Thursday, November 13, 2014

Egmont USA Blog Tour & Interview: The Halcyon Bird (Kat Beyer)

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Displaying HalcyonBird.jpgHardcover, 352 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by EgmontUSA

For fans of Lauren Kate and Cassandra Clare, a romance with a paranormal streak.
Mia has settled into her life with the Della Torres -- Milan's premier demon-catching family, accompanying them to exorcisms and even learning some way to be useful in the family trade. Then Bernardo comes into her life, handsome, well-mannered, someone who makes her forget her impossible crush on Emilio, her cousin. But always lurking in the background is the demon who possessed Mia once before, and who has not given up on possessing her again--this time for good.
*"Mia has a strong gift for the family trade, which, like the novel's other elements...are portrayed in exquisite, affectionate detail. This one goes to the head of the class." - Kirkus, starred review
"Sets the stage for a thrilling sequel. By the book's close, Mia is armed and ready--she whispers to the demon lurking beyond, 'You'll have to wait. But I'm coming. Believe me, I'm coming.' Readers will be ready, too." - Booklist
"A supernatural novel with a fresh promise, worthy of note." - School Library Journal

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Kat Beyer has an M.A. in medieval history and has loved all things Italian for as long as she can remember. Her first novel was The Demon Catchers of Milan. She lives with her daughter in Madison, Wisconsin. Visit her online at

1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book? —The initial inspiration was a glimpse inside a candle shop in the via Fiori Chiari in Milan, Italy. It was a freezing night in March 1999; I was walking with a friend of mine, and we passed Candele Mum, which is still there, and saw the flames flickering in the shop window. Inside, two men sat at an antique table with a book open between them. Coming up the street towards the shop were a pair of siblings, both classic dark-haired Italians, and beside them a luminous, blond young man. One of the men from the shop greeted them. My friend and I walked on, but the impression of the place, cobbled street, the candle flames, and the people stayed with me.

2. Who is your favorite character in the book? —I can’t pick. The entire Della Torre family, as a group, I think. Families are such fascinating, complex organisms. I like looking at each individual in this family and thinking about what Della Torre traits are strongest in them, how they’re going to react because of their individual nature but also what they’re going to do because they are a Della Torre. Mia, my heroine, is very much a Della Torre, though she doesn’t know this when she first meets her long-lost relations. I’m getting very interested in her cousin Anna Maria as I write the third book, and also Francesca; but everyone, from Nonno and Nonna as eldest down to Mia as youngest, everyone is learning something, changing, growing. I haven’t told the story of Égide, Francesca’s fiancé, yet, either.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel? —The title, for the first book (The Demon Catchers of Milan). I thought of it while walking the cliffs above Riomaggiore, in Cinqueterre, on the Ligurian coast. It was during a winter storm in the January following the trip where I saw the candle shop. I remember the sound of the waves beating the cliffs and the rain striking my face. For the second book, the novel came first, the title didn’t arrive until the second rewrite, I think. But it works very well, and points the way forward, too.

4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why? —I can’t describe the scene because it will give away a major plot point in The Halcyon Bird. However, I am absolutely terrible at beating up my characters, and this scene was very hard to write for that reason. I had to show Mia really up against it, and had to find a way for her to get through it. I am extremely proud of the result, and hope my readers will find it both unbearably sad and also inspiring in terms of how she responds.

5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now? —To write, and write, and write. To just do it and not worry about the result, because if you work at it day after day the bad days don’t matter, since another good one will be along in a minute. This is a craft that takes decades to master. I imagine that many of your readers, like me, don’t live in a culture that values spending twenty minutes on anything, let alone twenty years, so I’ve had to teach myself that value.

6. What do you like most about the cover of the book? —The cover of The Halcyon Bird feels a lot like how it felt to imagine and write the book. It’s a wonderful glimpse into Mia’s life.

7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2015? —I know Le Guin is working on something and I can’t wait to see what it is. Mainly, though, I’m looking forward to finding out what’s being released in 2015, because I’ve been so busy being single mom to a toddler and writing the third book in the series that I have not had a lot of time to look around me and to read.

8. What was your favorite book in 2014? —I don’t know if I would call this my favorite book but it’s definitely the one that’s been most interesting and had the most impact: The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future. It’s a short imaginary monograph about our period in history as viewed by a historian from the Second People’s Republic of China in 2393. It’s unbelievably well-written and well-thought-out and it’s very concise. It lays out what we’re doing, and not doing, about climate change, in a way that doesn’t make me freeze helplessly in my tracks. Instead it is inspiring me to act, and I am taking action.

9. What’s up next for you? —I have five projects I’ve put before my agent. She likes all of them. I’m going to work hard to finish the next Demon Catchers book this winter, and then I’m going to write up some in depth proposals and see what appeals most to me and to her.

10. Is there anything that you would like to add? —Thank you so much for having me! I love thinking and talking about this stuff, and would love to hear from your readers. My own blog is called “The Real Money’s in Poetry” and it’s at

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