Whimsical Worlds and Timeless Tales: A Conversation with Fantasy Author Kellie M. Rice

From Hauntings to Heroes, Unveiling the Magical Craftsmanship and Inspirations Behind the Afterworld Series

“Step into a world of enchantment and imagination with K.M. Rice, the award-winning author who weaves whimsy and history into captivating stories. Join us as we delve into her creative process, literary influences, and the magic that breathes life into her Afterworld series.”

Fantasy author Kellie, who publishes under her initials K.M. Rice, is a national award-winning screenwriter and independent author. Defying literary conventions and genres, the defining element of Rice’s work has been the touch of whimsy she brings to every story she tells. They will take you from hauntings in the woods, to the rugged American West, to the cliffs of Ireland, and across dozens of eras. She also enjoys being a crafter, a photographer, and a YouTuber, and an educator of the folkloric and historical intersection with spirituality through the study of seasonal pre-Christian festivals and customs.

Her four-part Afterworld series takes readers on a journey across eras, continents, and time. She provided additional writing and research for Middle-earth From Script to Screen: Building the World of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. When not writing or filming, she can be found hiking in the woods, baking, gardening, and enjoying the company of the many animals on her family ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

What drives you to write?

Being a storyteller isn’t a choice for me, it’s who I am. The first moment my child hand could draw rickety letters, I wrote and illustrated my first book. I have been telling stories ever since either in novels, videos, screenplays, art, etc. There is a fierce drive in me to share with the world while also providing entertainment, escapism, and hopefully, some form of deeper connection between the reader and reality.

What books and authors have influenced your writing career?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott immediately comes to mind. The character of Jo March felt so similar to me. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins similarly showcased heroines who were unabashedly in touch with who they are and doing their part to better their world. I can’t really answer this question without bringing up J. R. R. Tolkien. His beautifully imagined world of Middle-earth feels like coming home in so many ways, and my love of his writing has led me on many adventures, both as a fan and professional.

What moves you most when reading?

I love that glittering moment when you find yourself rereading a sentence or a paragraph because the words taste so beautiful. But storytelling is more than the use of sumptuous phrases. I so enjoy slipping into another character’s mind or world. A good book is not only an escape from oneself but also leaves one changed or edified upon reemergence. To see the world through another’s eyes is a magical gift.

What are some of your sources of inspiration?

My first real word was “outside,” and I am blessed to have been born and raised in the forested mountains of northern California where my imagination roamed freely amongst the trees and wildlife. Nature plays an important role in every story I tell, for there is no me without it. A close second would be history, folklore, and mythology. I translated Beowulf at university and find such magic and mystery in old tales. We have so much to learn from our ancestors. This exploration has led me on my current path studying the ways our ancestors lived in tandem with the seasons. I am happy to now invite others on this path with me through the educational offerings on my website, for many of us feel the urge to slow down and live with a deeper connection to the land.

How do you approach writing a novel?

I do not plot or outline; I prefer to begin with a blank page. As such, I tend to write fairly quickly, for I am curious to see where the story takes me! This method often leads to feeling as if I am merely a conduit for the stories, rather than their originator, as if they are floating about in the ether, waiting for someone to hear their whispers like the muses of old.

What is next for you?

The fourth and final installment in my Afterworld series releases this July, and I’m really excited to share this story with my readership and the world. If I have done my job right, then it will bring a tale that blends Irish history and mythology with that of the modern world to a satisfying close.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up! Remember that you are the only you in the world, and your voice is just as unique, valid, and deserving of being heard as anyone else’s.


“K.M.Rice has a unique way with words, almost poetic in their cadence and style. This expressive word use is refreshing and certainly paints images in the reader’s mind – Kat Davis, reviewer.

“Full of wonderfully unexpected twists and turns, this first book in the “Afterworld” series by author KM Rice propels the reader into a whirlwind tour across centuries, continents, and beyond. The powerful descriptions of the innermost feelings of the title character Ophelia read as beautiful as flowing poetry while keep the reader anchored and invested in the story. After a stunning conclusion, I cannot wait to see what happens next in the upcoming sequel, “Priestess.”- Kelsey B, reviewer.

“No spoilers, but this has it all; twists and turns, romance and suspense, moments to laugh, and moments that nearly had me in tears.” -Pip, reviewer.

“K.M. Rice is a born storyteller. The world she has created is fully realized and the characters so developed that they nearly leap off the page! This is what you want. You want to feel as if these characters live and breathe in the space they occupy and Ms. Rice’s characters do this. The pacing of the story is expertly managed and the craftsmanship clearly shows that Ms. Rice has a gift and could do this in her sleep. The relationship dynamics between characters is moving, the environments richly described, the story is well told and like a magician, Ms. Rice has cast a spell.” – Steven Armstrong, reviewer.

Ophelia (Afterworld Book 1) excerpt:

     She crept around to his front to look at him properly, and as his hazel eyes tracked her, she felt more than naked. It was like there was a night sky inside her and he could pick out the places stars were meant to be, even if she couldn’t.

     “What’s missing?” she asked, her voice stiff.

     Brennan’s eyes slid away from hers and drifted over her shoulders and hands, pinched by something buried deep behind them. Turning up his palm, he weakly extended his arm towards her.

     Hesitating, Ophelia eyed the lines of his hand before taking a step near him then slipping her fingers against his. The edges of his skin were rough and cracking from working without gloves, but as her fingers slid from the tips of his to the base of his palm, she heard the faint chanting of a crowd that wasn’t there. When he gently closed his hand around hers, the crowd faded, and his arm shook with every beat of his heart.

     “The world,” he rasped.

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