Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Interview & Giveaway with Author Kelly Gay!

I'll announce the winner in a bit! Stay tuned!

Hi all! It is a giveaway FESTIVAL here. So let's dive in to an interview with Enchanting Urban Fantasy Author Kelly Gay, who stopped by to tell us about her debut novel (on shelves now!), THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS. We're also giving away a signed copy!

Susan: Hi Kelly! First, congratulations on the release of your first book! How's it feel so far?

Kelly: Thanks Susan! And thanks for having me on your blog! My book being ‘out there’ in the world feels awesome, scary, exciting, surreal… you name it. A book debut fits that whole rollercoaster analogy incredibly well. 

Susan: I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy yet (I will, ASAP!), so could you tell us a bit about the story?

Kelly: Sure. The book is set in Atlanta about a decade after the discovery of heaven-like Elysia and hellish Charbydon, two alternate dimensions, which are home to beings that inspired our myths of angels, demons, gods, and monsters. Now they live among us, and it’s Charlie Madigan’s job to police the off-world sector and keep the peace, but when a new off-world drug is released, an ancient threat emerges, and her ex-husband makes a terrible bargain to win her back, there’s nothing in heaven, or hell, for that matter, that Charlie won’t do to set things right.

Susan: Charbydon and Elysia…aha. A student of the classics, eh? Can you talk about how classic mythology shaped the world you created? How have you diverged?

Kelly: Yeah. I’m a sucker for all things ancient and classical. I was reading Herodotus when I was ten years old. The Histories is still one of my all time favorite reads.

I really wanted to base my world on the ‘what if?’ questions I always had when reading mythology. What if some of these myths were based in obscure ancient truths and these truths were passed down, generation after generation, traveling across cultures until they became the foundations of many different civilization’s myths? Myths diverged, became different, expounded upon, but what if originally they’d been based in fact, in early man’s sightings, in visitations, in the meddling of Elysians and Charbydons in our early history? That question is answered in my fictional world and in the city of Atlanta. The Elysians and Charbydons have been visiting our world for eons, meddling, using our world as a neutral ground and sometimes as a battleground. And now that science has discovered the existence of these dimensions from which they hail, they can no longer hide, they had to come out and admit their presence. Each being in these worlds inspired different myths. The nymphs of Elysia along with the sidhĂ© fae and the darkling fae from Charbydon inspired some of the Celtic myths. The angelic-looking Adonai and sirens inspired tales of angels. The jinn, demons, and so on…  

Susan: I'm fascinated with the idea of an urban fantasy heroine who's also a single mother (I love Vicki Pettersson's take on that too, but I'm sure it's very different). Can you talk about the balance she has to strike? How has your experience as a mother influenced that part of the story?

Kelly: Ooh a Vicki Pettersson fan? Me too! LOL. But, yeah, mine takes a totally different path to motherhood. The thing that makes Charlie who she is at the start of BPOD is that fact that her personal life has been very much like someone you might know; someone who has gone through school, gotten married to their high school or college sweetheart, had a child early on, and who works for a living. Charlie has been a mom to her daughter for eleven years now. It has shaped who she is and defines what is important to her. It’s made her a mature, determined, protective woman. And since she’s been in the workforce while also being a mom, she’s already found a decent balance between work and motherhood. It’s become second nature—hard some days, but it’s the norm where Charlie is concerned. (Thought, events in BPOD change the norm somewhat.) 

But the balance nowadays is shifting as her daughter, Emma, approaches the age where she wants independence and will fight for it. Charlie is in the midst of learning how much to let go while still maintaining her tight bond with Emma. It’s a scary time for Charlie because she knows things happening now between them could define their relationship later in life. It’s a struggle for sure, wanting to protect but knowing you have to let go of some strings in order for your kid to grow and learn from their own mistakes. And, in this regard, I do find I draw on experiences with my own mother and with my daughter as well, a daughter who is getting very close to the stage Emma is at right now. Lord, help me! J     

Susan: I'm not *cough* unfamiliar with the balance of motherhood and writing myself. How do you juggle those roles, which can both be so time-demanding?

