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Kelley Armstrong Interview by Julia, Teen Blogger


Kelley Armstrong- photoKelley Armstrong has been an inspiration ever since my best friend sent me a link to Kelley’s Darkest Powers Trilogy when I was begging for an amazing series to read. From Book One, Chapter One, I’ve been madly in love with her books. Her writing made me feel like I was in another place entirely. It swept me away from all the things happening around me and kept me captivated until I was finished her books. It was around the time I was finishing up Kelly’s second book in the Darkest Powers Trilogy, that I finally accepted how much she motivated me and I decided to write a fanfiction of it. My fanfiction was my first step in writing and making my own stories.

Kelley came to Hal-Con one year and had her own Q&A panel. There I, and some other people, asked her to do a mini book signing for us. Recently, I was looking through my book shelves and saw the books that she signed. I read her messages in each of my books and thought to myself,  “she is so nice…”; she had made each and every message in my book different. It was an amazing experience to talk to Kelley in person at Hal-Con. She was funny, delightful, and open. It was like talking to a friend. Seeing her in person made me less intimidated by authors so I emailed her recently about doing an author interview.

Why did you start writing young adult fiction?

I had an idea inspired by my second adult novel, Stolen, but it was about supernaturals just coming into their powers, which in my world happens at puberty, and that wouldn't work for an adult series. That idea was in the back of my mind when my daughter started eying my adult books! So I decided to give my YA idea a try.

What got you into writing paranormal and supernatural stories?

I've always been fascinated by stories with a paranormal element, right from watching Scooby-Doo as a child. I love to write it because it has such a capacity for creativity--the eternal "what if?" of storytelling. I can take all those legends I studied as a child and teenager, and put my own spin on them.

How do you come up with the titles for your books?

I really struggle with titles. I usually pick something that I call it, temporarily, until the publisher and I decide on a real title. That first name is called a “working title” and it’s just “something to call it for now.”

You're writing a new series and the first book is called Sea of Shadows. Do you have any spoilers?Sea of Shadows - book cover

It’s a new trilogy called Age of Legends. It’s high fantasy, and tells the story of twin sixteen-year-old girls, one with the power to calm the dead, the other to fight them. They guard the Forest of the Dead, where criminals are exiled to their deaths. The story opens with their first solo attempt to give peace to the dead convicts’ spirits. As you might imagine, things go horribly awry! Best spoiler I can give for now is not to get too attached to secondary characters in the first part of the book. Let’s just say that when things go “horribly awry,” that’s not back-cover hyperbole.

Do you write best in the daytime or nighttime?

Morning! My typical writing day starts at about 5:30. I write most of the morning and into the early afternoon, then spend the rest of the afternoon doing business stuff.

What characteristics did you keep in mind when coming up with your main character, Maya?

Most importantly, I wanted to make sure Maya wasn’t a Chloe clone (Chloe being the narrator in my first YA trilogy.) My Otherworld series uses changing narrators, so that part was easy for me. While Maya is more capable of handling herself, her confidence leads her to make snap judgements, which she has to work on. Also, I wanted her to deal with the strain of being a natural leader, because it isn’t always easy.

Do you have a favourite author or mentor?

I never had real role models that I could look at and say 'that's who I want to be.'  Fellow author, Susie Moloney inspired me, not personally, but through her own success. I was writing Bitten at the time that she sold her second book, and suddenly I was seeing this Canadian woman, who wrote supernatural fiction and was obviously doing well with her career. It helped me think that my 'dream' might not be as far-fetched as I thought. As for favourite author? Stephen King. His work taught me so much about writing.

Do you enjoy going to conventions and book events?

I love getting out and meeting readers! Signings aren't the best forum for that--many readers who have questions aren't comfortable asking at a signing. I still love them, but conventions and library visits are a much more personal forum.

Have you ever had a traumatic experience with book signings?

Being late! For an event, I’m usually within walking distance about an hour early (at the store coffee shop or one nearby). Twice I’ve been late. Once I drove up at 1:15 to see the sign out front read 1 PM. In my defense, it was a miscommunication—the time had been changed and I hadn’t been notified. The second delay was a Toronto signing, where I left 4 hours early for a drive that’s under 2 hrs long. I expected traffic, so I’d given myself lots of extra time, but I got stuck in a serious jam and ended up 20 minutes late. I had my daughter call to warn the store. In both cases, even if it was an unexpected delay—and not a terribly long one—I felt terrible. If readers come to see me, they should expect me there on time.

Do you have any Demonology must know tips and advice for our readers?

Do your research! That applies to anything. It’s fine to be creative and make changes to the lore, but you need to know the lore and understand that you’re changing it. I have a real pet peeve about writers who “research” by reading the fiction of other writers. That’s not how it’s done. The information is out there, often on the internet. Take a few days to read it.

 

Thank you, Kelley, so very much for your time and thank you for all the great books you’ve put out there. I know as a reader I love and adore your books and as a writer I find you quite inspirational. And thank you too, Allison for passing on my emails and questions on to Kelley.

Julia,

Teen Blogger

Editor's note: Kelley Armstrong will be reading from her adult novel, Omens, on Saturday, September 14/1 pm at the Spring Garden Road Library.

The Darkness Rising Trilogy (sequel series to the Darkest Powers Trilogy) Book Three, The Rising was released in April 2013. Have a look at the book trailer (note: may contain spoilers for previous books in the series):

 

  • The Lie Tree
  • The way he lived
  • A drop of night
  • Thief of lies
  • Defender
  • Character, driven
  • Every young adult's break-up survival guide
  • Hidden gold
  • The heart of stone
  • The last boy and girl in the world
  • The epidemic
  • I see reality
  • Finding Hope
  • Under the Dusty Moon
  • Flawd
  • Dark energy
  • Hot pterodactyl boyfriend
  • Harmony House
  • Burning
  • See no color
  • One of us
  • A tangle of gold
  • It should have been a #GoodDay
  • Beautiful broken things
  • The radiant road
  • Speak a word for freedom
  • When we collided
  • Hit count
  • Fig
  • The beast of Cretacea
  • Essential maps for the lost
  • Queen
  • Exit, pursued by a bear
  • The Raven King
  • Breakaway
  • The forbidden orchid
  • The young adult's guide to public speaking