The Moral Compass by K.A. Servian - Interview & Giveaway

Hello lovely readers & Happy Monday! I am so happy to be kicking off K.A. Servian's Blog Tour for THE MORAL COMPASS! Kathy was nice enough to answer a few questions for us, so I hope you enjoy our interview and don't forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to win one of Kathy's previous novels.

Interview with K.A. Servian

Hello Kathy and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Moral Compass!

To begin, tell us a little about yourself and The Moral Compass.

Hi, Amy. Thank you for having me.

I’m one of those people who is always up to their elbows in some type of creative activity. I trained in fashion in the 1990s and was a pattern maker and designer for many years; I then turned to jewelry and made a range of sterling silver and bronze jewelry, which was sold in 70 stores around NZ. I can’t sit still, I’m always making something - Cake decorating, sewing historical costumes, photography, drawing, embroidery, screen printing etc... You name it, I’m doing it - and teaching it (teaching adults is my other passion.)

I came back to creative writing (after a long break) about three years ago. Since 2015, I’ve written and published three novels and completed an advanced diploma in applied writing as well as several on-line writing courses.

The Moral Compass is my third novel, my first historical, and the first in a series set in nineteenth century New Zealand. It is the story of a young English woman thrust into an unfamiliar place where she is forced to draw on all her resources to survive in difficult circumstances. She grows and learns from her mistakes, but eventually must live with the consequences of a questionable decision.

What inspired you to write The Moral Compass?

As an immigrant myself, I’m fascinated by stories of people who have carved out lives for themselves in a new country. To give up everything you know and move yourself and your family across the world in search of a better life is a very brave thing to do.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Probably the sex scene (there’s only one). It’s very difficult to write a scene that conveys the emotion of the moment for the characters without slipping into clichés.

What was your favorite scene to write?

There is a scene where the two main characters, Florence and Jack, are sitting together by the fire. She is telling him about her favorite book, Pride and Prejudice. Jack thinks that Lizzy falls for Mr. Darcy because he is wealthy and worries that Florence shares the sentiment. It’s a very quiet scene, but I like how much is implied, but left unsaid in it.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Moral Compass?

The underlying theme of The Moral Compass is that people are equal and important no matter who they are and where they come from. I hope that readers will take this message away and apply it in their daily lives.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I enjoyed creative writing as a child and throughout my teenage years, but put my energies into other creative activities as an adult. I came back to writing about three years ago.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Self-doubt and fear of rejection are huge issues for writers (and anyone who is creative). It is very difficult to put your heart and soul into a piece of work (be it a book, a garment, a painting or anything else) and have it dismissed off-hand by someone. But that is the risk we take when we release our work out into the world. We have to learn to accept criticism and not let it discourage us.

Who are your writing inspirations?

I am particularly inspired by early female novelists such as Jane Austen, the Brontës, Elizabeth Gaskill and George Eilliot. They were trailblazers who were determined to express themselves creatively despite the restrictions of the society within which they lived.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I read a three-book series by a New Zealand author, Yvonne Kalman, called Greenstone Land when I was in my early teens. I remember it being a revelation to me that these books were about life in colonial New Zealand. They were (and still are) a wonderful read, but are now, unfortunately, out of print.

What is the last historical novel you read?

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill. We also listened to Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie on audible during our long drive south over the Christmas break. I must admit that I have a taste for mysteries and whodunnits now.

If there was a soundtrack for your novel, what songs might we find on it?

Tricky, as it is a historical. It would have to be composers from the period mixed in with folk songs and traditional Māori music.

What are three things people may not know about you?

Fact one: I regret not paying more attention to what my dad was telling me about photography when I was a child. He’s an amazing photographer (life-long career as a commercial photographer and winner of international awards etc..). I only took it up recently as a hobby and realize that I have a lot to learn.

Fact two: I’m a perfectionist and I’m never happy with anything I create.

Fact three: Hmm…may have to get back to you on that one.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love reading real-life accounts, diaries and letters from the past. They bring history alive. By writing historical, I have an excuse to do lots of research, which is fun for me.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

The nineteenth and early twentieth century appeal to me the most.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Whatever craft I can get my hands on. Photography is my favorite pastime at the moment, I love to get out and about and photograph the beautiful country I’m lucky enough to live in. I’m also sewing a set of historical costumes spanning the nineteenth and early twentieth century. I’ve completed 1855 (as seen on the cover of The Moral Compass), 1875 (to be seen on the cover of the sequel, A Pivotal Right), and 1895 - just for fun at this stage, but there is a chance that they’ll be a third book in the series. Plus I have the fabric and pattern complete for a regency gown (1815) and then I want to do a Titanic era dress (around 1915ish). I make the hats and other accessories as well, so the whole process for each costume takes a long time.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m half-way through the sequel to The Moral Compass and I’ve just outlined a contemporary murder mystery.

The Moral Compass (Shaking the Tree, Book 1) by K.A. Servian

Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Sweetpea Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 285 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance/Victorian

Florence lives like a Princess attending dinner parties and balls away from the gritty reality, filth and poverty of Victorian London.

However, her world comes crashing around her when her father suffers a spectacular fall from grace. She must abandon her life of luxury, leave behind the man she loves and sail to the far side of the world where compromise and suffering beyond anything she can imagine await her.

When she is offered the opportunity to regain some of what she has lost, she takes it, but soon discovers that not everything is as it seems. The choice she has made has a high price attached and she must live with the heart-breaking consequences of her decision.

This novel is part one in the 'Shaking the Tree' series.

Amazon (eBook) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewellery making and enjoyed a twenty-year-plus career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewellery labels.

She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.

Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Writing quickly became an obsession and Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from the original manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing in around working on her novels, knocking out the occasional short story, teaching part-time and being a wife and mother.

For more information please visit K.A. Servian's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Sign up for K.A. Servian's newsletter to receive news and updates.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 22
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 23
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, January 24
Guest Post at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, January 25
Review at Linda's Book Obsession

Friday, January 26
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, January 29
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, January 31
Review at Broken Teepee


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of Throwing Light by K.A. Servian! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Moral Compass

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