Interview With KELLY CREAGH!

So, as I'm sure a lot of you know, Kelly Creagh is one of my absolute favorite authors. The first book in her trilogy, Nevermore, stole my heart a couple years ago. The second book, Enshadowed, is coming out on the 28th of this month. I read it, loved it, and I absolutely can't wait for you all to read it, too!

I recently had the awesome opportunity to interview this lovely lady. Below are the questions I asked and her answers, along with a bit about Kelly herself (look for the black highlight). Enjoy!

1) What was your favorite scene to write in NEVERMORE?

  Okay, this answer might be slightly spoilery for anyone who hasn’t read Nevermore. (Highlight to read!)
My favorite scene to write in Nevermore had to be the dreamworld sequence, particularly the masquerade. I think one of my most favorite moments in the novel is the dance Isobel shares with Pinfeathers. Actually, my editor had quite a hand in giving that scene its sense of play for me. She and I went back and forth on that one and every little push she gave me made that moment more and more fun until I couldn’t wait until readers got there. Pinfeathers is an amazingly fun character to write. He and Gwen constantly say things that take me off guard. In fact, the first time Gwen said the word “shalom” to Varen in Nevermore, I actually had to go look it up!

2) Who is your favorite character in your NEVERMORE world? Which one do you find you connect with the most?

I think this question has two answers. I think Pinfeathers has become my favorite character. Not only is he gloriously fun to write, but he’s a monster who hardly knows what he is. He’s changeable and even gets confused by his own desires and essential makeup. He’s a demon plucked straight from Varen’s subconscious and brought to life. He’s the side of Varen we don’t get to see because of all of Varen’s reservations and conditioning. Pinfeathers is all that repressed stuff Varen won’t let himself be, do or feel. The Nocs are all that lashing-out he’s refused to indulge in, so it’s fun to give all that dark energy an outlet through such a gruesome character. I think Pinfeathers also has a sympathetic side. You only get a glimpse of it in Nevermore, but you’ll see more of what I mean in Enshadowed. As for who I identify with, I always say that Varen and Isobel are the two extremes of my own personality. I’m a bit of a tough and ready cheerleader, but I’m also a brooding goth, too.

3) What is your favorite thing about ENSHADOWED, for those who haven’t read it?

  Chapter 31.

4) Is there anything at all you can tell us about book number three?

  Gosh. I want to tell you everything. That’s one of my problems as a writer. When I really get cooking, when I have clear direction in my story, it’s hard for me to keep a lid on what’s happening. I get excited and, if I’m not careful, I’ll blurt my secrets without realizing it. So I have to be careful when I talk about my works in progress. I have to monitor my words to make sure I’m not blabbing spoilers. The opposite happens when I get stuck, though, and I clam up and can’t talk about anything. But let’s see if there is a little something I can share about book three. Hm. How about this? You will find out the truth about Reynolds. P.S. I’ve been leaving lots of clues along the way… Like big ones.

5) Are you a plotter or a "pantser" (writing by the seat of your pants)?

  With writing Nevermore, I was a total pantser. For instance, the character Pinfeathers just walked onto the page and I was like “yeah, okay, let’s see what you do, Sir Weirdness.” But letting him enter the scene made me suddenly realize who it was who had chased Isobel through the park in an earlier chapter. I also got an answer about the bird at her window. Until the first Noc appeared, I had no certainty about what was happening in those earlier scenes. During the subsequent drafts, it all made sense and the whole process felt like magic. With Enshadowed, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to accomplish with the book. I knew the end. I got that in a flash after I wrote the scene in the cafeteria with the goths in Nevermore. I went into Enshadowed knowing where I needed to end and with ideas on how to get it there, but some of my “pantser” tactics weren’t working like they had with Nevermore. I ended up rewriting a substantial portion of Enshadowed, using some outlining techniques to help guide the narrative. I still had moments that I hadn’t planned for, however, like my favorite scene in chapter 31. With book three, I’m working with an outline with a bit of pantsing it in between. This is the first time I’ve ever worked with a novel that I know the overarching story, which still took a bit of time and tinkering on the page to unearth. There are patches that I’m going to pants my way through, too, though and I’m excited about that. Sometimes, that’s where I get my best stuff.

6) If you could change one thing about NEVERMORE, what would it be, if anything?

