Lauren Kate and Fallen

Thanks for checking back! Here’s my interview with the charming Lauren Kate:

KML: How are you doing today?

LK: I’m great! I am packing up to hit the road for my book tour. I’m feeling really excited.

KML: You have a very extensive tour ahead of you, five weeks I hear.

LK: Yeah. I love touring, I have in the past. Hopefully I’ll have as great of an experience this time. It’s great for me, having spent so much time alone in front of a computer. It’s great for me to get out and be able to talk to so many people. I feel like I catch up on everything that’s going on in the book world when I’m touring so I’m very excited.

KML: Fallen made its debut last year. I can personally say that as a bookseller, it served as lively competition for many of the standard YA titles that teens were being exposed to. Do you think that your novels offered a contrast or do you think it was playing into the same themes?

LK: The only time I think about that is during interviews. As with many writers, while working on a book, I’m not trying to work against or with others that are trying to tell a story. The books that Fallen stands on the shoulders of are all apart of the themes that I like. My main focus is to tell the best story I can tell.

KML: In Fallen and Torment you play with very familiar themes (Nephilim, reincarnation, etc.) which we have been seeing in film and media a lot lately. How have these themes been reflected throughout your life?

LK: Reincarnation is something I’ve always been fascinated by. I think I have had one past life experience in this life. It has to do with a castle in Scotland, and I’ve never been there. I’ve only seen photos of it. I’m hopefully going to check it out this fall while I’m in the UK. It’s only something I’ve been thinking about, what you would retain if you died and come back as something else. In the Fallen series, when working on Luce’s character (right now I’m working on Passion, which is the prequel), Luce’s soul is always the same but her character in each of the lives when she comes back is very, very different. This is because of the way she was raised, where she was brought up, who she met, who she interacted with, and how this all shaped her. When she meets past versions of herself she is alarmed at how different she can be. So that’s something that always fascinated. As for the Nephilim, that’s something I stumbled onto later. As I was doing research for Fallen, I don’t think I’d ever heard of them or knew much about them. Because my series is about an angel choosing love over heaven, obviously there would be some heaven. They play a big part in Torment and the rest of the series.

KML: Why did you choose to write for the YA genre?

LK: That wasn’t really a conscious choice. I’ve been writing short stories since I was seventeen years old. 80 percent of any story or book I try to write has about a seventeen year old girl. I’m not really sure why, it’s a voice that comes naturally to me. When I started writing Fallen, I didn’t know it would be YA. That may have to do with how the publishing market is right now, that it got slotted into a place that I really didn’t know where it would end up as I was writing it.

KML: Do you feel that Luce is living up to your idea of what kind of heroine she should be?

LK: That’s a great question. She’s beginning to. When I first started writing Fallen, I had an idea in my mind about a very different narrator. I wanted to write somebody more like Lyra Belacqua, a great fictional hero of mine. I realized as I was writing it that she couldn’t be quite as self assured as I wanted. She’s going through so much; she had to begin at a very different place than she ends up. She’s going to end up very empowered, enabled, and active. For me, she starts from a very low place. It was a bit of a struggle to write that kind of character but it’s been really rewarding that the further along I get, the more punch I can give her in the upcoming books. Surprisingly, it’s been a lot of fun.

KML: Angels have lived in our mythology throughout human history. What do you find most interesting about angels that make them worth writing?

LK: The reason I like writing about angels is because I also like writing about demons. I really like the dualistic nature of good and evil. Good and evil rely on each other so much and there’s a feeling of interplay between the two of them. One might not be able to exist without the other, what does that say about the relationship between them? We paint them as such opposites, but in the books I’m writing, they really come together and fuse into one another often. The exciting thing is determining ‘what is the nature of good and evil?’ and is it as clear cut as we think it is?

KML: There are several kinds of love that pulse through your novels, there are many levels of love that Luce experiences, as a daughter, friend, and lover. What were you hoping that the reader would understand about love after reading your novels?

