I had the pleasure of meeting Kim this year at a library conference. I was chatting with someone about Divergent by Veronica Roth and happened to look next to me and – bam, there was Kim. She was chatting with a few people, who, luckily, I knew because I said something really lame: “OMG! It’s Kimberly Derting!” I had that sort of deer in the headlights moment. I proceeded to tackle her for a hug. Yeah, not my best moment. We laughed and talked about how much I love Jay, Violet, and the series. Kim is so fun and I’m glad I got the chance to meet the talented person behind one of my favorite series.
After reading The Body Finder, I knew that Kim would quickly rise to the top of my auto-buy list. Kim didn’t disappoint with her sophomore effort, Desires of the Dead, which was equally amazing. I can’t wait to read what happens next in Violet’s world. If you haven’t read these books, what are you waiting for?!
Please join me in welcoming Kim here today to Dark Faerie Tales. The first book two books in her Body Finder series, The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead, have already been released. You can read an excerpt from The Body Finder here and Desires of the Dead here.
Kimberly Derting is the author of The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead (HarperCollins), which are as much coming-of-age romance as they are paranormal thrillers, as well as the upcoming dystopic-fantasy The Pledge (Nov. 2011, Simon & Schuster). She lives in the Pacific Northwest where the gloomy weather is ideal for writing anything dark and creepy. Her three beautiful (and often mouthy) children serve as an endless source of inspiration, and often find the things they say buried in the pages of their mother’s books.
I’m super excited about my upcoming November release of THE PLEDGE, although strangely, I find myself struggling with how to describe it to people. It’s not that I don’t know the book because I promise, I really did write it, it’s just that there are so many things going on that it’s difficult to summarize in a few short sentences. But, I’m practicing, so bear with me!
I will clarify (for whoever keeps changing it to “Sci-Fi” on Goodreads) that it’s most definitely not Science Fiction. What I would call it is a fantasy-dystopic, since there are elements of magic (fantasy) and it’s set in a dystopic, war-torn world. In THE PLEDGE, the society is divided by classes, each one speaking their own distinct language. If someone from an upper class is speaking in their native tongue, someone from a lower cannot make eye contact until they are finished talking. Only when speaking in the universal language of Englaise, can they interact with members of an upper class. And breaking that law is punishable by death.
Where did I get the idea for Charlaina (Charlie) and her world?
The idea actually came from a German-American woman I met several years ago who’d grown up in WWII Germany. She’d only been a little girl then, and her memories of her childhood were terrifying. She told me about being awakened in the middle of the night to air raid sirens, and having her older sisters throw her over fences as they ran through the night to escape the bombings and hide in the mine shafts outside town. She explained how Hitler’s reign over her country tightened in increments, as everyone was forced to at least pretend they were loyal to him. If they didn’t, they were sent away on the trains. And even though, as a little girl, she didn’t know where the trains went, she knew it wasn’t good.
As I developed the idea of a girl who lived in this society divided by language—and the one girl who could understand them all—I kept thinking about Marie, the German woman I once knew. I started incorporating her stories into the book, until she sort of became one of the characters: Charlie’s little sister, Angelina.
Charlie’s world is dark and violent, ruled by an old and bitter queen. Technology is minimal, and people are afforded opportunities based solely on the class they’ve been born into. As the people grow dissatisfied, Charlie is thrust into the middle of a brutal revolution, and she soon discovers that her unusual talent for language may be the key to saving her country.
Okay, and there’s kissing too…because that’s the way I roll.
See what I mean, though, about it being tough to describe???
Here’s the official jacket copy for THE PLEDGE:
Words are the most dangerous weapon of all.
In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.
Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.
Can you introduce yourself to my readers?
Hmm…about me. I work crazy hours wearing sweatpants and drinking copious amounts of tea. I have three kids who are completely unimpressed by this whole “writing thing.” And a husband who loves to throw out random story ideas and then call himself my “co-author.” Also, I really love “air-quotes.”
Can you introduce us to the world that you have created?
My first book, THE BODY FINDER is about 16-year-old Violet Ambrose who can find those who’ve been killed, by the sensory “echoes” they leave behind. And, because I’m a girl, there’s a fair amount of kissing in this book as well!
Will this be your first RT or are you a veteran? Any advice for those who are going for the first time?
This is my first time, and I’m completely and totally excited! Do I have advice? Probably the same advice I’m giving myself…try not to kiss any of your author crushes (like, erm, Cassandra Clare) on the lips when you meet them. (Yes, I’m worried I might do that!)
Are you speaking on any panels during RT? Are there any you are looking forward to? What panels are you planning on attending?
I’m speaking on the SAY ANYHING panel on Friday, April 8th with Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Jackie Kessler, and Sarah Rees Brennan (all of whom I adore!). As far as what I’m looking forward to: almost everything on the YA Track! Have you seen that lineup?! It’s sort of spectacular!!!
If someone were wanting to meet up with you at RT, who should they look for?
Like I said before, I’ll be the one trying to contain my fangirliness, so I may be a quivering mess. Also, I’m super short, so I’ll probably be tough to spot in the crowd!
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