Check This Out: Bound

Thanks for dropping by. Today on the blog is the awesome and effervescent Kate Sparkes, blogger extraordinaire, dragon enthusiast, and the author of Bound, which was featured here as a cover reveal. Bound, the first book of a trilogy, was released on June 26. Huzzah! (Click on the cover reveal link if you’d like to read a synopsis of Bound.) To celebrate the release, I’m hosting a giveaway of this very book, which I’ll discuss after I finish talking to Kate. So grab a beverage of choice and make yourself comfortable.

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El Space: Four quick facts about yourself?
Kate: (1) I won a writing award in kindergarten for the story, “Ons eponatim ser wsa hws wsa trebesidit.” (That was the whole story. It was accompanied by a lovely painting.) (2) I firmly believe that one can never own too many beautiful socks. My wish list is massive. (3) When I was a kid, I wanted to be a pony when I grew up (it didn’t work out). (4) I’m fine with spiders, but terrified of house/basement centipedes.

MM-101-eyeltsockEl Space: Congrats on that kindergarten award! 😀 So, which of the characters in Bound would you say is most like you? Different from you? Why?
Kate: That depends a lot on what kind of day I’m having. Most of the time, Rowan is probably the most similar. We both have a curious streak that runs deep enough to cause trouble, though she takes more risks than I do when she’s looking for adventure. She’s compassionate, but a wee bit selfish. I have a lot of those moments. Least like me would be Severn, I hope. I don’t think I’d ever hurt people to further my own cause or ambitions. Also, I’m really bad with fire.
El Space: If I could interview Rowan, what do you think she would say about you as her author?
Kate: She’d probably say nicer things about me than Aren would. I doubt either of them would be pleased with everything I’ve put them through, but I think Rowan’s life is better for it. And hey, she’s the one who wanted an adventure. It’s not my fault if things haven’t worked out the way she expected.
El Space: How did you come up with the idea for this series? How long was the writing process for Bound?
Kate: The idea developed over the course of a few years, mostly while I was in bed with migraines and unable to find any other way to entertain myself. I started to wonder what would happen if someone had headaches that were caused by something other than changes in the weather—something like magic, maybe. The next question was, why it would be harmful? . . . No spoilers, but that question led to the creation of Rowan and her people. As for the plot, I wondered what would happen if a nice, normal girl accidentally saved a bad guy’s life and somehow found herself stuck with him. It took a long time for me to figure out the story, but it’s been fun. As for how long it’s taken, I started the first draft in November of 2010, so more than three years. I haven’t always been able to devote much time to writing, but I hope that will change now.
3456b79e23ec6d4ce3c7022902e584dcEl Space: If you lived in the world you created, to which people group would you belong? I ask this, because I’d totally be one of the merfolk.
Kate: I wish I could say the merfolk! They’re so lovely and mysterious, and I do enjoy the water. Maybe a cave fairy? Kind of chubby, sleeps a lot. I’m far less fuzzy than they are, though. No, I think I’d be a human. I hope I’d be a sorceress, but only if I get to choose where I live. I don’t suppose I’d last long in Rowan’s country or Aren’s family.


A cave fairy of a sort from the Fairy Cave in Bau, Sarawak

El Space: What attracted you to fantasy? What gets you pump up about this genre?
Kate: I’ve been addicted to fairy tales for longer than I can remember. I once cried when I thought I was getting too old for them. My mom had to sit me down and explain that as I got older I could read more books, but that didn’t mean leaving behind the stories I loved. I still love them, and the sense of wonder and possibility that they always leave me with. I get the same experience with fantasy books. Anything is possible, and as readers or writers we get to explore human experiences in extraordinary worlds. Actually, I find many “real world” books rather dull in comparison. I like to read about places and characters that stretch my imagination beyond what’s possible here.

76897El Space: What books or authors inspire you?
Kate: C. S. Lewis. Stephen King. L. M. Montgomery. Jacqueline Carey. J. K. Rowling. Sarah J. Maas. John Steinbeck. Tiffany Reisz. Robertson Davies. Tina Fey. Actually, anyone who has ever written a book that made me think, “I want to do that. I want to make people feel like this.” That list is too long to type out here.

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El Space: What aspects of writing did you find most challenging?
Kate: My greatest challenge in writing is usually getting the first draft out. Revisions are hard, but at least I can see the whole picture and know what needs to be done. First drafts feel like slow going, and I need momentum to motivate me. Letting people see the work and learning to take criticism was (and is) also hard, but so worth it.
El Space: What advice do you have for authors who want to write fantasy books?
Kate: Know your magic system before you write. Know the rules, have firm limitations, and make sure you stay within the boundaries you set. If you leave things too loose or have limitations but don’t explain them well enough, your editor will slap your hands for it. *Ahem*
El Space: Hee hee! What writing project are you working on now?
Kate: Right now my focus is on revising the sequel to Bound, which I hope to have out next winter. I’m quite excited about where the story is going. The trick right now is to make sure that I’m doing the story justice by telling it in the best way possible.

