There are more reasons than I can count as to why Erin Keyser Horn is Indie-Credible with a capital I. She has a zoology degree, I personally find that very cool. She is a photographer, a mother, and she also plans programs at her library for kids and teens. Erin was amazingly sweet and patient while exchanging emails, this is my first time doing this! She also didn’t seem bothered by having a newbie represent her! So there are four things below that I have for you lovelies, the interview, her favorite photograph (that she’s taken), an excerpt from her upcoming book, and a giveaway! Let’s get started!
What was the coolest thing you got to do with your degree during school and after?
When I was getting my zoology degree, I was lucky enough to be involved in really cool ornithology research. I searched for bird nests in the grasslands of Southern Wisconsin, in the floodplain forests of Central Illinois, and in the Shawnee National Forest of Southern Illinois. I also worked on a project collecting data about the West Nile Virus. I would untangle the birds from the mist nets–very cool–but it turned out I was extremely bad at collecting blood samples from tiny bird veins–not so cool.
Well, they do have itty bitty bird veins! Which job, of the many you’ve tried, has been your favorite?
Definitely writing. But I also love the two part-time jobs I currently have: working at the local library (where I help plan programs and events for kids and teens), and working for a local farmer (where I get to be outside on the farm and sell vegetables at the farmer’s market). I have a wide range of interests, so dabbling in different areas keeps me happy.
Ahhh, the library, so jealous! Was there a reason you tried to stay away from writing?
Writing is TOUGH if you want to be successful at it. Maggie Stiefvater explains it well here (http://maggie-stiefvater.tumblr.com/post/59390959194/hi-maggie-i-have-a-question-a-strange-one-one-i). I worried I would put in a lot of time, money, and effort to create a book but then have no guarantee of income in return. So I treated it as a hobby for years, only writing occasionally in my spare time. Deep down I wasn’t happy about stifling the creative urge. Finally it got to the point where I needed to choose between pursuing a career in writing or pursuing a “normal job.” I chose writing and haven’t looked back once. I do work extremely hard for little money, but there’s nothing else I’d rather do.
That makes sense, we are very glad you decided on writing! Where is your favorite place to write?
I have a home office filled with the things I love–books and photos and nature posters. I’m thankful for my husband who painted the walls my favorite color (forest green), built a desk that fits perfectly into the odd-shaped corner, AND made me a treadmill desk (a shelf mounted over the treadmill where I can put my laptop and write while I walk). The office is my sanctuary. But on nice days, I try to write outside too. Nature can be very inspiring.
Wow, that sounds amazing! You’ve got a keeper! Who is your favorite author? Favorite series?
These questions are TOO HARD. 😉 I wish I could list a hundred answers here . . . so I’m compromising by listing two. Favorite authors: John Green and L.M. Montgomery (because Anne of Green Gables is still my favorite book after all these years). Favorite series: Harry Potter and The Infernal Devices.
All good choices! Since you live in Illinois, what is your favorite season and why?
Autumn has always been my favorite, especially now that I live in the unglaciated Driftless Area of Northwest Illinois. The combination of painted forests and Mississippi River bluffs is gorgeous. Plus, you can’t beat the weather of a clear October day.
I also love autumn in Illinois! Favorite food?
Strawberries and ice cream.
Guilty pleasure TV show?
This is where I have to admit that I don’t watch TV anymore. It’s too low on my list of priorities, so I never have time for it. When I used to watch TV in high school, my favorite shows were X-Files, Alias, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That love of the paranormal and steadfast heroines shows up a lot in my writing.
We’d rather you be writing anyway 😉 What is your greatest regret in life?
I don’t have any huge regrets, fortunately, but I have little regrets. Most of them are times when I said or did something stupid because I was trying to impress someone. I really wish I had stopped worrying about what other people thought.
What is the funniest experience you have had during your time working on a novel?
Usually I’m in my office, trying to write funny jokes to make myself laugh. I do get to have fun in the real world once in awhile, like when I was researching for RIVER’S EDGE and nearly flipped my canoe. Or when we caught a snapping turtle in a net and had a heck of a time getting it out. But the funniest moments happen when I meet young readers at book signings. Kids and teens are hilarious–I never know what they’ll say!
That is true, teens and little kids lack a filter! What advice would you give to your younger self?
Write now while you actually have free time! Life just gets crazier with each passing year. Live every minute to the fullest, and figure out what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.
No truer advice! Is there anything that you think your readers would be surprised to know about you?
I enjoy martial arts. I’m currently focusing on taekwondo, but I really want to learn Brazilian jiu jitsu.
Wow, you sound like a Badass! Do you have any serious pet peeves?
I’m a Type A perfectionist and borderline OCD, so it’s easier to ask what doesn’t annoy me. But I’m trying to find inner peace through deep yoga breaths. Only partially joking here.
What’s your favorite movie?
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Where would you love to visit that you haven’t been?
In North America, I haven’t been to the east coast yet. I’d love to visit Cape Cod, Acadia National Park, and Prince Edward Island. Beyond N. America . . . if I listed all the countries I want to travel to, I’d be wasting too much time and space! 😉
If you could meet anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
Wings of Thunder (Book 2 in The Thunderbird Series) Excerpt, Releases November 15, 2013
“C’mon, Ivy.” Dan’s voice seemed to get more persuasive by the minute. “You and I can help each other. We’ll both learn something. Then the next guy you kiss will be impressed by your skills.”
