Interview with Australian Author Aiki Flinthart

Aiki Flinthart lives in Brisbane, Australia - but is not at all afraid of drop-bears or venomous beasties. IRON is her tenth published novel and the first in the Kalima Chronicles opening trilogy. After the insane success of first series - 80AD (a 5 book YA fantasy series set in 80AD Earth) - she decided to take up writing more seriously. She's since had short stories shortlisted in the Australian Aurealis Awards, published in online e-mags and anthologies, and shortlisted in the Writers of the Future Competition. 2018 also saw the release of her YA urban fantasy action/adventure trilogy: Shadows, to critical acclaim.

When she's not writing or giving workshops on writing, Aiki does martial arts, archery, knife-throwing, lute-playing, belly-dancing, painting and runs a full time business. Sometimes she even sleeps. Sometimes.

Her new book IRON is due for release this month as the first book in the up coming Kalmina Chronicles. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview her about the new book, what the future holds and other fun facts.

What is the title of your new book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
Title: IRON
Sci-Fantasy with a kick-ass heroine struggling to find her place and to prevent the first-ever war on her planet. Sword-fights, political upheaval, just a dash of something like magic.

If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
Alere would probably tell the people of our world to stop f*cking it up. Her world, Kalima, was colonised by idealists escaping the environmental destruction and religious wars of Earth. Now Kalima’s 700 years of peace is under threat because humans are too stupid and ambitious for their own good.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
IRON is the first in the opening trilogy to the Kalmina Chronicles. It will be followed by FIRE and STEEL (both already written and almost ready to go – will be published in 2019.)
At the moment, though, I’m working on a novel set in 1486 – the origin story to my Urban Fantasy Ruadhan Sidhe “Shadows” trilogy that came out earlier in 2018. That one’s proving a big challenge. It’s 24 short stories all from different viewpoints of medieval women; and all coming together in an attempt to foil a plot to assassinate King Henry VII.

What made you start writing and did you go down the path of self-publishing or did you seek out a publisher?
I’ve always written. When I was younger it was appallingly bad romances. Seriously. So bad. I only found my feet when I decided to write the five-book 80AD series for my son. He loved it, so I figured I should get it published. But I was just too impatient to wait around for years as publishers hemmed and hawed over it. So I self-published. That series has now had over 400 000 downloads and I get fan mail from people of all ages and from all over the world. That made me realise maybe I could do this writing thing after all.

Is there an Author who has influenced you or one that you would really like to meet?
I read so much and so widely as a kid, teen and young adult that I would be hard put to say any one author influenced me. I read everything from Sci-fi and fantasy, to historical romance, to all the classics, Shakespeare, mythology, mysteries, detective novels, spy novels, action/thrillers. And I think they’ve all contributed and helped make my writing deeper and richer.

What drew you to that genre? Or do you have more than one genre you write?
I tend to write YA sci-fantasy/fantasy stories, even though I’ve read and enjoyed many genres over the years. I love to write empowered women who rescue themselves and have equal relationships with the men in their lives. I do still have a soft spot for historical romance, but I’m not sure I could write one without some fantasy element in it, somewhere. I have, however, published one of my contemporary romances – mainly because the heroine kicked ass and rescued herself, and I think the world needs more recognition of women like her, because they’re everywhere.

What inspires you to tap into that creativity?
In the case of IRON, it was a combination of a name (a business name I saw “Alere” that made me think – that would be a good character name), sending my husband and son on a weekend blacksmithing course, and my own background as a geologist. After my husband got into blacksmithing, and we were watching Youtube videos on the subject, I suddenly realised how difficult our world’s culture/civilisations would be to create without readily-available iron. Which lead me down the path of creating a world without that as a resource. Which automatically begs the question: what then happens if you do find iron?
Chaos – that’s the answer.

If you could time travel, even to a fictional place, where and what era would it be? Why?
Ohhh- there are so many! And I suspect the reality would never live up to the fictional versions that we writers make up about even real places. As long as I could go back and not be seen (and also have a good supply of clean water, women’s sanitary products, and uncontaminated food), I’d love to visit ancient China. Oh, and Regency England. Oh, wait- and Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonworld planet, Pern. Oooh – and … ah, I could go on all day. Sigh.

List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?
I re-read Lao Tse’s The Art of War, recently. Such an interesting insight into the mind of a brilliant strategist. Then I had fun romping through space with several of the Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga books. They are a great read. Lastly, but not leastly, I’ve just finished David Farland’s first Runelords book (I met David a couple of years ago and was able to snaffle an autographed copy of book 1). Such great worldbuilding.

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?
Argh – that’s so difficult. Felicity Jones (Rogue 1 Star Wars) would be a pretty decent Alere, I think. Her character of Jyn erso had a similar gritty determination as Alere. Dylan O’Brien (Maze Runner) would make a decent Corin (roguish, fun). Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age of Extinction) has the right look for Kett (strong silent type).
Sigh… nice dream! Any producers out there listening?

Ok Now for some fun ….

Sleep in or get up early? OMG- Definitely sleep in. And stay up late. My brain doesn’t seem to get into creative mode until at least 9pm. Stupid full time-work and its stupid early hours disrupting my much-more-important creative time.

Tea or coffee? Chai tea. I LOVE the smell of coffee. And I keep tasting it every once in a while, just in case my tastebuds have spontaneously changed their minds. Nope, it always smells better than it tastes.

Sweet or Savory? Savoury for sure. Chips/Crisps are my weakness. I have to speak very sternly to myself about how bad they are for me. Frequently. *sneaks off to eat chips*

Ebook or paperback? I still prefer paperback – probably partly because my phone screen is ridiculously small and also cracked. One of these days I may invest in an e-reader, but the situation out there changes so fast it’s hard to know what e-reader will still be viable next week.

One of your favorite quotes - There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for. (JRR Tolkien, The Two Towers)
And a bonus quote

Well-behaved women seldom make history. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

If you would like to get your hands on a copy of IRON read below:

IRON will be officially available on all good retailers on the 28th October. Use this url to pre-order from your favourite ebook retailer.

Or you can buy direct from Aiki's website on the 28th of October.
Print copies available from good online retailers, or order in your nearest bookstore.

If you live in Brisbane or SEQ, Aiki will be In Conversation with Dr Jo Sparrow at Bookface Orion, Springfield on the 21st of November 6:30pm-7:30pm. Come along, meet the author, ask questions, maybe even request a demo of a fighting technique. Tickets are FREE here:

Find Aiki here:
Or follow her on Twitter or Instagram a @aikiflinthart
And on Facebook: Aiki Flinthart
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Published on October 14, 2018 00:30 Tags: australian, author, fantasy, interview, new-book, series, ya
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