LK: That’s another great question. The question I get asked a lot is how do I know if it’s true love and that’s a separate answer from the answer to this question. In this case, what is important about love that I’m trying to show about Luce and Daniel is how enduring it is. It’s really hard for a lot of readers and for me to write, coming into the middle of things. There’s so much back story between these two that the reader isn’t privy to, that Luce isn’t privy to, Daniel doesn’t display in anyway, at least in Fallen and a little bit more so in Torment. I think it’s a stick-to-itiveness that I want to show these characters have for each other because they feel something very deeply though neither of them can understand the complexities of it or the challenges of it, and they persevere. I think that’s a very important element of love, not giving up on someone. As I’ve been writing Passion, in a way it’s the most rewarding to write so far. I get to show why all of this angst and secrecy is worth it. I get to show the true nature of their love. That perseverance is applying to the reader, maybe, trying to get to the point where everything is illuminated.

KML: The marketing campaign for Fallen and Torment is in full swing. I can boast that I own a very slimming Torment T-Shirt (which I love). What can we look forward to as we wait for the third installment of your Fallen series?

LK: Definitely a lot of me on the road. I’ll be traveling to 8 cities in the US in the next 3 weeks. Then I’ll be in the UK for 2 weeks. When I get back, I’ll be doing a lot of local appearances around LA and several throughout the southwest and southeast in the winter. What’s really fun for me is all of the foreign editions of Fallen and now two of Torment that are starting to come out. With each of those there are new teasers and trailers available on my website and Youtube. As you said, the t-shirts are great. I think there’s going to be a lot more of that kind of thing to come in the future.

KML: Can you tell us more about The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove?

LK: That’s my first book. In some ways it’s similar to Fallen. It’s a southern gothic story, set in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s basically a retelling of Macbeth told from Lady Macbeth’s point of view set in a contemporary southern high school. It’s a very saucy tale. Natalie is the opposite of Luce. She’s conniving, knows what she wants, and will stop at nothing to get it. She’s really sharp and funny. It’s a great book. I’m hoping it will get more readers in the wait between Torment and Passion.

KML: Who are your main influences as an author?

LK: My oldest influences are probably F. Scott Fitzgerald (the Great Gatsby is absolute perfection to me, and I love all of his other books too), I love Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Don Delillo, and more recently I’ve been inspired by The Hunger Games. I think Suzanne Collins is incredible. I love Philip Pullman, Frances Hardinge, Maureen Johnson and John Green. I just read a really great book called The Replacements by Brenna Yovanoff. I’m so impressed by her.

KML: Is there anything you’d like to share with your readers that they may not already know?

LK: My complete excitement about Passion. Readers right now haven’t even gotten their hands on Torment but I’m a little bit further down the road and already thinking about how killer this third book is going to be. For anyone who feels that at the end of Torment they have so many more unanswered questions, I promise to deliver in Passion.

KML: Good! I can’t wait.

For all of you psycho-author fans, here’s a copy of the tour schedule. I hope to see some of you out there!

Love Never Dies

Lauren Kate is coming to your area on a 9-city tour!

San Francisco

September 28 @ 6:30 PM

Barnes & Noble

6050 El Cerrito Plaza

El Cerrito, CA 94530

San Francisco

September 29 @ 7:00 PM

Kepler’s Books

1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Seattle

September 30 @ 6:30 PM

University Bookstore

15311 Main Street
Mill Creek, WA 98012

Seattle

October 1 @ 7:00 PM

Borders

16549 Northeast 74th Street
Redmond, WA

Portland

October 2 @ 2:00 PM

Powell’s Books

Cedar Hills Crossing

3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.

