>Interview + Giveaway with Kelley Armstrong – Romantic Times YA feature

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photo by: Curtis Lantinga

Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers’ dismay. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.

Q: With so many various writing conferences and cons nowadays, authors seem to have several options to fill their schedules. What is it about Romantic Times that made you add this event to your busy schedule?

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1)A: It really is the best convention for meeting readers and authors alike. For one thing, it’s huge! It’s also very casual and fun, so it’s one convention that doesn’t feel like work 🙂

Q: As far as busy schedules go, do you find time to read for yourself? If so what are some of your current favorite books?

A: I don’t read as much as I once did–too much time spent reading for research or editing. But I still read a lot. One recent YA favourite was Holly Black’s White Cat.

Q: So many adults are enjoying the YA genre now. Do you feel like your writing has messages for the targeted audience of young adults, or do you keep in mind the cross-over audience as well?

The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3)A: I don’t have any messages. LOL. At least not intentionally. I have both an adult and YA series and the only difference between them is the age of the characters. When I write YA, they’re teens, with teen issues and skill-sets. The books, plots and characters aren’t simplified in any way. That goes for most YA I read and I think that’s why they have cross-over appeal. As long as a reader is fine with teenage characters, it won’t be a much different experience than reading an adult novel.

Q: Do you ever get “star-struck” meeting other authors or have “fan-girl” moments?

A: Yes, and they’re often very awkward moments where I feel very much like a teenager 🙂 I remember my first RT. After my first panel, a reader had brought books for me to sign, so I sat down in a front row seat to sign hers, and soon had a mini-line. Then next panel of authors comes in and I don’t notice until I look up and see Laurell K. Hamilton and realize my accidental signing is holding up an LKH panel. I high-tailed it out of there fast, and learned that if anyone brings books, I sign them outside, or my first encounter with an author I admire may be an embarrassing one.

Q: Since Romantic Times has an emphasis on romance, who are some of your favorite romantic couples of fiction, or ones perhaps you’ve created?

Kisses from Hell
A: My choices are always boring. I look back on the classics for my fave couples–lots of Jane Austen etc.

Q: Are there certain things you have to have to write, like snacks or music?

A: I’m rarely without a cup of coffee or cappuccino. The drink may end up going cold as I get immersed in my work, but it’s always there.

Q: Writing seems to be such a personal thing, is it hard to send your work out into the world? How do you deal with getting feedback from so many different people?

The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and DesireA: I think being a member of writing groups for years really helped. I went from “please don’t hurt me” to “give me more!” as I learned to crave constructive criticism. I also learned that not every piece of criticism is valid. Someone can give you advice that just doesn’t work for your book. Also, you learn that some people’s criticism says more about their reading tastes than your writing. That’s helpful in dealing with reader feedback. Sometimes you’ll get negative feedback that is useful and sometimes it’s just that your novel wasn’t what that reader wanted.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to young adults (on anything), what would it be?

Dates From HellA: Be yourself. If there’s a theme that crops up in my books a lot it’s the issue of identity–of coming to accept who you are rather than trying to fit someone else’s image of what you should be or even what you think you should be.

Q: What is your opinion on the steady popularity of supernatural elements in YA fiction? Do you think that the Vampire (were’s, angels, demons, fairies) trend is here to stay?

A: I’ve been writing the supernatural in adult since 2001. So I’m not surprised to see it catch on in YA. Will it last? Probably not. With the adult world, we saw the trend explode as everyone said “paranormal is hot.” That led to some great stuff…and some not-so-great stuff as writers moved into it for the marketability, not a love of paranormal fiction. A saturation point will be reached and readers will hit overload, and authors will move elsewhere, though some will stay and satisfy that smaller market.

Q: As writers of Young Adult fiction, teens (and some adults for that matter) can get kind of obsessed with characters and the authors that created them. Do you enjoy the fame and attention you have gained from writing or is it more of a nuisance?

Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld, Book 11)A: I like the thought that people enjoy my books. Am I comfortable with attention beyond that? Not really. For me, writing is about doing what I love and entertaining people. I would prefer to do that without becoming famous 🙂

Q: What is next for you? Any exciting news you could share…or tease us with?

A: While I have a lot of short stories published in anthologies–about a half dozen a year–I just recently co-edited my first anthology. Enthralled come out in the fall, as my co-editor, Melissa Marr, and I present 16 YA tales of the supernatural from authors whose work we love. I have a story in it, too–a post-Reckoning tale about Chloe and the others.

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Special Thanks to Kelley Armstrong for answering our questions!
*~*~*~*~*GIVEAWAY*~*~*~*~*
We are giving away a copy of  Kelley Armstrong’s latest release The Gathering (Darkness Rising Book 1)
The Gathering (Darkness Rising, Book 1)

To enter simply leave a comment in this post for Kelley Armstrong. 
As usual there are more ways to win…
+1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your comment.
Giveaway ends April 23th and the winner will be chosen by random.org on April 24th. We ask the winners to post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out. Also, we will try to contact the winners, but we ask that you check back to see if you’ve won.

*Read Desi’s review on The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
*Read Mona’s Review of Waking The Witch by Kelley Armstrong
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