  At the moment, I feel distant from the mechanical aspects of Nevermore. I’m no longer looking at that branch of the story in an editorial way, because it’s on the shelf and it’s in readers’ hands. If I were to look at the book again with an editorial eye, I’m sure I would find many things I’d like to change. I am quite satisfied with Nevermore, however. Of course, it’s fun to think about all I would do if, after finishing the last book, I could go back through and string all three together even more tightly. There is nothing major I would alter, though.

7) Do you have any other projects planned, outside of the NEVERMORE books?

  I do. I have a novel that I’m in love with that I wrote a few years ago before Nevermore sold. It’s something I started just for fun, just to play and to get out of Poe’s brain for a while. In the same way Nevermore took off, that novel started sprinting forward, transforming from what I thought it was going to be into its own beast. It’s a book that took me over until writing it felt like I was channeling it or that I was telling myself a story, rushing to the keyboard if only to see what would happen next. Like much of what I do, the book is very different. It’s very different from Nevermore but very me. I have much love for it and perhaps one day it will find a place on the shelf, too.

8) What was the hardest part about writing either book?

  The hardest part about writing the Nevermore series is trying to write quickly and still have the freedom to play on the page, to try things that may or may not work and to let things arise organically. Nevermore took three to write from start to finish. Though I developed a plan for three novels, I don’t think I realized how quickly I would need to put everything I had in my head onto the page and to also sort through what was working and what wasn’t in the meantime. I am not a fast reader, and I’m not a fast writer. I enjoy writing books that readers would want to return to again and again. I want to layer so that a reader can find something new each time. I want multidimensional characters with flaws and dialogue and actions rife with subtext and, for me, that takes multiple drafts to accomplish. I also wanted to create novels that would fit and intertwine not only with Poe’s works but also with his life and the enduring mystery of his death. At the same time, I don’t want a familiarity with Poe to be a prerequisite for picking up the series. But if someone reads Nevermore and then picks up The Raven and reads Poe’s poem with a new understanding, I’d be very pleased with myself. So Nevermore itself is a big project, and it’s taken some time, but I think readers who are invested in the characters will not mind the wait. If I write too fast, my work comes out fragile and brittle. I prefer slow and solid, layered and sturdy. (Though I am getting faster!) If a book has something new for a reader each time she reads it, then it’s my opinion that that book has a shot at a long shelf life. That’s what I want for Nevermore.

9) What do you hope readers will take away from your NEVERMORE series?

   A new understanding about the shadow side of ourselves. Also that each of us has a cheerleader in us and a goth, too. I want readers to reevaluate how they perceive (and treat) others who may be seen as being “different” or whose behavior or appearance sets him or her apart from what is familiar or “normal.” I want readers to walk away from Nevermore and Enshadowed questioning any preconceived notions they have that they may or may not be aware of. It’d be nice if I freak some readers out in the meantime, too. ;)


10) Okay, I have to ask: Team Peeta or Team Gale?

  Oh, I am so totally team Peeta. Sometimes, just because the mood strikes me, I’ll run outside, look up at the trees and shout “Peeeeeeta!!!”

Thank you, Kelly, for answering my questions! (Great answers, by the way!)

As a child, Kelly would hold elaborate one-kid plays for patient relatives, complete with song, dance, and over-the-top melodramatics. Then, whenever Mom or Grandma called for a break, she would venture outside to slay dragons, run from make-believe ghosts and create magical feasts for fairies out of mud and pinecones.
In the third grade, Kelly wrote her first book titled Pink Lettuce, a story about a young girl who comes to the aid of her mad scientist neighbor, helping him to return his potion-pink lettuce patch to its original green and leafy luster.
Kelly holds an undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts and Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Today, she finds true joy in transcribing her dramatic daydreams onto the stage of the blank page. When not writing or curled up with a good book, Kelly can be found teaching, learning and performing the ancient art of Bellydance.


Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

[From the back of the ARC, highlight to read *SPOILERS FOR NEVERMORE*] Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.
Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.
Only the Poe Toaster holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.

1 comment:

dragongirl said...

Great interview! I have a copy of Nevermore, but I haven't gotten around to reading it. Now I definitely want to read it soon, though! The author seems so sweet. And I love her answer for the Team Peeta/Team Gale question. XD


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