Interview with Author Kelley Armstrong

Filed in Interview , Kelley Armstrong , The Charmed Lover , The Latin Lover Posted on April 13, 2011 @ 8:45 am 6 comments

Today we are extremely happy to welcome Kelley Armstrong to Book Lovers Inc!

Those who are new to the urban fantasy genre could not ask for a better introduction to the genre than Kelley’s Women of the Otherworld series! It is fast paced, full of lush worldbuilding details, three dimensional characters and lots and lots of humour. If I had to choose only one urban fantasy series I could take on a desert island, it is no secret the Women of the Otherworld series would be the one in my bag (and of course the fact that there is more than 12 novels in it isn’t irrelevant either ;-p lol). But to those who are seasoned UF fans I’m sure Kelley needs no introduction. Pick up one of her novels, and let the book speak for itself. Anyway, please give the warmest welcome to Kelley and step into her world! 

BLI: Kelley can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Kelley: I’m the author of the NYT-bestselling “Women of the Otherworld” paranormal suspense series and “Darkest Powers” young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. I grew up in Southwestern Ontario, where I still live with my family. I’m a former computer programmer, who’s escaped my corporate cubicle and hopes never to return.

BLI: Describe a typical day of writing? Are you a planner or pantser?

Kelley: A typical writing day starts at about 5:30. I work until I get my kids up, then send them off on the bus at 7:30. I usually write most of the morning and into the early afternoon, then spend the rest of the afternoon doing business stuff. I stop when the kids return…or try to, sometimes returning later in the evening if I need to catch up. I’m 60% plotter, 40% pantser. It really depends on the project and how far I am into a project—I plan much more at the beginning than at the end.
BLI: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?

Kelley: A reader is someone who enjoys books as one of many forms of entertainment. For a book lover, reading is their favourite form of entertainment. A reader is just as likely to sit down and turn on the TV or computer game. A book lover only choose that when their TBR pile is running low…or their eyes hurt from reading all night 🙂

BLI: How did you come up with the relationship dynamic for Elena and Clay it is so different from others that we see in urban fantasy in its passion yet tendency for arguments and in the way that Elena herself says that she never tells Clay that she loves him?

Kelley: It wasn’t really an intentional choice. The characters came first and when I started Bitten, I didn’t think they’d end up together—Elena would come to terms with being a werewolf, but not with being Clay’s mate. As the book progressed, I realized they would come together, but uneasily, and it would be an uneasy alliance for a long time. That’s been part of my ongoing fascination with writing these characters. There’s no happily-ever-after right away. With each book, Elena comes a little closer to it, step by slow step, as she releases the past.
BLI: You chose to write the Women of the Otherworld with different leads for each book. As I recall, you wanted to write the series that way, to help you stay fresh and not get bored. But, do you find it difficult to switch voices so often? Do you ever wish that you had stayed with just one voice/character?
Kelley: When I was asked to consider turning it into a series, I discussed it with my agent and said I didn’t want to do a long series revolving around the characters of Bitten. I love them, it would get very repetitive very fast. So we came up with the idea of the wider supernatural world, and creating characters in Stolen I could spin off to as narrators. That has meant infinite possibilities for the series and I’ve never regretted it. When I started writing YA, I knew I’d do the same thing, and I am (even if readers are not quite so thrilled by the prospect!)

BLI: You use facebook and twitter as well as your website and discussion forum to keep in touch with your readers. Do you think it’s necessary now for an author to be active on social media in order to be successful?

Kelley: I think authors should be aware of all the various ways they can promote their books using social media, try as many as they can, and stick with the ones they find both effective and enjoyable. For example, I don’t blog because I can’t help but think of a blog as “500 words I could have used telling a story.” Twitter works much better for me. But I’d never say authors must use Twitter, because if they don’t like it, their discomfort with the medium will show.

BLI: Talking about Twitter, could you summarize The Gathering for us Twitter Style (140characters or less)?

Kelley: When 16-yr-old Maya investigates her best friend’s mysterious death, she discovers the unsettling truth about her own paw-print birthmark.

The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3)BLI: Your teen daughter helps you with your YA books, proofreading and correcting your slang. Do you think they would be as good without her input? What does she think of your books?

Kelley: I don’t think I would have ever had the courage to write YA without having her there as a safety net. I remember reading teen books where the author was so obviously over 40, trying to sound 16. I needed her there to tell me when I fell into that trap, and she did.
My daughter (18) has read all my work and admits she was happy when I started writing for teens a few years ago, so she could recommend my books to friends instead of mumbling something about them being “very adult.”

