The first time I had read a Kelley Armstrong book was way back in 2009 and I don’t think I even realized she was Canadian back then! It wasn’t until some book blogger friends of mine were talking about this great new series coming to TV, Bitten, that was an adaptation of Kelley’s book of the same title, that I finally started paying attention. Of course, the book was amazing and that year I read two of Kelley’s books.
I very vividly remember reading Kelley Armstrong’s book Omens, the first book in her Cainsville series, back when I was very pregnant with my son in 2013. I had fallen in love with her writing and had the opportunity to see her a few times when she was on tour in a few cities near me and she was such a joy to listen to and in the past 4 years I’ve been hoping that she would come back for tour because little did I know that I would fall majorly hard for her books and that she would become my most favourite Canadian author!
I remember I was about halfway through Omens when I was suddenly admitted to the hospital and had to have a c-section that day. I had my book with me and I remember reading it in the hospital, and then finishing it during those foggy first days of having my first child. Needless to say, I needed to reread it later down the road, which I did via audiobook and I will tell you, listening to that book and then binge reading the rest of the series (the last book comes out next month) just skyrocketed Kelley to the top of my list.
After finishing Omens, I fell in love with her YA thriller book, The Masked Truth, which literally kept me up at night reading, it was that freaking good. After that I was completely hooked. I went and bought EVERYTHING of hers I could get my hand on. I’ve had such a great time this year catching up on her back list and falling in love with all of her books and characters (though I still have lots to read!) and now any book she releases I anticipate so much and, really, everything now goes on my auto-buy list. She’s THAT good.
When I started to think of authors I wanted to interview for the blog, I was so nervous. Would they ignore me? Would they say yes? I know Kelley has a huge following and I honestly thought she wouldn’t be available, but she said yes! Welcome to the blog!
1. It’s Canada’s 150th! Is there a special way you like to celebrate Canada?
Travel! My preference is always for travel within Canada, and I’m hoping to see a few new places this year.
2. I’ve noticed that a lot of your books take place in, or have, wooded areas or forests, which tend to bring peace to characters in your stories. Where I live, I’m surrounded my gorgeous trees and rushing water, which brings such a calmness to me, so I can relate. Do you have a favourite place in Canada, or maybe one you long to visit?
I have many favourite places–Prince Edward Island, Vancouver Island, Banff… I’m particularly fond of the Yukon, though, and recently bought some land to build a cottage there.
3. Why do you think it’s important for people to read Canada? Who are some of your favourite Canadian authors?
Supporting Canadian authors is always good, but I’d particularly suggest seeking out genre books set in Canada—in the publishing business there can be a bias toward setting those in the US, and it helps if readers are actively looking for those set in Canada. Favourite Canadian authors include: Tanya Huff, Guy Gavriel Kay and Eve Silver.
4. Why did you become a writer? What (or who) inspired you to do what you do?
I’ve been writing since early childhood. I think what inspired me was the opportunity to tell my own stories. As a child, I started writing because I loved reading, and writing gave me the opportunity to “tell” myself the stories I wanted to hear.
5. You write for middle grade readers, young adult readers, and adult readers and always seem to have a new book for a different age-set coming out — how do you keep all of your stories straight? Do you find it hard to flip the switch from writing from one age group to another?
I use series bibles to help me keep track. It’s hard to remember all the details, and I hate making mistakes, though I know I still do. Flipping the switch isn’t a problem for me. I’ve been doing it so long that it only takes a chapter or so to “remind” myself which age group I’m writing for—to say, for example, “Oh, that’s right, this is YA, so I probably shouldn’t use the F word.” ☺ If the first chapter reads too old or young, I can easily adjust, and by the time I’m past that initial bit, I’m fine.
6. What is the writing atmosphere like when you write — do you prefer silence, or do you listen to music?
No music for me. I need quiet to fully immerse myself in my character’s voice. If I need to write in a noisy public place, I’ll use headphones, but the music is white noise that I can just tune out.
7. What are you reading right now? Any favourite authors you might like to mention?
I just came off judging for a bunch of contests, which means lots of reading and nothing I can discuss! Right now, I’m editing my own stuff, which isn’t nearly as much fun. The problem with answering the favourite-writers question is that I know so many authors whose work I love, then I worry about forgetting someone if I list them! So, I only pick people I don’t personally know. All-time favourite is Stephen King. Others are Anne Rice, Richard Adams and Jane Austen.
8. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do with your time?
Reading, of course! Then movies, music, TV, cooking, hiking, camping and hanging out with my family.
9. What has been the most challenging part about writing and publishing? Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
At this stage in my career, the most challenging aspect is finding a happy medium between satisfying reader expectations for “more of the same” and satisfying my own need to branch out. It’s gotten easier, though, with the more series I’ve written. Readers have come to expect change from me. My advice is always: keep writing. It’s boring, but it really is the most important thing. Keep at it, even if you don’t get published quickly (most authors don’t!) Do it for the love of writing, and your chances of publication will rise as you perfect your craft.
10. Can you share any details on what you’re working on next? Any exciting projects in the works?
In adult, I’m working on my Yukon-set Rockton series, currently editing book 3 while starting book 4. In YA, I’m writing standalone thrillers right now. My next one is called Aftermath, and it’s about a girl who returns to her hometown three years after her brother was involved in a school shooting. That comes out in April 2018.
Thank you so much to Kelley for being on the blog today. Are you a fan of medical mystery books?