Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the tour for Isoldesse by Kimberly Grymes hosted through through TBR and Beyond Tours.
You can find the full tour schedule here.
On my stop today I am sharing an exclusive Q&A with the author as well as a spoiler free review. So let’s get to it.
About the Book
Published by Tractor Beam Publishing on March 2, 2021
Kenna and Meegan are college students dealing with upcoming finals, needy parents, boy drama, and what to do with their lives after they graduate in a few weeks. What they weren't expecting was for Kenna to receive a powerful crystal necklace that ultimately changes their plans for a relaxing summer.
Strange things begin to happen to Kenna, like being the only one who can see and talk to the mysterious old woman with a golden aura. Or how in her dreams, a man with vibrant orange eyes keeps appearing who may or may not be real. Though, not all of Kenna's mysterious encounters are pleasant as she's haunted by massive beings carrying long swords and wearing armor covered in black scales.
Besides solving the mystery of where the crystal necklace came from, Kenna, Meegan, and their friends are taken to another world for a routine evolutionary assessment. The assessment gets sabotaged and causes more chaos for Kenna and her friends, especially for Meegan who is forced to open up and reveal her true identity and the magic she hides.
There's one name that Kenna, Meegan, the Sendarians, and the monsters who've been hunting Meegan and her family for over a century all have in common...
About the Author
When Kimberly Grymes is not writing, reading, or blogging, she’s usually hanging out with her husband and kids, baking treats, or keeping busy with crafts. As much as she enjoys reading books, she loves watching movies and TV, and is always on the lookout for the next great sci-fi or fantasy show to watch. Her favorite part of the day is TV time in the evening with her husband and two min-pins, Jubilee and Cori. She currently lives in Kansas, where her allergies are much better than they were in Connecticut.
Kimberly has a small book blog called the Plum Report in which she reads and reviews science-fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and or dystopian books. She also enjoys taking bookstagram pictures and sharing them with the book community on Instagram.
Isoldesse is an intrigueing amalgamation of multiple genres. At it’s heart though, it’s a sci fi novel since it involves aliens and advanced technology- though it’s not hard sci fi like Blake Crouch. I definitely think YA fantasy lovers will enjoy this one.
On the human side of things, Isoldesse follows two best friends Kenna and Meehan who are finishing their last year of college when strange things start to happen. This sets off the mystery element of the story, which the novel asks the reader to unravel.
Told from multiple POVs, the pacing was solid but at times, especially in the beginning, the different perspectives got confusing. Honestly that is probably my only complaint about the book.
Overall, I gave Isoldesse 3.5? and recommend it to readers who enjoy stories with unusual styles, female friendships, and aliens.
1- Isoldesse is complex and incorporates so many different elements. What was the inspiration for the story?
It is a complex story, yes, but a story I wanted to tell. Most may feel it’s complex because of the many characters, but I believe it’s a complex story because of the two parallel stories being unfolded as the book progresses. The present story with Kenna and Meegan trying to figure out where the arcstone came from while the Athru are busy sabotaging and disrupting the Sendarian’s routine assessment of Earth. That’s the present story being told. The second story, which is slowly unfolding in the background, is who is Isoldesse and what did she do all those years ago when she visited, influenced, and molded other worlds. What consequences resulted from her actions and involvement.
The concept of the story was an idea I had over 5 years ago. I wanted to write a story about a world that follows/believes in a goddess that wasn’t really a goddess. I needed to build a story around how the Sendarians would come to realize their goddess isn’t actually a goddess at all. And if Isoldesse wasn’t a goddess, then who was she? That’s where Meegan’s character comes into play. The web of connections and explanations manifested, and a story was born.
I enjoy reading multi-POVs, so I wanted to write a multi-pov. Though, my writing style might be a little unorthodox. For example, you don’t hear from the antagonist (Quaid) point-of-view, but instead I wanted to focus on Gemma. She’s an alternative antagonist with good intentions but doing bad things. Gemma believes what she’s doing with the Athru is for the good of all Sendarians, and to prove her loyalty to their goddess, Isoldesse.
My writing style may play into the complexity of the story. I tend to write like I’m watching a TV show. If you watch a show and count the characters (main characters and supporting characters) you’ll be amazed at how many faces and conversations happen. I know that can be overwhelming in a book, but I wanted to share the perspectives of the most relevant characters with the reader.
2- Friendship is a central theme of the novel and absolutely loved it. Did you find any of the characters or the relationship more challenging to write than others?