BLI: What can we expect of The Gathering?

Kelley: Like the first trilogy—the Darkest Powers—it’s set in the Otherworld, but with no overlap of characters. This particular novel has all new characters (i.e. not even any from The Darkest Powers) Like most of my work, the emphasis is on mystery, action and adventure, with a romantic subplot.

BLI: What can you tell us about Maya, the narrator of The Gathering? What makes her tick?

Kelley: Maya is sixteen years old and lives in a very small town on Vancouver Island—it’s a privately owned community centered around a medical research lab. Her dad is the park ranger and she’s a nature girl. She loves rock climbing and hiking and rehabilitates wounded animals. A natural leader, she’s forthright and headstrong, sometimes a little too much of both as she’ll discover.

BLI: Will there be more books in this series? What is next on your schedule?

Kelley: I’m starting the last book of my second YA trilogy. The first doesn’t come out until April 2011 and the second is going through edits. Yes, I’m always working this far ahead! I’m contracted through nine in the series so far.

The Awakening (Darkest Powers)BLI: Will the characters in your YA books ever become part of the Otherworld series, or stay separate?

Kelley: There’s a bit of plot overlap between book 2–The Awakening–of the Darkest Powers and book 10–Frostbitten–of the Otherworld. But I need to avoid too much overlap because it would ruin the YA series. That one is all about teens learning to handle their powers, and if they suddenly met the characters of the Otherworld, they’d have the grownups to teach them and protect them, and there’d be no plot for the YA books!

Made to Be Broken (Nadia Stafford, Book 2)Exit Strategy (Nadia Stafford Series, Book 1)BLI: You have written several mystery thriller, crime and horror short stories, do you think you might someday write a book in those genres?

Kelley: I have two mystery/thriller novels out—Exit Strategy and Made to be Broken, both starring Nadia Stafford, an ex-cop turned hit-woman.

BLI: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your books?

Kelley: Oh God, I’m so bad at this. Seriously. It reminds me of those god-awful early signings where I’d sit alone at a table, helping people find the restrooms. Every so often someone would walk up and say “Tell me why I should buy your book?” and I’d choke. But I did develop a few answers. Here’s 3:
“You shouldn’t buy my books. You should get a couple from the library and see if you like them first. Just don’t tell my publisher I said that.”
“I write thrillers. People die in my books. Lots of them. As long as I can keep writing about it, the world is a safer place.”
“It gives me a reason to keep living.” This one works really well…if I can say it with a straight face 🙂BLI: Thank you Kelley for stopping by, and as I said before: if you haven’t read a Kelley Armstrong book yet, now is the time to pick it up and add it to that TBR pile, you’ll thank me 😉

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • LSUReader April 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for a nice interview with one of my favorite authors. Kelley's Women of the Otherworld series is special.

  • suzi1811 April 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Loved the interview! I'm a massive Kelley fan! She's one of my very favourite authors, like you I'd be taking Kelley's book's with me onto a deserted island! Espeacially loved Kelley summarizing 'The Gathering' in twitter format! Not an easy thing to do!

  • Deea April 13, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Yay, great interview! I loved the Darkest Powers and I'm really excited about The Gathering! And I keep trying to make myself read Women of the Otherworld, but the idea of 11+ books scares me off every time.*sigh* But I love series that has different leads for each book.;)
    Thanks for the interview ladies, Kelly seems a very cool, down to earth writer!:)

  • Bea April 13, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I don't which I love more – Kelley or her books 😀 Her WotO books and her YA books would def go with me to a deserted island.

  • JessS April 13, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Awesome, I love Kelley Armstrong's books, although I really want a third Nadia Stafford.

  • Stella (Ex Libris) April 14, 2011 at 6:07 am

    @LSUReader: Oh yes, they sure are special, aren't they? I fell in love with Kelley's WotO series and thanks to it the UF genre, since then I've read her Nadia Stafford novels, which I loved also (and can't wait for more!!), I only have her YA novels on my TBR list and her newer WotO novels 🙂

    @suzi1811: Yay, another desert island-Kelly fan! 😀 good to know! lol

    @Deea: Don't be daunted by how many books there are in the series, you can spread them out: read 2-3 per year (though once you start don't know how you'll be able to stop ;-p)

    @JessS: YES! I also want more Nadia Stafford novels, they are wonderful, they should get more recognition!

    Kelley, when can we expect to read about the latest adventure of Nadia and Jack?

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