L.K. Hingey Interview - Kimber
Photo Content from L.K. HingeyL.K. Hingey was born, raised, and enlisted into the U.S. Army out of Detroit Michigan. She graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2012 as a private and commercial helicopter pilot with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics, before commissioning as a U.S. Army officer. She has since medically retired from the military and continues the Army lifestyle as an Active Duty spouse. She resides with her husband, Jonathon, who is a U.S. Army Blackhawk pilot. L.K.'s many interests include her dogs, fitness, backpacking, traveling, and writing. Upcoming works include Books Two and Three of The Chronicles of Elyria, and Books One and Two of The Elyrian Prequels.
Tell us your latest news.
The better half and I are getting ready to start the adoption process in the fall! This news is the biggest, brightest, and most exciting news of our lives and I cannot wait for this next adventure to begin!
Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
As cheesy as it sounds, nothing doesn’t influence my writing. I am very intrigued by science, religion, governance, social patterns, movements for humanity, art, movies, good books, family, friends, and the crazy ride that has been my life so far. It bleeds into my work... all of it. Family and friends were surprised when they completed KIMBER by the level at which my personality, experiences, and perceptions have seeped so deeply and (I can only hope) so seamlessly into my writing.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Holding my completed, printed book in my hands.
What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
1) I would love to take readers on a full emotional journey when they read KIMBER. I’d love for them to start by thinking... “Wow, this story is visually stunning, has intriguing science, and in set in such a well-crafted world.”
2) Next, I hope that the reader develops a relationship with the characters/ the character’s struggle against their corrupt government. I’d love for a reader to think that they can truly feel the pain, confusion, and segregation of Kimber’s dystopian world.
3) Finally, I’d like to readers to think “Holy crap!” when the adventure comes to a head. I’d like readers to feel panic, concern, suspense, horror, and then partake in the tenderness that unites, and ultimately is the only thing that can save, us all. I’d love for readers to think about the parallels of the past, the present, and the potential-future as they walk away with a bit of wonderment and a lot of excitement for the next two book in the series!
TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT KIMBER
- 1) The name of the underground city in KIMBER’s world is Inanna. I choose the name Inanna after much thought and research. Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice, and political power. She was the perfect symbol for the last refugee city of mankind.
- 2) The six-pointed star of Inanna is real. The “council” (the corrupt Inannian government) are the bearers of Inanna’s symbol of sanctity; a metallic six-pointed star with a single jewel inset.
- 3) Tardigrades are REAL. They are Earth organisms that have, incredibly, survived the vacuum of space. They are fondly called “water bears” in the scientific community.
- 4) The tardigrade genome has been spliced/ tested with the genomes of other organisms in attempts to make the bonded, new DNA stronger. This application may soon spread to the agricultural sector and tardigrade DNA may be used to enhance the drought-resistance of crops!
- 5) CMEs, coronal mass ejections, are clouds of charged particles that are ejected from explosions on the Sun’s surface. CMEs occasionally impact the Earth’s atmosphere displaying in what we know as our brilliant polar borealis. Solar flares are nothing but explosions on the Sun’s surface and occur quite often. It is true that a solar flare would never be large enough to incinerate the Earth, but the possibility of a CME so powerful that it could damage, and perhaps destroy, the Earth’s ozone is the science behind KIMBER’s dystopian world.
- 6) In chapter V of KIMBER, Kimber shows her friend Caleb something called bioluminescence. Agriculture is a coveted thing in a world with no remaining vegetation, and in a very tender scene in a waterfall cavern, Kimber shows Caleb a secret space that is thriving with not only greenery... but bioluminescent greenery. Bioluminescence is a real phenomenon when certain varieties of plant life, fish, and insects (like fireflies!) naturally produce and emit light!
- 7) The African bush viper is the second pairing of DNA genome with the human’s genomes when the experimental group of Auroreans were created. The bush viper is colloquially known as “the dragon snake” because its scale are dramatically leaf-shaped. I choose to pair human DNA with that of a snake for many reasons... one of which is the unique fact that African bush vipers give birth to live young!
