Today, I want to share with you my interview with Kelly author of the amazing YA paranormal novel, (with mythology!!!) Touch of Death that releases on January 15th through Spencer Hill Press!
Hi I’m Kelly!
I tend to focus on young adult novels, but I also write middle grade and picture books. I’m a former middle school language arts teacher turned author and freelance editor. I’m represented by Lauren Hammond of ADA management, and I’m the mother of an adorable five-year-old girl.
Touch of Death is the story of Jodi Marshall, a descendent of Medusa. She’s part human, part Gorgon and has the ability to bring the dead back to life. Unfortunately, she’s also poisonous to humans and Hades is gunning for her.
What is your favorite place to write?
I write at my dining room table or on the couch. I don’t really care where I am, as long as I have my laptop.
What is the first story you remember writing?
I was in middle school, and I wrote a novel about a planned shark attack. Yes, it was as bad as it sounds.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I couldn’t openly call myself a writer until I got my first short story publication. I was too scared before that. I think I thought I’d jinx myself or something.
If you could be any character from a book, movie, play, or musical who would it be and why?
This is tough. I love paranormal and I’d love to have some superhuman powers, so I’d probably go with Sophie from Hex Hall.
What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received?
Not to be married to my words. I used to be so afraid of the delete key. It can be your best friend sometimes. I’ve rewritten many novels, and it was always worth it in the end.
How do you overcome “writer’s block” ?
I’ve learned to write whatever comes to my mind. Sometimes I jump ahead to the climax because it’s exciting and it gets my creativity flowing again. Other times, I work on something else. As long as I’m writing, I don’t care what I’m writing or if it’s in order.
Are you a full time writer…why/why not?
Yes. Thankfully, I have a supportive husband who works long hours so I can stay home and write.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee, but I love tea, too.
Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know?
I’m really competitive! I sent more than a few people and myself to the nurse during gym class in high school. I like to win. 😉
Necromancy is a paranormal “type” while popular in the adult realm, ex. Anita Blake Series, Kate Daniels Series, is only recently popular in YA with Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series.
Why did you decide to have your main character be a necromancer? How do her “struggles” relate to everyday teen “struggles”?
Jodi is a different kind of necromancer because in addition to raising the dead, she’s deadly to humans. I thought that would give her a much harder time. She struggles to hold on to the people and life she’s always loved. She doesn’t really fit in with humans and because she’s part human, she doesn’t really fit in with the other necromancers in the book, either. She has to find herself and come to terms with who she is. I think that’s something all teens can relate to.
So , Touch of Death has quite a few mythological elements, what are some ways you stayed true to the myths while still creating your own story?
I used lesser-known myths in this book, so you’ll see Medusa portrayed as extremely beautiful and very motherly. That’s the way I picture her in my mind, but it’s different from the way she’s usually portrayed.
What was the publishing process like for you?
My agent actually got me requests for this book before I wrote it, so it was a little crazy—but in a good way. The requests were great motivation. After I signed with Spencer Hill Press, I was blown away by how much they made me feel like family. Everyone is so supportive, and they really care about their authors. I was included in the cover design, promotional materials, and pretty much everything else along the way. I couldn’t be happier about being with them.
What is some advice you would impart to writers who wish to be published?
Read as much as you can. I learned so much from reading books by my favorite authors. If you want to know what sells and what works for your target audience, study great books. It’s fun research!
If you could have breakfast with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and what would you eat?
I always go for mythical people. LOL. I’d love to sit down with Hades. In my mind, he’s one sexy god. But I don’t think I’d eat because eating food in the underworld never leads to anything good. 😉
What is your favorite movie(s)?
Dead Poets Society. It makes me cry every time.
If you had/have an animal spirit which animal(s) would it be…why?
Can it be mythical? I’d choose the Phoenix. They can be reborn, and I think I’ve had to allow myself to do the same a few times in my life. People have to change to adapt to life’s circumstances.
What is your favorite childhood book and/or author?
I loved R.L. Stine when I was growing up, especially his Fear Street books.
What is the next book you want to write?
Actually, I want to write the sequel to Into the Fire, which is the first book in a YA series about Phoenixes.
Imagine you are writing your memoir…what is its title?
If You Aren’t Weird, You’re Boring
–Thank you so much for having me. I hope you enjoy living in Jodi’s world for a while.
Thank you, Kelly! I think teens can indeed relate to Jodi’s struggles, at least I did. It was great having you; I can’t wait to read more of Jodi’s adventures and other writing from you 🙂
Look for my review of Touch of Death today at 12pm EST! (link will not work until 12pm EST)