If you’re a fan of immersive fantasy worlds and complex characters, then the audiobook editions of the Kingdom of Lies series are a must-listens.

The Dreamscape team was thrilled to have an exclusive Q&A with the series’ author, Stacia Stark, who shared fascinating insights into her creative process and the unique opportunities of bringing her story to life in audio format. Narrated by the talented Meg Sylvan and Tim Paige, this series vividly captures the captivating story of Prisca and her journey. Whether you’re on a long commute or relaxing at home, let the rich narration transport you to a world of time magic, intrigue, and epic adventures.

How did you come up with the concept for your “Kingdom of Lies” series?

I usually hear characters “speaking” to me in my head when I first begin thinking about a series. For this one, I heard Prisca’s mother say “Swim my darling, swim”, and could see her push Prisca off the cliff and into the river. I was immediately obsessed with finding out why her mother would do such a thing.
I’ve also always been intrigued by the idea of time magic, and I love exploring religion and the ways it can be used to control a population, so all of these concepts kind of simmered in my head for a while before I was ready to begin writing.


The world-building in your books is intricate and immersive. Can you share some insights into your world-building process and how or if it evolved throughout the series?

For me, world-building usually starts with the characters. I can usually see them, and I begin with their problems (and often why the fmc and mmc can’t be together). From there, the world begins to take shape naturally, but it’s also often revealed little by little as I’m writing. I see it like pulling back a curtain––I want to be continually intriguing the reader and I want to convey the sense that the world is large and contains much more than they might have initially thought.

One of the things I love about writing character-forward plots is discovering some of the world along with the main character. Prisca knows so little about the world when we first meet her, and as she grows, so does the world around her.


Your characters often face significant challenges and moral dilemmas. How do you approach character development to ensure they resonate with readers/listeners?

I was lucky enough to spend my twenties living all over the world and traveling through many different countries. I’m from New Zealand, so this kind of travel is greatly encouraged culturally. This gave me a lot of insight into the way people work, and one of the most important lessons I learned is that people are never wholly good or evil––and we all have reasons for our actions––even if those reasons don’t make sense to others.

I’ve always been intrigued by nature vs nurture, and the thought of who each of us would be under slightly different circumstances.

I think there are three things to remember when writing characters: We’re all the heroes of our own stories, we make all of our decisions based on the information we have at the time, and everything we’ve experienced in our lives so far has shaped us into the person we currently are.

When I keep those things in mind, it’s a lot easier to write characters who make decisions I personally would never make, or act in ways I would never act. And it’s incredibly fun when the stakes are so high and those decisions and actions have such huge repercussions.


The audiobook format brings a unique dimension to storytelling. How involved were you in the selection process for the narrators, Meg Sylvan and Tim Paige? What qualities were you looking for in bringing your characters to life through audio?

I adore the audiobooks for Kingdom of Lies. The team at Dreamscape were kind enough to take my suggestions, for a few narrators that could work. We were on a tight deadline, and I was so, so lucky that Meg and Tim were both available!

One of the most important qualities of a good narrator is the ability to make each voice distinct. I have a lot of characters in this series, and by the end of the series,  there are four female POV characters!

So that was a big one for me––I always want listeners who have paused the audio to press play and be able to tell which character is speaking within a few words.

I also have a lot of weird fantasy names and I have a habit of naming things without actually saying them aloud. Plus, I have a New Zealand accent, so the way I pronounce things sometimes doesn’t make sense for Americans etc. Meg and Tim were amazing at working with my terrible voice message recordings of the many difficult words in this series.

And then, of course, there’s that indefinable something that just makes a narrator able to encompass the characters. And both Meg and Tim have that quality!

Also, I was able to meet Meg recently at Readers Take Denver and it was SO fun to be able to talk to her in person!


As a writer of fantasy romance, how do you balance the fantastical elements with the romantic plotlines? What advice would you give to writers looking to incorporate both genres seamlessly?

I’m a pretty big plotter, and I’ll often have several plots happening across a book, along with the character arcs, romantic arcs etc. The best way I’ve found to do this is to use Miro, which is like an online whiteboard. Each character and plot line has it’s own color of sticky note, and I have them all placed across the chapters. That means I can see at a glance when the romance might be lagging, because I haven’t had any pink sticky notes placed in the last few chapters etc.

It’s definitely tricky, but I love reading romantasy that’s 50% plot, 50% romance, so it was always what I wanted to write.


Your books have garnered a dedicated fanbase. How do you engage with your readers, and how do their reactions influence your writing process?


I adore my readers. This series has never gone viral, and its success is solely due to word of mouth and my amazing readers telling others to pick up the first book. I’m on social media and try to respond as much as I can on Instagram and of course in my Facebook group––Stark Society. I also have a newsletter list and keep readers up to date with releases, sales etc. And of course I LOVE getting to meet readers in person at signings. I’m doing a ton of them over the next couple of years.

As for their reactions influencing my writing process, I would say I try to block most of that out when I’m actually writing. If I thought too much about what readers would think about each little choice I make while writing, I’d get nothing done. Of course, I want them to love what I write, and I love seeing reactions on social media, but I try to keep away from fan theories etc.

Finally, can you give us a glimpse into what readers/listeners can expect from your next project, and do you have any insights into how it might differ from your current series?

Oooh I am so excited for this. I can’t say too much right now, but I can tell you that three songs that have made me obsessed with planning my next series:

Francesca by Hozier, A Little Bit Yours by JP Saxe, and LOML by Taylor Swift.

Start listening to the Kingdom of Lies series, and get your audiobook at retailers like Audible, Libro.fm, and Apple (including your local library through apps like hoopla and Libby!)