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BookWorthy Chats with Kylie Beevers

BookWorthy Season2 Episode 11 Cover
Rise of the Livingwood Cover



 

Valerie - Today, we're talking with Kylie Beevers, the author of the middle-grade fantasy adventure, Rise of the Living Wood. It's a joy to have you here, Kylie.

 

Kylie -It's a joy to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

 

Valerie - Well, I'm so glad you're here. But, to start our interview, I wanted to ask you, what is where you live? What is your first sign of spring? 


tree bud

Kylie - So we live in Northern Michigan, and generally the first sign of spring is when some of the leaves start coming back. In Northern Michigan, it really takes a long time for things to get out of the snow because we get so much of it. So the daffodils don't come until later, the walnut leaves don't come until later, and all the flowers don't come until later. The first sign that you get is luckily, like you get. The little shoot of grass, that's about it.

 

Valerie -I know I'd say daffodils are usually my first clue here down in Texas because We get fall spring and second winter and all kinds of crazy weather, so daffodils are usually my clue that okay spring is on its way Winter's going away So fun well, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?

 


daffodil

Kylie -hi everyone, my name is Kylie Beavers. I am a young teenage author of a middle-grade fiction fantasy book. I live in, as I said, Northern Michigan. It's quite beautiful up here. And I am a farm girl at heart. I have been raised on a farm my whole life. I am a shepherd and I absolutely love farming. It's a passion of mine to cultivate safe atmospheres outside for children and parents alike. That's what our family does and that's what I do. And that's a little bit about myself, yeah.

 

Valerie - I love that. What type of sheep do you shepherd?

 

Kylie - Katadans, hairless sheep. So, they have no wool.

Katadan Sheep

Valerie - Interesting. Huh, so what are they mostly used for?

 

Kylie -Mainly for meat. You can have some milk from them, but I don't recommend it. It's not that tasty.

 

Valerie - Well, good for you for at least trying out the products around you. So very cool. Well, my next question was going to be, are you an outdoorsy person since your book is about the living wood? But you kind of answered that. So what has it been like living on that farm and just experiencing nature daily?

 

Kylie - It's been such a blessing. I can't imagine a life without it, honestly. I am not a city person. We used to live close to the city and I can't do it. I need the fresh air. I need to be outside. I need to feel the grass beneath my feet and connect with the creator and the creation around me.

 

Valerie -That's amazing. I love that you get to kind of live that, but you also talk about that a lot in your book about how your characters pray and talk about the creator so intimately. And I think that your book does a great job of kind of weaving that in and making faith a part of your characters' journeys. Why did you want these characters to have such a strong connection to faith in the creator?

 

Kylie - So in children's literature today, I am seeing very strong agendas and messages that are being pumped into our world, specifically in children's content. There's a lot of darkness

child reading

and it gets really hard to see truth. And truth is a fact. Truth does not change. And I'm seeing there are terms and there are languages and there are words that are changing and it's getting very confusing. And honestly, when I was writing Rise of the Living Wood, I wanted children to be able to grasp truth. I wanted them to search for it. Because it's your journey to find truth. I want children to know that.

 

Valerie -I love that. And you know, it's one of those, you know, as a parent, we want kids to understand truth and to want to seek it. Because if I force it on my kids, they're going to leave it at the first chance they have, you know, it's like, I'm going to think my own thoughts. But if we have introduced them to it and made it a journey, not just something that's forced in their face, they can start to grasp ideas and to explore not just the world around them, but the truths that they're experiencing. So, I love that you've done that. Now, why did you want to write a fantasy book?

 

Kylie -Okay, this is an interesting question, and one that I've gotten a few times, but not a ton. There's a bad rap to fantasy out there, and that's just the way it is. For Christian mothers and for fathers too, who are looking for fiction for their child, normally you would find there's a lot of magic in fantasy. I have beliefs that don't want to instill witchcraft in my book, in my series, or in whatever I write. That's my personal belief. I find that in scripture to be true, that he wants us to stay away from that. And a lot of fantasy deals with magic. And a lot of people tend to put fantasy in the magic realm. It's like there's no other genre to put it in. So I wrote a fantasy book because the root word for fantasy is fiction. It's make-believe. It has nothing to do with magic at all. And so, when I wrote Rise of Living Wood, I was like, you know what? It's fiction, it's make-believe. I'm going to classify it as fantasy. I'm going to put it out there for people. It's not going to contain magic.

 

Valerie - You're serving a different audience rather than the audience of the masses, right?

 

Kylie - Yeah, I want people to know though that fantasy is not exclusively magic or witchcraft. It's not exclusively demonic powers. It can just be make-believe. It can just be fiction.