“My skills?” I threw up my hands in disgust. As if guys were lining up to kiss me. Then I realized—what if no other guy would ever want to kiss me? What if Dan was the only one? Sure, he didn’t love me, and there had to be something morally wrong about kissing a friend for educational purposes. But if I was honest with myself, I was just as curious about the great mystery of kissing.
I shook my head, trying to scatter the traitorous thoughts. No, I couldn’t kiss Dan. I was a tomboy in many ways, but I was still feminine enough to know that The First Kiss could be a girl’s Holy Grail—dreamed about, sought after, and cherished with reverent praise. Kissing Dan for target practice would be like using the golden chalice to chug beers.
“You don’t want me to be your first kiss,” I muttered. “You’d end up regretting it.”
“I don’t have a romantic bone in my body,” Dan said with bravado. But I figured that wasn’t exactly true. He was an artist—enough said. Despite all his nonchalance, he’d put himself on the line by asking me to kiss him. Would I damage his pride if I turned him down? Why did I even care about Dan’s pride?
“Are you actually considering this?” Cal asked. He and Gabe had been so quiet, I’d almost forgotten their presence. “Because if you are, then I want to learn about kissing too.”
I nearly fell off the beanbag, which is no easy feat. Sweet, innocent Cal thought kissing me was a good idea? I tried to cover my shock and confusion with an irritable joke. “What is this, a kissing booth? I hope you all brought your dollar bills.” A few seconds after I said “all,” I wondered if Gabe thought I was including him in this fiasco. Again my stupid eyes darted in his direction. Again he was looking at me. But this time his jaw was tight, his eyes narrowed.
“This is wrong,” Gabe said to Dan and Cal. “Ivy’s not that kind of girl.”
It sounded like he was defending my honor, but somehow his words irked me. Was it so wrong that two boys wanted to kiss me? If I wanted to be kissed, did it make me “that kind of girl”? Besides, Dan and Cal weren’t badgering me; I could take care of myself.
The real reason I was irked—the reason I didn’t want to admit—was because Gabe had been my coveted Holy Grail since I first met him. But it seemed clear now that he didn’t consider me kissable. If he didn’t want to be my first kiss, then it didn’t matter who took his place. People had gone insane during their searches for the Grail, so I blame temporary insanity for the decision I made in that moment. -end-
So there you have it folks, the incredible indie author Erin Keyser Horn! Isn’t she great? Not only do we have this great interview from her, she is also giving away some pretty incredible stuff for this post! She is giving away a paperback copy of both of her books (Eyes of Lightning and River’s Edge) and also an audiobook of Eyes of Lightning three winners, one book each. That’s not all, she is also going to lower the prices to .99 for EOL and RE from today to September 30th!
Erin Keyser Horn has a zoology degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and currently lives in Northwest Illinois with her husband and eight-year-old son. She did everything she could not to become a writer, trying such jobs as pig farmer, lab tech, biological field tech, vet assistant, yoga teacher, librarian, and more. But she couldn’t stay away from the writing world. She’s the author of two Young Adult paranormals, Eyes of Lightning (winner of a 2012 RONE Honorable Mention Award) and River’s Edge. Her third book, Wings of Thunder, comes out in November. On the rare occasion when she’s not writing or reading, she likes to visit natural areas with her family and dabble in photography.
After a thousand years of curses, the Thunderbird’s secrets are about to be unleashed in the charming town of Galena, Illinois.
Ivy is a normal fifteen-year-old girl . . . if you consider yellow eyes and storm-chasing urges normal. Life gets even more normal when she runs away from home to find Walter Nimiki, the grandfather she’s never met. It’s he who tells her the truth—Ivy is a descendant of the cursed Thunder Clan, so the boy she’ll someday fall in love with will die young. Walter believes Ivy is the hope the clan has waited for, the one who can end the curse. Before she can learn more, a terrible accident leaves Walter in a coma. Ivy can’t save Walter without the help of three boys: Gabe is keeping a promise to Walter, Cal always knows what she’s feeling, and Dan can’t stand the sight of her. Ivy doesn’t know what would be worse—failing to save Walter, or accidentally falling in love with a boy. Either way, someone will die.
Book 1 in The River Immortals:
“Does salvation have a number? How many lives must I save before I’m redeemed?”
Eighteen-year-old Kasia Maier planned to spend her summer studying turtles in the sand prairie, not trudging through fearsome backwaters with her new coworker, Blayne. And when a monster drags Blayne into the Mississippi River, Kasia never expected herself to jump in after him. She saves him, but soon she’s discovering the monstrous in other places . . . including herself. Now she’s wavering on the edge between a dwindling humanity and a dreadful immortality. The river is tempting one moment, terrifying the next. She doesn’t understand who she is or where she belongs. Blayne, the one person with the potential to help her, is also the hardest to resist. If she can’t stop her own transformation into a river spirit, he will be her first victim. And that’s just the beginning—even greater threats are lurking in the shadows.
Combining the Illinois setting of Thomson Causeway and the scariest of Slavic mythology, RIVER’S EDGE will make you question everything you know about nature, evil, and redemption.