Kelly: Oy. It’s hard, I won’t lie. When my son, who just turned 2, entered the mix, it really became a struggle to carve out quiet time, and enough time to be productive and turn out material at the pace I’d been used to. One of the things I’ve learned is that I have to accept it. I can’t stress and fight against that fact that I must stop writing to tend to a need that arises. I used to get frustrated when I had to stop mid-creative streak. But, I’ve since learned to chill, and I stopped trying to work when they’re home, or even when they’re playing quietly (though I will do things like blog posts, email replies, and answering interview questions, LOL). And since I’ve made that little rule, I’m able to enjoy the time spent with my family without wanting to finish that sentence or rework that paragraph. When they’re at school and daycare, that’s when I sit my butt in the chair and work. If there’s a tight deadline and I need to work in the evenings or weekends, then I make sure I’m not the primary caregiver at that time, and I’ll go outside of the house, wake up early, or wait until everyone is in bed.

Susan: Now. Tell me about this YA series. (please)

Kelly: Yay! I’m so excited about this project! DARKNESS BECOMES HER is the first novel in the series, and it will debut in Spring 2011 from Simon Pulse, with a second book a year later. I call the series, ‘GODS & MONSTERS’, but I’m not sure yet if that will change. It’s dark, urban fantasy, set in a post apocalyptic-like New Orleans that has been forsaken and abandoned by the government and most of its inhabitants due to two massive hurricanes that destroyed the city a decade earlier. It's now become a sanctuary for the supernatural, a place run by the Novem, nine of the oldest (and strangest) families in New Orleans.

My heroine, Ari, is a pretty tough and independent teen, with some unique qualities. She’s searching for answers, clues to an obscure past that leads her to New 2 (what folks now call New Orleans). With the help of some misfit kids and teens living in an abandoned Garden District mansion, Ari discovers a curse that has stood since the time of the gods, one that is beginning to stir inside of her and ignite the age old war between gods and monsters.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this story. It’s dark, lush, and has a gothic feel. The city is decaying, ebbing back into the swamps, so the atmosphere is very creepy. And I'm blending some ancient mythology (the gods) and the vampire, witches, & shapeshifter mythos (the monsters) together, connecting them with an ancient curse that lives inside of my heroine.

Susan: What have you found different about writing YA versus adult UF? Does one voice or the other come more naturally to you?

Kelly: So far, I‘ve been able to fall quite easily into the voices of both Charlie and Ari. I’ve been writing young adult for a few years now, so I feel really comfortable stepping into the YA role. In fact, the manuscript I was shopping before BPOD was a YA, and I figured eventually I’d hit with one of the genres and either debut as an adult author or as a YA author. But I think it turned out just right because this new YA is much stronger than the one I’d been shopping earlier.

There’s not a big difference to me when I write one or the other. I’m aware of the differences in things like themes, relationships, and goals and motivations, but my style is naturally dark and paranormal, and since both genres allow me to explore that to my heart’s content, I’m pretty comfortable in both roles.  

Thanks so much, Kelly! Now, let's give away a copy of that lovely, dark UF, shall we? For this one I'm going to make you work...well, a TINY bit. With the holidays, I won't make you work hard.

To enter:
  • For 1 point, post a comment below with the name of your favorite mythological creature. Classic myths, modern myths, whatever you like!
  • An additional 1 point for tweeting OR Facebooking the contest
  • An additional 2 points for linking to this contest on your blog!
  • This is a one-day-only thing: Entries must be in by tomorrow at noon mountain time.
Ready? GO!


Linda G. said...

Great interview, Suze! Kelly's book sounds fantastic.

My favorite mythological creature has to be Pegasus. Because he's a horse. And he, yannoh, flies. What can beat a flying horse? (1 point)

Oh, and I linked from my blog (2 points) and am about to go tweet it. (1 point). Go me!

Travis Erwin said...

I've always been partial to the Chupacabre(sp).

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Colour me crazy, but I love the Furies...endlessly intriguing (1 point)
I tweeted your contest (1 point)

This was an awesome interview and the book sounds so intriguing!

Larissa said...

Great interview! Both books sound great!

My favorite mythological creature is a unicorn. :)

Posting on my blog and tweeting! :)

Trish said...

Do fiction book myths count? I just started Lords of the Underworld series and it is really good. So those men with their demons are my fav right now!

Trish said...

I retweeted your giveaway =)


Kari said...

