A Writer in the Spotlight – Kat Ellis

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Hello gentle reader,

I’m very pleased to share another interview with a YA author today! The wonderfully kind and talented Kat Ellis, whose debut BLACKFIN SKY came out in 2014, hasn’t got one but TWO books being releasing this year!

My interview (7th February 2016)

Kat Ellis

BLACKFIN SKY came out in 2014. What were the highlights of your debut year? Anything you’d do differently?

There were so many amazing firsts during my debut year – my first author panel, first book launch, first sighting of BLACKFIN SKY out in the wild – and it really was an overwhelming and incredible experience. I think the best feeling overall was hearing a pair of teen girls whispering about how much they loved the characters (*cough* Sean, the love interest, might have been mentioned in particular). I’ve felt that way about characters in books I’ve read, and it was so wonderful seeing it from the other side.

As far as things I’d do differently… I did a lot of events, school visits, interviews, etc. but I felt like I should have done more, got out there more and shouted about my book to more people. Maybe that’s just my own inner critic at work, though, because I always feel I could do more, about everything. Especially housework.

blackfin sky jpeg

Now that you’re a published author, what would you say has changed in your writing life?

The major thing has been changing how I view writing itself; I went from viewing it as a hobby to seeing it as my job. I felt like a fraud at first, telling people I was working on my book when they wanted me to go shopping or to a party or something. They’d look at me as though I’d just said I was busy playing with my Barbie dolls. But it takes a lot of hours to write a book, so I have to be strict with myself if I want to keep writing one or two books a year.

You have two books coming out in 2016, BREAKER and PURGE, can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for those stories?

BREAKER comes out in May, and tells the story of Kyle, whose father has recently been executed for a string of brutal murders, and Naomi, whose mother was the Bonebreaker’s last victim. When Kyle moves to a new school and sees Naomi, his hope for a fresh start is thrown under the bus. Except she doesn’t recognise him, and as much as Kyle wants to pretend Naomi doesn’t exist, he can’t deny the spark between them. But someone isn’t prepared to let the past die, and when bodies start piling up on campus, it seems the Bonebreaker’s legacy is very much alive.

The inspiration came from thinking about how violence leaves scars beyond the obvious ones you see — beyond the victim of the serial killer. Naomi and Kyle wear their scars differently, but their lives are shaped by them, and I wanted to explore how two people might find one bright, shining, happy thing in the wake of something so terrible. And because I’m a sadist, apparently, I then decided to inflict yet more trauma on them by unleashing a new killer. As you do.

Cover - low res

PURGE will be out this autumn, and is a YA sci-fi set on a flooded Earth where the last survivors live in sealed, floating communities. Mason is 17, and already has a rap sheet too long to remember. So he isn’t exactly high on the list to be allowed into any community — which is how he ends up at Alteria, living among a cult-like group who purge negative behaviour through a mind-altering virtual reality programme. Mason knows he has to stay on the straight-and-narrow, but that’s not easy when he falls for a girl who has a few bad habits of her own. When she’s caught with drugs and thrown into the programme, Mason risks everything to go in after her, not knowing if either of them will ever be the same.

In PURGE, I wanted to write about someone who at a young age has already been judged as worthless by society, and show how he could defy expectations to become a hero. This book has been several years in the making, and Mason is probably my favourite character I’ve written to date. I hope readers like him, too!

Can you talk about what you’re working on right now?

Well, right now I’m dabbling with a few projects — there’s a fantasy about a boy raised in a rainforest, a magical realist story about a girl who has out of body experiences, and a thriller set in a 1920s theme town. Aside from those, I’m working on a few things for the launch of BREAKER, and editing PURGE.

Finally, do you have any reading recommendations? Recent reads that stood out? 

So many! Some of my recent favourites are Bryony Pearce’s WINDRUNNER’S DAUGHTER, THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE by Jonathan Stroud, THE ACCIDENT SEASON by Moira Fowley-Doyle, and Cat Clarke’s THE LOST AND THE FOUND. I’m looking forward to reading Alwyn Hamilton’s REBEL OF THE SANDS, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES, Tatum Flynn’s HELL’S BELLES, and I’ve also just got my hands on an early copy of Martin J Stewart’s RIVERKEEP, which comes out in April.

Thank you for the interview, Kat!

Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog, Eve!

A Writer In The Spotlight – Kat Ellis

A Writer In The Spotlight Logo

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’m thrilled to share with you an interview with another talented YA author! I “met” the lovely Kat Ellis online a couple of years ago and now her debut BLACKFIN SKY is coming out on 14th May.

Kat Ellis

Author : Kat Ellis

Genre : Young Adult, Thriller

Location: North Wales, UK

Website: http://katelliswrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Book : BLACKFIN SKY (out 14th May in the UK and 2nd September in the US)

My interview (19th April 2014)

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Oh, no. Not at all. I think my career aspirations went something like this:

Actress (age 8) …singer (age 10, before I knew I couldn’t sing) …spy (age 12, before I knew my French wasn’t that good) … rock star (age 13, when I learned to play guitar – not well) …racing driver (age 21, after finally learning to drive) …uh, OK, maybe I’ll work in IT (also 21).

So I worked in admin for a bit, then moved into a more IT-ish job, where full-on geekery was obviously a MUST, and ended up falling in love with YA films… then YA books… then YA writing. I think I was about 27 when I knew that I wanted to be a YA author for real.

When and where do you write?

I’m lucky that I get quite a lot of time to write now, and have my very own writing cave at home. The walls are lined with books, and I have my guitar and piano in there to play with when I’m stuck with my writing (or just feel like a skive).

What do you say to someone who wants to be a writer?

HOORAY! (I think anyone who puts in the time and effort to make their dream happen deserves a bloody big HOORAY.)

blackfin sky jpeg

(UK cover)

To write BLACKFIN SKY, where did you get your inspiration from?

I started off knowing the story’s hook: I knew that Skylar drowned on her 16th birthday, and that she’d come back 3 months later and act like nothing had happened. So, breaking all my own rigorous plotting rules, I wrote the first chapters without knowing where it would end up. And I hit the mother of all brick walls when I realised I had no idea what had actually happened to her.

So I mulled it over for a while, took a break from writing, and mulled some more. And then, as happens every summer, the circus came to town. I went with my sister and niece to watch the performance, and it was while I was sitting in the stands, amazed at all the stunts going on in the Big Top, that I figured out what had happened to Sky.

Ta-da! The rest is history. Or Blackfin Sky, actually.

Blackfin-Sky-Kat-Ellis(US cover)

Which authors inspire you now? (=Any books you’d recommend?)

I like to read across the genre spectrum, but have developed recent author crushes on Non Pratt (TROUBLE), C J Skuse (ROCKAHOLIC, PRETTY BAD THINGS, DEAD ROMANTIC), and Patrick Ness (A MONSTER CALLS, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO).

Some of my long-time author heroes are Lisa McMann (WAKE trilogy, THE MISSING, CRASH, DEAD TO YOU) Michael Grant (GONE series), and Lucy Christopher (STOLEN and THE KILLING WOODS).

As April was UKYA month, I got to catch up on reading a lot of UKYA from my TBR pile, and it’s been fantastic focusing on all the talented authors and amazing fiction coming from the UK right now. Definitely inspiring!

Thank you so much for this interview, Kat!

You can add BLACKFIN SKY on Goodreads here or pre-order it here.