This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with the ever awesome Kendare Blake, whose YA ghost story Anna Dressed In Blood is one of my favourite books.
A writer in the spotlight – 9
Author : Kendare Blake
Genre : Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghost story, Horror
Website : http://kendareblake.com/
Books : The Anna series: Anna Dressed In Blood (2011), Girl of Nightmares (released August 7th, 2012)
Sleepwalk Society (2010)
Antigoddess (released 2013)
My interview (13/07/2012):
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Yes. Though I didn’t think of it as a practical option after I graduated from high school. I still didn’t think it was a practical option when I decided to do it after grad school. But by then I’d come to terms with the idea of being a starving artist.
When and where do you write?
I write when I have spare time. And after I’ve done everything else that could possibly need doing. (Master procrastinator!) My office is in my apartment and consists of a kitchen table, a printer, my laptop, stacks of books and sheafs of paper.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
No! And now I must go find wood and knock on it, and pet my black cat backwards.
What do you say to people who want to be writers?
Excellent! Books books and more books. The world needs ‘em.
Can you tell us a little bit about your publishing journey? (the different steps and how long it took you to be published)
I’ll tell you Anna’s story. Which was not the first book I wrote, or the first book I sold. The first book I wrote (seriously wrote, not wrote during childhood) was the first book I sold, but it took forever.
I wrote Anna in about eight months. Queried agents for about two months. Got a few requests for fulls, and some rejections. Ended up with two offers of representation, both from amazing agents. One a smaller more boutique agent, and another with the backing of a big agency. Talked with both of them. Ended up going with the smaller agency. Anna went out on submission and was out for about three months. I think. We started getting nibbles around the month and a half mark. Some rejections. Went to a few editorial boards. Wound up with two offers, so I guess you’d call that a mini-auction. I went with Mel Frain, at Tor Teen, and she’s excellent and bodacious. Anna sold in April, 2010 and pubbed in August 2011.
On “Anna Dressed In Blood”:
What made you choose to write a ghost/horror story?
I wanted to play Silent Hill but was too scared. And I missed reading Stephen King and Anne Rice. When I was in London, I’d rekindled my love of the fantastic, with Joe Hill and Angela Carter.
What is striking about your book is its voice. Did you work a lot on that or did it come to you naturally when you started writing the book?
Cas’ voice came naturally. I can’t imagine how hard it would have been if it hadn’t. He was real from the moment he hit the page. If he hadn’t been, I probably would’ve stopped.
To write this book, where did you get your inspiration from?
No idea. Anna’s name came to me first. Anna Dressed in Blood. And I thought, who’s that? Oh of course. She’s a dead girl who kills people. Hmm. Someone ought to kill her.
Cas is awesome. Anna is amazing. How did you come up with those characters?!
They sort of came up with themselves. I knew what Anna was, but not exactly who. She was a murderous ghost. A real badass. That side was easy. Her human part didn’t reveal until later. I knew Cas was a ghost hunter, with a knife. I knew he’d go after her, and that he was a loner. That’s about it.
What type of music did you listen to when you wrote this book?
I didn’t! I can’t write and listen to music that often. I usually end up just jamming, and nothing gets done.
What are you working on now?
Right now is that wonderful phase of juggle city! I’m halfway through the second book in my new series and the first one comes back ready for edits. So I’m putting aside the second this week to polish up the first.
The new series kicks off with ANTIGODDESS next August. It’s Greek gods in the modern world. Athena and Hermes and Odysseus and Cassandra. Dying gods at war and the teens who get caught in their mess. Very, Terminator. Or Terminator 2. Maybe just very Sarah Connor.
Which authors inspire you now? Any YA books you would recommend?
Right now I’m halfway through WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE by Shirley Jackson. Not YA exactly but holy shit. How have I not read this before? It’s a flipping masterpiece. Ominous and so beautiful. On the YA side I’m consistently inspired by the short stories of Holly Black, and by loads of others. I’d recommend reading her collection THE POISON EATERS and also…well, it depends what you’re in the mood for. Suzanne Young’s A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL is amazing. The sequel, A WANT SO WICKED is out now. Kristen Simmons’ ARTICLE 5 is harrowing. Deb Caletti’s STAY from last year…so many more!
Thanks for the interview Kendare!
Thank you for having me by the blog! And for the fun interview questions
Girl of Nightmares will be out on August 7th, 2012. Buy it on Amazon here.