Saturday, September 29, 2012

Quoth The Raven: Interview with Kelly Creagh

Hello again, book lovers!

Today, we have the pleasure of welcoming Kelly Creagh, author of Nevermore - one of the books which Vinaya highlightd in her In Search of Buried Treasure post all the way back in 2011. Just recently, the much awaited Enshadowed released, and while we're trying to get our hands on it, Kelly has taken the time to talk to us about her books.

Kelly, welcome!

“Nevermore” tells the story of Isobel, a popular girl, and Varen, a Goth, who are paired off for a literature project. Isobel isn’t thrilled about this, especially since her friends don’t want her interacting with Varen at all. But then weird things start to happen and Isobel realizes that there’s a lot more going on. How did you come up with that premise?

The idea of a cheerleader being paired with a goth isn’t necessarily a new idea but one of my hopes with Nevermore was to turn this pairing on its head and really examine the social aspects of what makes someone a goth versus what makes someone a cheerleader and why those two types are at such opposite ends of the spectrum. One of the questions I think Nevermore asks of the reader is “why?”—as in, why is there a differentiation and why does it matter? When I began writing Nevermore, Poe was little more than a footnote. He was who I thought my goth character would pick in regards to the project Mr. Swanson assigned. I started researching Poe on a surface level, just to get a bit of information and he ended up taking over the entire story. I found out about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his still unsolved death.
I also found out about the Reynolds myth and the Poe Toaster and so many ideas began to bubble up on how I could use all of these Poe elements to tell a larger and more epic story than I originally imagined.

One of the highlights in “Nevermore” for me was the level of detail and thought that went into the secondary characters. Did you have a hard time striking a good balance between the main story and the subplots involving Isobel and her crew?

I didn’t really have a tough time balancing the secondary characters and the subplots ith the main plot mostly because I was just spinning a tale. Nevermore felt as though it wrote itself. That said, I had a huge manuscript by the time I was finished drafting and I needed to go through and do quite a bit of cutting, both with my agent and then again with my editor. And you can see that it’s still a big book!

What was the biggest challenge in writing “Nevermore”? What about the most rewarding thing about it?

I think the biggest challenge with Nevermore was the copyediting process. I learned so much about craft just from that pass and it was difficult for me because copyedits are all about making things as seamless and consistent as possible. It was labor intensive for me because, while drafting Nevermore, my focus had been mostly on character development, interaction, imagery and word choice. Copyedits forced me to sit down and think about every single moment and day that passed during the telling of the story. I had to make sure that if Isobel had her backpack with her in one scene, it didn’t suddenly disappear in the next. I wasn’t that hyper focused on the minute details when first constructing the tale.
But the process of copyedits really made me focus and get nitty gritty with every line and word and it demands that I be absolutely as clear as possible. Even though it feels like the toughest part of the process, it also is one of the most refining when it comes
to honing my craft.

Edgar Allan Poe is a character in his own right in your book. Do you have a favorite of his works?

Yes, my most favorite work of Edgar Allan Poe’s is William Wilson. It’s one of his lesser known works and explores the theme of duality and a darker self. This is a theme that pops up again and again in my work. If you haven’t read it, you might want to take a peek at the story in preparing for the third book in the trilogy. Hint hint.

This will probably sound lame, but was there an event in your life that inspired you to become a writer?

Not lame at all! There isn’t really one specific event. I have always been a writer, though I have not always called myself that. When I was younger, I wanted to be an actress. While in the process of getting my degree in Theatre Arts at University of Louisville, I had a revelation when I realized I could not wait to get home from my rehearsals so I could write. I decided to pursue writing after my undergraduate and realize that all my acting and drama training played a pivotal role in my development as a storyteller. So sometimes it just feels like I’m stepping on the stones of life as they appear before me. And now, here I am. ;)

What is the YA horror novel you would recommend to absolutely everyone?

One of my favorite horror YA novels is Stranger with My Face by Lois Duncan. Great read and very chilling!
Also, even though it isn’t horror, there is one YA novel I would consistently recommend to anyone anywhere and that is Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going. I absolutely loved that novel. It’s so real and filled with so much heart. It also happens to be a Printz winner. If you haven’t read either of those you must, you must!

Finally, what can we look forward to in “Enshadowed”?
I’m hesitant to give too much away about Enshadowed. I can only tell you that it’s a bridge book that will reveal larger overall secrets that prepare you for the major events in last book. Read closely. In particular, pay close mind to Reynolds and Pinfeathers.
Kelly, thank you so much!
You can follow Kelly Creagh on twitter @kellycreagh, or visit her website at (I recommend Varen's sketchbook ;)

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