We are pleased to introduce you to K.Kelley Heyne—a.k.a. Kara. She's the author of The Locket's Secret our first novel for teen girls!
A tender real-life story mixed with an adventurous fantasy! What inspired you to write about the journeys of Carrie and Princess Caritas?
If there is one thing I've learned about people, especially quiet, thoughtful people, it's that they often want to be more than they appear to be. Children, including my own, play pretend games about daring rescues and slaying dragons. Adolescents dream endlessly about they'll be "when they grow up" and how they'll change the world. And as adults, we find deep meaning in the mundane, the repetitive, the ordinary. Really, though, there are no ordinary people. Everyone is fighting a great battle. I wrote about the battle one girl was fighting.
Why write about grief for young teens?
No one is immune to loss. Adolescence is such a difficult time by itself that adding another layer of hurt and confusion can be cruel, but that doesn't mean it won't happen. I wanted to remind my readers that even in the darkest, worst times, there is always hope.
Throughout the novel, Carrie slowly draws on her faith to cope with her grief. How can other teens draw upon their Catholic faith during this exciting, but emotional time in their lives?
How a teen is able to connect with their faith is entirely dependent on the specific teenager. Some teens are introspective and find meaning in meditating and exploring the intellectual truths of their Catholic faith while others are more outgoing and can strengthen their faith by connecting with other young Catholics. I think one of the greatest strengths of the Catholic church is that she is truly universal in her ministry.
One of the unique elements we love about Carrie’s story (relative to other fiction on the market), is that she and her friends have positive homeschool experiences. As a homeschool teacher yourself, what advice might you have for parents currently homeschooling or considering this option for their families?
As a former homeschooled student, I can happily say, if given a choice, I would chose to be homeschooled, to do it all over again the same way. I don't know how many other highschoolers can say that. As a homeschool teacher, I can attest to the fact that is challenging to meet the needs of my particular children at any time, but I truly believe that no one can recognize and respond to a student's needs like their parents can. The best piece of advice that I can give at this point is to be flexible. Find the best method, the best curriculum and the best books for your family and trust yourself. God loves your children. He gave your children the best parents they could have to meet their specific needs.
An avid reader, Carrie mentions some excellent books throughout the novel. Who is your favorite book character and why?
Asking me to pick a favorite book character is not unlike asking me to pick a favorite child. I have loved many book characters over the years, so it's hard to narrow it down to just one. One of my favorites was Samwise Gamgee, from the Lord of the Rings. He's not the strongest, or the most powerful, or even the main character. But he is good and faithful and even when he doesn't understand exactly why something needs to be done, he does it if it's the right thing to do, even when it's something as difficult as returning the One Ring to Frodo. I think he's the unsung hero of the story.