Friendship is a central theme, and not just for those who are already friends. New friendships and acquaintances are established, as are old friendships like Breyah’s and Gemma’s. Everyone has a connection to someone, which makes everyone in this story relevant. That’s part of the mystery and suspense. I’m a sucker for reveals or when characters finally cross paths, but if you don’t build up that character connection then the big moment falls flat.
Kenna’s and Meegan’s friendship was easy to write, and I enjoyed writing Meegan’s character mainly because she’s young but only for her race. She’s lived decades as an Anumen teenager, so she’s young, but her life hasn’t been easy and her experiences have given her a sense of maturity. I like how protective Meegan is over Kenna and their friends. Well, maybe not all their friends. There is some tension between Meegan and Darci.
Breyah’s and Gemma’s friendship was challenging, mainly because they’re not friends anymore. Or at least Gemma’s left Breyah behind. But their friendship was also meant to be tied in to the friendship theme I was focused on for this story. There are all kinds of friendships, and everyone goes through their rough patches. Even Sabine, Breyah’s assistant, has feelings about how others see her, and their lack of appreciation for her hard work. There’s a lot of emotion that ties in with friendship, and I wanted to focus on those connections.
3- Amid all it’s moving parts, Isoldesse is a science fiction novel. Do you read a lot of sci-fi? What are some of your favorite sci-fi novels?
I WATCH a lot of sci-fi shows and movies. I do like reading sci-fi books, but tend to read more fantasy books. I’m actually a late bloomer when it comes to reading and only discovered how much I enjoy reading less than a decade ago. I read growing up, but I wasn’t an avid reader like I try to be these days. I started a book blog a few years ago to which I read and reviewed all types of fictional genres, but as I got closer to releasing my YA science-fiction fantasy book, Isoldesse, I narrowed my TBR list for reading and reviewing to match my writing style.
I’ve always preferred young adult books over adult fiction. Normally, I read fantasy books (Adrienne Young, Justina Ireland, Shelby Mahurin, Annie Sullivan, etc…) but this year I’m aiming to read more books in the science-fiction genre. I’ve already read Beyond the Red by Ava Jae (Gabe Cole Novoa) and loved it! And now I’m devouring Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. Just a fun fact: it was Jennifer Armentrout’s Lux series that inspired me to write my own alien story with magic, adventure, mystery, and of course some romance.
4- What surprised you the most during the writing and publishing process of your debut novel?
Writing a book isn’t easy, and it took me a few years to learn that writing a book isn’t a solo act. If a writer wants their story to be the best it can be, they need to embrace the feedback from beta readers and critique partners.
Also, there is so much to learn about being an author. Not just how to write a good story, but also how being an author is like owning your own business. There’s a lot of self-taught aspects to self-publishing that can only be taught through connecting with others. Well, for me at least. I learned over the years what to do and what not to do by absorbing as much information from other self-published authors sharing their experiences on YouTube, Twitter, podcasts, and their blogs. I’m still learning a lot about being an author, and I’ll continue to learn by listening to others and their experiences.
5- Can you share anything about book 2 or any other projects you are working on?
Book 2 is titled: Fawness, and I’m aiming to release late spring of 2022. The Obard are coming in book 2, which I’m excited about! Also, another character that was only mentioned by name in book 1 and will appear in book two is Biryn. If anyone has ever seen the Underworld movies, that’s kind of where I got the idea to split my antagonists for each book. If you haven’t seen those movies, I highly recommend watching 😉
I’m hoping that for those who have read, they’ll understand why I titled book 2 Fawness. I don’t want to give away any spoilers about that.
I have an exciting announcement that I’ll be sharing with everyone on March 2 during Isoldesse’s launch event about a side-project that I’ve been working on that ties into the Isoldess world. More info to come on that soon!
6- Lastly, what do you hope readers take away from Isoldesse?
That not all authors write the same and that taking risks is okay. I hope readers will understand that this story, book 1, was more about following characters as the story unfolded. Not all may like this style of writing, but I’ve always enjoyed hearing from other characters and their thoughts about what’s happening.
I’m also hoping that readers will understand that there are two stories being told. The story about Kenna and Meegan while the Sendarians are conducting their assessment and the Athru are sabotaging that assessment, and the story of who Isoldesse is. There’s a scene at the end between Meegan, Kenna, and Darci that I absolutely love. I’m hoping that readers grasp the emotions from all three girls in that moment.
And lastly, as a debuting author, I hope readers will understand that my writing style has room for growth and I plan to use all the feedback I’ve received to grow as an author.
Thank you again, Haley, for this interview. I appreciate you signing up for the Isoldesse book tour!
What About You?
Have you read Isoldesse? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!