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Having Kindred Spirits In Our Lives

B.B. Russell Author Interview

Kindreds follows a teen girl who reunites with a past friend, and together they explore a magical new world filled with adventure and danger. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration for Kindreds came first from reading Anne of Green Gables as a child and learning the power of having kindred spirits in our lives. As an adult, I became a social worker and have worked with many children (and adults) who have lost people they love, gone through the foster system, and have longed for a different life. Kindreds is a fictional compilation of my experiences, imagination, and experiences throughout my life.

Lilah has to figure out who she is and what she wants after losing her family. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Even though Lilah’s family has died, she is determined to remain connected to them. She wears her mother’s ring around her neck, she talks to her family in her mind and relies on her memories of them when she is feeling lonely. Lilah has a strong inner knowing/intuition that helps her when making decisions, is observant of those around her, and ultimately uses both her head and her heart when making decisions. The ideals that drive her include authenticity, honesty, curiosity, being emotionally intelligent, and honoring who she is (and wants to be).

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

There are many themes in Kindreds: belonging (vs. fitting in), finding people who you can count on, dealing with grief, falling in love, and trusting one’s self. During adolescence we are all challenged with figuring out who we are, what we want, and whom we want around us. So often at this stage of life, we spend more time fitting in rather than belonging. Belonging forces us to be who we are, no apologies, no excuses. Fitting in is more about doing whatever everyone else is and not trying to stand out. In Kindreds, Lilah is trying to figure out where she belongs, if she can trust her judgment of what is going on in Carnival Nolianna, and if she should or shouldn’t join. Ultimately, Lilah refuses to simply fit in and follow the crowd. By doing this, she is even more sought after by the leadership of Nolianna to become a member of their secret world. I wanted to let readers know that being themselves is the most important thing they can be.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am working on Book Two of the Nolianna series, expected June 2023.

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What do you do when you are faced with the impossible choice between listening to your heart or your head? Sixteen year old Lilah keeps asking herself this exact question. Newly orphaned and moving into foster care, Lilah’s one saving grace is Joey, her deceased twin brother’s childhood best friend who as luck has it, lives next door to her new foster family. The problem is, Joey harbors a secret, one Lilah must find out. When she does, she must decide, will she follow her heart and new found love, Joey, into Nolianna, a secret, mysterious carnival world run only by foster children that is recruiting new members? Or will she listen to her head and follow the clues that Nolianna may not be what is seems. When Sebastian, the future leader of Nolianna sets his sights on having her join, will she even have a choice? With time ticking away, Lilah must decide if love is enough to keep her and Joey together in Nolianna, or if she can rely on what she knows to be true and save them from disappearing for good.

Kindreds

Kindreds is the impassioned story of a girl who has experienced tragedy. When trying to adapt and make something of herself, a boy from her past comes back into her life. Together they experience the magic of Carnival Nolianna.

Lilah lost her parents and her twin brother, Aiden, in an accident when she was younger. She lived with her Grandma Pea until recently, when she passed away. Lilah was placed in a home with only 22 months left until she aged out of the foster care system.

While staying with this family, she is introduced to Joey, who is being fostered next door. Joey was Aiden’s best friend growing up and recognized Lilah as soon as they were introduced. Being reconnected has brought up painful feelings from the past and has formed a deep bond between them. This emotional turmoil is explored in deep and meaningful ways throughout the story and I really enjoyed it because B.B. Russell uses it to establish characters, motivations and connections seamlessly. Lilah is introduced to many other kids in the system at her new school. Sebastian, one of Joey’s friends, quickly takes a liking to Lilah and is always trying to provoke her. The three of them form a friendship with both boys trying to get Lilah’s attention. Each of them is unique and intriguing and readers will enjoy seeing their characters evolve as the story progresses.

One night Lilah follows Joey to a hangout she wasn’t invited to. Sebastian notices her following and invites her to join them. Lilah then finds herself looking at a full-blown carnival. Carnival Nolianna only exists for a select number of nights out of the year and only those who are invited can come. This feels so magical and exotic and I was excited when I learned about the carnival. On the last night, ten selected participants will become members of the carnival “Nolies” and live there until a certain age. Each person chosen has a unique set of skills that will benefit the community and the person they are matched with. Joey has always wanted to join and is enjoying every moment spent in Nolianna. Lilah on the other hand is curious as to how everything works and doesn’t quite believe everything she is being told. This helps to ground the story. The dynamic between Lilah, Joey, and Sebastian shifts as she uncovers the truth behind Nolianna. This situation created a lot of intrigue and was one of the reasons I kept coming back to this book.

The writing style in this enchanting young adult romance novel is engaging and fluid throughout. The plot moves quickly, maybe because I was more than willing to follow the intriguing characters. The relationships between characters were interesting, especially the love triangle with the three main characters. The layering of storylines added surprising depth to the book.

B.B. Russell has written a heartfelt story in a creative world with compelling characters. I enjoyed this magical teen mystery story and I can’t wait for more stories in this world because I feel like there is so much more left to explore.

Pages: 319 | ASIN: B098FGHLRM

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