Book Title: The Keeper of Night
Author: Kylie Lee Baker
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Death is her destiny.
Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.
When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.
Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her work is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, & Irish) as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a BA in creative writing and Spanish from Emory University and is pursuing a master of library and information science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she plays the cello, watches horror movies, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.
I am so excited to host Kylie Lee Baker on A Court of Coffee and Books today! Thank you so much, Kylie, for stopping by and don’t forget to order a copy of The Keeper of Night!
Congratulations on your debut book! What inspired you to write The Keeper of Night?
Thanks so much! I wrote this book mostly because I felt ready to address aspects of my experiences as a biracial woman through fiction, but through an adventure story, in the hopes of making a broader audience more invested. The magical elements of the story were inspired by some Victorian English shows I was watching at the time (Penny Dreadful and Black Butler) as well as a desire to explore the mythology of my own heritage after reading a Vietnamese mythological fantasy by Van Hoang.
What was your favorite part of writing The Keeper of Night?
Definitely writing Ren—an unapologetically fierce character. I think that sort of brazenness, the ability to demand respect in a world that wants to destroy you, is something I’m always drawn to in female characters. Particularly for Asian girls, who so many people still expect to be weak and submissive, it’s very satisfying to shatter those stereotypes.
What can readers expect from your main character, Ren?
She’s very upfront about not being a hero and having no desire to become one. All she wants is for her and her brother to survive, and it doesn’t matter to her who she has to step over to make sure that happens. The world has been cruel to her, and she’s become kind of cruel because of that, but it’s what she’s had to do to survive. She also stabs people with very little provocation.
What has been your favorite part of being a debut author so far?
Getting to know other authors. In particular, I’ve loved getting to know authors who have kids. The idea of having kids used to terrify me, because I thought it would mean giving up my writing. But I’ve talked to so many amazing authors who manage to write and be moms, and while none of them have told me it’s easy, just knowing that it’s possible is really comforting to me and makes me hopeful for the future.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read as much as you can in your genre. Even in books that I don’t enjoy, I learn something new about how I want to write. And ignore other people’s advice about when or how often you have to write, because their lives probably look very different from yours. Build a writing habit that’s fun and sustainable for you, no matter what that looks like.
What do you hope readers take away from The Keeper of Night?
I hope people remember how complex, traumatic, and powerful Ren’s existence as a biracial character is. I hope that this gives people more respect for the uniqueness of biracial identity, and that biracial readers feel solidarity in their struggles.
5 Reasons to Read The Keeper of Night
- Japanese folklore that is beautifully intertwined with a captivating plot.
- A main character that is half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami? Sign me right up!
- The writing is wonderfully engaging and kept my eyes glued to the book.
- The world building is absolutely breathtaking and does a great job of adding to the essence of this story.
- Morally grey characters that you can’t help but love.
Check out the amazing bloggers on this book tour!
Thank you, TBR and Beyond Tours, for having us on this book tour!