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Interview with Keely Brooke Keith


Author Keely Brooke Keith crosses genres with an adventure series where history and science fiction intersect with romance and mystery, while the thread of good vs evil is ever-present.

Keely, did the plot and characters for the Uncharted series come in a flash or did they flow in gradually over time until the story began to take shape?

It took time. As a child, I papered my bedroom walls with maps out of National Geographic. I often stared at the wide blue swaths of ocean on the maps and wondered if land existed that no one knew about.

While researching my family history as an adult, I became fascinated by the group migrations to the American West. I wondered what would happen if, instead of going west, a group of families left the United States on a ship, got lost at sea, and ended up on that hidden land.

After three books and one novella in this series, you’ve released the prequel, Aboard Providence. At what point did you realize you wanted to go back and start the story in 1860?

Actually, I outlined the founders’ story before I started on the first Uncharted book. When I began writing The Land Uncharted it was easy to weave the history of the land into the culture since I already knew the founders’ story. After that book was released, readers frequently asked for more of the founders’ story. So, in the fall of 2014, I took a break from writing the Uncharted series and wrote Aboard Providence.

How did you pick the geographical location for your setting of the Land?

I chose a location in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean where there is only water on maps but where the Van Allen radiation belt comes closest to Earth’s surface so I could use the South Atlantic Anomaly as a factor in keeping the Land undetectable to the outside world. That’s half of the science fiction part of the Uncharted storyline.

Aboard Providence has the adventurous settlers leaving America because of the onset of the Civil War. Did their reasons for leaving coincide or struggle with your own personal beliefs on this topic?

My characters left Virginia’s Eastern Shore at a time when many people there were split over secession and leaving the area. Personally, my ancestors from Accomack County migrated west long before the 1860s. My ancestors who fought in the Civil War were Union soldiers, but I live in the South within a mile of one of the largest battlefields in the U.S., so the echoes of the conflict are all around me.

How did you come up with the number of families who boarded the Providence?

That was a mathematical process and included several conversations with a geneticist and a lot of whiteboard sketching.

Did you do or see anything special while researching life on board a ship?

I boarded a tall ship replica long before I started writing. It wasn’t three-masted like the Providence, but it gave me a feel for the waves and the wood—and the confinement.

Did you face any challenges on the road to getting this prequel published?

Not really. I faced those battles getting The Land Uncharted published. Its original publisher closed before it was released. When I got the rights back, I opened Edenbrooke Press and published it with the help of a small army. Even though the Uncharted series has a devoted readership, I wanted Aboard Providence to have a traditional publisher to broaden my experience.

As a world-builder, how much do you create before writing the story?

On paper? Only a few sketches. In my head? I can see every detail, smell the gray leaf trees, and feel the change in the atmosphere.

What’s next on your horizon?

I’m currently writing the fifth Uncharted book and having an absolute blast being back in an 1860s-style hidden land with the threat of the 2020s outside world. Readers can keep in touch by signing up for my newsletter.


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and their youngest of 4 kids. She writes historical romance set in Canada and the United States.

Romantic Refinements, Novella 2 in the Austen in Austin Volume 1 collection by WhiteFire Publishing released in January 2016. This 4-novella collection of stories set in historic Austin, Texas, is based on the novels of Jane Austen.

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