 

Fox

Valerie -I love it. So, you have foxes and wolves as your main two characters. And it is interesting to see the world from a different perspective. And I think that the beauty of fantasy is to see the world from a different set of eyes. And I think your book does a great job of just kind of getting us to look at the world differently. I think that's the power of fantasy as well, even without magic and without witchcraft and those types of things. So why did you choose foxes as your main characters?

 

Kylie -Okay, so if you've ever read Green Ember by S.D. Smith, and if you haven't, I encourage you to go check that book out. I was inspired by S.D. Smith, who writes Rabbits with Swords, and when he wrote that, it just clicked in my head. I was like, there are so very few innuendos protagonist books that deal with any animals in general and foxes as for me I love

The Green Ember Cover

foxes. They are one of my favorite creatures they're sly but they're also so they're so clever and they're just so cool they're awesome so

 

Valerie -Mysterious, right? You know, they're not dogs and they're not squirrels and they're not rabbits, but they are their category. And there's a lot we just don't know about them. So, it makes them very intriguing. Now, how did you come up with this idea about the Rise of the Livingwood?

 

Kylie -So we were in the middle of a moving process when Rise of Living Wood began. We were going from southern Michigan to northern Michigan and it was totally by chance. I was sitting in the car one day and I have a wild imagination. I always have. I used to play outside with my brother. I used to tie sticks together and make these make-believe bows. I used to go out and just pretend that I was fighting these medieval knights or swords. As it stands, I was in the car, I was looking out the window and all of a sudden, I saw two foxes and they were not real. They were totally out of my imagination, and they were hopping through the trees, and they were wielding swords, and they were wearing leather armor. And a lot of people will find that weird. Because foxes, don't wield swords, they don't wear armor. But when I got home, I started typing it out and originally Rise of Living Wood was going to be about basketball playing foxes. Scrapped that idea. And I'm so glad God changed it for the better. And throughout the moving process, it was going to be a senior project for years to come. But in that year, I ended up writing the whole thing. And then my family encouraged me, hey, you should get this published. It's that good. We can help you with the editing. I have a cousin who did the illustrations. And then it just, it all formed together. And that was God's hand to see it form. And there's something about seeing that. That was definitely God. There was no way it wasn't him.

 

Valerie - That's amazing that you know, he put that idea in you because he's a creative curator himself and that he wanted you to step out in faith in this. I mean, it's a big undertaking to publish a book at such a young age. Um, did you feel unprepared for that? Or did you just, I guess, I don't know. Was it daunting to take on such a big task?

 


Kylie Beevers Interview

Kylie -I was overwhelmed. It's nothing that I wouldn't have considered it otherwise. I don't generally think that I'm the greatest author out there. It's very messy. And in my opinion, I wouldn't have. And so it was very daunting. And it was very much a step of faith, relying on God to take what I had and turn it into something that he could use.

 

Valerie - that's kind of the goal for whatever undertaking we do is to, you know, want God to use it for His glory, not our own. And I think that that's an amazing perspective for you to have. What is the message that you would like kids to walk away with from your book?

 

Kylie -Okay, so Rise of Living Wood deals with a slew of morals. Some of them are aimed for righteousness, loving your enemies, and the overarching humility before pride. I would love to have kiddos come away with hope, fearlessness, and life, and I want them to realize the significance of light. I want them to realize that there is a creator and that he is creative, and he's making them and taking them through a journey. And that's the message in the first book. There are so many more messages in the trilogy and I can't wait to share it with everyone.

 

Kylie Beevers Quote

Valerie - So fun. You have a very, what is it? The main character, I can't remember his name, Bramble. Yes, Bramble. I mean, he goes from just being a grown Todd with no responsibilities thrown into war fast. And he learned so much about himself along the way. And I think that's kind of what kids want. They want to be pushed into an adventure. They want to be pushed outside of their comfort zone to discover who they are. And I think Bramble goes on a pretty amazing journey in discovering he has an uncle and being a guard for the prince and all those things. And so I hope to hear more about Bramble's journey as you keep going. What made you decide to make this a trilogy?

 

Kylie - Um, it needed to be something more than a first book. I'll tell you that. Uh, upon publishing, I had a couple of people come up to me and they were upset about the ending. Uh, it's a cliffhanger, just warning people out there. It's a cliffhanger and you might be a little bit upset. Uh, I got some love-hate about the cliffhanger itself. And so they were like, you can't just leave this. What do you think you're doing? You can't just leave it. So, Journey to Amber Forest is the second book and that's coming out hopefully, hopefully soon. It's in editing process number one. But it can't be a second book either. And there's something beautiful about trilogies, true trilogies. It is complete and It kind of wraps all together and then you can have stand-alone, and novellas added to it without it being a little funky.

