Q&A With Julie Kagawa

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Q&A With Julie Kagawa 

My Q&As keep getting more and more exciting! My latest Q&A is with New York Times Bestselling author of The Iron Fey Series, The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten Trilogy, Blood of Eden Series, The Talon series and her solo novels Eyes Like Candlelight A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, & Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl. 

Q: So Julie when did you know that your calling was to be an author?  

A: Hello! I knew I wanted to be an author around the time I was sixteen-ish. Before, the plan was not to be an author; I actually wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. But then I got to high school and suddenly realized that you had to know a lot of MATH and science to be a vet, and numbers are not my strong suit at all, lol. So I switched career goals and decided I wanted to write books and tell stories, which I already loved. Was the road any easier? Absolutely not, it was probably harder. But it was completely worth it in the end.

Q: What made you gravitate writing young adult fantasy specifically? Would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I where you get the ideas for your novels especially your Iron Fey series? 

A: I’ve always loved fantasy; it was all I read growing up. Anything with a dragon on the cover. And I naturally wanted to write about teen protagonists, so YA was perfect for me. When I first started writing the Iron Fey series, I knew I wanted to write a book about the fey, but something a little different. So I thought: what are the fey afraid of? And the answer, in most myth and legend, is iron. The fey can’t stand the touch of iron. So, then I thought, what if there was a type of faerie that not only didn’t fear iron, but was created from it? We already have stories of gremlins, creatures that live in and affect computers and machinery. What if they were fey, too? And from that thought, the Iron Fey were born.

Q: Would it be fair to say that the characters you created are taken from bits and pieces of people you know? It’s always impressive that authors use bits and pieces of people they know and places they’ve been to create fictional worlds. 

A: Many of my characters actually have tiny pieces of myself in them, along with any characters or people I find memorable.  Confession time: most of these characters come from anime and video games, as well as numerous fantastical landscapes. Video games inspire me. Several of the eerie, surreal and creepy landscapes you’ll find in The Iron Vow were inspired by a game called Elden Ring, which was absolutely brilliant and terrifying. And I’ve said many times that I picture Meghan, Ash, Puck, and even Grim as anime characters instead of real people.

Q: If you’re writing a new novel right now, can you reveal any details?

A: Right now, I have a couple new series in the works. One is a middle grade fantasy called STORM DRAGONS, which is about my favorite creatures in a world of floating islands, magic, and flying ships. It has orphans, princesses, sky pirates, and of course, dragons.  The second is a YA series tentatively called FATELESS, which I can’t reveal too much about yet. But its set in a desert world where a clever thief has to save everything from a god-like Deathless King. For all the video game enthusiasts out there, think Assassin’s Creed meets Prince of Persia.

Q: If you were to write in a genre that wasn’t fantasy, which genres would you choose?

A: Ooh, that’s difficult. I tried writing contemporary a couple times, but things like vampires and elves and magic kept popping in, which certainly didn’t belong in a contemporary novel. I guess if I had to write non fantasy, I might try my hand at horror or sci-fi. Not hard sci-fi, more like space opera sci-fi. That way I can still create new and interesting worlds and characters, which is what I love most about writing. 

Q: How do you deal with writers block if you deal with it at all?

A: I have a couple ways to deal with writer’s block. The technique I use most often is to skip the scene I’m stuck on and go to a place where I’m not blocked. My first drafts are full of holes, but I’ve found that once I finish a book, I have a better understanding of what the novel is about, so I can fill in those holes much easier. Another way I deal with writer’s block is to talk to my husband about it; he’s really good at asking questions and coming up with solutions I haven’t thought of. 

Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to write a great fantasy and continuing it into a series as you did? 

A: My advice for anyone who wants to write and publish a book is this: keep writing. It might seem simple, but the only way to publish a book is to first finish a book. And the only way to get better at writing is to practice. Your first book might not be picked up. That’s normal, don’t give up. Write something else. Your second book might not be picked up. This too, is normal. Many, many authors wrote numerous books before they got to the one that was finally published. But the difference between a writer and published author is that the author kept going, kept persisting, and never gave up. 

Q: What is your advice to new authors on how to deal with negative reviews, online trolls and family and friends who aren’t the most supportive in the world when it comes to their writing goals?

A: The thing about negative reviews is this: every author has them. Sometimes they’re constructive and very well thought out. Sometimes they seem personally offended by not only your book, but by you as a person, and they’ll list everything they despise about you, your book, your pets, your family, everything. And it can be hard to see that and not let it affect you. So, my advice to new authors is not to read reviews, especially negative ones. Do try to remember that all reviews, both negative and positive, are one person’s opinion.  Not all books are for everyone, and yours wasn’t for them. That’s all. What you do not want to do is to contact the reviewer, either to demand they explain themselves, or to defend your work. They have a right to their opinion, even if you disagree with it, and going after a reviewer is quite unprofessional. If you publish a book, you’re going to get both positive and negative reviews; that’s part of being an author. Find a way to accept them, and keep writing.