COME BACK NEXT MONDAY WHEN I REVIEW KELLEY'S POIGNANT NOVEL, SUICIDE WATCH!!!
Give a big hello to the amazingly talented Kelley York, author of HUSHED, SUICIDE WATCH, MADE OF STARS, and HOLLOWED! Yayayayayay!! *Muppet flails all over the place.* I just knew I had to spotlight her and all her wonderfulness for the first week of August. If you want to check out just how talented she is, click the link and visit her pages. :) Hope you enjoy the interview!!!
What do you do when you are not writing?
I play around on Tumblr, haha. I have a number of TV shows of which I'm a die-hard fan (Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Once Upon a Time), and I'm big on video games, particularly survival horror and RPGs. I just beat The Last of Us a few weeks ago; amazing game. I'm just a geek, really.
Do you have a day job as well?
I recently got my manicurist license, so I'm working in my sister's salon. As a teenager, I worked at pet stores, a dog grooming shop, and a mortuary. ;) As an adult, I worked for a bank doing student loans and then mortgages. Let me tell you, not a fun industry to be involved in.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I grew up writing stories, particularly fan-fiction. I finished my first book about 5 ½ years ago. Prior to that, I had made maybe two half-assed attempts at writing an actual book. Both of them were high fantasy. Neither amounted to anything beyond the first few chapters.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I started in paranormal YA, but have strayed away from it. I do enjoy writing it, but I've been so drawn to the dark, quiet contemporary stories that I always wanted to read growing up but could rarely find. I've become burned out on paranormal, and so has the book market.
Where do you get your ideas?
Usually, it begins with a character. A name, a face, a personality quirk. Then I ask myself questions about this character and build outward from them to see if I can develop a good plot and solid connections to other characters. Hushed began with Archer. Suicide Watch began with Vincent. Made of Stars began with Chance.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Oh, yes, definitely. Summer is the worst for me, I don't know why. Probably the heat. I'm cranky and tired all the time, and never feel like writing. Fall and winter tend to be better seasons for me creatively.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
A little of both. I don't usually have a full scene-by-scene outline done, but I've taken to getting a rough synopsis written out just so I have an idea where my story needs to go. Sometimes it might deviate, and that's okay. I like to at least know how my story will end, and I'll figure out how to get from point A to point B as I write.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Oddly enough, some of my all-time favorite books are fantasy. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was a big one growing up. It's just a beautiful book. The Last Unicorn, Howl's Moving Castle... And Patricia C. Wrede's The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. These days, I'm hugely inspired by authors like John Green, Hannah Moskowitz, and Sean Olin.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Hushed was my first published book. If you've read it, you know it's an extremely dark book and not the typical YA or NA. Because of that, finding an agent was impossible. I had positive feedback,but it was also a lot of, "This is so dark, I'm not sure how to sell it." Finding Entangled Publishing was pure luck because I was about ready to trunk the novel as unsellable and it just so happened that Heather Howland was looking for a darker book just like mine.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
The novel itself? I would have written it in first person. It's what I've grown used to, and I think I could have gotten much deeper into Archer's damaged little head that way.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I try to be active on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as GoodReads. I always try to stay open to interviews and giveaways. I also think it's important for authors to be very gracious and kind to book bloggers and reviewers; they are what help spread the word and they're completely invaluable to authors like me.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
I'm still attached to my very first book, and I'll rewrite it someday. Otherwise, everything I've written has been published either by Entangled or myself.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Made of Stars centers around two step-siblings, Ashlin and Hunter, and a boy named Chance they've both been infatuated with since they were kids. It involves snow and romance and a murder. Naturally. It wouldn't be a Kelley York book if someone didn't die.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Imagination. Made of Stars is probably one of the first books I've written where I didn't draw quite so much from personal experience. My other books have primarily taken place in fictional California towns because that's where I live, that's where I know. This book is set in Maine, so I had a little research to do on the seasons and the terrain.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Without giving too much away, there's a scene between Hunter and Chance on New Year's Eve that I absolutely love.
How did you come up with the title?
It comes from something Chance says in the book itself. You'll know it when you see it!
What project are you working on now?
I just finished my last edits on MADE OF STARS, which comes out in October from Entangled Publishing. Actively, I'm writing a book that centers around a girl named Eden and deals with assisted suicide and the Death with Dignity act in Oregon. It's a topic I feel very strongly on, so I'm excited to get deeper into it. I have another book idea I'm etching out in its early stages about a high school boy accused of rape.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Made of Stars comes out in October. Only a few more months! It's available for pre-order now, I believe.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I'd really love to get back into the Half Light series and characters, and I will someday. It just hasn't been a logical choice with the market being what it is right now; paranormal isn't doing well and I have so many other projects on my plate.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I'm pretty good with criticism and knowing how to take out the pieces I can use to improve. The hardest crits to swallow were probably from agents. There were times where I was certain I was so close to landing an agent I really wanted...and in the end, they said no. Best compliment? Probably the readers who take the time to personally email me to say they loved my book. It really means a lot to know I'm capable of impacting someone in that way.