- 8) Geographically, the layout of KIMBER’s world in post-apocalyptic America is as accurate as possible. The cave system is real; Inanna is set in the Mammoth caves and the underground city is peppered with accuracy in its geology and nomenclature. Next, the over-land travel is as accurate as possible. I’ve never visited the small towns between the Mammoth caves and Fort Knox, Kentucky but I hope the residents in those areas get a kick out of having their small towns put on a map! The grounds on Fort Knox is also real, as is the Ireland clinic. Many hours were spent pouring over google maps to recreate middle America in the year 2209! Lastly, the Cheyenne Mountain complex is also very real. No spoilers, but in Book Two of The Elyrian Chronicles: CHEYENNE, our grafted heroes set off on a dangerous journey west to the Rocky Mountains.
- 9) I have always been intrigued by how religion affects us as individuals and as a society. Similar to the movie The Matrix, KIMBER has an undercurrent of religious prods and parallels. The snake was chosen as the vehicle of Man’s salvation in order to pose deeper questions. Inanna itself is as representation of the Ark, but an Ark that has become corrupt and twisted by mal intent. Christianity is not the only religion explored in KIMBER; Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam are also looked at. The religious undertones are just that, they serve the storyline in a deeper and quieter sense, and the light-reader may not pick up on the use of many of the biblical references in KIMBER’s atheistic world of 2209.
- 10) Most random and fun fact of all... Most of the characters in KIMBER are based off of my family members. I used middle names in most cases to represent the characters and it was a ton of fun working my loved ones into the story. Not only are their personalities larger than life, but in KIMBER, the characters are brilliantly colored and have enhanced DNA, so the latitude and room for creativity with the characters was limitless!
What part of Kimber you enjoy writing the most?
The thing I enjoyed the most when creating KIMBER’s world, was writing in dozens of Easter eggs into the story. It was challenging but also very fun to weave in as many scientific, religious, governmental, and personal factoids as possible. Everything in KIMBER is either derived from fact or has some underlying meaning. For the light reader, the story is comedic, suspenseful, and romantic at times... but for the avid reader/ fact-checker, every reference and every symbol means something beyond face value.
Can you tell us when you started KIMBER, how that came about?
I was a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army until I fractured my spine while flying and was forced to medically retire. I was obviously quite torn up, as I had plans to stay in the military until retirement. I had loved it, lived it, and breathed it. So, I took a five-month trip backpacking the Appalachian Trail, with my dog, Colefax. Along the 1800+ miles of the trail, I had the freedom to sort out my thoughts and perceptions of the world around me. I also had a rather complex childhood, which plays into my many interpretations about who we are and our place in this great big, beautiful world. The storyline for KIMBER was born in the mountains during my hike, and in January of 2020, I began writing it down. It spilled out within three months and it quickly moved into editing and publishing. Works in progress include Books Two and Three of The Elyrian Chronicles, and I am excited to announce, I also have two Elyrian Prequels outlined.
What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
Chapter IV was the most memorable chapter to write, which is the chapter that describes and explains the greenhouses in Kimber’s underground world. The Earth’s surface in the year 2209 has been decimated for the past two decades (due to a solar event that wiped out the ozone) so agriculture was an important piece of the narrative puzzle to develop. I created the space for the gardens and as wrote the entire scene built itself into a beautiful and scientifically-sound architectural feature. When readers step into chapter IV, I hope they can smell the wet dirt, feel the dewy air, and see the dazzle of cascading light as if they were really there.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’m going to break the fifth wall here and introduce my character Tristan to beloved movie character Luke Skywalker. I based my character, Tristan off of my better half, Jonathon, whose hero growing up was Luke Skywalker. I owe a million thanks to my better half for being the biggest inspiration in my life, and so if I could, I’d introduce his character to the character that helped shape who he has become as a man.
What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
I was surprised to learn how difficult it was to give my characters mal intent. My apprehension to make my characters evil was my biggest struggle in creating characters. But! I did the deed and (no spoilers!) picked out a true antagonist that I am building towards for my third book.
TEN FAVORITE GUY/GIRL CHARACTERS FROM YOUR BOOKS, INCLUDING RANDOM FACTS ABOUT THEM.
- Kimber: Kimber is the heroine of The Elyrian Chronicles. She is smart, strong, independent, and beautifully stunning with thousands of leaf-shaped scales and bright blue eyes. Her color is fiery orange.
