The Literary Vixen presents…
Joining us today is K.L. Kolarich! Her debut, House of Bastiion (The Haidren Legacy Book 1) released on January 19th 2021.
How long have you been writing?
Long before the whisper of Orynthia graced my ordinary ears, I had embarked on a much different project, writing a non-fiction exposition. A different tale from a different lifetime, after curating a good deal of material, my sister-in-law challenged me around the halfway mark in my progress. She said, “why are you writing something you would never read?”, a seemingly harmless statement, but it really rocked me… because she was absolutely right. That huge project of mine would never blend in on my bookshelves, amidst my tales of wonder and old. Therefore, in probably one of the scariest endeavors of my life, I trashed it, figuratively, and set out into the unknown. I opened my laptop one night on a plane and let myself dream. The first to meet me there was the Figure, who opens the prologue in House of Bastiion. On his mysterious shoulders, the entirety of The Haidren Legacy series was born, and in a sense, I with it. That was over five years ago. So to answer the question, I’ve been trapped in an alternate world for half a decade, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Describe a typical writing day.
At present, my writing is wedged in the pockets of the day not allocated to work or familial commitments. Be it by the light of a flickering, nearly dead Edison bulb late at night in my office, or beside a fresh bloody mary on a Saturday morning, I try to schedule time with my imaginary friends whenever possible. Thankfully, my calendar will start to allow for more routine in my writing regime in the coming months.
Aside from actual hours available to traverse the Other, my writing sessions are always scored. I usually need the assistance of a musical escort to voyage me away from the rigidity of my tasks, deadlines, ever-growing laundry pile. I will cater the instrumentals to the scene, much like how the HOB playlist is framed for readers. As the entire book is already meticulously plotted, for the most part, I ease my way into the draft, moving from my plotting to the chapter outline, then to an expanded outline, and finally to the outpour of words on the page. I wish I could say I was a “panster”, but the truth is I’m pretty neurotic about my method. Apart from my characters, and their story, I find beauty in the literal puzzling. When we step back, after the entire series, and are able to see how all these threads come together to create a pictural tapestry we never saw coming – it’s breathtaking. In that sense, I aim to lose my breath during my work. I want to look up at the end of it all to find a luminous web of intricate chaos and completion. Pouring out my very essence, I wish to see it multiplied into something I could never become within myself. And doing that, certainly requires ignoring the laundry bin…
Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
One major theme in The Haidren Legacy series, is a full cast of contrasting characters, each coming from their own corner of the map. Growing up in a very diverse area of the country, I wanted to grant each House their own culture, dialect, customs and cause. If every player comes from centuries of particular practice and priorities, their motivations are seasoned with a history that extends beyond the personal. The dialects, specifically, are inspired by my own experience in Metro Detroit, where my family would often try to learn bits and pieces of the language of our neighbors. This became a privileged way to meet them where they were, and in a humbling transaction, be welcomed into their lives a little bit more. There is something magical about language, how it sounds, how it conveys. The symphony of vowels and consonants, in fluid tandem, moves us just like music. When it came to my characters, I wanted us to know them and their House of origin, just a little bit more intimately, and language is the perfect vehicle to deliver that distinction.
Thematically, The Haidren Legacy is laden with crumbs of my own reformation. The most wonderous aspects of my life have been transformative, therefore transformation as a theme plays a major role in the telling of this story. I purposely wanted the reader to meet our characters before their finest. Intentionally regressing them, was a way to emphasize the need for redemption in us all. We are so imperfect and ever malleable. The loveliness of our humanity is the strive to transform, in various ways. That calling, above all, is the central anthem to the series.
Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special.
While most readers connect with Luscia, our highlander protagonist, she is not so much my favorite as she is my mirror. I’ve given her specific elements of myself, while also gifting her the attributes I wish I had. But to be honest, more than anything she harbors my deepest fears and my interpersonal shortcomings. Writing her is revealing, and that vulnerability is less enjoyable at times as compared to the others.
