Kelley Armstrong is the hugely successful and bestselling author of the adult Urban Fantasy Women of Otherworld series. Last year, she made her first foray into the world of Young Adult fiction with The Summoning, the first book in her Darkest Powers trilogy. This year, she released the second book in the series, The Awakening – which I absolutely loved. Not only does Ms. Armstrong write fantastic adult-audience novels, but her young adult series is one of the best out there. (In fact, The Awakening is easily on my list of notable reads for 2009!) Needless to say, I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview, and we are happy to have her as our first official guest author for our Young Adult Appreciation Month.
Without further ado, please give it up for Kelley Armstrong!
This interview with Kelley Armstrong is the first in our SUPERNATURAL SUMMER book feature from Harper Teen. This week we will bring you five different books by five different authors, including interviews, articles and giveaways.
The Book Smugglers: First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to chat with us about your writing. As fans of your adult and young adult novels, we are thrilled to have you here on The Book Smugglers for our Young Adult Appreciation Month!
Your Darkest Powers books are set in the same universe as your bestselling adult Urban Fantasy Women of Otherworld series, but are written for a young adult audience. Why did you decide to cross over to the Young Adult genre?
Kelley: It was a couple of things. 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, which wouldn’t work for an adult series. That idea was in the back of my mind as I began getting an increasing number of emails from readers I considered a little too young to be reading my other books! So I decided to give that YA idea a try.
The Book Smugglers: How does writing in the Young Adult genre differ from writing adult-audience fiction? What difficulties or challenges (if any) are there in writing Chloe’s books in contrast to your Otherworld Urban Fantasy novels?
Kelley: The only real difference is the age of the characters. However, while I cover a lot of narrator ages in my adult series, teens ARE a lot different. There’s the language of course—making the characters sound like teens. But the bigger issue is, well, the issues. When I’m writing adults, whether they’re 25 or 45, they’re dealing with a similar set of issues (jobs, finances, marriage & children) Teens are at a different place in their lives and the characters need to reflect that. They also have a limited set of tools for dealing with problems. If I have an adult character on the run, they can empty their bank accounts, get fake ID, hop on a plane, rent a hiding place etc. Fifteen-year-olds can’t do that.
The Book Smugglers: The Reckoning is the next book in your Darkest Powers trilogy. Can you tell us a bit about what to expect in the next Chloe Saunders story? Do you have any other Young Adult novels in the works?
Kelley: It’s the last installment in the trilogy, which means the story will finally wrap up. I’m contracted for three more YA books after that and I’m currently working on the first in a new trilogy, which takes place in the same universe, with another group of Edison Group test subjects. So I’m doing something similar to what I do in my adult books by changing narrators and main characters, with the possibility of bringing back the original ones later if that’s what readers want.
The Book Smugglers: What are some of your inspirations and influences for writing the Darkest Powers books?
Kelley: Now that gets tougher. Questions like that were so much easier to answer when I first started writing and knew exactly where ideas and inspiration came from. After a while, though, I’m being influenced by so many sources that it’s a fluid and invisible process. Everything goes into the creative pot and if I sit back and think “where did I get that ingredient from?” I honestly have no idea. Sorry!
The Book Smugglers: Are you a reader of Young Adult fiction? What are some of your favorite YA titles?
Kelley: I hadn’t read it in years, but there’s so much great stuff out there now that to overlook it because it’s “YA” would mean I’d miss out on a fast-growing branch of my favorite genre. Some of my recent faves would include Melissa Marr’s Ink Exchange and Kristin Cashore’s Graceling.
The Book Smugglers: Chole has fallen asleep and has inadvertently raised a zombie hoard! Aaaargh! You can save ONE book, ONE movie, and ONE television show. QUICK! Name them:
Kelley: Book: Pride & Prejudice. Movie: The Princess Bride. TV Show: Buffy (on DVD—I wouldn’t have advocated continuing it beyond the last season, but I would want to keep those seasons)
The Book Smugglers: We Book Smugglers are faced with constant threats and criticisms from our significant others concerning the sheer volume of books we purchase and read—hence, we have resorted to ‘smuggling books’ home to escape scrutinizing eyes. Have you ever had to smuggle books?
Kelley: From my husband, no—he’s never complained about the piles of books around the house. From my parents, yes. While they were happy I was reading, sometimes I was reading a little too much for their tastes.
The Book Smugglers: Thank you for your time! It’s been a pleasure.
Kelley: And thank you for interviewing me!
KELLEY’S BIO: I’m married with three kids and live in rural Ontario, Canada. After graduating with a degree in psychology, I switched gears and studied computer programming. Currently, I’m a full-time writer and parent. Could I make this section any more dull? Probably not.
In my ongoing quest to post the worst author photo ever, here is entry #3, as taken by my youngest. I appear to be wearing no makeup, my sweater clashes with my shirt and the ‘nostril-cam’ angle looks like something out of the Blair Witch Project. Have I even run a brush through my hair yet that morning? I think not.
You can read more about Kelley on her website HERE.
Now, for the Giveaway:
We are giving away ONE copy of the first book in the Darkest Powers trilogy, The Summoning! The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada; to enter leave a comment here telling us what your particular dark power of choice is (necromancer, werewolf, witch, vampire, etc). The contest will run until Sunday July 26 at midnight (PST). Good luck!