Connect with Kelly:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter
I initially had reservations about reading Nevermore. The cover totally creeped me out, and that was enough to keep me away. Luckily, I was smart enough to listen to my lovely readers who told me that I had to read this book. I read it over a year ago and I STILL think about it some times! I'm so thrilled to be featuring Kelly today, only three days after the sequel to Nevermore has been released! Read on to see how cool she is, then enter to win the first book in the series!
From what I’ve read it seems like Poe was something you didn’t really discover until after you began writing Nevermore. Was your original intent to make the book more realistic, or did you always think that it would have some fantastical/supernatural elements?
It’s true that when I began Nevermore, I didn’t intend Poe to be a large part of the novel. He wasn’t even in my brain when I began. My idea consisted of a goth boy and a cheerleader being paired for a literature project. I knew that Varen carried a sketchbook and I also knew that the strange things he wrote about and drew in its pages would eventually come to life and terrorize Isobel. That was all the initial story seed consisted of. When Mr. Swanson paired Isobel and Varen together, I tried to think of what literary figure the goth boy might pick for the project and Poe seemed a logical choice. I began to brush up on Poe and research him a bit. That’s how I discovered the odd circumstances surrounding his death.
Ideas began to bubble up and I had this burning desire to go to Baltimore where Poe once lived and is currently buried. So in 2006, a year after I began the novel, I went to visit his house and gravesite. The novel kept coming along and Poe became its backbone. There are even elements to the story that I look back on now that I realize weren’t conscious Poe-related decisions but now, in retrospect, seem to scream “Poe.” For example the bookshop owner of Nobit’s Nook has a glass eye. Though I had read the short story The Tell-Tale Heart, I wasn’t thinking about the old man with the vulture eye in that story when I wrote the character Bruce Nobit.
It wasn’t until after I’d written most of the book that I realized that his eye had to have been a choice made by my subconscious. I think Nevermore has a lot of these little moments because I immersed myself in Poe’s works while writing. I listened to audio versions of his stories over and over. That said, Nevermore also contains many many conscious Poe links, such as Varen’s name which is an anagram for Raven. Also, some of the adults in the book have bird related names, like Mr. Swanson and Principal Finch. I named Varen’s street St. Francis Court because St. Francis was known for preaching to the birds. I love slipping in little tiny things like that.
My favorite authors are Susan Kay (author of Phantom) and Robin McKinley. I’m also a huge fan of Libba Bray and J.K. Rowling. I think I learned a lot about craft from those authors as well as how to construct a story. Also Gaston Leroux who wrote The Phantom of the Opera has been a large influence on my work. And that’s funny because Leroux was a huge fan of Poe. That’s why Leroux chose to have the Phantom appear at the Masquerade as The Red Death. That was Leroux’s nod to Poe’s. Ironically, my love for Leroux’s tale led to the choice of Varen wearing the phantom’s mask at the Grim Façade. That was my nod to Leroux.
If there is one other person who I would name as a direct influence on my work, I would say Tim Burton.
I’ve noticed that there are a TON of authors that have a theatre background. I know some people find this strange because writing seems like a very “introverted” career. How do you think theatre comes into play being an author? Do you ever get lonely while writing?
With writing, instead of being confined to one character as an actor would be, I get to play them all in addition to making up the story all on my own. I think writing and acting are both forms of drama. So it makes total sense to me that many actors would also find joy in writing and vice versa.
I’m always curious to know whether or not authors read what they write, or read things in completely different genres. What do you read? Have you ever had trouble with getting another author’s “voice” stuck in your head?
I’m always reading and I try to read in a wide range of genres, though I tend to lean toward paranormal fiction since that is what I enjoy most as a reader. Mostly, though, I love a good story. Also, I listen to a lot of audio books because I enjoy drawing or painting or cleaning at the same time.
The only time when I felt as though I had another author’s “voice” stuck in my head is when I had been reading so much Poe. And I considered that a good thing. During the writing of Nevermore, I really liked having the language Poe used pop up naturally through the narrative. And I liked to think that I had some Jo Rowling moments with the placement of very subtle but very pointed clues as to what is yet to come. Reynolds pocket watch, for example, is a big fat clue about him. ;)
It’s been a while since Nevermore came out. How do you suggest fans prepare for Enshadowed? Re-read Nevermore? Or perhaps read some Poe stories or poems?
Though re-reading Nevermore might be a good idea, I don’t think that’s a must. I did my best in Enshadowed to include small reminders and recaps as to what happened in book one. If you were going to read something of Poe’s, I would definitely suggest The Fall of the House of Usher. Most definitely The Fall of the House of Usher.
Along those same lines, do you know if there will ever be an audio edition of Nevermore?
I would love for there to be an audio version of Nevermore! Especially since I’m such a fan of audio books. Perhaps that will happen soon. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. I would actually love to hear Gwen’s voice done with that sharp Brooklyn accent of hers. When I write her character, I always read her dialogue aloud to myself in her voice. Sometimes she says things that shock me…
And then just for fun: What’s the weirdest thing you can see RIGHT NOW?
Hm. I’m in a coffee shop at the moment. Looking…looking… um. That would be the man sitting across from me who just started talking to himself. OMG. Now he’s singing to himself, like “bum bum bum bum buuum.” Oh wow, now he’s singing all high pitched. I think it might be opera. I am so serious, he’s like crooning. He probably doesn’t know I can hear him because I have my headphones on… Funny that he didn’t start acting weird until you told me to look for something weird—GAH! Now he’s looking this way!!! Um… did I just fall into one of my books???
Last but not least, I love doing mad-libs with authors. Credit for the idea goes to, you guessed it, the reviewers at Everead!
Everything was catapulting out in bizarre motion again. Varen’s cat lingered on hers even as he skated away. She watched him as one ghostly hand reached outlandishly into an opera singer behind the counter and pulled from a trough of water a single violet gravestone.
You can win a copy of Nevermore! Today's giveaway is hosted by Girls PWN. Head on over to win. This giveaway is open TO US ONLY!
All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012