I’m incredibly lucky to have Khaiah Thomson, author of Welcome to Blackwood, on the blog today.
She writes paranormal stories, with a determined, feisty, female lead in the most lush setting you could hope to live. Make sure you check out the giveaway I’m running if you want to win your very own copy of Welcome to Blackwood, links will be at the end. You can see my review HERE.
Hi Khaiah, thank you so much for taking the time to join me on the blog. Congratulations on the release of Welcome to Blackwood. I had an absolute blast reading it.
Could you please tell us a little bit about your book?
Welcome to Blackwood follows the story of Freya, a seventeen-year-old girl with the ability to draw energy from others, including their powers. In a world where supernatural abilities are common, she’s considered dangerous and has spent her life in hiding. She and her family return to her mum’s home town of Blackwood. Like Freya, Blackwood carries its own secrets. When she catches the eye of a golden-eyed stranger, her ability doesn’t stay a secret for long. Freya faces the challenges of self-acceptance, navigating relationships and growing independence. Add in a bit of boy trouble, a fiery temper, and a tendency to be easily embarrassed and it makes for an interesting journey.
How did Welcome to Blackwood come to be? Did the characters arrive first or the plot?
It took me a long time to put my fingers to the keys and actually give writing a go. I’d had this idea swimming around in my head for a long time, a high fantasy novel, and it was just too hard to write down. One night I decided that I had to write something. The characters came first. I’m a huge fan of X-men, Rogue in particular, and I always felt she was underdeveloped in the movies. Freya was my spin on Rogue and in my opinion her abilities are much cooler (in comparison to the X-men movies, not the comics). When I’d fleshed out her character in my mind, I became excited and came up with the rest of the characters that make Blackwood. I’m a total Panster; I like to write from beginning to end, so the plot wrote itself as I went.
Is Blackwood based on a real place?
Although I’ve left a lot open to interpretation, Blackwood is inspired by the Augusta – Margaret River region in WA. The Blackwood river runs through the area, hence the name. The region is a combination of white, sandy beaches and ancient Karri forest. Together they create something magical – the perfect setting for Welcome to Blackwood.
Freya is a fantastic character. She is very determined and knows her own mind, which I loved. Do you see yourself in her or any of the other characters?
There are aspects of Freya that are definitely me. I’d love to say it’s the confidence and determination, but its more the embarrassment, blushing and occasional awkwardness that is a reflection of myself.
How long have you been writing for?
Welcome to Blackwood was my first attempt at writing a novel. Previous to that I’d only written professional documents and university assignments. While writing Welcome to Blackwood, I entered short story competitions as they gave me an opportunity to explore different ideas and writing styles. I’ve found them a great way to beat writer’s block.
What has really helped me on my writing journey is reading. I’m an avid reader and binge books until I run out of stuff I want to read. I’ve been a Social Worker by day, although currently am a stay-at-home mum, and have worked with a variety of people at different stages and challenges in their life. This has helped me to get a good grasp on character development and give the characters in my stories depth.
What was a surprising moment on your publishing journey?
When I discovered that marketing and promoting a book meant putting myself out there and talking to people. I thought being an author was the introverts dream, but it turns out there is a lot more to it.
What does the future look like for you? Is book two in the works? Are there any insider secrets you could let us in on?
I’ve just finished Leaving Blackwood (book two)! It’s now in the editing phase and I’m onto book three. Without giving away any spoilers, book two takes a bit of a darker and exciting turn. As the title suggests, the story moves away from Blackwood, introducing new characters and encounters. Freya learns more about herself and is faced with difficult choices where she must decide her own path.
What do you get up to when you aren’t writing?
I have two boys aged one-and-a-half and four. When they’re not keeping me busy, I enjoy reading, playing videogames and discovering great coffee shops.
And to finish, do you have a favourite book you could recommend?
There are so, so many great books out there. One of all time favourites is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. I discovered it in my school library when I was fourteen and have read it at least once a year since. I’m a sucker for the “misfit becomes the hero” trope, especially when the said misfit is a girl/woman I can relate to.
Thank you Khaiah, for joining me today. I’m looking forward to the release of Leaving Blackwood.
For a chance to win a copy of Welcome To Blackwood, head over to my TWITTER to get your entries in.
Author Bio –When she isn’t in her home office writing, Khaiah can usually be found nose-deep in a book or procrastigaming. If she’s not at home, she’ll be at the nearest café, hovering close to the coffee machine. Khaiah lives in Western Australia with her husband and two sons