Beaverton, OR 97005

Portland

October 2 @ 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble

12000 SE 82nd Avenue

Portland, OR 97266

Los Angeles

October 3 @ 11:00 AM

OC Children’s Book Festival

Atlanta

October 4 @ 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble

Mansell Crossings

Shopping Center

Alpharetta, GA 30022

Atlanta

October 5 @ 7:00 PM

Books- A- Million

5900 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Memphis

October 6 @ 6:00 PM

Davis-Kidd Booksellers

387 Perkins Road Ext

Memphis, TN 38117

Memphis

October 7 @ &:00 PM

Barnes & Noble

2774 N Germantown Parkway

Memphis, TN 38133

Nashville

October 8 @ 4:00 PM

Davis-Kidd Booksellers

212 Green Hills Village Drive

Nashville, TN 37215

Nashville

October 9 @ TBA

Southern Festival of Books

New York

October 11 @ 7:00 PM

Barnes & Noble

91 Old Country Road

Carle Place, NY 11514

New York

October 12 @ 7:00 PM

Borders

1260 Old Country Road
Westbury, NY 11590

Chicago

October 13 @ 7:00 PM

Anderson’s Bookshop

123 West Jefferson Avenue

Naperville, IL 60540

Chicago

October 14 @ 7:00 PM

Borders

1540 E Golf Rd
Schaumburg, IL 60173

Lauren will also be visiting local schools throughout her tour.

For media, contact: Noreen Herits / 212-782-9677 / nherits@randomhouse.com

Or Roshan Nozari / 212-782-9677 / rnozari@randomhouse.com

A great big thanks to Lauren Kate for taking the time to talk to me and to her wonderful publicist, Noreen for setting everything up for me. Don’t forget to check out Lauren Kate’s website! Her books are available at Borders.com.

Happy Reading!

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Herbie Brennan Gives Us Dish

Herbie Brennan has written over a hundred books in science fiction, young adult fiction, children, and nonfiction genres, all of which speak of his interests and his mind. His YA titles are Faerie Wars, The Purple Emperor, Ruler of the Realm, and Faerie Lord; all in the Faerie Wars series. He has also released a mystical James Bond novel for teens called The Shadow Project.

Faerie Wars is about a boy named Henry who is suffering from some family problems– his home is breaking, his father is leaving, and his family doesn’t understand him. The only person who even kind of gets him is good old Mr. Fogarty, the odd old man Henry helps around the house. Alternately, in a parallel but not quite world, there is Pyrgus. He is a bleeding heart prince that can’t stand the sight of anything being intentionally injured. Prince Pyrgus gets off on the wrong foot with an influential member of the Faeries of the Night, forcing his father to send the boy away somewhere safe. Something goes wrong and though Pyrgus was supposed to end up on a secluded island where he can relax in the sun, he winds up in Fogarty’s backyard as a tiny faerie with wings. Henry and Mr. Fogarty get wrapped up in Pyrgus’s world and try to help him get back to where he belongs. Together they must figure out the ulterior motives behind sending Pyrgus off track.

This has been one of my favorite books for years. It was one of the first to get me into fantasy for young adults. Of course, I had been reading Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl. Faerie Wars is what really started it, though. Brennan wasn’t afraid of touching upon themes and ideas that young adults weren’t used to at the time. I almost dropped the book when I found out in the first few chapters that the main character’s mother was having an affair with a woman. I was 14 at the time. Brennan masterfully blended scientific research with fantasy, keeping everything in a realistic light. One thing you’ll notice that I love about Young Adult is when there is honesty in the writing, and that’s what Brennan had. His characters were true to themselves and their hearts, even the villains. I can’t help but to smile when I hold this book in my hands because I know that between the covers there’s a wonderful story waiting to carry me through alternate universes and on a perilous journey. If you like Harry Potter, love Artemis Fowl, then read this series. It will blow you away.

Mr. Brennan gladly took the time to talk to me and give me insight on his experiences as a writer. Luckily, we were able to Skype chat between his sunny Ireland and my cloudy New York.

Kiss My Lit: Where did you get the idea for Pyrgus and his world?