- Tristan: Tristan is the main male lead in The Elyrian Chronicles. Tristan doesn’t get introduced until halfway through KIMBER and his character causes some mixed feelings when he does come into the picture. Tristan is strong, calculating, loyal, and is also covered in thousands of brilliant leaf-shaped scales. His color is hazel.
- Eve: Eve’s character represents a religious undercurrent that is laced into KIMBER’s story. Eve is sweet, outspoken, and sometimes rash. Her color is lime green.
- Caleb: Caleb is one of the few non-grafted main characters in KIMBER. He is 100% human... no scales and no radiation-resistant DNA, just a strong and steadfast young man with a long history of loyal friendship.
- Naomi: Naomi is a riot. She is a curvy, sarcastic, and lovable character who, like Kimber and Tristan, has the grafted DNA of human/ African Bush Viper. Her color is bright teal.
- Raquel: Raquel is the bossy eldest of the Aurorean sisters. She is also one of the grafted. She is athletic, smart, and a natural born leader. Her color is greenish purple.
- Renee: Renee is a speculative character. She is sweet and witty and is close with Kimber and Kat. Her color is dark green.
- Kat: Kat is a shy, tall, sweet grafted girl. Her character is silly, and she is one of Kimber’s sisters. Her color is royal blue.
- Aeneas: Aeneas is Tristan’s brother. He is a strong character who cares deeply for Eve. He is one of the grafted males, wears his hair in long, dark dreads, and speaks in a melodic South African accent.
- Kimberly: Kimberly is Kimber’s mother. She gave birth to Kimber but is not one of the grafted. She is a small framed, intelligent human with a very dark and controversial past. She holds the secrets of the underground city and is the key to freeing the Auroreans.
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
Tardigrades (one of the spliced genomes in KIMBER) are incredible microorganisms that have not only survived the vacuum of space and have regained viability after being frozen for thirty years but can also survive complete dehydration by turning INTO GLASS!
“I’d have to say April 25th, because it’s not too hot and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket.” - Heather Burns, Miss Congeniality
If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
I’d go back to working as a personal trainer/ gym manager on Panama City Beach. I followed my now-hubby to Florida in a spontaneous and kind of crazy cross country move to see if we would work out. The military had stationed him down by the coast and I moved my life to an apartment on the beach to be near him. That summer was very interesting to say the least!
What event in your life would make a good movie?
I think my house-flipping escapade (which has an entire Facebook page dedicated to it) would be the most interesting movie if one were to be made out of a life event! I did some crazy things during the renovation of my 130-year old farmhouse, to include roofing, siding, and installing 22 windows off of a hydraulic 40-foot man-lift. Apart from that, I also went through some intense “behind enemy lines” training when I was a military pilot and backpacked across the country with my dog.
Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I fractured my spine when I was piloting the Blackhawk Army helicopter. I was forced to retire and then to make matters worse, I was over-medicated/ sedated which caused several grand-mal seizures and incorrect behavioral diagnoses. My degree in aeronautics and my aviation licenses meant nothing after being injured, and I battled for years to overcome my preconceived notion that hard work always equals success. Life is not that black and white and sometimes bad things happen to good people. If we are blessed though, we can come out of tough situations stronger, humbler, and as better humans in the long run.
What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
DEEP WATER. I am terrified of deep water. I have competed in Ironman Triathlon events to help me overcome this fear and IT DOES NOT HELP!
What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
I only started writing in January of this year, so I hope I have many memories to make and to cherish in the years ahead!
Twenty years ago, a solar storm ravaged the Earth's ozone layer. Of the 11 billion people on the planet, only 200 managed to seek refuge from the radiation by disappearing underground. With the bonds of oxygen obliterated, the damage to the ozone is irreversible. Every living thing exposed wilts and dies, leading to global extinction.
The year is now 2209, and what's left of humanity is trying to rebuild in Inanna, a cave city that is harboring Mankind's last hope. The designers of Inanna knew that human body would be too fragile to ever compete with the piercing gamma rays on the surface and secretly fused human DNA with the genomes of two highly radiation resistant animal species.
Kimber is one of 23. She, her brothers, and her sisters are the first of their kind, a brand new subspecies of humans called Auroras. Named for the colorful magnetic phenomenon of the heavens, the Auroreans come of age in a city where they are forced to answer a life-changing question: Are they Inannian citizens or are they slaves?
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