Feud: The Sparks Teen Author Talks Inspirations and Insomnia

Have you read any amazing books written by a high school senior lately? Now, I can say that I have had such an experience. Filled with fast-paced action, debuting his first book of an eagerly anticipated trilogy, creates an intricate fantasy world that delights and grasps readers from the beginning straight through until the end. Introducing himself as a young author with an extensive command of the literary world, Kyle Prue should proudly add accomplished author of Feud: The Sparks to his list of achievements. 

Thank you to the sponsors of #TheSparksBlogTour for providing a copy of Feud: The Sparks for the purpose of serving as a blog tour host.



"I know we've fought before, but I think its time to bury the hatchet...we need each other if, if we're going to make it through this." 

Delivering a powerful storyline that unites three families, long-time sworn enemies, in The Sparks, these families share the common goal of defending their clans in a feud against their city. Motivated by the honor of their lost family members, tragic casualties of the ongoing feud- Neil, Lilly, Rhys and their clans unite, together facing the long journey to bring justice to their loved ones.


In reading The Sparks, I was amazed by the details of the storyline. What was your inspiration for The Feud Series? 

KP- This is a coming of age story for young adults and I am a teen in that demographic. Everyone struggles to find their path in life and my characters are all struggling with not wanting to let people down and to find their way; forgiveness and hope is a part of that journey as well. One night, at the age of 15, I had terrible insomnia and I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about the different personalities of my siblings and myself and how we will all follow different paths. That gave me the idea to create three different families loosely based around our differing personalities. I decided it would be fun to take these families and place them in a fantasy world where the obstacles we all face could be magnified to a whole new level. I wrote out the plot for the three books that night.

The entire book is based on a family feud so that was the reason for the series name, Feud. But the individual titles are The Sparks, The Flames and The Ashes; these are symbolic of the Vapros family motto which is “Victory Lies Within the Ashes.” The Vapros turn a person to ash when they kill them. For them that is a macabre way of saying, “You have to bust a couple of heads to get what you want.” So the titles reveal that there is going to be a lot of bloodshed and a climax to this storyline, which we are building up to in the series. I based the family names on Latin root words: Taurlum is based on the Latin word for bull, Celerius is the Latin word for swift and Vapros is smoke.
There is a widely growing fascination with reading Young Adult Fantasy novels. Why did you chose to author a book in this genre?

KP- I wanted to write for me. Recently, I’ve hit an “in-between” zone where it’s harder for me to find books I want to read. I wanted to write something that I would want to read and that would appeal to other kids my age. I wanted to appeal to boys who have lost interest in reading and I also created strong female characters that girls will love. 

Your skill in storytelling is so well-developed. At what point did you realize that you are talented at writing? 

KP- Like a lot of kids, I was bullied in middle school. I doubt you will ever find a kid that says, “I rocked 7th grade! That was the best time in my life.” I was short and fat and had a bowl haircut with braces. This was not a great time in my life. But I discovered I could come home and pick up a pen and create a whole fantasy world that I could control, when the rest of my life felt out of control. I learned that I loved to create characters because their potential is limitless.

I was lucky because I learned to use writing as an escape at an early age. I was in a multi-age program from 1st-3rd grade where I had the same teacher for three years. She had an experimental writing program where she gave us an hour a day to write in our journals. She told us to just write freely and not worry about punctuation or grammar, just let the creativity flow. So by the end of that program, I had a stack of notebooks filled with an adventure series. I also did a series called Three Rings that I wrote from the age of 12 to 14 when middle school was really rough. It was a 200-page manuscript. It wasn't good, but it was good practice. 


Many authors find inspiration from real life. Has your family life inspired your writing? 


KP- My family is nothing like the families in the book, I better clarify that up front. My parents are incredibly supportive and have allowed me to follow my dreams. I have two siblings: a brother and a sister. They are great; we are very close. I am the youngest. My brother and I used to fight a lot and that dynamic inspired my idea for the three feuding families in the books. We don’t fight anymore, as we’ve outgrown that phase, but it gave me plenty to write about.