Glad you came on the blog today, Kate! And keep a weather eye out for dragons!


If you’re looking for Kate, look no further than her blog, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

Bound is available here:
Barnes & Noble 

But two of you will win a copy of this book! Comment below to be included in the drawing. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 9.

Cover design by Ravven ( Author photo by A. J. Sparkes. Book covers other than Boundfrom Goodreads. Merman image from Dragon from Sock from Cave fairy statue from

56 thoughts on “Check This Out: Bound

  1. I love how Kate’s mum explained to her how she didn’t have to leave behind the books that she loved. We do take them with us, wherever we go 🙂

  2. I’m loving the mer-folk in Bound! I’m about 80% of the way through and am hoping to finish tonight or tomorrow (any later and Camp NaNo will get in the way!)

  3. You commented Kate that Rowan is the most like you of Bound’s characters, but didn’t think it went deep. I think those of us who know and love you see a lot more of you and your ways in Rowan than you do. She is my favourite in the book…you have helped me solidify why….thank you! I am loving the story, but I am blown away by your character detvelopment.

  4. LOVED BOUND!!! I can’t wait for the next book, and it is unusual for me to look forward to a sequel to anything! Kate’s imagination knows no bounds, and yet her world and characters seem so incredibly real…..don’t understand quite HOW she did that, but I am so very glad she did!!!!

  5. Great interview, ladies! I can relate to the challenge in getting the first draft completed as well as sharing my work. I can take the criticism, but I’m not as confident as I’d like to be.

    • I know what you mean, Jill. Everyone says writers need to be thick skinned. It’s never easy to take criticism. It is at least easier when it comes from someone you trust–someone who knows what you’re capable of and won’t allow you to slack off.

  6. I do want one of the copies of bound. As an elderly person I have never been able to order from Amazon etc.

  7. Those are great questions and wonderful answers. I love when she says “That depends on the kind of mood I’m in.” Isn’t that so true. One minute we identify with the hero and the next we see eye to eye with the villain.

    • I find that interesting when I’m reading, too. People will find a character sympathetic and really relate to them, and I just don’t get it at all. But on another read-through, that can change.

    • Thanks, Ionia! (Though I can’t take credit for Kate’s great answers, as much as I’d like to.) I identify with hero and villain alike just about every day. Sigh.

  8. Great interview. I liked the analysis of which character is most like the author. It resonated with me. I had hit a wall on a character I’m writing. I was too wishy-washy about her character in general. Then I remembered reading or hearing (probably many times) that our characters always have some element of us in them. That’s when I realized that my character’s principal traits really were similar to mine and I could move forward with her.

    I also liked the socks. One of my daughters spent the last two years of high school deliberately wearing mis-matched socks as her rebellion.

    • I approve of this form of rebellion! 🙂

      I think it’s sometimes hard to balance between having characters that are so unlike us that they’re hard to write, and having them so much like us that they become self-inserts. I had to be careful about the latter sometimes, but it having a character who I understand certainly makes things easier! And I guess they all do have some element of the author in them, don’t they? Even when we have great imagination and empathy, we really only experience the world from our own perspective, and that’s bound to come out somewhere.

      Kind of nervous about what my villain says about me, now…

    • Thanks, Nancy!

      I think we need to give our characters a bit of our interior life. Maybe they’re not exactly like us, but their struggles will seem real if they’re our struggles.

  9. I remember the cover reveal because it’s an arresting image. Kate’s list of inspiring authors is wonderful in its variety. I haven’t heard anyone mention Robertson Davies since the bookseller placed Fifth Business in my hands a few years ago. Best of luck to Kate with the new book. Wish I’d heard her advice to nail down the magic system well ahead of plotting the story. Egads, I’m mired in fantastical inconsistency now! As always, thank you L. Marie for a wonderful interview.

    • I’m thankful for me editor’s tact, and also for his brutal honesty. Before he got it, I accidentally edited out the explanation of a key concept. Whoops.

      I bought a paperback copy of the Deptford trilogy (Fifth Business, etc) and am still looking for time to re-read it. We dissected it in high school and I still loved it. 🙂

    • Thanks, Laura! In re magic: sigh. I’m having trouble nailing mine down. I consider it a work in progress.
      Will have to read Robertson Davies books.

  10. Great interview! I love the prize-winning kindergarten story. I’m excited to read Bound. I have it, but haven’t started to read it yet. Congratulations, Kate! It sounds wonderful and the cover is lovely!

  11. What a ride from the pain of migraines!! Congratulations on your book release, Kate. I’m looking forward to reading. (I also love the mer-folk idea.)

  12. Congratulations, Kate! I love your sense of humor! This interview was filled with so many little funny bits. 🙂 I like how you talk about what your characters would think of you. Very clever. 🙂 The best of luck with the trilogy.

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