Author Interview, Blogging, Book Love, writers life, writing

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – Blog Tour and Q&A

gravemaidens_cover

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.

Author Q&A

I would like to welcome amazing YA fantasy debut, Kelly Coon to my blog. I’m on her street team, the Skeleton Crew ❤ She answered some of my questions about her inspiration behind Gravemaidens, her writing process, and more. Let’s get started 🙂

Loie: Did Gravemaidens change a lot from the first to final draft? 

 

Kelly: What a good question! As a matter of fact, it DID. I’d say the finished hardcover is close to the 35th draft of this story. I dropped a POV character—the Boatman—and rewrote nearly every single scene from the book. It was a massive undertaking! 

 

Loie: When you’re brainstorming a new project, what do you start working on first? Do you like to research, think about the plot, or work on your characters? 

 

Kelly: I tend to start with my characters, because until I know who they are, I can’t know the plot. The decisions they make in their character arc will change the course of the plot, so I have to nail down what they want, what they need, the ghosts in their past, and the truth that they need to hear. I also need to know things like how they solve problems, how they view the world (because that impacts their voice), who they have conflicts with, and their values.   

 

Loie: Can you give us a hint at what you’re working on right now 🙂 ? 

 

Kelly: Yes! I just finished the last round of developmental edits on the GRAVEMAIDENS sequel (I cannot wait until I get to introduce you to some of the new characters) and am working on a contemporary stand-alone with speculative elements. It’s a daunting book, because one POV is written in verse and another POV is written in prose. =)

 

Loie: When were you first inspired to write Kammani’s story? 

Kelly: I wrote two completely different novels set in versions of Kammani’s world from 2013-2015, but the characters and plots did not work at all. I hadn’t yet gotten to the heart of the story she should be in. So, I scrapped those two novels completely and started over from scratch in 2016 with new characters, a new premise, and a whole new world. I queried it in early 2017 and got my agent, Kari Sutherland, who is amazing, in April of 2017, just a couple of weeks after she read it. =)

 

Loie: When you’re writing, do you need complete silence or do you listen to music?

 

Kelly: I actually listen to white noise for the most part. I’ve written six novels (and much of a seventh) with white noise, but the poetry I’m writing for my WIP has been written to loud, screaming, pulsing music. Haha

 

Loie: What was your favorite part about writing Gravemaidens? 

 

Kelly: There’s one scene near the end of the story where I felt myself let loose. Like I untied all my strings and allowed my imagination to take me wherever it wanted to go, plot outline be damned. This scene is still one of my favorite scenes in the whole book because it’s imaginative and weird and exactly the right fit for that part of the story. 

 

Sometimes writing this book was an absolute struggle, but other times—like that night—it was magic. 

 

Thank you a million times, Loie! These questions were amazing! =)

Loie: Thank you so much for answering all of my questions 🙂 If you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy of Gravemaidens, you can find it here. It releases next Tuesday, October 29th. I’m anxiously awaiting for my own copy to arrive in the mail! 

Until next time,

Loie xo

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Blogging, Book Love, fairy tales, Nature, October Poetry Challenge, Poetry, writers life, writing

October Poetry Challenge: Day 18

landscape nature flowers summer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Light Abounds

 

A bright goldenrod

drops on my cold windowsill,

on this rainy day.

*

Hey everyone, hope you’re having a good month so far. I couldn’t find a pic of a goldenrod so I settled with the one above 🙂

See you tomorrow!

Loie

Blogging, Book Love, fairy tales, Nature, October Poetry Challenge, Poetry, writers life, writing

October Poetry Challenge: Day 13, 14, 15, & 16

ocean wave
Photo by Simon Clayton on Pexels.com

A Calling

 

Every month

the mournful wind calls

and I must endure it-

for the town that ignores my presence,

for the ones who aren’t yet born.

*

Want

 

If you asked me what I wanted,

I would sit back, stumped.

Other than escaping this tower,

I have no idea of what I should want-

could want.

*

Let’s Go to the Sea

 

If the wind wails a horrible tune,

then the sea promises to heal.

Or this is what I believe.

 

I can only see the pale stretch of sapphire

lined with white foam,

of what I imagine must be waves.

*

Alone

 

The dance of the leaves

reminds me of swaying trees

and forgotten friends.

*

Hope you’re all having a great week!

Loie

Blogging, Book Love, fairy tales, Nature, October Poetry Challenge, Poetry, writers life, writing

October Poetry Challenge: Day 10, 11, & 12

photo of mountain under starry night sky
Photo by Marco Milanesi on Pexels.com

Lost Moon

 

There are some who say,

the wind always held monsters between its wispy teeth,

but I know better than that.

The terrors only arrived after the moon fell from the sky.

 

So here I must stay, like the ones before,

and sing away the roaring gale

bending in impossible shapes.

*

A Pit

 

Beyond my prison rests a snow-topped mountain.

Deep inside the towering giant

an abyss waits.

 

Darkness sings a ballad from the cracked rock.

I should never go there,

says the scribbled note in my book.

*

Visitor

 

Scarlet leaves flutter into my room

and a crow perches at my windowsill.

A flash of olive-green eyes and a cackle.

 

I rush to my window

but only see endless burnt-gold woods and

an impossibly tall stone tower.

*

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, friends ❤

Loie xo

Blogging, Book Love, Nature, October Poetry Challenge, Poetry, writers life, writing

October Poetry Challenge: Day 7, 8, & 9

a flock of birds in flight the mountain with a winding road
Photo by Fahad Hussain on Pexels.com

Echoes

 

The wind weeps tonight.

I press my hands over my ears

but I can’t stop listening.

 

The low moans tug at me,

and part of my armor unravels

into silver dust.

 

Shoving my hands into my pockets,

I close my eyes and sing as loud as I can,

until my voice grows hoarse.

 

The gale doesn’t stop crying,

but neither will I stop humming.

I mustn’t fall asleep while the wind wails.

*

They Say

 

They say she was fair,

fair as the dark red dahlia,

cheery as the loyal sunflower,

and sweet as jasmine.

 

I say I wish I knew her,

wish I could talk

to the one my heart longs for.

I say her name is Mother.

*

A Welcome Song

Leaves chatter and chant

as the regal Autumn King

awakens at last.

 

*

Sorry I was away for a couple of days 🙂 See you tomorrow!

Loie

Blogging, fairy tales, Nature, October Poetry Challenge, Poetry, writers life, writing

October Poetry Challenge: Day 5 & 6

macro photography of snowflakes
Photo by David Dibert on Pexels.com

Trailing Winter

Hurry, hurry,

I whisper to my friend, the sparrow.

 

Gather the last wild asters

dotting the forgotten road toward my tower.

I can see the clumps of bright violet flowers,

cheerful neighbors waving in the wind.

 

Yet, I taste winter and see its whisper-

The gold and silver and bronze of autumn

are dimming every day.

 

So I coax my wee winged friend

to bring me the last reminder of warmer seasons.

*

The Long Sleep

Snow-flecked wind hits me

as I stare out the window.

The deep cold is here.

*

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! See you tomorrow for day 7 of the October Poetry Challenge. Check out my friend’s latest poem 🙂

Loie