by Kiana Wall
This week we have something a little different–a review of a YA fantasy novel written by local author Kaitlyn King. We also have an interesting interview with Kaitlyn. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
The Forgotten Prince: More than Conquerors series By Kaitlyn King
Review by Kiana Wall
The Forgotten Prince, Kaitlyn King’s first book in the More than Conquerors series, is a fast-moving, action-packed novel telling a tale of princes, a mysterious priest, and a greedy king. Set in the secret-filled kingdom of Endor, the story is well-written. The twisting plot is a clever combination of humorous dialogue, daring adventures, and inspiring lessons inadvertently told along the way.
After the loss of its queen, the young children of the king are sent away for their safety; the King suspects that their lives are in danger at the castle. The oldest is sent to fight in the army, and the youngest dwells in a monastery. During a startling twist of fate, Prince Tridan is called back home to train as a knight. Several other young nobles are also summoned. During his time at the castle and the escapades that follow, he meets a scorned knight, disdained commoner, and a long-lost friend. A couple years later, Endor falls into grave danger, and Prince Tridan takes it into his hands to save the lives of his friends and entire kingdom. In order to do this, he must face his past, and the surprise that awaits him at the castle.
One of the elements of Kaitlyn King’s writing that I loved was how the characters are so well formed. Their unique personalities develop throughout the story and are well-defined. Although there are four main characters that the story revolves around, one of them stood out to me. All four main characters are unlikely friends; one of the most unlikely is a girl named Jazmine. At the story’s beginning, she is portrayed as an aloof, perhaps threatening character. Still, as the story continues, her true personality unfolds. Her sincere character becomes more apparent, and her distant outward appearance masks a loyal and courageous heart.
The other element of the book that stood out to me was the firm foundation of Christian morals. Scripture verses are often quoted, and clear allusions to the Christian faith are sprinkled generously throughout the characters’ dialogue and actions. I loved the strong connections that the characters demonstrate with their faith and God; they are positive role models for younger readers.
The end of this book left tantalizing hints towards further exciting action in the next book, Secrets in the Shadows, and I’m excited to read it. The author demonstrates an evident talent for writing, and I’m so pleased that I was able to read her book. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy – I think they would thoroughly enjoy it.
Interview with local author Kaitlyn King:
KRL: Where are you from? If not the Fresno area, how did you end up here?
Kaitlyn: I am from a small town called Woodland. It’s near the capital of California. I moved to this area when my husband and I started dating. We met in college, and I took a job in this area so we could continue to get to know each other. We got married the next year. Since then, we moved around the state a little while he finished his occupational training. At the beginning of 2020, we decided to move back to this area to work with the teenagers in his dad’s church. That youth department had been without a leader for a while, and we decided we could meet that need.
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Kaitlyn: There’s kind of two answers to this question. I first decided to be a writer when I was sixteen and started actively writing short stories. I went to college, got a Master’s degree in writing, then got a teaching job. The entire time, I continued writing on the side, but it was mainly for my friends and family. It wasn’t until 2016 that I finally got the courage to publish one of my stories. That steppingstone pushed me into my full author career.
KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?
Kaitlyn: My first novel, More than Conquerors, Book 1: The Forgotten Prince came out in the Spring of 2021. It follows “Tridan, the Seventh Son of a Wicked King.” For his own safety, he was raised away from the castle in a monastery. When he’s twelve, he is called back to the castle to receive training to become a knight. When he gets there, he realizes just how evil his kingdom is. He makes some friends, and together, they work towards making their home a better place.
KRL: Have you always written fantasy and if not, what else have you written?
Kaitlyn: I love fantasy, I have another fantasy series in the works right now as well. However, I do have some other published works that aren’t fantasy. My first book, Carried on a Christmas Wind was a children’s picture book. I also have published a couple prayer journals and devotion guides over the last few years. I feel it’s important for everyone to have a personal walk with God, so I strive to make resources available.
KRL: Tell us about your latest book. What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?
Kaitlyn: In 2022 I released the second book in my More Than Conquerors series: Secrets in the Shadows. We continue to see Tridan and his friends in the wake of the big battle from book 1. They are adjusting to their newfound fame. Meanwhile, a power vacuum is happening between two of his brothers. The nobles are forced to take sides and a silent civil war starts to take place. The kingdom of Endor is very much inspired by Camelot, and Tridan is inspired by the legend of King Arthur. I am excited to see how he grows and changes over the course of the series.
KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to experience from your work?
Kaitlyn: C. S. Lewis is credited with a quote, “I read to know I’m not alone.” I have always loved reading. In my books, I found characters I related to or aspired to be. However, when I reached my teenage years, I struggled to find that connection. Young Adult books usually fell into two categories: 1. Magical, Sorcery, Vampires or 2. The “Average” American teen experience. As a Christian teen, I couldn’t find myself in these books. It felt very lonely. At a camp, I met a man who had written a book specifically for Christian teens. I was inspired to do the same. I want my readers to be able to relate to my characters. It makes me happy when a reader tells me they saw themselves in one of my characters.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can?
Kaitlyn: I wish I had a better schedule for my writing. Right now, I’m juggling a full time job, a ministry, and some personal health issues. It is a little bit of “writing whenever I can.” Every once in a while, I’ll set a deadline for myself and then I will add more writing slots to my schedule.
KRL: What is your ideal time to write?
Kaitlyn: I will usually work at nights after dinner. It’s easier for me to write after I feel like everything else in the day is out of the way.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Kaitlyn: I started my journey by doing a vanity publisher. I paid a company to format and publish my book, but I did everything else, and it was still considered a self-published book. Every year, they asked me for more money to keep the book available to stores. In the long run, it was expensive, and I did not earn back the original investment.
When I started working on my novel, I knew I didn’t want to go that route again. I started sending query letters to agents and publishers. Most of the responses said my book wasn’t what they were looking for. I knew my book needed to be published, so I started thinking about self-publishing it on my own.
The final push to take that step came when I heard multiple interviews of traditionally published authors mentioning how they needed to ask permission to write the next book in their series. I decided I no longer wanted to wait for someone’s permission to live my dream. It’s been a difficult process, but I am so proud of what I have been able to accomplish.
KRL: What are your future writing goals?
Kaitlyn: I actually have a list of over twenty fictional novels that I would like to write. I want to finish the More than Conquerors series which will have seven books, and I’ve started a Christmas trilogy, the first book of which is inspired by the Nutcracker and will be out next fall. I also have a couple contemporary stand-alones that I’ve been brainstorming, and a spy series I started years ago and would like to work on again.
KRL: Who are your writing heroes?
Kaitlyn: I have many favorite authors, but I’d have to say that my heroes are the independent authors who are stepping out by faith to publish their books. It’s really hard to do everything yourself without the aid of a publisher designing, formatting, and marketing your book. Yet, there’s quite a few who are going for it, and that makes them my heroes.
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Kaitlyn: I prefer to do hands-on research. I believe my writing is better when I have lived through an experience. My uncle is a part of a medieval fighting group and many of the scenes from my books are from going to some of their events. I’ve also gone hiking in the woods to experience the sights, smells, sounds, etc. of the woods when I have a character in a similar situation. If I can find a way to experience what my characters are going through, then I try to do that.
KRL: What do you like to read?
Kaitlyn: I’m one of those people that likes to read multiple genres. I used to read a lot of historical fiction and mysteries growing up, then moved to romance in my college years. Now, I find myself bouncing between fantasy, adventure, and fairytale retellings. (I got a ton of them for Christmas!) The only genres I really dislike reading are nonfiction and horror.
KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?
Kaitlyn: My favorites tend be inspired by stories. Any new twist on an old classic story intrigues me.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Kaitlyn: I’m a huge fan girl of other writers and I tend to get nervous about talking to them. I once drove two hours to meet Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted, only to stand there stammering when I finally met her. Despite that, I really like when one of my readers talks to me about my books. It can be in person, by email, or on social media, and I will be excited to discuss what they liked and what questions they have for future stories. Many times, those conversations will inspire new scenes in upcoming books.
KRL: Do you have any pets?
Kaitlyn: I do! I have a cat named Fluffy. She is the queen of our castle and definitely knows it. In 2020, we added a Husky named Duchess to our family. She is full of energy and the sweetest dog you’ve ever met. They both make frequent appearances on my social media platforms.
KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram?
To enter to win a copy of The Forgotten Prince, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “forgotten,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 11, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.