Even the Darkest Stars
Author: Heather Fawcett
Series: Even the Darkest Stars, #1
Publication Date: September 5th
Synopsis: Set in a fictional Himalayan kingdom, this is the story of a girl enlisted by a legendary explorer to help him climb the kingdom’s deadliest mountain – only to discover that his true mission may threaten her whole world.
Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.
But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer every known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister, Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means cimbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then, Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.
The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and other dangers at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth about their mission and her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.
1. Where did you come up with the idea for Even the Darkest Stars?
Even the Darkest Stars was inspired by a lot of things—my interest in exploration; my love of mountains (I grew up in Vancouver); and my interest in climbing. I don’t recall the exact place I came up with the idea, but I did actually come up with several key plot points while climbing…
2. What part of writing this book was the most fun?
I love the world building aspect of fantasy, so I would say devising the magical system of Even the Darkest Stars. I like magical systems with rules, so I enjoyed coming up with the different kinds of talismans.
3. Have you ever done any climbing?
Yes, mostly bouldering (that’s shorter climbs without ropes). It’s a lot of fun. I started climbing primarily to get over my fear of heights—now I do it because I enjoy it.
4. Do you have any interesting stories from your work as an archaeologist?
Archaeology is a lot of painstaking work without a lot of excitement, particularly when you’re a student worker (as I was) and low on the totem pole, but I still remember the day when I was working at the Roman site of Pompeii and we found a human skeleton—someone about my age, who died 2000 years ago. That’s an experience that sticks with you.
5. What is your writing process like?
I’m a plotter, so I like to start with a thorough plot summary first. I also create a list of characters with backstories for each one (even your minor characters should have a backstory, even if it never gets a mention in the text) and details on the magical system. Then I go ahead and plot out every chapter, including target word counts for each one. After that I start writing, setting daily word count goals. It’s very systematic. I draft quickly, within a few months. That said, I do a lot of revising—often the finished book looks very little like the initial summary.
I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, where I enjoy wandering around in the wilderness and only occasionally getting lost. I’ve also spent extended periods of time in Italy, where I learned very little Italian but ate quite a lot of pizza, and Ireland, where I searched half-successfully for puffins and selkies.
Before becoming a writer I worked, among other things, as an archaeologist, a technical writer, and a backstage assistant for a Shakespearean theatre company (which I could write several novels about). I have a Master’s degree in English Literature and briefly considered becoming a professor, before I realized it involved more than reading books, drinking excessive amounts of tea, and wearing colourful elbow patches.
I’m represented by the amazing Brianne Johnson at Writers House. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS, my first novel, was purchased by HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray at auction in a six-figure, two-book deal.
- Signed bookplates for Even the Darkest Stars
- A kinnika necklace, modeled after the talismans in the book (pictured above)
- U.S. only