This sounds like a really interesting book! Hmm, my favorite mythological creature....do kids that listen count? lol I guess it would be fairies & dragons.

Kari said...

I'm retweeting your giveaway!! http://twitter.com/Kari_RDG

Beth-DSM said...

I retweeted your giveaway: http://twitter.com/beth_h06

favorite mythological creature..i think i'll have to with the typical..vampires/werewolves..not just twilight style..but there are several other fabulous books out there that are based on them. including a series by nora roberts, starting with morrigans cross. great reads :)

thank you for the chance to win! :)

AmethystGreye said...

I'm a big fan of the manticore, myself. I like the Sphinx, too. Tie.

Beleth said...

+1 My favorite mythological creature are vampires :D! But i like dragons too ^^!
+1 I retweeted your comment (@beleth22)
+2 And i added it to my sidebar (http://beldevoradoradelibros.blogspot.com/)
Thank you!
battyaboutbats at gmail.com

Sara said...

Great interview!

+1 I think I'd have to go with the minotaur. Crazy good story.
+1 retweet (@saralatta)

Gaby G said...

My favorite creatures are werewolves, because wolves are my favorite animals. :) They are soo cute! xD

+ 1 Twitter (@magabygc) --> http://twitter.com/magabygc/status/6709934267

+ 2 Blog: Link at the sidebar in "Concursos" --> http://historias-imaginarias.blogspot.com/

Rissa Watkins said...

Great interview. I really want to read Kelly's book.

+1 for tweeting http://twitter.com/RissaWatkins

As for mythical creatures, hmmmm... I really like gargoyles.

Alissa Grosso said...

This is obscure, but there's a Lenape Indian myth about a bear-like creature called Mesingwe that has always intrigued me.

Anonymous said...

I love minotaurs. I also love everything I've heard about The Better Part of Darkness.

Anonymous said...

Faeries and vampires are both my favorites!
+1 for a re-tweet via @mel_anonymously

Victoria Schwab said...



ReaganStar said...

Great contest I am a follower by google..

Favorite Mythological creatures are both Unicorns and Fairies, I actually have quite an extensive unicorn figurine collection.
Fairies are just as great.

Cant wait to read this book

Unknown said...

Hello to both Kelly and Susan. I also write YA fantasy. Hopefully one day I will get to meet in person.

+1 I Tweeted it http://twitter.com/OfKingsAndGods

+2 I linked it on my blog http://caenus.blogspot.com/

+1 Favorite Mythological creature: Kheiron, the wise centaur of Greek Myth.

Van Pham said...

+1 my favorite mythological creatures are mermaids and faerie.

Thanks for the contest!

Van P.

Misty said...

Great interview Kelly and Congradulations again. I can't imagine being in your shoes right now how it must feel. I love to read but, couldn't write for nothing.

I would have to say Aphrodite, the goddess of love is my favorite mythological creature.

misty_labean yahoo com

Mardel said...

My favorite mythological creature is the unicorn.I haven't found too many stories that I really enjoy though with unicorns in them. My favorite modern fantasy figure is the shapeshifter.

I linked your contest here http://mardel-rabidreader.blogspot.com/

Enjoyed the interview and would love to read The Better Part of Darkness. I love that the heroine is a little older, old enough to have a growing daughter.

BrigidsBlest said...

My favorite mythological creature is the dryad; it's rather neat to walk through a forest and imagine each of the trees is a hidden woman, watching you, perhaps whispering about you (the sound of the leaves in the wind, of course...)

Did I say neat? Maybe I meant creepy.

BrigidsBlest at yahoo dot com

Sushi said...

Nice interview! I need to get my hands on the book. It sounds like it's right up my alley.

Favorite mythological creature? I've gotta say angels. Not goody-goody, Precious Moments angels. Avenging ones. With swords and agendas and multiple sets of wings. Scary angels. The kind you really, REALLY don't want to wake up to.

whitewolfreads said...

Werewolves or any of the fey...


spettolij AT gmail DOT com

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, all of these books sound great! Thanks for the interview!

Christine said...

Unicorns! Mermaids (THE LITTLE MERMAID kind, not the HARRY POTTER ones) are a close second.

Thanks for the interview! Kelly is awesome!

(re-tweeted by christinepuddin)

Christine said...

Oh, and also linked on my blog: