Here is an interview with author Kirsten
What inspired you to write this book? I love fantasy, all subgenres, and there’s common mythical beings who get written about (vampires, shifters, fae, witches to name a few), and I was trying to think of a “darker” fantasy character to write about, and a banshee popped into my mind. Researching it more, I found out banshees stem from Irish/Celtic folklore, and it was a slippery slope from there, leading me to all the other characters like druids, pucas, and other Celtilc fae.
What can we expect from you in the future? **Chants** More books! More books! More books! I wish I could write as fast as my novel ideas sprout in my brain. I plan for Banshee’s Curse to be a 4 or 5 book series. Plus, I have the first book of my YA mermaid series written, and I hope for that to be a 4 book series. That one is really fun because I essentially thought, “I have a lot of knowledge about the ocean, so how can I take real ocean phenomena and create a mer-community?” I still take creative license plenty of times, but most of what I write is grounded in something factual, so in a way it hinges on sci-fi too. Also, I already have a witch-familiar trilogy loosely plotted, dragon shifters, and incubi/demon ideas. Different representations I will have across these will be more LGBTQ+ characters, cancer survivor, and epilepsy to name a few. Also, in my mermaid series I have a main character who lost an arm. I am so excited with how all these diversities wind into these fantasy worlds I’m creating. Again, I wish I could write faster. I want to get books out to readers as soon as I can, which is one of the many reasons I decided to go an indie instead of the traditional publishing route.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters? I do have a prequel novella out called Losing The Light. It’s short and sweet, about five chapters, and written from the perspective of the main love interest about six years prior to when the main series takes place. What happens in this novella is so pivotal to why certain characters are certain ways in the main series, I couldn’t help but dive into the day that changed everything a little bit more.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Whisper of Darkness? Cara is the main character who has spent her life thinking she is cursed due to a ringing that occurs in her head before someone around her dies. Surprise! She’s not cursed, she’s a banshee! Other fun facts, she loves animals and makes inappropriate sounds when eating something delicious or has coffee. Also, she struggles with her mental health, which is to be expected when you have lived life with death haunt you.
Shay is a druid, and kind of a prick. He’s also the reason Cara ends up being taken away to another realm.
Killian can make a person’s worst nightmares come to life, but broody and hot despite the scars maring the left side of his body. Oh, and he loves crumble. Shay and Killian have a complex history, but I can’t tell you too much more because that’s part of the story!
I’d say these are the main three, at least for Book 1.
Where did you come up with the names in the story? Googling Irish/Celtic names until I found ones I liked. Sorry, it’s not more interesting than that.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book? I really love complex characters. Creating their backstories was so wonderful, and really letting my mind fly when it comes to magic.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel? Darkness is a theme for both Cara and Killian, something they bond over, both with their powers and the darkness they fight mentally. Whisper of Darkness makes me think of those evil voices in the back of your mind. You know the ones. The ones who say you’re fat, not worthy of love, that you’ll never accomplish anything, and whatever other terrible things that make you question yourself and your life. Cara is haunted in many ways, and I feel it’s a darkness always whispering in her mind, in her soul, dragging her to a darker place.
Who designed your book covers? A very talented friend and coworker designed Book 1, and I am using Miblart to design the others. My talented friend has 3 kids and is moving soon, so I didn’t want to make him commit to a 5 book series and figured it was better to find someone to finish out the series covers sooner rather than later.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Don’t ask a writer that! We are our own worst critics! We will never be fully happy with our books, and we will always question things, even down to the “should I use the word ‘excited’ or ‘ecstatic’. So, needless to say I’ll say ‘no’ because if I think about it, I’ll question myself too much and start to stress out. See! Those little evil voices! Totally a thing. (Note: The end of this answer will only work if coupled with the ‘Title of your first novel’ question).