Herbie Brennan: I had no interest whatsoever in Faeries or Faerie mythology. What happened in a nutshell was that a friend of mine that was in the toy business at the time rang me up several years ago and said they were doing some market research, and as far as they could see the coming thing in toys was going to be Faeries. They wanted to do a range of Faerie figures—getting the actual figurines made in America. The big gimmick was that they would have silk wings, butterfly wings. He wanted me to write some booklets to go with the individual figures. I said sure but nothing came out of it. A couple of years later he was over visiting me and I asked him about this old Faerie project. He said “It’s gone onto the back-burner and we’ve gone onto other things. The point of fact is that research we did was rock solid. I’m absolutely convinced that Faeries are going to be the coming thing and you should be writing about Faeries.” And I said “Look, Steve, I have no interest in Faeries in the wide world.” And he said something odd, Mary. He said “What do you know about butterfly names.” I told him that I knew nothing about butterfly names. He said “Humor me. Get yourself a book on butterfly names, and tell me if you don’t think it would make fantastic fantasy characters.” I went out the following day and I bought this guide to butterflies and moths and I leafed through it. He was so right. You’ve got characters like the Purple Emperor and Holly Blue, and even the Latin names were absolutely fantastic. There’s the Pyrgus Melvae, which is the Grisly Skipper. The names started to work in my head. An environment came up around them and the characters came up. I couldn’t let them go. Eventually, I wrote a couple of chapters (I didn’t have a publisher). After 3 or 4 chapters I thought I was wasting too much time on this, I have other projects on hand. I sent it to my agent, and I said “Look, do you think this is worth following through?” She said to me “No, I don’t like this. It’s too separate strands of a story. You’ve got a boy in the human world and he’s got his own particular kitchen sink problems and you’ve got these fantasy characters living in another world. They don’t come together.” So I said “I’ll see if I can bring them together.” And I wrote another 4 chapters, that was 7 chapters in all. I sent them off and didn’t hear from her for months. Suddenly she optioned it. It was on the day of 9/11 and one of the editors was actually stuck in New York and couldn’t get out. He did a deal and I finished the book.

Kiss My Lit:Was Faerie Wars always going to be a series?

Herbie Brennan: When I started it I had no idea it was going to be a series. By the time I finished it, I knew the story wasn’t finished. I wanted to do at least a second book. When I finished Purple Emperor, I knew the story still wasn’t finished. I realized I was into one of these things that go on. I wanted to see what would happen to Henry and Holly. To me the whole series was Henry’s story. I love happy endings and romantic endings. I wanted them to get married and they did eventually.

Kiss My Lit: Do you think you might revisit those characters as adults?

Herbie Brennan: I didn’t when finished fourth book. I thought that’s it, I had enough of Faeries, I’m going on to do something else. I did, in fact, start another series. Then I started getting e-mails from fans saying wait a minute, what happened to Henry and Holly after they got married, and you didn’t tell us what happened to Fogarty, and you didn’t tell us what happened to Pyrgus, and what’s going on about this and what’s going on about that. Eventually I just caved under the pressure. I wrote one more; it’s a thing called Faeman Quest. Faeman being an amalgamation of Faerie and human. That’s coming out next January. Having got that one out of my system, I told the publishers this is definitely a stand-alone thing just to tidy up loose ends. I got an idea for another one about Faeries. This will go on forever.

Kiss My Lit: Will there be The Shadow Project?

Herbie Brennan: There’s one more also coming out in January of next year. There is a second Shadow Project called The Dooms Day Box with the same set up, same characters, with one new major character added. The theme of that one is time travel. I don’t know whether that will go beyond the two books. I was contracted originally for two books in that series. I would imagine that an awful lot of that will depend upon sales if the publisher will come back to me for more.

Kiss My Lit: Why did you blend science fiction and fantasy?

Herbie Brennan: I was brought up on sci-fi, I had never much of a fantasy reader. I absolutely adored science fiction. Occasionally I would come across something that’s a blend of science and fantasy. One that impressed most was The Birthgrave by Tanith Lee. That took you through the whole book thinking you were reading a sort of Sword and sorcery type fantasy, but right at the end twisted the thing and you’ve been reading science fiction. The characters, when they came for Faerie wars, were very much fantasy characters, but my leaning has always been science fiction. I don’t plot my books. I do a synopsis for publishers, and then throw it away. The characters go their own way. End up with books totally different from what I set out to write. They are usually as surprising to me as they are to anyone else.

Kiss My Lit: You’ve written many nonfiction accounts of elements and ideas that many people consider to be science fiction. How is it different exploring those themes as an academic rather than as a fiction writer?

