Interview With Author K E Barden

# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

Hi NFReads,

Im Kim, also known as K E Barden and I’m a young Australian author. I’m the author of the Finding Ever After series which currently has book one published, The Gilded Mirror. It centres on the darker Grimm tales and is about a girl finding her way through love, turmoil, magic and darkness. If you’re into dark fairytales, adventure and fantasy then this is the book for you. *wink*

Book two in the series is due early next year so expect some sneaky announcements and a cover reveal soon!

# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?

My series is centred around the old Grimm fairytales where we find that all happily ever afters exist. As a child I was fascinated by these and found them to be a more realistic take on the world. I’d originally wanted to write something small but it had so much guts to it that it expanded and created its own world which was very exciting! I couldn’t resist when it pulled me in. A lot of themes in the series covers the morals in those stories, ones about poverty, hope, love, friendship and death. It’s a YA take on something we all know but with a new point of view.

Though it is for younger audiences, some of the feedback from adults has been great. The nostalgia and ties to the original fairytales has really brought in a range of ages and backgrounds.

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Other stories I read or see. I pull a lot from my favourite books or fairytales as a child where I thought about alternate endings and what else could be. I’m that annoying person who tried to guess plot twists in movies and I’m more annoying when I get them right, haha.

# How do you deal with creative block?

Writers block is very personal to each writer. I’d never really experienced it until early this year (2021), when my brother passed away. Normally I can push through as long as I hit my word count but that was a real block for me. I felt at the time that nothing I wrote was good enough and despite my rewrites I couldn’t get out of whatever corner I was in.

Despite my lack of creativity, I just typed. It was only 100 words a day and I hated every bit of it but with each day I chipped away that wall that blocked me and the story eventually opened up again. I knew my brother would have wanted me to finish so I did what I always do. Just. Keep. Writing.

Now book three is written and it’s dedicated to him.

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

There are so many! It’s been a huge learning journey for me. It could range from repeating the same words or telling me instead of showing me.

You can lose a reader so easily if there’s no grit or the characters are 2D.

Characters need growth, worlds need to be slowly built and you need to describe feelings and smells and tastes.

And when you get brutal feedback from your beta readers, even though it’s your baby, listen to that advice.

# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

I’ve actually found my titles came with ease. They flew from the pages themselves so I was very lucky with that. My cover on the other hand I didn’t know what to expect. I was lucky that my publishers had a great design team and when The Gilded Mirror was revealed it was perfect!

# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

So far, I haven’t yet had a low review. The feedback has been good. I’ve mostly received some feedback from old teachers and friends about bits they didn’t like and why. Surprisingly I’ve taken it well. I want to make sure I can release the best story possible and even if the feedback hurts, it’s something I can take with me to make me a better writer.

# How has your creation process improved over time?

Setting the world up was new and exciting for me. Now I’m into the gritty part where characters develop and relationships break and all the strings of the world start to tie in. It’s exciting and terrifying. I think as I get to know my characters more and as I read/write more I know what I’m trying to do. At first it was fumbling but now it’s like piecing together a very large puzzle!

# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?

I think what surprised me the most was how alive my characters were. There’s a lot of moments that were never planned that happened naturally based on the decisions on my characters. They were making their own choices, creating their own stories and was just the tool allowing them to come alive. It was magic – still is!

The worst was the editing. I never appreciated it before but I just HATE editing haha it’s also a huge part of writing though so I have to suck it up.

# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I want to make my readers cry, laugh, throw the book across the room and get a book hangover. I could never write a story where I’m not satisfied with the characters ending as they have to be true to character. I think in my writing it’s not about me or the reader. It’s about giving a true reflection of the world and the characters. Sometimes it’s satisfying and sometimes it’s not.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?

A huge part! It drives every scene, every crack and every piece of emotion. After my brother died and my block; book three is my best yet. You can feel the raw emotion and that translates to readers.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?

Watch and learn. People. Stories. Books.

Read more. Write more.

Forget about the haters. Only you can tell your story.

# What are your plans for future books?

I have four or five planned for the series which I hope to finish soon. I’ve already got my next series in mind and I’m excited to head into the themes of sci-fi adventure.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

I’m a Scorpio, I like to collect first editions and I colour coordinate my bookcase. I love Disney and I’m a massive nerd when it comes to pop culture and shows.

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