 

Valerie - I love that. It's very interesting that most of the, I guess, stories that impact us the most are trilogies or these series of books. And it's kind of interesting to see how even God in his Trinitarian form also kind of leans down into this desire for completeness and for stories to have fullness. Just like he is complete also. So, I think that's cool. Now, you said you've always been very imaginative and creative, but when did your writing journey start?

 


Elk

Kylie - So my writing journey started when I was 11, and I wrote my very first children's book, as I'm going to put it. It was titled Elk Herder, and it never got off the computer after that moment, and it probably won't. But that was when I first started calling myself a writer. It's when I first sat down and I took the time and effort and put love into that writing. And I think you can call yourself a writer whenever you write. You can bull a journal, you can scrapbook, you can just journal in general, and you can call yourself a writer in that. But when you publish a book, then you're officially an author. So, anything up, anything before I published Rise of the Living Wood, I would have called myself a writer.

 

Valerie - It's funny how that title is hard to grasp even as somebody who is published. It's like, oh yeah, this is what I do. This is what I enjoy. This is who I am. It's kind of that elusive title. And so, it makes it kind of hard to step into and to accept in yourself. So that's exciting that you kind of got pulled into this and drawn to it at such a young age. Now, what is your favorite book?

 


The Boy, the Mole, The Fox and the Horse Cover

Kylie - Okay, I'm going to get this title wrong. It's such a long title. I love The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Maxey. I hope I'm saying that right. I know I have all the right animals. If you don't know what it is, it likens much to Winnie the Pooh and it is a beautifully illustrated children's book it has this gentleness and it will leave you pondering with these deep thoughts. And when I first read it, I looked at the watercolor inside and I was like, I just fell in love. I absolutely fell in love with the writing right away.

 

Valerie -It is such a sweet book. It's so simple that it's one of those, we would like to bog down our mind and our thoughts with so many things, but it's just such a simple read, a simple watercolor, just getting you back to what's true and where our hope comes from and how we can rely on one another. And I love that book too. It's amazing. So fun. Now, let's see... What is your favorite children's book other than your own?

 

Kylie -Why would you make me just pick one? Why?

 

Valerie -I know, I know, I know, sorry, I've got like shelves of it and I know it's hard to pick one, but the most impactful one, the one that made you fall in love with reading.

 

Kylie - So my favorite would have to be Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth. I would consider it a classic and it's so different, the writing style and how he has different perspectives of life. You're following this character as he decides to figure out what he's doing.

The Phantom Tollbooth

Why is he here? And so he goes on this long, long journey in this totally make-believe world. And he, Norton Juster, he is, he did an amazing job. That's all I can say. He did an amazing job. He instilled hope. He instilled courage. He instilled humor in it, which I find very difficult to do. Not a lot of people do it well. And it's really something really hard to grasp, but he nailed it.

 

Valerie -Very cool. It sounds like a very impactful book for you, for sure. Now what are you reading right now, Kylie?



Chuck Black's Nova Cover

Kylie -I am reading Chuck Black's Nova and Oath, which is part of his Star-Lord legacy. And I love his plot twists. I would recommend it to anyone who's looking for middle grades. It's an Exodus retelling. And then I am also reading T.H. White's The Goss Hawk, which is a kind of a biography of sorts of the lost art of falconry. And it follows White in his life on how he trains the hawk at his fist.



TH White's Goshawk Cover

Valerie -Very cool. Are there any hawks that are going to make a rise in your books? Oh, okay. Sorry. Well, we don't want any spoilers here. Well, Kylie, what can we expect next for you?

 

Kylie - You can expect, so Journey to Amber Forest is, like I said, an editing stage number one. That is the next book to come out, along with a secret project that I've been working on, and that is a novella for the Livingwood Chronicles. Hopefully, that will also come into publishing very, very soon. And then there's also, I recently was published in a short story collection, Heard in Silence, and there's another one coming out soon, hopefully. Fingers crossed mine will get published in that one as well. And then there's the third book for Livingwood Chronicles as well.

 

Valerie -Very exciting. Now, where can people find out more about you and your books, Kylie?

 

Kylie -You can find me on Facebook and Instagram at Livingwood Chronicles, or you can find me at my temporary blog, livingwoodchronicles.substack.com.

 

Valerie -Very cool. It's been a joy to have you here today.

 

Kylie - Yes, thank you so much for having me here, Valerie.

 

Valerie -You're welcome. And thank you for joining Kylie and me on this episode of the Bookworthy podcast. Be sure to check the show notes for any books or links that we discussed. Also, join us over on Instagram and Facebook to let us know your answer to our question, what is the first sign of spring in your area?


Happy Reading

 


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