Author Q&A

Author Q&A: Kendare Blake

122276Kendare Blake grew up in the small city of Cambridge, Minnesota. She is a graduate of Ithaca College, in Ithaca, New York and received a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Middlesex University in London, England. She loves to travel, is an advocate for animals, and cheats a lot when she plays Final Fantasy. Adopted from South Korea at the age of seven months, she arrived with the following instruction: “Feed her chocolate.” Though not medically advisable, she and her parents are eternally grateful for this advice.

Kendare Blake’s short fiction has appeared in numerous markets, including The Momaya Press Annual Review and Mirror Dance Magazine, among others. Her debut novel, Sleepwalk Society, deals with four friends coming of age post 9/11. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD (2011 NPR Top 5, Kirkus Top Ten), and GIRL OF NIGHTMARES (2012 Kirkus Reviews Top Ten), are YA horror chronicling the strange life of Cassio Lowood, a teenage ghost hunter who falls in love with the dead girl he was supposed to kill.

The Greek mythology-focused Goddess War series began in 2013 with ANTIGODDESS and continues with MORTAL GODS October 14, 2014. It will conclude with UNGODLY in 2015.

Click the thumbnails to see a preview of her books on GoodReads.

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Check out also her latest book, Ungodly.

23847966As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in the final Goddess War novel by the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.

So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.

And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference

The book will come out this 22nd of September 2015


I got a chance to interview her so here goes…

What inspired you to write your first book?

Well, I wrote my first book in the seventh grade, so I can’t really remember what inspired it. I do know that I wanted to see if I could write something that long. And I could, and it was a relief. But of course the book was a piece of crap.

Can you please describe your writing style in 10 words?

Dark. Violent. Minimalist. Humorous dialogue. Swearing. Generally present tense. That’s nine words, but I hope it’ll do.

In the Anna Dressed in Blood duology, do you plan on writing a companion novel about the other characters of the book?

Anna is a duology. I have no plans to continue it. But if Cas would like me to, someday, I will.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read a ton. I don’t believe you can be a decent writer without reading, and continuing to read. Reading remains the best way to learn something. My favorite authors are Caitlin R Kiernan, Joe Hill, Bret Easton Ellis, and Milan Kundera. They’re the ones I read everything from. But I read so many more. It’s difficult to choose favorites.

How long does it take you to finish writing a book?

It depends on the book. And the deadline. I’ve written books in four months, but I don’t like to. Seven to nine months, that feels better. 

What is the hardest part of writing your latest book, Ungodly?

It’s been over a year since I finished UNGODLY, so I can’t remember it being difficult at all. I know that it was. I remember scrawling down an outline for the last third of it, and cursing its name. But after it’s over, I never remember exactly what made it so hard.

How do you feel whenever people associate your book and writing style with Stephen King?

Well, people haven’t associated my books with Stephen King since the Anna series. And I don’t think they’ve ever compared our styles, which are vastly different! In tone we might share some, and in theme, but what we have most in common is horror. Just genre. And a King comparison is always a huge compliment. A completely unearned, huge compliment.

In you Goddess War series, what made you take on the darker side of the Greek Gods and Heroes?

Having the gods be dying was the only thing that made them interesting to me to write. I find nothing interesting about invincible heroes. If they’re in no real danger, what’s the point? The darker, human side of the gods is what I’ve always enjoyed. So it was fun to make them mortal and watch them squirm.

When you hear from your readers, especially in the ending of Mortal Gods, what do they usually say?

About the end of Mortal Gods? Usually the same thing I heard at the end of Antigoddess. Which is “What? NOOO!” And that’s good. That’s what I wanted. That’s what I said. Okay, I didn’t say that at the end of Antigoddess. I knew what was going to happen that time.

How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written?

Depends on the nature of the disagreement. If it’s just that, they disagree, well, of course people are going to disagree. You can’t please everyone. If they get really mean or rude about it, then I Hulk out for five minutes or so and go on with my life. Not everyone is going to like everything, but I’m still glad that they gave it a try.

What can we expect in Ungodly?

Quests. The whole series was an excuse for me to play with my love of quests. It was one long quest, essentially, to find the cause of their deaths and avert it. Rolled up inside of that main quest were several smaller ones: to the desert to find Demeter, to the rainforest to find Artemis, to Chicago and Circe’s coven for Odysseus, Australia for Achilles, etc. So in UNGODLY we find our heroes flung to different places: Cassandra is still seeking revenge and starts out in California where she landed after Olympus, Hermes, Hector and Andie are still home, and Athena is somewhere else. It was great fun taking them on their individual quests, on the way back to the main, and final one.

If ever Anna Dressed in Blood became a movie, who are the actors you picture playing the roles of Cas and Anna?

Ugh. Anna’s producers, Stephenie Meyer and Meghan Hibbett, asked me this same question recently. I wasn’t much help to them, and I won’t be much help here. See, I never imagined Cas and Anna as any particular actor. They were voices and shapes. Clothes. A certain way of moving. They are themselves. I can tell you who people have suggested though. For Cas we’ve heard names like Tyler Posey, and someone who was dating Vanessa Hudgens, but I don’t remember who that was. For Anna readers seem to like the girl from The Vampire Diaries, and there are some pretty photo mockups of an actress named Alexis Raich. 
If the movie continues to move forward, I’m sure the casting will be amazing. But before anyone asks, I will have nothing to do with it.

Also Antigoddess, who are the actors you picture playing the roles of Cassandra, Athena, Aiden and Odysseus?

Ditto everything I said above, but I’ll have more fun with this one because Antigoddess will never be a movie. Here goes: Cassandra, let’s say, Shiri Appleby, from Girls. She still looks like a teenager. Athena, if I can age up Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones. And why not toss Jon Snow in there for Odysseus. He has a sassy face. As for Aidan, that’s tough. We need a golden boy with a past. I’m open to suggestions.

Do you plan on going to the Philippines in the near future?

I have no plans to visit the Philippines right now. But of course one day I would love to. Philippines readers are incredible, and I would enjoy seeing the country (and sampling the food!).

What do you want to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you. That’s all there is to say, really. Thank you. I wish I could say it in person. Individually. Over tea or cookies. 

You can find her on:

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