The Uncharted Series, by Keely Keith
Over the past six years of giving riding lessons and instructing young girls and boys in the art of horseback riding
I have met a great many wonderful people. I always have interesting stories to tell! Last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting the author of the Uncharted Series and was able to teach her daughter riding lessons. Mind you, when I first began giving Ms. Keith’s daughter lessons, I had no idea that the friendly (and oh-so-understanding when I had to cancel lessons due to rain-outs) Keely Keith was actually an author! So imagine my delight when I learn that one of my students’ mothers is an author!
As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I began to read the first book of Ms. Keith’s immediately, because I do so love my books. And if you’ll look to your left, you’ll notice that I have made the first book’s cover nice and large because I happen to love the simplicity of the photo.
So, before I delve into the interview, let me start off by giving a
brief review of Ms. Keith’s book, since I have yet to review it.
Lydia Colburn is a young physician dedicated to serving her village in the Land. When injured fighter pilot Connor Bradshaw’s parachute carries him from the war engulfing the 2025 world to her hidden land, his presence threatens her plans, her family, and the survival of her preindustrial society. As Connor searches for a way to return to his squadron, his fascination with life in the Land makes him protective of Lydia and her peaceful homeland, and Lydia’s attraction to Connor stirs desires she never anticipated. Written like a historical, set like a scifi, and filled with romance, The Land Uncharted weaves adventure and love in this suspenseful story of a hidden land.
Personally, I don’t think the synopsis does the book justice. When I first read the synopsis, I was a little wary simply because this genre of book (as described in the synopsis) strays quite a bit from what I’ve read before, but do you want to know what I loved most about this book? The Land Uncharted is like every 1800s-1900s book I have ever read. It is classic, romantic, and completely innocent. The Land Uncharted has something ― don’t ask me what! ― in it that I’d thought we, as writers, had lost long ago.
Ms. Keith’s book was a breath of fresh air. Despite being set in the future, Ms. Keith’s book has all the pure elements of books like Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and all the other amazing classics. And there was just enough “action” in the book and concern for the main character to keep the reader glued.
Well done, Ms. Keith. Well done.
Something else that I liked about The Land Uncharted was that Lydia was not your typical, teenaged, annoyingly perfect, do-it-herself woman. Lydia understands her limits and she submits to her father!
What a strange concept, right guys?!
**cough cough** sarcasm **cough cough**
Lydia is well established within her community but she respects people and people respect her. I love the sense of propriety within the book. You really just feel happy reading it, the entire time! When you read the celebration/party scene, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
(By the way, guys, that was an amazing part of the book ❤ But then again, I happened to enjoy a few other parts as well so …)
And then Connor’s character. Amazing. I absolutely loved Connor. Lydia is a dim bulb burning in an already-lit room when compared to the bright and shining light in the darkness that is Connor Bradshaw. Not really, I loved Lydia, but seriously. Connor. He’s perfect, right? Those who have read the book must agree.
Connor wants to protect everything that is wholesome. He has a hero personality. I’ve read and been told that most men want to be able to save a damsel in distress, slay a dragon, and go on a daring adventure.
This is definitely true for Connor.
And I know I’ve probably said this quite a few times but Connor totally captured my heart.
**Note** I have a serious problem. Because when somebody asks me if I have a boyfriend, I say,
“Yeah. It’s [insert latest book crush].”
And people respond, “Oh really? Can I meet him?”
I reply with, “Well, that’d be kind of impossible. He’s in a book. See my dilemma?”
So there’s my
It could have been longer.
Anyway, let’s move on to the real reason you clicked on this post. You want to hear from the author, right? Great. Let’s hear from her! (Interview will be in blue because … look at that cover! The theme seems to be blue.)
What inspired you to write The Land Uncharted? And when did you first come up with the idea?
“I’ve always loved maps. When I was a kid my grandma saved National Geographic maps for me. I would paper my bedroom walls with them. I often stared at the wide blue swaths of ocean on the maps and wondered if there was any land there that we just didn’t know about. Then as an adult, I researched my family history. Most of my ancestors moved west in the middle of the 19th Century. They traveled in groups like so many Americans at the time and it made me wonder: what if instead of going west a group of families wanted to find a whole new land and got on a ship. I wondered what that settlement would be like several generations later and decided to drop a modern man into the middle of it to find out.”
How long did it take for you to publish the book? Did you go about publishing it independently or
through a publishing company? How was your experience writing and publishing this book? What was the most difficult problem you had to overcome?
