Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Halcyon Bird by Kat Beyer Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop in THE HALCYON BIRD by Kat Beyer Blog Tour hosted by Egmont USA. Today on my stop we have a Guest Post + an awesome Tour-wide Giveaway!

 The Halcyon Bird

 The Halcyon Bird
Kat Beyer 
(The Demon Catchers of Milan #2)
Published: November 11th, 2014
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Fantasy


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." - Booklistnstop


Check out the rest of the series



My Path Of Becoming An Author.

—I think the most important thing I’ve learned on my path to becoming an author is how much I have to learn. There’s always something new to discover about my craft, there’s always more research I could do on any of the subjects I write about.

I have also learned that the only way to write books is to write them. There is no guide, no program that will help you finish the novel if you’re not going to put in the effort to string eighty thousand words together. I began small—making myself write five minutes a day—because I saw no other way to develop discipline, and I didn’t have any to start with. The joy of writing carried me far past five minutes a day pretty quickly, and then, after a while, I was so in the habit of working that the slow days, the days where I have to chew and chew and struggle and struggle become just part of the river of work.

As far as my success is concerned, I think the first step was getting good at what I did. I’m a good writer. I’m not going to be all modest and pretend I’m not. One day I hope to be a great writer; that’s a lot of workdays from now, and I know it. I know I’m good because I reach people, and when they read my books they hear what I’m trying to say. Each person brings their own experience to a work of art, so they will see and emphasize different aspects of it, but overall, people are reading what I meant to write, and that’s so delightful. Their eyes shine when they talk about my books, too, which is so beautiful to see—I’ve brought some light and inspiration into their lives. What are we on the planet for, if not to bring light into the lives of others? I mean, really, what are we here for?

Second, I kept at it. Building a career takes time, and I’m still really at the beginning myself. I learned my trade and go on learning it (see always something new to learn, above).

Third, I got myself an amazing agent, who in turn found me an amazing editor. My agent has a full list, but interested people can learn where to find a good agent in a few places: The Writer’s Market has good advice, How To Get Happily Published has better (it’s probably partly responsible for my career), and Preditors and Editors will help you weed out the con artists.

Fourth, I learned not to be afraid of marketing or the idea of fame. Marketing is a way for your words to find their audience. Fame has three purposes: 1) To help you feed your family, 2) to help you enter the cultural dialogue, and 3) to help you bring other artists up under your wing. That’s what fame is for. If you think otherwise you are probably going to get yourself in trouble.

Fifth, I found out that I love my job. Passionately. How do I know this? Because one day eleven years ago I got an email from a publisher telling me (after I’d rewritten my novel to their specs over a three month period) that they were pulling my contract. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I sat down and stared out the window at the garden.

Five minutes later, I was thinking, “Hmm. I wonder if Dell would take it?”;

That was when I knew I was in for the long haul.

Thanks for reading! I hope these thoughts are useful for folks! I write about all of this in my blog, called “The real money’s in poetry,” at Write on!


The World building of THE HALCYON BIRD.

—I am lucky, in a sense, because the Milanese have building the world for The Halcyon Bird for millenia. I even feel that the magical world, the world of the Della Torre family, emerged pretty organically out of my experiences of the city and its history.

Milan is this amazing place. Like Mia I didn’t like it much when I first visited there. I don’t even remember much about that first visit, except the very fancy hotel I stayed in with my parents and my brother. The second time it was a jumping off point for a snowboarding trip…and that was the first time I saw the candle shop in the Via Fiori Chiari, down the street from where Mia lives. My attitude towards the city changed on that trip, when my friend Michele and I wandered the Brera and the center of the city, going to dinner with her sister Kendall and her wild Milanese friends, eating and talking till midnight.

Milan thinks of itself as a city facing the future, and differentiates itself from the rest of Italy on that basis, but I believe it is far more connected and rooted in the past than it admits. The Duomo, the cathedral at the center of the city, is a good illustration of this—begun in the middle ages it wasn’t finished until a few years before I was born, so in many ways it could be considered a living, changing work of art that has ancient roots.

The stone streets, the gargoyles and stone sculptures on buildings, the great library founded in the 1600s, and the remnants of the city walls all contribute to this sense of a venerable place. Yet Milan has always been home to innovators: it’s been the fashion capital of Europe since before the Renaissance (take that, Versace), and the armorers in the Via Armorari made many technological advances.

Today if there’s a new technology to be embraced the Milanese are embracing it. Each time I go back they’re already doing what we’ll be doing here in six months.


 Character Profile: Mia

—I wish I could think of an actress. I haven’t watched a lot of current film since my daughter was born. It’s the Juliet Capulet problem: you need an artist with considerable subtlety and maturity who can still act and look as young as Mia is. I think someone who has qualities like Kristen Stewart did in Twilight or Ellen Page in Juno would work well. But I expect that any production company is going to have to look for a new face.

Mia is sixteen at the start of the first book, and sixteen through the second one. I’m actually about to write about her seventeenth birthday for the third book after I finish these blog entries. She describes her physical appearance critically: “huge, oversize mouth, eyes too close together, nose straight but too long, eyebrows that would be perfect if they weren’t so thick, and mousy, thin hair…” I hope that readers can see past her description of herself and realize that she’s actually probably quite pretty. I worry that many teenaged girls do not see their own beauty, either of face or of spirit, and part of Mia’s journey in these books is the journey of learning how beautiful she really is.

Right away in the first book we learn that she has a crush on her cousin Emilio, who is extremely good looking, even for an Italian. The Italians are a pretty gorgeous nation as a whole. I think it has a lot to do how they look at life and what they consider important. They care a great deal about food and family and living well. I know that sounds idealistic, and certainly they have tons of problems, but their basic joyful attitude to the world always delights me.

Emilio is also a man of character, which is fairly unusual in someone so handsome. He’s like his father in this respect. Emilio uses his beauty as a tool like the others he has. He’s often the Della Torre who has to convince people to do things they don’t want to or are afraid to do. Mia says at one point, “;I was learning that all Emilio really has to do to persuade most women is to exist.” He is probably aware of his young cousin’s crush—he’s pretty experienced with the way women react to him—but he doesn’t take advantage of it in any creepy way, because he has tremendous integrity, despite his faults.

A decade or two ago I would have cast Vincent Perez as Emilio. Someone with Perez’s physical beauty and unbelievably graceful walk would really work as Emilio.

More about Mia…she loves the food in Milan; she also falls in love at first sight with the candle shop her family runs, with its old wooden floors and shelves, its smell of beeswax and sulfur, its battered oak table where she sits to study and where Nonno puts the wine glasses at the end of the day. She has to fight loneliness, culture shock, and fear of the demon—justified fear, as readers can see from early on in the first book.

I tried to give a sense of what it feels like to be overwhelmed by a foreign language and a foreign place, from the different sounds that car tires make on a stone-paved street to the way a person can feel shut out of every conversation when they only understand a few words. It’s extremely tiring to learn, and learn to think, in another tongue, unless you’re one of those people who can just absorb new languages. For a B student from upstate New York like Mia, it’s exhausting. But she has breakthroughs that feel wonderful. She describes an afternoon when she goes from shop to shop and doesn’t notice, till later, that her family let her do most of the talking and that she does it without a single hitch (p. 119, The Demon Catchers of Milan).


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.

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