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book? So much! I learned so much about Irish and Celtic folklore. It was all wildly fascinating and so much fun to find ways to incorporate it. However, what I was most excited to learn about was more about autism for my character, Cadan. I did tons and tons of research as it is not a personal identity. However, I ended up hiring this absolutely amazing sensitivity reader who is not only autistic, but has a BA in creative writing and is currently working on a Master’s in Critical Theory with an emphasis on environmentalism, postcolonialism, race, gender and disability. They, also, identify as Black, an immigrant, trans, and indigenous. So, their scope both personally and academically/professionally was astounding. This made it so not only did they provide me feedback on Cadan, but often would explain more on the “why” behind including a specific characteristic. I wasn’t only being told what I did well or needed to work on, but learned why that is too. I am so immensely appreciative of them, and finding them was a complete blessing.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead? Lily Collins would be perfect.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers? Find me on social media and say ‘Hi’! I love creating worlds, my mind creates worlds even if I don’t write them down, but it’s the readers that keep the steam in my engine. Hearing what you love, fan theories, seeing fan art, or just connecting about our mutual love for fantasy is such a huge driving force and will make my entire day.
What is your favorite part of this book and why? I love the Korrigan! A small water sprite who can see the past, present, and future. I make her a little devilish and wildly beautiful. It’s one chapter encompassing one of the trials in the competition that Cara is a part of, but I love it so much!
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? 100% from my imagination. Well, I guess certain qualities of my main character was inspired by my alpha reader, like her love for animals.
Have you written any other books that are not published? My YA mermaid series, but I plan to publish Book 1 soon!
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be? “First Rain.” The smell of a first rain is so distinct, and that would 100% be my book. You’ll completely understand why if you decide to read it.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why? Any fantasy writer! I want all the author friends! Annette Marie, Sara J Maas, Laura Thalassa, Audrey Grey, Annette Marie, Leia Stone, Jaymin Eve, Jennifer L Armentrout, Holly Black, this list could go on forever! They are so amazing with their world building, character development, story flow. They are all icons in their own way, and it would be hard not to fangirl around any of them. I would do my best to play it cool though because I want more author friends. I adore the best friendship between Leia Stone and Jaymin Eve, and totally hope to find my author BFF one day.
Whisper of Darkness
Banshee’s Curse Book 1
by Kristen Braddock
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Cara Winters is cursed.
Loss has haunted her through life. A fun night out with her sister ends in disaster when she learns she’s a banshee. With a chance encounter and life debt owed, she’s coerced into a deadly competition in the far realm. To survive she finds an unlikely ally in Killian, a mysterious and prickly dark fae.
The only way to win and get back to Earth is using her powers, but doing so may unravel her to the point of no return.
Perfect for fans of fated mates, enemies to lovers, complicated & diverse characters, slow burn romance, and celtic folklore. Suggested for ages 15+ due to some language and violence.
**From June 7-21, 100% of my profits will go to Foundations of Divergent Minds (instead of the usual 10%), a nonprofit founded and run by autistic people for disability justice!**
About the Author
Characters and their worlds have inundated Kristen’s mind since she was a kid. Traveling to far off places and having words on a piece of paper transform into entire scenes pulling at her emotions is an obsession.
Her goal as a fantasy author isn’t solely to relish in her imagination, but to bring representation to this genre. She wants stories with characters who are diverse inside and out. Their differences are not the focal point of the story, but rather a natural part of their being. Due to this, you will often not only find characters of varying ethnicities, but of the LGBTQ+ community, who battle diseases, are neuroatypical, and plenty of other areas that make us all so different from each other. These are not their defining qualities. It’s simply a part of who they are. To further support these communities, Kristen donates 10% of her profits to various organizations.
When Kristen isn’t cooped up on her computer or curled up with a book, she is often outdoors– hiking, snorkeling, diving, camping, etc.
Currently, she resides in California with her husband and fur babies (two dogs and a cat).
Signed paperback + Swag Pack (1 winner, US only),
$15 Amazon giftcard (1 winner, WW),
ebook of Whisper of Darkness (5 winners, WW)
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!