Matters of the Heart

Kelly A. Nix
Kelly A. Nix Author Interview

Kaji Warriors: Shifting Strength follows Atae, a hybrid Kaji half-breed, aiming to prove herself as a Kaji among a culture of strength and honor. What was the inspiration behind this thrilling novel?

I wish I could say that the story came to me in a single burst of inspiration, but it didn’t. I pulled inspiration from a lot of sources, including music, books, real-life experience, random conversations, etc. For example, Atae’s scene with Jeqi in a dark tunnel was inspired by a difficult night after my divorce. Queen Sula’s wild hair is a tribute to a friend that died a few years ago. Another friend’s mother-daughter relationship inspired Jeqi’s relationship with her mother. Plus, I watched a lot of Dragonball Z and Sailormoon as a kid.

Atae is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

While Atae is a well-trained fighter, she’s also the typical naive, young woman that a lot of women are at her age. She still thinks in black and white and struggles to think clearly about matters of the heart. Add in her oblivious nature and a bit of social awkwardness, and you have Atae.

I enjoyed the deep world-building and backstory. What were some themes that were important for you to capture in your world?

I wanted to create a culture that centered around an individual’s strength and honor. My world-building was a natural extension of what that society would look like, i.e., the benefits of it and the drawbacks or consequences. A major theme that I touched on is the old-school prejudices from purebred Kaji against hybrids like Atae and Jeqi. While most of this plays out in the background of our main character’s story, some of it touches her packmates’ storylines.

Do you have plans to continue this story in other books?

Absolutely! We have to find out what happens in the Gridiron.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

At Sula Academy, hybrids like Atae compete with Kaji purebreds, who can transform into savage battle beasts.


Atae is a Kaji half-breed living on the capital planet of the Kaji Empire. In a culture dictated by strength and honor, Atae must prove her worth against shapeshifters and otherworldly creatures.

Hybrids like Atae search for their place within the changing Kaji society. At Sula Academy, they struggle to compete with Kaji purebreds, warriors with the ability to transform into savage battle beasts. Atae and her packmates prepare for the Sula Academy Tournament, which will determine their fate within their warrior culture, but the unwanted attention of the Kaji prince proves problematic for them.

Atae must find the strength to escape a spoiled prince’s wrath, survive her first crush, and help her packmates complete the Tournament, all while keeping the biggest secret of her life.

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Posted on August 30, 2020, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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