Author Spotlight: Charlotte McConaghy
Describe yourself in one word:
What is your background with regard to writing?
I have six published novels, and a Masters degree in screenwriting from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.
When did you first begin writing with a view of embarking on a career as a published author?
When I was fourteen I started writing my first novel, and it was published a few years later, so I guess I always knew it was what I wanted to do. Since then I’ve kept writing and published several more novels, and I don’t have any plans to stop!
Tell us a little more about Thorne:
Thorne is the second book in the Chronicles Of Kaya Series, the first of which is Avery. The series is romantic fantasy for adults, and I’m currently outlining my ideas for the third and final book in the series Isadora. It’s a real passion project of mine, being the first adult novel I ever wrote. Lovers in Kaya have always died together, bonded in death as in life. Thorne centres around a possible cure being developed for this bond, a cure that threatens the Kayan people and the nature of their love bond. What inspired this concept? The prologue of Avery actually came to me in a very vivid dream. I woke up and wrote it down as fast as I could, and then basically didn’t stop writing until I’d finished the whole novel a couple of months later. It was such an interesting idea to me, the thought of a people who died in pairs, and what might happen if there was a woman who didn’t die with her mate. The idea for its sequel, Thorne, came more slowly a couple of years later, and as a result of the characters I wanted to explore. The fact that lovers in Kaya die in pairs is something the people there have always known, so I wanted to take that concept and flip it, exploring what would happen if they found a way to stop this phenomenon. Would they relish the thought of breaking the unbreakable bond? Or would it seem like a tragedy to these people?
The heroine, Finn, undertakes the adventurous quest to find answers, along the way attracting the attention the Crown Prince Thorne of the neighbouring land, Pirenti. Tell us, what makes Finn a strong heroine?
Finn was a really interesting character to write, because she’s not the average romantic heroine. She actually starts out as quite difficult to warm to, because I wanted to explore the other side of Thorne’s kindness in her. She can come across as callous in her perpetual desire to enjoy herself – she’s brash and confident and devilishly mischievous. But as the book continues and explores her more intimately, her courage and strength are revealed as a result of the hardships and trauma she has been through. The eventual love she has for Thorne becomes the most selfless thing of all, and in this respect she has a complex transformation. For me, it’s important to draw characters that are very flawed, and very complicated – I don’t want to read about people being perfect, and I certainly don’t want to write about it.
What one character trait will most endear Finn and Thorne to readers?
Well, I hope, Finn is clever and funny, while Thorne is kind and generous. They are both tormented by inner darkness, struggling to contain the beasts within.
One thing you’d like readers to know about the romance genre…
I would love for everyone to know that there are as many love stories as there are people to write them, as many genres and subgenres as you could imagine. I, for example, write romantic fantasy, which is very different to contemporary romance, or mystery romance, or rural romance, erotic romance etc etc. It’s not all the same – the only thing you can be assured of is a happy ending, but there are a million and one ways to get to that happy ending. The idea that ‘romance’ is formulaic is a naïve attitude – every genre follows patterns and tropes to give the readers what they expect and want.
If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t writing, I’d be dead.
Biggest accomplishment to date:
Umm… any of my publications, or maybe when I won the Australian Writer’s Guild Award for Best Unproduced Screenplay of 2013.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently finishing a sci-fi novel, which is the second book in my romantic dystopian series, starting with my recent release Fury.
Favourite snack whilst writing?
Crunchy salty stuff – like chips.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Spend some time learning craft principles and be more rigorous with my prose, character development and story structure.
What do you find easiest to write? And, the hardest?
Fantasy is easiest for me. Real world-stuff is harder because I often find the stakes feel a lot lower, and this is challenging for me.
Favourite travel experience?
Safari in South Africa – the animals were magnificent.
Number one thing to do on your bucket list:
Live in a cottage in the stormy moors of Scotland.
Milk, dark or white chocolate? All.
Red, white, bubbly? Red, definitely.
Salty or sweet? Salty.
Beach or mountains? Beach.
Give or receive? Give! But I’m sure everyone says that 🙂
About the Author:
Charlotte started writing when she was 14 in her home town Armidale, NSW. She now has six books published and a Masters degree in Screenwriting from the Australian Film Television and Radio School. She lives in Sydney and loves to read and write sci-fi/romance/fantasy. She has just released ‘Fury’, a dystopian sci-fi novel published by Momentum, and ‘Thorne’, the second book in her romantic fantasy series ‘The Chronicles of Kaya’, published by Random House.
An enthralling romantic fantasy about finding true love against all odds, Thorne is the second book in the Chronicles of Kaya series.
Lovers in Kaya have always died together, bonded in death as in life. But a cure for the bond has sent rumours like wildfire through the land. A team of young Kayans will be sent on a quest to find the answer and, with rebellion brewing, the very nature of love is at stake.
The beautiful but reckless Finn has never shied away from danger, and ending the bond means more to her than anyone knows. This adventure sounds thrilling to her, but Finn has always been willing to risk too much, and for the first time must face the idea that she has something – or someone – to lose.
Crown Prince Thorne, in the neighbouring land of Pirenti, has grown up rejecting the legacy of his father’s blood, keeping caged the beast that lies dormant within. But the moment he sets eyes on the wild girl from the Kayan cliffs, his usual caution hasn’t a hope of surviving.
As the world crumbles around them, can Finn and Thorne cast off the shadows to find a love stronger than either imagined? Or is their true challenge to find a way to embrace the darkness within?