Herbie Brennan: I didn’t start out as a fiction writer, I started out as a factual writer. My very first book was a consequence of a peculiar out-of-body experience I had when I was in my twenties. I was intrigued by that and researched it to discover other people had similar experiences. I produced a book on the subject called Astral Doorways. That was a reflection of what an interest I had. To be honest with you, I tended to write like that for a very long time. I become interested in something, research it, and simply write it. After about three or four published books, my agent got me a commission to write a historical novel. I wrote three historical novels at that time. They didn’t sell particularly well. One of them was quite a good novel, the other two not so good. I went back to nonfiction. I was at that for years and years, and oddly enough the same man who gave me the idea for Faerie Wars years before rang me up one day and said “Have you ever heard of Game books?” and I said no. He went on to say “You should have a look at this, there’s a couple of writers that put together something called Warlock of Firetop Mountain and it’s a game book based on a sort of dungeons and dragons type of approach. It’s a very good idea, but it’s not particularly well written. You could do better.” And I went out and got a copy. I thought great idea, I think I could probably write it a little bit better. I sat down and I started writing GrailQuest. That’s been my biggest seller ever. It ran into millions internationally. What this comes down to is these things grow on me organically rather in any planned way. Developing things factually, to me, is exploring ideas. Developing the same things fictionally is just another way of exploring ideas. I have noticed, and I was fascinated by, people pay far more attention to an idea you put forward as fiction than an idea you put forward as fact with scientific research.

Kiss My Lit: Do you have any upcoming projects?

Herbie Brennan: There’s nothing literally in the pipeline. I’ve got three proposals going out. Literally any day now my agent is en route to New York, you might bump into her on the street. Hopefully might strum up a bit of business there. At the moment I’m sitting in the sunshine in Ireland without a cloud in the sky, doing absolutely nothing.

Kiss My Lit: Who was your favorite character to write?

Herbie Brennan: Henry. Very closely followed by Mr. Fogarty. I love Fogarty, I thought he was absolutely gorgeous. I wish they’d make a movie because I’d love to see him on-screen.

Kiss My Lit: So what are you reading now?

Herbie Brennan: I’m reading Scarlett Thomas’s Our Tragic Universe. I read her first novel called The End of Mr. Y, I thought it was absolutely fascinating. When this one came out I grabbed it and I’m enjoying it hugely.

Kiss My Lit: You’ve written endless numbers of titles for nonfiction, adult fiction, and young adult. Which is your favorite genre?

Herbie Brennan: I think Young Adult. I can relax into it more. I endlessly fight with publishers about content of YA books. Publishers have this feeling that young adults should be treated as children and I feel they should be treated as adults. If I’m absolutely honest, I don’t think I’ve ever grown up properly. My mind runs along the same lines as it did when I was eighteen which is a very long time ago now, but it hasn’t changed a great deal. I like writing for youngsters, but only up to a point. It’s like eating chocolate, if you eat too much it sort of palls on you eventually. But up to that point I do enjoy writing for kids because you can be silly. With young adults you can explore ideas that an older generation of readers just isn’t interested in. I find that intriguing. Even though I happen to be reading Scarlett Thomas at the moment (and she’s an ideas writer), I find that when I want to find really stimulating ideas, I go to young adult authors. I just think that there are much more interesting ideas coming up in young adult literature now than in more serious adult literature.

Kiss My Lit: Can you tell me a little bit about the Servants of Light and how your affiliation influenced your writing?

Herbie Brennan: I’m not a member of the Servants of the Light. I’m terribly friendly with the woman who runs the organization. When I was in my mid teens and early twenties, I underwent magical training for about nine years. The first four years was with a very sober organization called the Society of the Inner Light, which is part of the Dawn Tradition. I joined the Society, but left soon afterward because I felt it was turning into a sort of religious group, which I have no hassle with. I just wasn’t interested in joining a religion. I was far more interested in magical practice. I discovered then a program called Helios which was written and run by some former members of the Society of the Inner light. Helios just concentrated on magical training, so I trained in that for five years. I left the training aspect. Helios then turned itself into the Servants of the Light. The original founder of Helios, Ernest Butler, God love him, died. He was diabetic and lost both his legs before he died. Absolutely tragic end. When he died, the organization was taken over by a woman named Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki. Dolores wrote to me a few years afterward because she read a few of my esoteric books. We became friendly and remained close friends ever since. I give talks to them occasionally; a lot of them think I’m a member. The influence… I don’t know. There obviously must be an influence. The training I had was cabalistic. That certainly sends your mind in particular directions. It wasn’t a question of becoming interested in the subject because I was involved with these organizations. It was a question of becoming involved with these organizations because of my interest in the subject. I’ve been interested in magic since I was a child. I’ve been interested in hypnosis, I hypnotized my first subject when I was nine years old. I have been interested in spirituality, yoga, Indian, Oriental mysticism from my early teens. When you have these interests, you tend to follow them through which is what I did. I think the interests are certainly present in my books. All you have to do is look at the list of titles and you see it’s spread all over. All you have to do is pick up Faerie Wars and you see it all over the text. I am interested in magic, I’m interested in mysticism, and I’m interested in science. That comes through as well.

Kiss My Lit: I read that there was some movie interest in Faerie Wars, did that pan out?

Herbie Brennan: It did and it didn’t. I don’t know if you know anything about the movie business, andI certainly didn’t until Faerie Wars. What they do is if they’re interested in your book, they take out an option. That means they pay you money and you aren’t allowed to sell it to any other studio or movie maker until the option runs out. They are on their second option at the moment, each option running for three years, I think. Or 18 months, I can’t remember. At the moment there is no actual sign of them making the movie. It looked very hopeful a year ago. When the recession hit, I think they were trenching. Movies take such astonishing amounts of money. You can see that you have to be extraordinarily careful if you’re going to make one. If you write a book that doesn’t succeed, you just lost a bit of time. If you make a movie that doesn’t succeed, you lose millions and your career comes to a screeching halt. I can’t say I blame them. There’s also been a bit of movie interest in The Shadow Project. They’ve got a Hollywood producer who is at the moment talking to studios about the possibility of funding. But it hasn’t gotten as far as the option stage yet.

Kiss My Lit: Is there anything you’d like your readers to know?

Herbie Brennan: I’d like them to know I love them.

I’d like to thank Mr. Brennan again for giving me his time and talking to me about his career and upcoming projects. Show him some love at his website, check out Herbie Brennan’s Bookshelf to learn more about him and his work. Don’t forget to check out his books for sale here.

Zinc May Not be Magnetic, but Zink is!

Today I had the privilege to have a chat with the author of Prophecy of the Sisters, Michelle Zink. She’s a New York mom with a lot of spunk and energy.

Prophecy of the SistersThis novel begins with a rainy day and a funeral, setting the mood for the rest of the novel. Sadness is there, even when there is love and passion. Siblings Lia and Alice stand on opposite sides of a prophecy, of a war that stretches back through their ancestry. But are the roles they were built for the roles they intend to play? The eerie language held me captivated throughout the entire novel. The magic within the novel was not overdone, it was subtle and felt new. Zink has an understanding of myths and it shows throughout her writing. Wives tales that we have grown up with are there in the underbelly of her haunting series. Next to be released is Guardian of the Gate.

Kiss My Lit says: Hello Mrs. Zink, how are you today?

Michelle Zink says: Hi, Mary!

Michelle Zink says: I’m good! How are you? And you can call me Michelle or MZ if you want! ❤

Kiss My Lit says: Heh, thanks. I’m pretty good, glad that I was able to steal my parents’ internet.

Michelle Zink says: Me, too! I’m glad I was able to get my grocery shopping done on time! 😀

Kiss My Lit says: Hooray!

Michelle Zink says: So you can just feel free to ask away!

Kiss My Lit says: Well, what attracted you to the Young Adult genre?

Michelle Zink says: I always feel like it picked me! I think everyone has an age that they are perpetually stuck at (at least in their own mind). For me, it’s about nineteen. It’s such a magical, terrifying, exhilarating time of life!  I remember being a teenager so vividly, and I still love reading about that time of life. The fact that I have tremendous admiration for teens – for their enthusiasm and passion and open-mindedness – just makes the chance to connect with them an added bonus!

Kiss My Lit says: It’s great you feel that way, what do you think about adult fiction writers that are jumping on the Young Adult bandwagon?

Michelle Zink says: I think anything that contributes to the collective repository of reading material – especially for teens – is a good thing! I also think having writers come to YA from other genres increases our likelihood of seeing fresh story lines. Sometimes YA can start to feel derivative. Like everyone’s basically writing the same thing with different names and places. It’s very possible adult fiction writers can bring something new to the table. In fact, I’ve read less YA since I’ve been writing, because that I worry about someone else’s story or voice creeping into my own work. Also, I’m oddly inspired to create fresh YA stories after reading adult ones!

Kiss My Lit says: So you have three kids, how do you feel about what they’re reading in school? Is there anything you’d suggest?

Michelle Zink says: Actually, I have four! Honestly, they don’t read much in school that is inspiring. Especially at the high school level, I wish they’d rethink some of the work they assign. I don’t think it speaks to the modern teenager, and while I see the merit in introducing young readers to the classics, I sometimes think it comes at the cost of turning off far more teens to reading in general. As for recommended reading, my youngest daughter (10) is totally infatuated with the MG series, Warriors. My 13 YO son really enjoy Star Wars fan fiction and the Rangers Apprentice series. My oldest daughter (15) is a girl after my own heart. She loves Graceling, White Oleander (a MUST read for college students it if you haven’t read it – the movie doesn’t count!) and anything by Tamora Pierce or Ellen Hopkins. Unfortunately, my musician son, who is almost 18, doesn’t read as much as he used to. That said, his very favorite is Catcher in the Rye, and he does read Star Wars fan fiction a lot. He’s more of a movie buff, though!

Kiss My Lit says: Graceling was awesome. Has she read Fire yet? Cashore made me cry.

Michelle Zink says: She did! And she loved it every bit as much! Believe it or not, I’m JUST finishing Graceling now. I’ve owned it for so long, but it took me this long to get to it!

Kiss My Lit says: I recommend it a lot, Katsa is way too strong a character to not introduce to young girls. What other books have you read recently?

Michelle Zink says: I adored Incarceron by Catherine Fisher and Finnikin of the Rock by Mellina Marchetta. ADORED! Both flawless novels, in my opinion. I do have a fondness for adult literature, though, and I highly recommend Shadow of the Wind and The Angels Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (very dark and Gothic) and anything by Sarah Waters (especially Fingersmith and The Little Stranger). Both authors are beyond brilliant.

Kiss My Lit says: I understand writing wasn’t always your career choice, what was your first career?

Michelle Zink says: My first career was in sales and marketing. I got into it as a way to face my fear, because I’m terribly anxious and shy and self-conscious in front of people. You know how people say “everything happens for a reason”? Well, they’re right! All those years in sales and marketing, going to trade shows, giving presentations, leading client meetings, etc., forced me to learn how to fake confidence. It comes in handy on tour, believe me!

Kiss My Lit says: I do believe you. I started reciting poetry competitively just so I can tolerate having the attention of more than ten people at a time. How did your family feel about your switch in career?

Michelle Zink says: They were very supportive. My kids, especially, always believed in me. When I would feel financially desperate and say, “I should probably just go back to work,” they’d say, “No. You should keep writing.” I don’t think my then-husband was happy to lose my income. But that would be one of the many reasons he’s my then-husband. 😉

Kiss My Lit says: Nonfiction. I personally think you made a good choice.

Kiss My Lit says: What myths inspired you when working on Prophecy of the Sisters?

Michelle Zink says: The biggest is the biblical legend of the Watchers. They were angels sent to watch over mankind, but they fell in love with mortal women and were banished from heaven. After that, they were known as the Lost Souls. The entire Prophecy mythos is based on that legend, and almost all of my books are based on real legends and myths.

Kiss My Lit says: And do you think your series is going in the right direction?

