Interview with Ivy Keating, Author of Sarana and The Dark King

23 Mar 2021

What can you tell us about your new release, Sarana and The Dark King?

Sarana and the Dark King was inspired by the image of the Great Lakes–– the five connected bodies of water that run into the Atlantic Ocean. When I look at them on a map, I can visualize how, in an ancient fantasy world, empires could settle around them. I have a passion for a “man versus nature” theme and I came up with magical creatures, which I named Valomeres. Valomeres connect with one person and give him or her power. And, finally, I created my protagonist Sarana. She is a strong female character cast aside in the most egregious way by her father, a ruthless king. Sarana’s journey will inspire readers to believe that inner strength and just morals are fierce competitors when challenged by greed and discrimination.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Nature inspires me to write. My first novel, Camouflage, was inspired by the New England landscape. I’d look into the dense forests and imagine what’s out there and what we haven’t discovered. A story came to me: what would happen if a deadly prehistoric creature was discovered in a local park? The beauty of our natural resources ignites my imagination and makes me wonder.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Rather than just give you a list, let me tell you why I gravitate to two books.  My favorite novel is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It transcends writing. It’s my go to image of a terrifying character from a fantasy world. I also love Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I marvel at her extraordinary imagination that enabled her to create a hideous monster imbued with human needs and emotions we can relate to. Both stories are almost plausible in a twisted sense. I am fascinated and terrified by the tales these authors created.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Using the two last examples, I would love to hear Bram Stoker talk about how he put together the quintessential vampire story. It would be a privilege to hear Mary Shelley tell us in her own words how she came to write Frankenstein. What a great opportunity it would be to let them both know the impact their books have had on our culture.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is creating characters with enough depth that, at a certain point, they can tell me what they would do. I love weaving a complex plot, following a main storyline with several subplots, and having it all come together in the end. Writing is like a wonderful crossword puzzle. I get to generate all the questions, and then I have to make certain all the answers connect under the common theme. If I can get my eyes to well or feel a lump in my throat, that’s a huge plus.

What is a typical day like for you?

On an average day, I take care of the things I must do first – such as any needs my family has. Or, I may be called into work—I’m an on-call therapist for two residential facilities. Next are the flexible chores. I work out if marketing is necessary, bill paying, any errands… After the day is mapped out, that’s when I see where my free time is to work on my next novel, promote my new release, or write a new blog post. I’m pretty good at organizing my time. I’m fascinated at the number of hours I can spend writing. I am not a patient person, and if someone told me I’d have to sit at a desk and work on a computer all day I’d say ‘”forget it.” Somehow, when it comes to writing, my attention is limitless.

What scene from Sarana and The Dark King was your favorite to write?

I have three, but I’ll pick one to elaborate a little on and just mention the other two.There are twin sisters, Alani and Lahna. Alani is a powerful psychic who wants to see the evil king fall. Lahna is the king’s mistress. As the story develops, the king begins to mistreat Lahna, and she is desperate to escape his clutches and return to her kingdom. My favorite scene is what happens when Alani tries to save Lahna. Another favorite is the moment Sarana meets Cabe. I won’t elaborate because this could be a spoiler when reading the book. Of course, if the end wasn’t up there on my list of favorites, I think I’d have to go back and rewrite it.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

“Find a way” is one of my mottos. I believe we are all capable of reaching our goals. Sometimes we have to learn new skills, or network, or ask for help, but often there’s a path to reach our dreams. When I say, “find a way,” especially after something I’m working on doesn’t go as planned, it’s my way of saying, “You can do this. Think harder. Work harder. But, don’t stop…there’s an answer to what’s blocking you.”

Ivy Keating is the author of the new book Sarana and The Dark King

Connect with Ivy Keating

Author Site


Buy The Book

B08Y81T7C4 cover image

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.