Like nearly every reader, I adore Dmitri, the quiet leader and subsequent “glue” to our cast of bickering, influential misfits. In him, I planted much needed reprieve amidst the battle of wills. Many times, Dmitri imitates some of my favorite people. My own friends who soften my hard exterior, or who still my need to perform, to excel, to punish myself for not being more. Friends like this are the critical antithesis of bold personas, because they remind us that strength is not always imposing, courage is not always loud, and that leadership is rooted in service to others, rather than service to self. Dmitri, in his own imperfection and flaw, offers Orynthia hope. Hope that people are born for goodness and can choose it still.
Out of all of my characters, it is Zaethan who is my favorite to write. He is my exact opposite, and in a way, is completely unapologetic about it. I framed Zaethan off my own spouse, were he emotionally unhealthy that is, and so I probably favor him for that reason. Like my husband, Zaethan is boisterous and brave, ferociously loyal, and wields a rebelliously wit at the most inopportune times. Where these two men differ, is their backstory. Zaethan carries many scars under his skin that drastically affects the way he relates to others. This realistic depiction of him as a victim emerging from an abusive upbringing was essential to his character development. I hate how in books, it is often portrayed that victims of abuse easily bypass generational patterns, never exhibiting these behaviors themselves. When the reality is, individuals who battle those generational patterns must do the hard work to weed certain habits out of their own instinct and practice. It’s painful and arduous, but it’s necessary. This is why I love Zaethan so immensely—he is unequivocally, uncomfortably real.
How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?
Cry in the shower. Just kidding—well, kind of.
My husband, Aaron, and I use an analogy in our relationship that also applies to the relationship I have with my society of imaginables. We relate our capacity to give (be it emotional or otherwise) to tokens at a carnival. Each of us, in our individual wiring, are given a certain and differing amount of “tokens” to spend each day, week, etc. To that end, we know from experience that I have a pretty limited number of tokens in my own bucket, as opposed to the average person. In life, I deplete rather rapidly from social engagement, and it is no different when it comes to the emotional impact of my writing. While my characters aren’t real… they are real to me. Their feelings are wonderfully burdensome, and the energy to knit them together has a cost. So, to deal with that cost, at the start of every week, Aaron and I chart out time allotted for each other, as well as those in our life, real or imagined. Just like when there are less dollars in my pocket, it’s my responsibility to budget my tokens wisely and honestly. In addition, the time to recover and “replenish the tokens” I’ve spent. This is normally achieved by adequate periods away from others, doing absolutely nothing. Like a socially awkward robot, who must go into sleep-mode to recharge. Preferably, with a large pizza in my lap.
Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
I am! Though don’t judge me too hard in terms of my socials, I’m still learning the reigns and for the sake of my aforementioned tokens, am not always active. But I love chatting with readers, especially in our THL forum! Fair warning, I really like cat GIFs…
*Links to follow are down below*
When writing a series how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?
Since THL is my first attempt at fiction, as opposed to my previous projects, I can only say that for me personally, I just keep going down that rabbit hole. As the series is not yet complete, I don’t have a need to freshen things up yet, but I look forward to that day! At present, my paws are full trying to finish this tale. It’s haunted me for half a decade, and I can’t wait to get it out into the world as a complete saga.
Because this leaves readers waiting on the sidelines, I love recommending works by my literary heroes in the Indie community. Off the bat, some authors whose tales are similar to my own would easily be Sarah M. Cradit, Angelina Steffort, Cameo Renae, and so many others.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?
Why, the second installment in The Haidren Legacy series, of course! Book 2 is coming along, on pace, and while my fear of a sophomore slump is real… it’s already proving to be such a delight as much as it is a challenge.
In this sequel, readers will begin traveling the Orynthian map, which is exciting in and of itself. Out of all overarching stories, since THL engages multiple at once, this installment zones in on Zaethan, our male MC. Journeying to the Andwele mountains, we get a harsh and thrilling glimpse of his backstory on a new level. In addition, more time with his pryde of militia, who are by far my most ridiculous band of personalities. Yet, even though book 2 centers around Zaethan a bit more than the others, readers should rest assured… they get plenty of Luscia, her Sight of the threads, and the most important character of all, her wolx, Aksel.
What advice would you give to other authors?
