I’m very pleased to welcome Julie Kagawa here to DarkFaerieTales.com to talk about her debut young adult novel, The Iron King, which is available NOW in stores. If you haven’t read this book, then snap to it. It’s absolutely stunning. I loved, loved, LOVED this book. You can read my review of the book here.
Read the first three chapters of The Iron King here.
DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?
Sure! It a nutshell, The Iron King is about a girl named Meghan Chase, whose kid brother is kidnapped by faeries, and she goes into Faeryland to get him back. She meets some interesting (and scary!) creatures, discovers her own faery heritage, and falls in love with probably the last person she should ever be interested in, a prince of the Unseelie Court. Also, she discovers a new type of faery, the iron fey, and must confront their king to get her brother back.
DFT: What motivated you to write The Iron King?
I’ve always loved faeries, the ancient, scary kind, not the glittery Tinkerbell kind. When I first started The Iron King, I wanted to do something new, something that had never been done with faeries before. So I got to thinking: what if there were a whole different species of faery, faeries of progress and technology? And then I realized we already had “monsters” lurking in machines: gremlins, bugs, worms, ect. And from that thought, the iron fey were born.
DFT: If you could describe your main characters with only 3 words, what would they be?
Meghan: Stubborn, persistent, family-oriented. Puck: Sarcastic, mischieveous, loyal. Ash: Cold, stoic, dangerous.
DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing The Iron King?
Books are the obvious choice, of course. Though I try to stay away from books with the same themes as mine when writing so it doesn’t subconsciously affect the story. Surprisingly, I get a lot of my inspiration from anime and video games. Anime has some awesome characters (I LOVE bishounen), and gorgeously rendered video games provided much of the backdrop for Faeryland. If you’ll excuse me while I wax geeky for a moment, Ash’s character and personality is a mix between Hero Yuy, Squall Leonhart, and Cloud Strife, and the villain in The Iron King is a dead-up Sephiroth.
DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
It’s a tossup between Prince Ash (I’m a sucker for stoic bad boys who can wield sharp objects), and a smart-ass talking cat named Grimalkin.
DFT: What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?
Right now, I’m trying to finish up the last book in the Iron Fey series, The Iron Queen. After that, who knows? Though I’m toying with an angel/demon story idea.
DFT: If you could choose only one, which would you choose: for The Iron King to be award-winning, or for The Iron King to be bestselling? Why?
Bestseller. If Iron King won an award, it would be awesome, but being a bestseller means a lot of people have read and loved it. And that is why I write, after all.
DFT: What was the path to publication like for The Iron King? Was it difficult to find an agent and a publisher?
I had been working on another book for years before I met my agent at a writer’s conference. She loved the idea of this novel, and wanted to represent me. That novel never sold. After almost a year of submitting it and getting nothing back, she encouraged me to write another book while the other manuscript went onto the back burner for awhile. I did. I wrote The Iron King in just under two months, and Harlequin Teen bought it in less than six weeks.
DFT: Why do you think there is the misconception that young adult books are not as deep or as complex as books for adults? What is your response to this misconception?
I think a lot of people underestimate teenagers. I believe YA books can be just as complex and deep as books for adults. Perhaps because YA deals with different themes–school, parents, fitting in, first love–some might think YA books are all about shallow teenagers dealing with issues that don’t really matter. But I think teenhood is one of the most pivotal points in life, which is why a lot of adults read YA too. They remember what it was like.
DFT: What is your favorite fairy tale? Why?
I don’t really have a favorite, but I do like the Red Riding Hood stories, in all their variations. I often wonder what the story would be like from the point-of-view of the Wolf.
DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
I just finished The EverAfter by Amy Huntly. It was haunting and lovely, and I really enjoyed it. I usually read fantasy or paranormal, but Perfect Chemistry by Simone Eckoles and 20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler are contemporary favorites of mine.
DFT: What is your definition of a “bad writing day”? How do you deal with bad writing days?
Bleh. A bad writing day is a day I stare at the screen and have no earthly idea where the story is going next. Usually I just have to get away from the story at that point; read, walk, play video games, until my Muse decides to stop playing in the street and comes back to me.
DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or any writing rituals?
DFT: What creature are you afraid of most?
Ghosts. Seriously. Tangible creatures–vamps, werewolves, even faeries–have a weakness of some sort. I’d know to stake a vampire, shoot a were with a silver bullet, kill a faerie with iron, or whack a zombie in the head with a baseball bat. What can you do if a ghost decides to mess with you? Nothing, except call for a priest or move. Scary. The preview for the Paranormal Activity movie freaked me out.
DFT: If you could be any paranormal creature. Which one would you be and why?
I’d be a Kitsune, a mythical fox-spirit from Japan. They can create elaborate illusions, shapeshift into a person, create fox-fire, and live to be a thousand years old. They also love playing pranks and tricking humans, which is right up my alley.
DFT: Thanks Julie for taking the time to stop by.
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