Meet my Beta-Reader: YA Fantasy Author Intisar Khanani

Thorn_low_res_e-smallAbout a year ago, I was browsing through my free Kindle downloads when I found this unassuming book called Thorn by Intisar Khanani. I’d never heard of the author and honestly couldn’t remember downloading it. But I thought the synopsis sounded interesting and decided to give it a try.

I was hooked by the first page.

You see, I am a picky reader. In order to hook me, a book has to have ONE of three things: an incredibly well-researched world, realistic characters who grow throughout the novel, or a spiritual/philosophical center that touches my heart.

In Intisar Khanani’s work, I found all three. Perhaps the world-building is not as extravagant as some fantasy novels (it is a stand-alone book, after all), but it is solidly researched and full of small, charming details. The characters show strength and fortitude, and develop steadily throughout the story. And at the center of all this is a small, nagging voice that speaks to my creative heart–Thorn has a soul. I could sit back after reading the book and dwell on the lessons learned by the characters, their intricate and foreboding relationship with magic, and the sense that I was somehow more enlightened by reading it.

So I immediately contacted Intisar Khanani and begged her to be my Beta-Reader. I shockingly discovered that she was not published by a Big House, but an indie author like myself. A friendship was forged in the fires of creativity, and she agreed to Beta-Read for me. Since then, all my books have jumped from 3-4 star reviews to 5 star reviews. You see, not only is Khanani a skilled, imaginative writer, she also harbors a keen writing intuition. While editing The Cat’s Eye Chronicles, she at times understood better than myself what I was trying to say. Certain characters in the series, like Lori (Sora’s mom), she “got” on a totally different level. She caught me when I became too explicit; she pointed out where the plot wandered, where the characterization fluctuated, where those little confusing sentences cropped up. What I am trying to say is that The Cat’s Eye Chronicles would not be the same story without her.

And for that reason, I would like you to check out her books. I highly recommend her work to anyone looking for fun YA Fantasy, both layered and exciting, imaginative and detailed, well-paced and well-written. If you are a fan of Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, Garth Nix, Dianna Wynne Jones or Gail Carson Levine, then you will love her work.


Books by Intisar Khanani


The Bone Knife – Download this short story for FREE!

*The Bone Knife is permanently free on all ereader platforms.
*The Bone Knife has received a Bade of Approval from Awesome Indies.

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Rae knows how to look out for family. Born with a deformed foot, she feigns indifference to the pity and insults that come her way. Wary of all things beautiful, Rae instantly distrusts their latest visitor: an appallingly attractive faerie. Further, his presence imperils the secret her sister guards. But when the local townspeople show up demanding his blood, Rae must find a way to protect both her sister’s secret and their guest. Even if that means risking herself. *The Bone Knife is a FREE short story.



Thorn – $3.99 ebook!

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For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she’s never had … until she’s betrayed.

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family’s cruelty and the court’s contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

But powerful men have powerful enemies–and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman’s, giving Alyrra the first choice she’s ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she’s never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometimes the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.



Sunbolt – $0.99 ebook!

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The winding streets and narrow alleys of Karolene hide many secrets, and Hitomi is one of them. Orphaned at a young age, Hitomi has learned to hide her magical aptitude and who her parents really were. Most of all, she must conceal her role in the Shadow League, an underground movement working to undermine the powerful and corrupt Arch Mage Wilhelm Blackflame.

When the League gets word that Blackflame intends to detain–and execute–a leading political family, Hitomi volunteers to help the family escape. But there are more secrets at play than Hitomi’s, and much worse fates than execution. When Hitomi finds herself captured along with her charges, it will take everything she can summon to escape with her life.

About Intisar Khahani
Visit her website:
Khanani_Author_PhotoIntisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar’s next two projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, a novella serial following a young mage with a propensity to play hero, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.

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Comments (6)

  1. Hey Theresa –

    Wow! Thanks so much for your words. I’ve long been grateful that you reached out to me after reading Thorn. I’ve learned so much from you as well. Writing may be a solitary act, but improving one’s craft takes good company. I’m really glad to be walking this road with you.


    • Intisar! I am lucky to have you as my beta-reader. I truly meant what I said in this post–The Cat’s Eye Chronicles would not be the same without you. Pats on the back all around! :)

  2. I already have all of these! They have secure spots on my extremely selective Shelf of Awesome (the same theoretical shelf wherein sits The Cat’s Eye Chronicles) and I am bouncing in my chair awaiting the sequel to Sunbolt!

  3. I have long drooled over the cover for Sunbolt. It is absolutely stunning! I haven’t read it yet, but want to invest in the print copy soon. :)

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