Interview with Kendare Blake, author of Three Dark Crowns

Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us! Can you describe what your typical writing day looks like?

My typical writing day looks like wearing my dogs and cats out in the morning so they will nap, then shooting for 500-1000 words before I have to feed them lunch. Then, after lunch, I head back into the office to shoot for another thousand words or so. This afternoon session is often obstructed (literally) by a naked Sphynx cat demanding attention by blocking my screen.

What inspires you to write? Are there any books or writers that have influenced your work?

Whatever story I’m working on sort of forces me to write it. It wants to be told, kind of like the ring always wants to get back to Sauron. If that makes me Gollum, or Bilbo, I guess I’d rather be Bilbo. As for influences, just about every book I have read has influenced me somehow. There’s always something to learn. And good writing is always an inspiration, even if it isn’t the type or style of writing that I do myself.

For those who haven’t read the Three Dark Crowns series, can you tell us a little about it?

Sure! Three Dark Crowns is set on a semi-secret, magical island shrouded in mist. On the island, you can have one of five magical gifts: you can be an elemental who controls the elements, a naturalist with dominion over nature and animals, a warrior, with the ability to fight and guide weaponry with your mind, an oracle, who can read the future, or a poisoner, who is immune to all toxins and an expert assassin. The island is always ruled by a queen, and every queen eventually gives birth to triplet girls. Unfortunately for those girls, when they turn sixteen, they have to murder each other. And whichever queen wins, well, she gets to rule the island. In this generation, the three queens are an elemental, a naturalist, and a poisoner. The elemental is favored to win, but the poisoners have won the last three times, and won’t go down easy.

Fantasy is such an exciting genre – you can create whole new worlds. Do you have any advice for writers when they’re building these worlds? How can you make sure they seem authentic?

If it’s real for you it will become real to the reader on the page. Get to know your place. Get to know the people who live there. The animals. The weather and the seasons. Once you know it, it will flow into the writing as naturally as if you were writing about our regular world.

If you could bring one thing from your fantasy world into our world here today, what would it be and why?

Familiars. Animal companions who live unnaturally long lives and can feel what their person is feeling and vice versa.

What is the best response you’ve gotten from a reader about your books?

I love cosplayers, of course, but I also really love fan art. It’s amazing to see the different interpretations, and very flattering to think that my characters/scenes have inspired another artist. Truly though, I love the interactions that I’m not a part of. The reactions I overhear between readers and fans. That probably makes me sound creepy but you bet your bippy if I overhear something like that I am listening with a very creepy secret smile.

Interview : YA SH3LF

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