>Interview with Kami Garcia- Romantic Times Feature + GIVEAWAY


Photo by: Vania Stoyanova

I grew up outside of Washington DC, but it always felt like I had one foot in the South. By the time I was thirteen, my family moved in with my grandmother and great-grandmother, and we had four generations of women living under the same roof – two born and bred in North Carolina. I grew up drinking sweet tea, eating vegetables cooked with a little bacon grease, and biscuits made from scratch. I mean, didn’t everyone’s great-grandma know how to skin a chicken, tat lace, and make dresses without a pattern?

I wasn’t exactly like either of them. I wore a lot of black, a lot of rings, and spent hours writing in my journals. By the time I graduated high school, I had probably filled a hundred of them and gotten my friends more than a few dates with my poems. That was the beginning of writing for me.

I have an MA in education, and taught in the DC area until I moved to Los Angeles ten years ago. In addition to writing YA fiction, I am a Reading Specialist and continue to teach and lead book groups for children and teens, part-time. I have learned more from my students than I ever learned in school. I still live in LA, with my husband, son, and daughter. I’m very superstitious and have lots of charms. I love disaster movies, and I could easily live on pizza and Diet Coke.

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?

Kami: Romance is an underrated genre and, in my opinion, one of the most difficult to write. I was honored to be invited to speak at Romantic Times because it is such a well-respected convention, and it celebrates the work of so many female authors.

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?

Kami: I always try to make time to read. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of galleys for upcoming books, as well as some that are on the shelves now. Some of my current favorites are: White Cat by Holly Black, Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan, White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick, Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting, From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alender, and The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab.

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?

Kami: We didn’t write Beautiful Creatures to be published. We wrote it for seven specific teens, so the writing and messages were targeted at them. Now that we’ve been published, we focus on writing the story we have to tell, the best way we know how to tell it. I think one of the reasons there is so much crossover in YA is because a lot of the themes are universal. And at the end of the day, a good book is a good book.

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

Kami: Everyday! I still remember my Melissa Marr fangirl moment. Before Beautiful Creatures was released, Melissa read the galley and left a message on our blogs saying how much she enjoyed the book. Truthfully, I thought it was a prank from one of my brothers. But after I realized it was genuine, I spent all day re-writing an email to thank her. Meeting Cassie Clare was another for the first time was also really exciting. But I was also really embarrassed because we were on the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour and I happened to be wearing my pajamas.

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?

Kami: From our own series, I love Ethan and Lena. But I’m always secretly rooting for Link and Ridley, too. Some of my favorite couples from other books are: Annah and Catcher from The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan, Meg and Calvin from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, Sunshine and Constantine from Sunshine by Robin McKinley, and Keenan and Donia from the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr.

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

Kami: I listen to music before I write. My standards are: Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, AC/DC, and The Cure. But I actually need complete silence to write because I hear the characters’ voices in my head while I’m writing. Other than that, I need my comfy chair, my laptop, and lots of Diet Coke with ice.

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?

Kami: It’s really hard to put your work out there, and it was especially difficult for us because we weren’t planning to publish Beautiful Creatures. But we were lucky. Readers all over the world embraced the novel. That said, obviously not everyone is going to love our books; that’s part of the deal. But I can’t worry about that. I write for the people who get our books.

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

Kami: Be yourself. Even when it’s hard.

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?

Kami: I think people have always been fascinated by the supernatural. That’s evident from the abundance of folklore (from around the world) featuring paranormal creatures. But I think fantasy is particularly appealing because it provides an escape and a safe way to explore difficult issues.

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?

Kami: I am definitely not famous, so that’s not a problem. And when fans do reach out to me, I feel grateful that our books have affected them so deeply.

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

Kami: We finished copyediting the third book in The Caster Chronicles in January, and we hope to share the cover and title soon. It’s a serious rollercoaster ride. Now we’re drafting Book 4, which is my favorite part of the writing process.

Please visit Kami Garcia’s Website: http://www.beautifulcreaturesthebook.com/

Beautiful CreaturesLena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

We are giving away 1 copy of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl. To enter this contest simply leave a comment in this post for Kami.

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, facebook 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 22nd and the winner will be chosen by random.org and announced in our ‘Week in Review’ post 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.


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