Michelle Zink says: Well, it’s completely finished now as I just last week turned in my final edits to book three. I always feel like the story already exists somewhere, and it’s really just my job to channel it correctly. When I try to impose my own will on the story, it feels wrong, off, to me. Which is why I don’t do it! LOL! Because of this, Prophecy feel like it came full circle for me. I hope it feels that way for readers, too.

Kiss My Lit says: What experiences have you gained since the publication of Prophecy?

Michelle Zink says: Oh, man! That’s a loaded question! So much! Just the experience of seeing a piece of my creative soul go out into the world has been fraught with wonder and joy and fear. I’ve become a much better writer through the opportunity to work closely with my editor on three books. This is an added bonus to publication that no one talks about but that is not to be underestimated. Most importantly, I’ve connected with so many amazing readers and writers from all over the world (the Prophecy series is published in over 25 countries).

Kiss My Lit says: Wow, that’s incredible. I think it’s great that you feel so open with your fans, too. Do you think that having that openness helps you with your writing?

Michelle Zink says: Actually, it can HURT the writing. That’s because it’s hard to tune out all the amazing readers who love Prophecy and have their own ideas about how things should go. When I was writing books two and three, I’d hear their voices in my head. “Will Sonia get a boyfriend? I really want Sonia to have a boyfriend!” Will Alice stay evil?” “What about James? I want to see more of James!” Lol! I have to make a concerted effort to listen to the story, because it’s not going to be as fulfilling for the reader if I don’t do that. But having a direct relationship with my readers HAS had a positive impact on my life in so many ways. It’s wonderful to connect with such passionate readers and it’s an honor to know that they feel that way about my work.

Kiss My Lit says: Speaking of readers, I have two blog followers who asked me to pass along a couple of questions. Matt would like to know: What is your most memorable piece of writing from when you were in school?

Michelle Zink says: Aw, you asked your blog readers for question?! How did I miss that in my Google Alert? That’s a great idea! I don’t really have one piece of writing that stood out for me. I was always tinkering. Playing with short stories and angsty poetry! I think tinkering is underrated as an improvement device for writers!

Kiss My Lit says: Ha ha, true. I actually posted on my fan page, and then my phone auto-corrected your name to Sink. It made me sad.

Kiss My Lit says: Andrew asks: When drawing inspiration from real people, how much of a character comes from that person rather than from her imagination?

Michelle Zink says: I’m sorry I didn’t see that! I try to comment when bloggers post about me or my work. 😦 But I understand, because my phone still auto-corrects “MZ” to “MS”. Lol! As for Andrew’s question, very few of my characters are inspired by real people. They come to life almost fully formed for me, and I fill in the details based on what will serve the story.

Kiss My Lit says: Another one popped up, Liz would like to know if it is more satisfying to hand write the story or would you rather type it?

Michelle Zink says: I always type because I can move faster that way and I’m very strict about the amount of work I expect from myself. When I’m drafting a new book, I usually write it in under three months. That would be tough to do if I had to handwrite and then type it up. Plus, typing is now second nature to me, and my thoughts come much more smoothly at the keyboard than they do at the page!

Kiss My Lit says: What’s your best advice for writers just starting out?

Michelle Zink says: Finish something. I know it sounds simple, but we writers are famous for our infatuation with shiny new ideas. We tend to work on something for a while until it gets tough or boring. Then we abandon ship and start something new. But you will never be a published writer if you don’t finish something, and you will never learn as much from any conference, mentor, class, or how-to book as you will through the process of starting and completing an entire book.

Kiss My Lit says: Simple, yet effective. Thank you so much for all your time. I have two last questions, though. What is the exact release date of Guardian of the Gate and is there anything you’d like to share with readers?

Michelle Zink says: It’s totally been my pleasure, Mary! Thank YOU for taking the time to speak with ME! Guardian of the Gate releases August 1st, and I hope to announce a new series sometime this year. Stay tuned…

Michelle Zink has her very own blog! You should check it out and leave her comments. Her newest book (Guardian of the Gate)  is already available for preorder at book sellers such as Borders and Amazon.

Happy reading!