As I mentioned last week, my local library was having Kelley Armstrong come in to talk about her new books, do a Q&A session, and sign a lot of books! I took notes (nerd that I am) and have created this six part series in order to share what I learned with you.
It was because of her daughter that KA decided to write a young adult series also set in the Otherworld. The daughter had turned thirteen and had been asking when she could read Bitten, and her mother said not yet and wanted to write something her daughter could read. The first draft of the first Darkest Powers book was written as KA’s first (?) NaNoWriMo project. She wanted to try something new, and this writing challenge was the perfect opportunity. “It was crap,” KA said about her first draft of the book, “but I could see the possibilities there.”
KA still does take part in November’s National Novel Writing Month, just to prove that it’s a great way to start writing the book you’ve always wanted to do. She admitted that even she has trouble with the 50 thousand words in 30 days thing, but the point of NaNoWriMo is to write more than you ever had before and to finally get writing.
When KA’s two sons, now aged 11 and 12, asked when they could read their mother’s books she pointed them towards the YA books she started for her daughter. They wouldn’t touch the books and, when asked why, their answer was “it has a girl holding a necklace on the cover”. That is how she ended up co-writing The Blackwell Pages series with friend and author Melissa Marr.
It has a strong basis in Norse mythology, which satisfies KA’s interest with legends and folklore. How they write the books together is that they alternate chapters…sort of. KA is used to writing from one perspective while Melissa generally writes from multiple points of view, so KA writes the voice of Matt and Melissa everyone else!
These younger books are written with a pseudo penname of the authors’ initials, in hope that the readers of these books won’t be making an easy connection between them and KA’s adult books in the Otherworld. She wishes she had done the same with her Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies as young readers are picking up her adult books after reading the teenager version. KA said that rather than giving the younger generation their own books to read, “instead they’re the gateway!” She has even found her adult books shelved in the YA section of bookstores rather than being kept separate.
KA had thought about using a pseudonym for her Nadia Stafford series, but was talked out of it. She was okay with that because not many people will pick up the books by accident thinking they are like the Otherworld books due to the descriptions being very clear: these books have no mention of werewolves, vampires, necromancers, or things of that ilk. Rather, the main character, Nadia, used to be a cop but became a hitman… er, hitwoman… um… Basically, it’s following the adventures of a female assassin. “Even when I do normal, I don’t really do normal!”