Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Interview with Matthew J. Kirby of THE LOST KINGDOM

From the Goodreads summary: A remarkable adventure by award-winning author Matthew J. Kirby brings a fantastical American West filled with secrets and spies and terrifying creatures to vivid life.

In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Traveling in a flying airship, the members of the expedition find their lives frequently endangered in the untamed American West by terrifying creatures, a party of French soldiers hot on their trail, and the constant threat of traitors and spies. Billy will face hazards greater than he can ever imagine as, together with his father, he gets caught up in the fight for the biggest prize of all: America.
THE LOST KINGDOM is an epic journey filled with marvelous exploits, courage and intrigue, and a bold reimagining of a mythical America. Matthew J. Kirby brings his signature storytelling prowess and superb craft to this astonishing story of fathers and sons, the beginnings of a nation, and wonder-filled adventure

It is a great honor to welcome Matthew to the Enchanted Inkpot today. Let’s dive in…

Matthew, compare this book to your other releases, ICEFALL and THE CLOCKWORK THREE. Generally speaking, what will readers find in THE LOST KINGDOM that they’ve loved from your previous works, and what is new territory for you? (No American West pun intended, of course!)

Ha! In that case, I’ll forgo the “new frontiers” metaphor I was going to use and simply say that I tend to have a wandering attention span when it comes to my books. All my stories thus far have been very different from one another in terms of setting. 19th century America, ancient Norway, Golden Age Baghdad. THE LOST KINGDOM took me to a fantastical Colonial America, which was a tremendous amount of fun. But whether I’m writing about an orphaned busker, a Viking princess, or a colonial botanist, I believe people have a lot more in common than differences. Deep down, we all have the same loves, fears, and joys. If I’m trying to pin down a commonality in all my stories, it would be the fact that I love people, and I love writing people, and I hope that comes through in my books.

THE LOST KINGDOM draws heavily on an alternate history of the American West to merge with a
myth (or fact?) of the Welsh Prince Madoc. Can you tell us a little about him, and why his story fascinates you? Do you think it’s true?

According to the legend, Madoc was a 12th century Welsh prince who sought to escape a war fought among his siblings. He sailed to the Americas, where he founded a colony. The legend acquired the most fame during the Elizabethan era, but colonial Americans believed it. Stories of Welsh-speaking Native Americans prompted the governor of Virginia to offer backwoods traders a reward for proof of their existence from the frontier. Thomas Jefferson asked Lewis and Clark to make contact with them in their trek across the continent. We know the whole story was likely cooked up as a piece of propaganda to promote England’s prior claim to the Americas, but it took on a life of its own. I think that’s what fascinated me. Something about the story captivated colonial Americans. I take on the question of why in the book.

You released a second book on the same day – the fifth book in the INFINITY RING series, CAVE OF WONDERS, which is an awesome book (shameless plug here: once you’ve read this and loved it, check out Book 6: BEHIND ENEMY LINES. The author tells me it’s terrific! ;-) ) What can you tell us about this?

Working on the INFINITY RING series has been a ton of fun, hasn’t it? I love history now, but that wasn’t always the case. When I was younger, “history” meant names and dates, mere cold facts. As I grew older, I realized that history is much more than that. It’s the story we tell about ourselves. It’s how we make sense of who we are and how we got here. The premise of the INFINITY RING series explores this in a way that brings key points in history alive. Readers see how our world might be changed if events had happened differently. Book five takes place at the end of Baghdad’s Golden Age, on the eve of its destruction by Genghis Khan’s grandson.

What’s coming up next for you?

In a few months, on January 28th, I’ll be kicking off a new series called THE QUANTUM LEAGUE. It’s a magical crime saga, and the first book, SPELL ROBBERS, is a pretty classic heist novel. Think Ocean’s Eleven with magic. Fast-paced, with lots of twists and turns and double-crosses. Once again, it’s a real departure from my previous projects, but I love taking on ideas that are new and different.

Quick questions here:

Summer or Winter?


Must-see place before you die?

Man, I love to travel. It would be impossible to pick just one place, but I’ll say the Lascaux Caves. To stand there and connect with history that deep? I can only imagine how profound that would be.

Irresistible snack?

Grape Hi-Chews

The last movie you saw and loved?

GRAVITY. Absolutely brilliant.

You can find Matthew online here or read more about THE LOST KINGDOM here. This one is definitely worth checking out! 


  1. HOORAY!! I have been WAITING for The Lost Kingdom and I am so excited to dive in at last. This is a piece of historical weirdness that has always interested me, and I know in Mr. Kirby's hands it'll get awesome treatment.

    And I agree about winter.

  2. The Lost Kingdom sounds great --I can't wait to read it. I'll have to read the fifth The Infinity Ring, too - I'm reading the sixth now and it's fabulous! Thanks Jen and Mathew for a great interview!

  3. Hmm, don't know how I missed The Lost Kingdom. Adding it to the TBR. Thanks, great interview.


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