October 3, 2019

Gravemaidens Blog Tour: Author Interview

I'm so excited to have Kelly Coon, author of the upcoming YA fantasy Gravemaidens, on the blog today! While I had her here, I asked her a few questions. Enjoy!
1. Where did you get the inspiration for Gravemaidens?

I was raised in a fundamentalist environment, so I heard about human sacrifice since the time I was a little kid. Although I’m not a fundamentalist anymore, the willingness of someone to die for something they believe in is compelling to me. Once I read some history about the ancient practices of human sacrifices all over the planet, I knew I wanted to set my story in a fantasy world where this was revered.

2. Favorite book or author?
My mom always buys me Pulitzer prize-winning fiction every year for Christmas. One year, she bought me Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and it was the sort of book I read though once, and immediately started back at page one and read it all over again. I think I’ve read it six or seven times at this point, and it’s one of those stories that stays with you. Kinda gets under your skin. It’s brave, wildly imaginative, and completely unique. Is it my favorite? I don’t know. I love reading so much that it’s hard to say, but it’s definitely one I consistently recommend outside of the YA world.

3. What's the hardest part of writing a book for you?

Drafting is difficult because it requires you to fill in those blank spaces around your plot outline that only exist in theory. Sometimes the ideas I have in my head look really good while they’re in there, but when I translate them to paper, I wonder what in the world I was thinking. So…yeah. Drafting is HARDDDD.

4. What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever gotten?

I actually have two for you:

1). You can’t edit a blank page. Even if what you’ve written is an utter pile of garbage, you’ve at least written some words, and you might be able to shape them into plot or setting or character or something. An empty page is good for paper airplanes and doodles, and will never turn into a book no matter how much magic fairy dust you sprinkle onto it.

2). Don’t break the chain. This word of advice comes from Jerry Seinfeld. A young comic once asked him how to get better at writing jokes, and Seinfeld told him that he had to force himself to write a joke every single day. He told the comic to put a giant calendar up on the wall and draw a red X over every day he wrote a joke. Then, the trick was not to break that chain of Xs.

I tell people all the time that I don’t write novels; I write paragraphs. Because thinking of writing an entire novel is daunting, but writing a few paragraphs is easy. Anyone can do
that (even me). So…when I’m drafting, I do my very best not to miss a day of writing because those little Xs add up over time.

5. What's up next for you?

My sequel! Gravemaidens is the first book in a duology, and the sequel (title to be revealed soon!) is coming out next fall. In this story, Kammani is working to prevent a war on her city’s soil, but she must battle warrior maidens who are just as intent on starting one while trusting her instincts—and her heart—to guide her.

Thank you so much for having me Stephanie!!! I appreciate it!


About the Book:

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens #1)
Author: Kelly Coon
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: October 29, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press


The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land's greatest honor...and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu's ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.


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