Friday, November 6, 2015

Author Interview: Kerr-Ann Dempster

 Why do you write Young Adult Novels?
 Because at 30 years old, I still read YA novels. Being an adult is tons of fun, but it

comes with immense responsibilities. Also, as an adult, I don’t have many firsts left to enjoy. Writing and reading YA brings back fond memories that bill-paying and gray hairs have caused me to forget. Plus, let’s face it, the stories are more authentic and interesting than the ones I read as a teen. Don’t get me wrong. I loved Sweet Valley High and The Hardy Boys, but I would have killed for some Harry Potter and Beautiful Creatures. I was raised in a strict household and fantasy novels were a big no-no. 
Now, I gobble them up and churn them out every chance I get.

As both a writer and reader, what do you want to see more of?
Authenticity. We’ve come a long way, but I’m sick of vampires and witches. As a writer, I try to come up with new creatures or put a fresh spin on what’s been done before. Changing the back story is not enough. Writers need to recognize that readers are hungry for new stories that explore new ideas and new obstacles. We have to risk it all and throw out the usual tropes and scare ourselves and readers a bit with new stories. It isn’t easy, of course. I’ve fallen victim to it myself, but I am fighting to be authentic. I’m taking more risks and I’m liking the payoff.

How do you get inspired?
I’ve always lived in two worlds. The real world and the one I created in my head. I skipped my way through childhood, living in the stories I dreamt up and hosting Q & A’s with my favorite characters. It went on for weeks at a time. When I grew up, it didn’t stop. I used to think it made me a weirdo, but with time I understood these stories were meant to be written down and shared.
*I’ve been told my status as a weirdo is still up for discussions. 

 Could you talk a bit about your writing process?
I love writing. I also love notebooks. The two go hand-in-hand when I’m starting a story. I jot every thing down. Every sentence and dialogue that pops into my head. Every character quirk and attribute. I keep a second notebook for the plot. After
doing that, I try to look at it as a reader would. What do I need to know about this story’s world to make me feel like i’m apart of it? Which characters should I identity with? Which plot twists will I expect? (Those are the first ones I cut.)
The next step is outlining. I use a combination of a notepad, Pinterest, and software to map the story and build a timeline. Timelines always trip me up when writing. I have to go over them repeatedly.
Then, I begin writing. At the moment, I am experimenting with writing my first drafts in 3 months as the author, Stephen King advises. In the past, it took me six-eight months because the first few chapters are the hardest for me. We’ll see how that goes. I never share my story before the first draft is complete. It’s for the best because first drafts are usually crappy, repetitive, and inconsistent. The story doesn’t come together until the second draft.
The second draft gets sent to a developmental editor and then revised and presented to beta readers. I never skip the beta readers. They spot things even an editor misses. I would be lost without them.

Tell us about your current project.
I’m currently working on The Reluctant Huntress. It follows Morgan, the sister of the main character in The Reluctant Sacrifice (TRS). She is the most hated and misunderstood character in TRS. Her story will shock those who hate her and force them to see her actions in a different light. The fun thing is that the books can be read in any order the reader chooses, which means you will end up hating the main character from each book because everyone is the hero of their own story.
Since this novel takes place in Landon, fans of the TRS will get to see more world building as I take them deeper into the magical Aramithian community. (A novella will is also planned to tie the series together).

One surprising thing about me:
I used to be a Flight Attendant. Most people are baffled by this because I’m incredibly shy. I become hot in the cheeks and everything. For some reason putting on that polyester uniform turned me into a smiling-strutting-no-nonsense version of myself. I

got a kick out of it. Then I’d go home, take it off and I’d be me again. It used to freak people out.

If you could be a character in any book, who would you be?
 be Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I’m slowly reading through this series and I am fascinated by her story. Laini Taylor has written Karou with so much depth and angles that I can’t get enough of her. She is fierce but gentle. I find her love for the Chimera race admirable, since she loved them before she knew her past. I can’t wait to see how her story continues.

 Three books to take into the afterlife? What? Only three ... you’re killing me here.
  1. Angefall by Susan Ee. Because what if the angels in heaven are as corrupt up as Ee writes them? Penryn is a bad-ass. I’d want some ideas for surviving.
  2. When Heaven Weeps by Ted Dekker. He is the best male writer I’ve ever read. I buy just about everything he writes. Everything.
  3. The Hobbit. It’s a long, glorious read that will help me past the time. Plus, you know. It’s awesome.
You’re stuck in an elevator, which 5 book boyfriends do you want for company?

  1. Joe Hardy from The Hardy Boys. What can I say? A girl never gets over her first book-boyfriend.
  2. Ren from Wicked. If you have to ask why, then you should read the book. I’d wrestle Ivy for a chance with this dude. Just saying.
  3. Edward Cullen form Twilight. Because I’d still like to hear his perspective on the whole stalking situation, and it’s obvious Stephanie Meyer isn’t publishing Midnight Sun. Plus, I’d like to see the look on his face when he hears he’s now Edythe in the gender-swapping remake.
  4. Harry Potter. I’ll need someone to put a binding spell on Edward when he gets thirsty and decides to tap a vein
  5. Coy Brady. He’s from my novel, The Reluctant Sacrifice. Honestly, he was so much fun to write and interact with (in my head), that I would love more time with him. Plus, you know "muscles plus accent equals chew-your-arm-off hot.” 

About the book:
Centuries ago, sibling rivalry tore Aramith apart. As punishment, the losers were stripped of their immortal birthright and banished to Earth. There, they wasted away from old age and diseases. However, there is hope… 
    If a Shaw child, born on the 12th day of the 12th month offers her soul in a public sacrifice, then the exiles will be forgiven and welcomed home to Aramith. 
    Aubrey Shaw is that child, but dying for the exiles is not on her to-do list. Using her gift as a Jumper, Aubrey leaps between bodies to escape relentless shape-shifting hunters. Only, shedding her skin is not enough. Not when Joshua, her best-friend-turned-hunter, is hell-bent on dragging her to the altar. 
      Will Aubrey’s love for Joshua change his mind? 
        Or, will she have to trust the scarred stranger who shows up out of the blue cloaked in lies and secrets? Doing so means giving up on Joshua. But betting on Joshua's love could do more than break her heart.

        It could kill her.
          The Reluctant Sacrifice on Amazon

          Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases.

          1 comment:

          I love comments, and I will definitely read anything that is left here. Don't be shy, I'd love to know what you are thinking!