“When I decided to try to get The Land Uncharted published, I received immediate response from literary agents and a lot of great feedback. I was repeatedly advised that The Land Uncharted was an independent press project due to the difficulty in marketing such a unique genre blend (histori-fi-mance anyone?), so I submitted to a few small presses and quickly had offers. The Land Uncharted was first signed with a small press. That contract fell through, which is common in publishing, but it’s painful nonetheless. I soon had offers from other publishers, but by then I’d read several books on publishing and realized I could it. It seemed counterintuitive to turn down publishing offers, but I prayed about it and got not only peace about starting an independent press, but also excitement. I started Edenbrooke Press and I haven’t looked back.
The Land Uncharted was released by Edenbrooke Press in October 2014. Uncharted Redemption came out in February of this year and the third book, Uncharted Inheritance, is scheduled for release in May. All three books have been released as audiobooks in the past month and The Land Uncharted is currently under consideration for film rights.”
The cover is gorgeous! Can you say where you got the photo from? A stock photo company? Did you take it and have it edited? Did a friend take it?
“I’m fortunate to have one of the best cover designers in the business. Najla Qamber designed the covers for The Land Uncharted, Uncharted Redemption, and Uncharted Inheritance. She’s amazing!”
What advice would you give to young authors?
“I often hear people tell aspiring authors to read more than you write. I disagree. I’ve seen far too many manuscripts from new writers who read so much that all they do when they write is regurgitate what they’ve read. Yes, read a lot, but also spend plenty of time alone in the quiet with your thoughts. Captivity breeds creativity. If anything you write reminds you of anything you have read in a book or seen on television or in a movie, delete it and go in a different direction.”
Where did you get the idea to have several key surnames?
“All of the last names in the Uncharted books are from my genealogy. The first names are either from my family history (of ancestors born before 1860) or they are Bible names, but no character is named after any particular ancestor of mine.”
In your dedication, it says, “To Marty: Challenge accepted.” Is there an interesting story behind that?
“Marty, my husband and greatest encourager, has joyfully listened to my stories and ideas for stories for years. In January of 2013, we were driving through the pristine back country of Williamson County looking for an estate sale when he up and said, “Here is a challenge for you: I challenge you to write your book.” That was all it took for me to start writing it.”
If this book were to be made into a movie, who would you want to star in it as Lydia and Connor?
“This is crazy hard for me to answer. When The Combined Book Exhibit made the trailer for The Land Uncharted they asked me to name actors that looked like the characters and I couldn’t. I love what they came up with. Here is a link to the book trailer.”
Have you hosted any writing workshops? If not, have you considered hosting one?
“I haven’t taught a workshop yet and that’s probably because I have aspiring writers asking me for advice almost daily. My life is a rolling writing workshop!”
For the sake of being cliché, I happily say, There you have it, folks.
Do you guys see Book 3’s cover? Can you say beautiful?
Please go watch the trailer for Ms. Keith’s book; it’s simple but well-crafted and accurately portrays the book. But why, Ms. Keith?! Why could we not see their faces! Maybe you’re doing us a favor. Sometimes it’s good to be able to put faces to the characters, sometimes it takes away the imaginative element. Maybe I should be saying “thank you,” …. maybe.
I figure that since I’ve given you the covers of Ms. Keith’s other books to gawk at, I should also reveal their synopses. It’s just the right thing to do.
Levi Colburn, resentful of his father, haunted by his mother’s tragic death, and pained by his love for the unattainable Mandy Foster, breaks from the Land’s tradition and begins to build a life of his own. When rebels tear through the village of Good Springs, Levi vows to deliver justice and restore the woman he loves. As tradition stands in the way of redemption and threats from the outside world begin to appear, Levi must learn his greatest battles cannot be fought with his fists. Romantic, suspenseful, and filled with adventure, Uncharted Redemption weaves dramatic new layers into life in the Land.
Bethany Colburn finally turns eighteen and Everett Foster is about to confess his love for her. When a new man arrives in the village of Good Springs, he brings charm Bethany has never encountered and illness the Land has never known. While the medicinal power of the gray leaf tree is put to the test and the Colburn family’s strength is stretched thin, Bethany must learn to protect her true inheritance. Uncharted Inheritance weaves heartbreak and hope while delivering long-awaited answers in this suspenseful story of life in a hidden land.
Check out Ms. Keith’s first book on the below sites:
Book 2 was released in February of this year and is also up for purchase! Book 3 will be released May 5th.
Thank you again, Ms. Keith, for your time and thoughtful answers!
Until next time, fair readers, (hopefully “next time” I will have my End of Days book, hmm?)
What’s on your bookshelf?