Friday 17 June 2011

Welcome Killian McRae - guest author.

Today I'm delighted to welcome author, Killian Mc Rae, to my blog.

Born and raised in rural Michigan, Killian used the local library- a single room in a her village's firehouse- as an escape to visit distant worlds, meet brave heroes, learn of classic mythologies, and develop a lifelong love of learning and reading.

Though she had written three novels before graduating high school, she never thought of trying to publish until much later in life. 12.21.12 was her first published work, released in late 2010. A second work due out in Fall 2011, "A Love by Any Measure," is a historical romance set in 1860's Ireland
Killian is a member of Stanford University's Writer's Certificate program and PRO member of RWA. Her other interests include musicology and history. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area. 

Why history has spoiled me for fiction.(Killian writes.)
I know, this is possibly the last admission you’d expect to see from an avid reader and writer of fiction. And not just fiction, but often fiction imbued with element of science fiction and the paranormal. Yet, I can’t deny it. As far back as I can remember, history has fascinated me. Perhaps because I have never entirely felt at ease in my own time, I have sought out kindred spirits who speak to me through the memory of their experiences- from Ancient Egypt, to medieval France, and from Raj India all the way back to Olmec villages.  In high school, I identified far more with flower children than I did with Children of the Corn.
In fiction, we try to craft a story that will evoke in the reader a guided empathy for the character and their conflicts. In the study of history, we are forced to make this connection by virtue of our shared human experience. How can I ever write a battle scene that could compare with the real events at the Battle of Kadesh, where Egypt crushed its last true rival, the Hittites, that allowed it to establish itself as a great empire? Could I ever write a love story with as many twists, spins, and conspirators as that between Suleiman the Great and Hurrem Sultana? And when our gaze turns evil, could I create a villain that could rival Alexander the Great or Ivan the Terrible?
Which begs the question, why do I entertain fiction at all? And don’t get me wrong. While my reading time falls between fiction and non-fiction pretty equally, I feel woefully under qualified to attempt to tell with any validity anything but the most trivial of anecdotes. Real life doesn’t forget the edges like fiction does. In real life, when a roman solider was stabbed with a spear, he didn’t make a painful grimace then fall dead. Often, he sat there, bleeding, wallowing in pools of blood not entirely his own, baking under the Mediterranean sun if he was lucky, or drenched in the rain if not, dying slowly while dozens or hundreds around him suffered the same.  To simplify the true scope of actual human experiences to fill a bullet point subject or make a vague illustration, I feel would be doing a disservice to human experience.
Moreover, history is experienced by the many, while fiction generally tells of the few. In writing fiction, I feel I can embrace a small corner of that which is common to us all, and explore it. I’m looking at one rock on the edge of the stream, if you will, picking it up, and seeing how it skips if I toss it over the surface. Never could I, however, use all the rocks to overcome the stream.
[If you would like to find out more about Killian or her work, follow these links.]
Twitter: @killianmcrae

Killian's new release '12.21.12' looks intriguing. Here is the blurb:

Archaeologist Sheppard Smyth has staked his career and the honorable memory of his deceased wife and partner on proving his widely-panned theory: Cleopatra VII, last ruler of Ancient Egypt, was murdered. When a statue of the doomed queen is discovered in an Olmec excavation site in Mexico, Shep rushes to investigate and, hopefully, find the proof that has evaded him for so long. Soon, he finds himself in the middle of the rivalry between the sexy, enigmatic international thief, Victoria Kent, and infamous rumored Russian mobster, Dmitri Kronastia. Both hold pieces to the puzzle that will finally shed light on Cleopatra's death, as they vie for Shep's trust and assistance. As he is drawn further into their world of ancient gods, supernatural powers, and alternative history, little does Shep know that the fate of all humanity may hinge on his ability to discover the truth in between Victoria and Dmitris' fragmented claims and hidden identities. Working to decode the past while in order to save the future, Shep becomes a common pawn played by forces working to see out a quest older than the pyramids and cloaked by the Mayan prophecy of 12.21.12. 

And Killian treats us to an excerpt:
With a sigh, he threw the greenbacks and one more meaningless night down on the bar.
His cash was gone. He wasn’t sure if he was still in possession of his keys. He could only vaguely remember where he’d parked the car when he’d gone for “just a drink or two” several hours before.
Last call had come and gone. But, despite his best efforts, the memories remained. He should have known better; Christine’s face was burned too far down in his soul for the alcohol to reach so deeply.
The best Shep could hope for on these occasions was achieving numbness. He measured his success against his current situation. A guy sitting down the bar was eying him with repulsion like Shep was some vagabond off the street. Shep didn’t give a damn. He hadn’t showered in five days and even he noticed his own smell was less than pleasant. Who the hell cared? On the TV, some reporter was gabbing on and on about the Mayan calendar and the end of ... yada, yada, yada.
Numbness achieved. 


  1. Thanks for hosting today, Grace!

  2. My pleasure, Killian.
    12.21.12 looks a fascinating read!
    Grace x

  3. Such a fascinating cover on your book, really catches the eye. Look forward to reading this one.

  4. I very much enjoyed this post, Killian! Also, loved your last two sentences in the quest post :-)


  5. I too have always been a lover of history. So much so that when I was 34, I went back to school and majored in history. I'm still pursuing that degree, at a different school. People ask me, "Well, what are you going to do with a history degree?" And I just give them a blank stare. No, just kidding. I have my pat answer. Some people just do not understand a passion.



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