A newbie myself, whenever asked this question, I tend to give the same response as it pertains to my own authorship: Write your favorite book.
Yes, we want to write for our readers, naturally. But if I get lost in trying to imitate those I admire, keep up with their progress, or change the story because someone doesn’t like one facet… I will no longer be writing for me, the first fan.
No one will love my characters as much as I do. How could they? We know the page can never hold all that they are, and so it’s my job to do them justice. If I sacrifice them to the demand of anyone else, I’ve diminished what makes them special. I think as authors, we must hold onto what initially made us fall in love with our story, our characters, our very worlds. Usually, that’s something no one should alter. And to shield it, sometimes we need to step away and give ourselves room to create, freedom to flex our imaginations away from the mainstream. Otherwise, we just end up becoming second-rate versions of everyone else.
No one will love your characters like you do. So, love them well. Love them by protecting them from your own comparisons. Love them by getting your sleep. And most of all, love them by first loving yourself.
What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?
The Haidren Legacy is definitely a niche read! Hefty on worldbuilding, I always say THL is for anyone who loves a fat, healthy glossary. Additionally, House of Bastiion, the first installment, does not harbor a heavy romantic side-plot, though as promised to many, romance will develop in time throughout the series.
Perfect for fans of Sanderson, Rhodes, Hobb and other epic fantasy sagas, THL wrestles with some difficult themes, namely, the dichotomy of joy and sorrow. And in that vein of joy and sorrow, everyone at court is wearing a disguise, each for their own end and agenda. For after all, behind the mask of duty and power, no one is who they seem…
Thank you K.L. Kolarich for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, The House of Bastiion today!
House of Bastiion is the first installment in the series, The Haidren Legacy, an intricate epic fantasy adventure loaded with political intrigue, sharp objects, and complicated characters, packing an epic punch for NA and upper YA readers. Fans of Brandon Sanderson, Morgan Rhodes, and Robin Hobb won’t be able to resist!
Dive into the alluring world of Orynthia by exploring additional THL references online. For a more immersive reader experience, visit http://www.TheHaidrenLegacy.com today!
House of Bastiion (THL, Book 1)
Behind the mask of duty and power, no one is who they seem…
Centuries after the Forgotten Wars ravaged the world and turned it to ash, the Houses of Pilar, Darakai, Boreal, and Bastiion forged an accord with the royal line of Thoarne, founding a Quadren of advisory to the throne of Orynthia. Every generation, a single Haidren from each of the four Houses is appointed to this coveted chair.
Upon her Ascension to adulthood, Luscia Tiergan takes her seat at court as al’Haidren to the House of Boreal and is quickly drawn into a maze of political traps and dark secrets. As she adjusts to her new life, Luscia uncovers a pattern of forgotten children, slain in the streets of Bastiion.
Raised on superstitious rumors about Boreal’s penchant for sorcery, Zaethan Kasim, al’Haidren to the House of Darakai, inevitably clashes with Luscia when she arrives in Bastiion. But when his position is threatened by an old rival, Zaethan is forced to set aside his hatred and form an uneasy alliance with the Boreali al’Haidren to secure his claim.
Following a disturbing stream of innocent bloodshed across Orynthia, Luscia and Zaethan discover their ideals are far more aligned than they might have imagined. But in a land of war and deceit, the path to peace should never be trusted.
K.L. Kolarich is a debut New-Adult fantasy fiction author, based out of Nashville, TN. Growing up in Metro Detroit, Kolarich developed a deep love for eclectic variety as well as the underappreciated. Both themes readily present throughout her series, The Haidren Legacy.
An individual plagued by sarcasm, conviction, and an ever-present distraction of fable and lore, K.L. Kolarich dreams in the day and writes through the night. Often hearing her characters argue in the background, Kolarich stifles the daily temptation to abandon reality and lose herself in the realm of Orynthia.
When fully present in the real world rather than another, Kolarich explores local waterfalls, habitually frequents the same Thai restaurant, adds to her ever-growing spice collection, and maintains a thoroughly messy kitchen for the sake of colorful vegan feasts.
With too many cats and not nearly enough wine, Kolarich resides in the woods away from the noise, happily married.
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