Who are some of the most influential authors that you have read? Have they had any influence on your personal writing style?

KP- I’ve always loved Rick Riordan, and every kid in my generation loves JK Rowling. My mom started guarding the Harry Potter books and reading them aloud to us, because otherwise I would read one whole book in a night and then tell my siblings what happened. We would barely leave the house until we had finished each book. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series has been phenomenal. 

I think Rick Riordan introduces and writes characters very well, which is something I kept in mind, because I have a group dynamic with my book. But I really like the way JK Rowling set up the overall plot and carried it through, intertwining a lot of different elements. She knew how to set up a big, epic adventure and finished it beautifully. That is what I hope to do with this trilogy.

With the fan base of The Sparks already awaiting the follow-up book. Are there any exciting details from The Flames that you can share with us?


KP- One of the big themes of the second book is that no one should get to a point in their life when they should experience a complete absence of hope. Things will always get better. My best friend from childhood committed suicide this year and I really want other teens to understand that whatever seems so overwhelming in your life today, won’t be what’s important to you down the road. When my characters experience this loss of hope, that is when they gain their advanced powers. Something good can come out of something that in the moment seems so terrible. The second book in the series focuses on the remaining family members (spoiler alert!) and their friends, as they begin to kindle the revolution. It’s a lot about personal growth for the characters, like Neil and Darius. Even Robert Tanner, who is a minor character in the first book, comes back and has a very big story arc. It is the book where we start to reach that giant conflict that the characters have been stepping toward in the storyline.

Share some of your personal experiences as you embarked upon the journey of publishing Feud: The Sparks.

KP- I went to the New York Pitch Conference and Writer’s Workshop and got the opportunity to pitch my book to Random House, Penguin and McMillan Press. Each requested the manuscript (it was the most requested manuscript at the conference!), so I felt like I had a sound idea. The conference director advised me to use the publisher interest to try to get an agent. So, I began the process of sending query letters. I got some good advice from the agents I talked to. One advised me to hire a well-respected editor, as publishers expect manuscripts to be perfect, so I did that. Then another agent took the time to really ask me about my goals. I wanted the book to be read by as many people as possible and I wanted to get it published in a timely manner. She explained that—if I was lucky— the publishing process would take 3-5 years. She recommended that I meet with a small, independent publisher with a good reputation. They could meet my timing needs and I would have more input in the process, ensuring that I could retain some creative control of the final product. I met with the publisher she recommended (Barringer Publishing) and we hit it off immediately. So far, I’ve been thrilled with the process. I’m hoping to publish Book 2, The Flames, in late summer 2015. 

I have a special discount code for niecyisms and nestlings readers purchasing Feud: The Sparks. For a limited time can purchase the book from Kyle Prue’s Store. The code ‘BLOG25’ will get a 25% discount off of an autographed copy, signed by Kyle Prue! Please Note: This code will not work on purchases made on Amazon.

Are there any words of advice that you would offer to other young students and adult authors preparing to write their first book? 

KP- Yes, never stop writing. Write, and write and write, until you’ve got something that you like. Don’t be afraid to have a very rough copy of something. The editing process is terrible and long and arduous, but it’s something you have to do. What matters is getting something on paper and then really shaping it into what you are looking for. 

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. The series only gets better and more intense from here and I can’t wait to see what you guys think of it all. You can find more info on my website, www.kyleprue.com, Facebook, Twitter @KylePrue and Instagram @KyleStevenPrue.

Kyle Prue plans to complete the trilogy with The Flames and The Ashes. Currently a high school senior, Kyle is a varsity swimmer, founder of the improv club, and involved in mock trial. Also, as a dedicated member of the film club, he spends his weekends writing and editing film. An actor and comedian, Kyle trains at Second City Comedy Club in Chicago, where a number of SNL actors have gotten their start, and performs improv at LA Connection in Los Angeles. Kyle lives with his family in Naples, Florida.

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