Interview and Giveaway with Kay Honeyman

Kay Honeyman

Kay Honeyman grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and attended Baylor University, graduating with a Bachelors and Masters in English Language and Literature. Her first novel, The Fire Horse Girl, comes out in January 2013. It is being published by Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic. She currently teaches middle school and lives in Dallas, Texas.


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Hi Kay! Thank you so much for stopping by for the Books That Glow: YA & MG 2013 event to answer some questions about you and your book.
Describe your book in one sentence.

It is the story of Jade Moon, born in the year of the Fire Horse, who travels from China to America in 1923 to escape her curse and find love, freedom, and herself in America.

I really LOVED your novel. How did you come up with the idea for The Fire Horse Girl?

I heard about Angel Island while I was in the process of adopting my first child from China. It made me think about what people who journey to America for a new life give up. What is the price of the American dream?

The character Jade Moon came from a love of stories with strong female characters taking charge of their destiny.

How did you go about researching the background history for your novel?

I read...a lot. I studied the stories on Angel Island Immigration Foundation's website. I read the poems collected from the walls in the Angel Island men's barracks. I also read biographies of people who lived in China. I took a Chinese language class, and I read a lot of Chinese poetry to get the sense of the language. I travelled to China.

Fortunately, a lot of the research was in the form of stories – stories of people coming to America, stories of tongs in Chinatown, stories of people detained on Angel Island. I love stories, so the research was fascinating.

The Fire Horse Girl is your debut – what was the road to publishing like?

It was long and challenging. Publishing a book is as hard as people say it is. When you imagine writing a book, you almost always imagine the writing part. There is also the re-writing part, the business side, the selling side. It is all worth it if you have a story that you desperately want to tell and you have talented people who will help.

Which authors (or books) have inspired you?

I am a huge Jane Austen fan (Pride and Prejudice is my favorite). I admire how Austen is able to see all the layers and inner-workings of her society and the people in it.

As for inspiration that comes from the 21st century – I teach eighth-grade, and I am really inspired by the writers in my class. They are bright, creative, brave, and honest in their writing. Who wouldn't admire that?


Coffee or Tea? Tea, with milk and sugar.
TV or Movies? TV, especially reality or anything where the cast breaks into song and dance.
Sumer or Winter? Summer fortunately. I live in Texas.
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate. Does anyone pick vanilla?
Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings? Tough one. I am going to go with Lord of the Rings. (YAY! Love them too!)

What music do you like listening to?

Music works a lot like books for me – I am ready to like whatever I hear. I like most pop and country music with a heavy drum beat. I am a big sucker for a song that tells a story. I love acoustic guitar. I really love Eminem. He is so ridiculously talented. And I am firmly seated on the Adele bandwagon. I also can be caught singing a show tune in the car from time to time.

I love Eminem too! He's amazing :)
What is your favorite book at the moment? Favorite book as a child?

My favorite book of the moment is usually the last one I read since that is the story is that is my head at the time. I am working my way through the Number Four and the Gone series right now, and I love both of them. The book I think about the most lately is All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin. The book is set in 2083. Chocolate and caffeine are outlawed, and the main character, Anya Balachine, is the reluctant heir-apparent to her family's chocolate mafia empire.

As a child, I loved fairy tales, Little Women, and Nancy Drew books. I also loved A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Shel Silverstein poems.

What is your favorite "genre" and why?

I love anything with a romance. It gives you such a wonderful feeling. Like the world will be right and everything will work out. I also love stories where the characters travel to new places and see new things.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous! How much did you have a say in creating the cover?

None. Which probably makes sense because I know nothing about designing a book cover. I am so glad that you like it. I love it too! I think it has a nice balance of historical and modern.

What do you hope readers will take from The Fire Horse Girl?

Hmmm, good question. I hope that people see themselves in Jade Moon, even though she lived a century ago. I also hope that they find a story and a world that they can escape into for a few moments because that is one of the greatest joys of reading.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there?

The world needs stories and storytellers, so if someone has a story to tell, I hope they will share it. Stories connect us, teach us, and make us human.

Find the story that you want to tell and commit to not just telling as only you can.

When you're not writing, what can you be found doing?

I am usually in my eighth-grade classroom or hanging out in the school library because there is a lot of fun stuff going on there. I might be playing Checkers with my five-year old son (who is probably winning) or peek-a-boo with my one-year-old daughter. Often, I am reading, planning to read, or talking about a book I just read.

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Thank you so much to Kay Honeyman for stopping by to answer questions! You should totally read The Fire Horse Girl– it's amazing! Here's a little bit about it:

Jade Moon is a Fire Horse – the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, reckless, and far too headstrong. While her family despairs of marrying her off, she dreams of traveling far beyond her tiny village, living out a story as big as her imagination.

Then a young man named Sterling Promise offers Jade Moon and her father an incredible opportunity: the chance to go to America. As they travel, Sterling Promise's smooth manners and Jade Moon's impulsive nature strike sparks again and again. But America in 1923 doesn't welcome Chinese immigrants, and when they are detained at Angel Island – the so-called "Ellis Island of the West," – Jade Moon uncovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, she will have to use all her stubbornness and strength to break a new path... one so brave and dangerous that only a Fire Horse girl can imagine it.

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Thanks to Kay Honeyman, you can win a copy of The Fire Horse Girl! She sent along an extra hardcover just for you :D

Isn't it pretty?? :D

  • This giveaway is open internationally!
  • This giveaway ends on January 31, 2013.
  • The winner must reply to the email within 48 hours, or another winner shall be chosen.
  • I am not responsible for any lost/damaged packages.
  • Enter in the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I haven't read this book. In fact, I hadn't heard of it until just now. It sounds really good though! I'm a fan of historical fiction, and this isn't something I've read about before. Books set in the 20s are usually focused on flappers, rather than some of the bigger issues of the time.

  2. I haven't read "The Fire Horse Girl", unfortunately. But I really want to, so maybe I'll win :) The interview is great, I like the answers!

  3. I haven't read the Fire Horse Girl but it sounds super interesting!

  4. This sounds really fascinating :) My parents are Chinese immigrants too, so I bet that this story will touch me much more deeply than other YA novels! Love that the author took the leapt of faith to write this and glad that the publisher spotted this for publishing ;)

    Great interview!

  5. I haven't read the book, and between your review and the interview, it's what appealed to me and makes me want to read it. Looks really interesting and exciting.

  6. I have not read it yet, but sounds interesting, hope can win :)

  7. I haven't read the book yet, but I think I would enjoy it.

  8. Haven't heard of it before, thank you for bringing it to my attention, it sounds really interesting.
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  9. haven't read yet,,,but i want to..
    thx u for the chance :)

  10. I hadn't read the book yet, but this interview makes me more interested! For some reason, I thought it was a contemporary, this is MUCH more interesting!

  11. No I haven't but I've been meaning to!

  12. I have not read it, but it sounds great. I enjoyed the interview.

  13. I haven't read it, but I love its' cover.

  14. No, I haven`t read it yet, but I plan to. I liked the interview

  15. :O I'm a horse in the Chinese zodiac too! :O
    I haven't read this one yet! I have never read a story set in China, EVER! So this is really exciting! Keeping fingers crossed!

  16. The book sounds great. Interview was good. Gave some fun insnight into author as well.

  17. I haven't read The Fire Horse Girl, but I would really like to.
    The interview is very interesting. I love reading about the people behind the books! ^^

  18. I haven't read it, but i would love to- it sounds great and definitely different from anything else on the market right now :)

  19. Haven't read it but it's on my want list for sure!

  20. Haven't read it. Enjoyed the interview.


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