never seemed a possibility. No matter how hard I imagined and hoped the wind would bend to my will. Or that the waves would rise just a little higher if I only concentrated long enough.
This was the reason I first began writing when I was eight, and it remains the same reason why I write today. Because, even though magic might not be real in my day to day life, there will always be a world I can dive into and shape as I wish. Where the waves do move to someone’s will, and the wind dances when someone tells it to, by creating a more realistic and scientific approach, I’ve closed the distance between those two worlds, just a little bit.
At least for myself.
- What was your life like before you became an author?
Not much different from what it is now. Quite a few have come up to congratulate me with publishing a book, and most have been very supportive and excited for me. But other than that, not much has changed.
- Did you face any struggles before becoming an author? If so, how did you overcome them?
Not really, no.
- Now that you are a published author, how has your life changed, if at all?
My life hasn’t changed much. We’re still in the early phases of marketing, and my book only came out a few months ago. Besides, new authors might struggle to get their books to take-off the first time around. I’ll just have to be patient. However, if my book were to become successful, I would not wish my life to change. Fame-wise or economically. Although, I can’t deny that I wouldn’t mind having my book as an extra income. However, I chose to publish my book because I wanted to write a story, not because I wanted to gain anything from it. It was my own personal achievement, but if others come to enjoy the world I love diving into, then that would indeed make me very happy.
- Can you please describe a typical day in your life now?
I wake up rather early to head to school. I try to put in a lot of exercise every day; whether it’s walking the dog, heading to the gym, Taekwondo or horse riding. My life is quite bland, a very stereotypical teenager’s life, I am afraid. Occasionally something exciting like a Taekwon-Do competition pops up, which I always try to attend. However, that is as exciting as my life gets, how I like it.
- What is your most memorable moment of your life as an author?
Probably when I got to see my book in real life, and I got to hold it. I remember holding a copy, and realising how real it was. That I had published a book, and there it was. With my art on the cover, and my story on the pages. I don’t think I had come to realise that I had actually published a book, before that moment.
- In a few words, how would you review your experience with Pegasus Publishers?
They are a very dedicated publisher, and despite my endless questions and send-backs, they are always quick to reply. They are very helpful, and they listened to my wishes from the very first moment. Whatever I have asked for, they’ve tried to make happen. I couldn’t be more pleased with my choice of publisher.
- Why did you choose Pegasus Publishers?
To be honest, I checked them out because of the name. I was looking for a publisher who would accept a fantasy book. Having “Pegasus” as part of the name made it seem likely they would consider my fantasy book. After all, Pegasus is a mythological creature.
After reviewing their website, I felt like this was a publisher I would like to work with.