Friday, April 1, 2016

Feature Friday: Kelley Armstrong

It's been awhile since there was a Feature Friday, but as promised, I'm trying to do a couple a year just to keep you all on your toes.  To kick off this April Fool's day we have a lady who is no one's fool, Ms. Kelley Armstrong, a seasoned and acclaimed author who I am very excited took the time to visit with us!

Kelley Armstrong is the author of the Cainsville modern gothic series and the Age of Legends YA fantasy trilogy. Past works include Otherworld urban fantasy series, the Darkest Powers & Darkness Rising teen paranormal trilogies, the Nadia Stafford crime trilogy and the co-written Blackwell Pages middle-grade fantasy trilogy. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her family.




Interview:
A.L.:
What piece of advice would you give to a budding author?

Kelley:
My advice is horribly boring. Read everything you can get your hands on and write whenever you get the chance. Writing is a craft and the only way to improve at a craft is to work at it. That means not only writing but actively working to improve by taking courses, reading writing books, joining writing groups, seeking feedback and, perhaps most importantly, learning how to accept and apply feedback. If you wanted to become an artist, you wouldn't expect to pick up a brush and immediately paint a masterpiece. Don't expect that from writing either.

A.L.:
What's your favorite book and why?

Kelley:
I usually say that my favourite is Pride & Prejudice, but only because I have so many that it's hard to choose one! Others include Watership Down by Richard Adams and anything by Stephen King.

A.L.:
Where do you feel the most inspiration?

Kelley:
I’m more inspired by wild places than cities. That said, I can be just as inspired sitting at home and reading a news story that sparks an idea.

A.L.:
With such a hefty booklist behind you, you must have hit a few snags along the way. Which was the most memorable and how did you fix it?

Kelley:
Starting a new series is always tough. It’s tempting to ride a series for as long as I can, but I know better. I have to end while it’s still fresh and start something new, and that means that readers won’t be thrilled with me for moving onto a new series while they feel there’s still life in the old one. I accept that there will be bumps in the transition, but it’s the path I’ve chosen for my career.

A.L.:
Which one of the characters you've written is your favorite and why?

Kelley:
Ah, that's like being asked to pick my favourite child! Like my kids, all my main characters are my "favourite" for something. For example, in the Age of Legends trilogy, I love Moria for her attitude and her kick-ass ways, but I’m equally fond of Ashyn as the quieter and more thoughtful sister.

A.L.:
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as an author?

Kelley:
In my twenties I started working on novels, and would sporadically send out query letters and sample chapters, but never got anything more than a form letter rejection. So I gave up and concentrated on improving.

When I finished Bitten, I had an instructor look at it, to see how well I was progressing. He offered to recommend it to an agent, and things happened very quickly from there. Within a couple of months I went from being unpublished to having multiple book contracts. So it was a long empty road, with a very quick stop at the end!

A.L.:
What are you working on now? Sequel? Something new?

Kelley:
The Age of Legends trilogy is done. My next YA—a thriller, Missing, coming in April 2017—is also done. That’s the way the industry works. I’m currently writing the book after Missing, another standalone YA thriller, not due out until spring 2018.

A.L.:
You've written in many different genres at this point. Can you tell me the pros and cons of writing for each?

Kelley:
I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it that way. I don’t see it as a question of pros and cons, whether for writing or marketing. To me, switching genres is just a natural part of storytelling. I didn’t grow up reading one genre, and so I don’t want to write one genre. A story comes to me and I write it, regardless of whether it’s the sort of thing I’ve written before.

A.L.:
Likewise, you've written for many different age groups. What's your favorite age group to write for and why?

Kelley:
While many adults read YA and many teens read adult, the two age groups can be very different as audiences. Teens are more outwardly enthusiastic…and more outwardly demanding! They’re quick to tell you it’s “the best book ever!” and equally quick to tell you they were not pleased. Different audiences, but I love them both equally.

A.L.:
What is your favorite paranormal creature? And your favorite myth/legend?

Kelley:
I've always been partial to werewolves, and I've done them the most, so they're the easiest to write and my favourite. I don’t have a favourite legend, but I am partial to Norse myth, which is why it was so much fun to co-write the Blackwell Pages.

The Giveaway:
Kelley will be giving away a copy of Sea of Shadows (Int).

Sea of Shadows:  In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.


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