Friday, 3 October 2014

Getting to Know the Authors: Featuring Julie Kagawa!

  Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time (okay, at least the illustrations did), but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a
real job.
  To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.

Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, an obnoxious cat, an Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and a hyper-active Papillion.

What has she written? 
The Iron Fey series: The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, The Iron Knight
The Blood of Eden series: The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure, The Forever Song
The Call of the Forgotten: The Lost Prince, The Iron Traitor, Untitled book 3
The TALON series (first book coming October 28th!)
For an exclusive excerpt chosen by Julie herself for our reading pleasure, click here:
Now for the Interview!!

1) What made you decide to start writing?
Well, the original life goal was to be a veterinarian, but then I discovered you had to be somewhat good at Math to really pursue that career.  And since numbers hate me, I decided to give the writing thing a go.
I met my agent at an annual writer’s workshop in Kentucky, where I live.  I’d been going to this workshop for nearly ten years trying to get published, but that year my agent liked my writing enough to take me on.  But she never sold that first book, and after a year of rejections from various publishers, she told me to start writing something else.  So I did.  I wrote The Iron King in about two months, and at that point Harlequin Teen was just beginning to look for novels for its new Young Adult (YA) imprint.  My agent sent them The Iron King, and the rest, as they say, is history.

2) Tell us a little bit about your Blood of Eden series. What is different about THE FOREVER SONG?
It's a much darker book than say, my Iron Fey series.  In this world, the vampires are scary, the world has fallen into ruin, and there are things out there that want to eat you.  Allie is still a vampire trying desperately to hang onto her humanity, and in The Forever Song, she will face tests and trials unlike anything she's ever encountered before.

3) How did the idea for this book/series arise? What are your major inspirations (TV, film, other literature/stories)? 
I was toying with the idea of writing a post-apocalyptic series after The Iron Fey, when my agent asked how I felt about writing vampires.  Granted, I'd never planned to do a vampire book, but then I wondered what would happen if I combined the two, vampires and post-apocalyptic.  And voila, the idea for The Immortal Rules was born.
Inspiration-wise, I wanted to bring back the scary, non-cuddly vampires, so Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Underworld, White Wolf's Vampire the Masquerade/Requiem, and the original Dracula were all inspirations for the vamps in The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure and The Forever Song.

4) What about the vampire myth, in your opinion, has held the YA reader's fascination for so long? What about vampires makes them so timeless?
I think it's that balance of monster vs. human that makes vampires so fascinating.  Vampires are monsters; they're dead, they crave blood, they're unnaturally strong and fast, and they prey on humans.  And yet, they're so much like us, with feelings and uncertainties and regrets.  Some have made peace with what they've become, some revel in it and are true monsters, and some still struggle with the fact that they're no longer human.  But they still remember what it's like--they were all human, once.  And that, I think, is what makes vampires so intriguing. 

5) Take us through a typical writing day for you. 
It's actually fairly boring.  I wake up, do my morning things, and head into my office (sometimes in pajamas, best part of writing full time) to sit at my computer.  I check email, Twitter, Facebook, and eventually get to opening up my work from the previous day.  Then I write, either until I have at least a thousand words, or until five o' clock rolls around.  Unless I'm in Deadline Panic Mode and the wordage quota goes up and I'm forced to turn off the internet because I'm so easily distracted by online happenings.  I sometimes get lost in the Twitterverse and lose hours of otherwise productive time.

6) How does it feel to have your books translated in multiple languages around the world? 
Pretty surreal.  I have a special bookshelf in my office for the foreign editions of the books, and every time I see it I have to smile.  It’s awe-inspiring to know that your books are being read around the world in France or Germany or Japan or Italy.  And words cannot express my love for the Japanese covers.  Manga-style Ash!

7) What's next for you?
Right now I'm moving on to the third book in the Call of The Forgotten series, the spin-off series of The Iron Fey.  And after that, I have a new series called TALON that I hope will be epic. It features dragon shifter teens, so how can you not like that? Universal Pictures has optioned it for a movie, so it’s going to be great.

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