January 15, 2010
Interview with Kitty Keswick
Kitty Keswick's FREAKSVILLE is not only her debut novel, but one of the launch titles for Leap Books. She's a California girl born on a Thursday, who began writing at a young age like so many authors. FREAKSVILLE is the story of Kasey Maxwell, who gets the role of Juliet in the school play, but didn't choose her role as a seer. Check back on Monday for my review.
1. FREAKSVILLE, your first release, contains a number of paranormal elements. What drew you to the paranormal? What are some of your favorite supernatural stories?
It’s more like the paranormal was drawn to me. Writing about things that go bump in the night is in my blood. When I was small, I was told stories of Bigfoot and screaming banshees as bedtime cautionary tales. My grandmother had little “rituals” she’d do to help me sleep, salt on the windowsill to keep me safe and a glass of water on the nightstand to collect the bad dreams.
2. Kasey's story is told in blog format. Why was this the right format for FREAKSVILLE? Did you start writing it in traditional narration, or did you know it was going to be in blog format from the beginning?
The first words I wrote were Kasey’s innermost confessions. The story, in some cases, was directed at the reader, almost as if Kasey had pulled up a chair and started talking. I kept it in first person and, after the first draft, realized the confession style needed something more. A little structure. I didn’t want to do a diary format; I wanted something a little different. So, I started with the blog, and it bleeds into a typical story format. Characters add comments in some of the chapters to add to the mystery. In book two, FURRY & FREAKED, I take the blog a little further.
3. 2010 looks like a great year for YA books. What are some of the releases you're most excited about? What is it like to be part of an author group like the Class of 2k10?
I’m very lucky to be a part of such an amazing group of authors. I want to read every single debut in my “class.” I’m looking forward to re-reading Judith Graves’ UNDER MY SKIN, and Shannon Delany’s 13 TO LIFE: A Werewolf Tale because they’re wolfy chicks, too.
4. What is your day job? Do you think it has affected the way you write?
I was an Interior Designer. Having training in design helps me with story settings. Now, I write full time.
5. What are some of your hobbies?
I create jewelry. I live for movies. I love to read. But lately most of my time has been spent either writing or editing. A bit boring.
6. Kasey's blog is a good way for her to sort through her feelings, particularly falling in love with Josh and being freaked about all the ghosts popping up at the school, the mall, and her friend Gillie's house. Of course, many teens blog to blow off steam. What do you do after something (or someone) has really pissed you off?
Err…grit my teeth, gnaw my lip, turn up eardrum-piercing, angry alternative music, and, if they’ve really pissed me off, make them a villain in a short story and let the hero win.
7. How do you feel about the publication of your first novel?
I don’t have any fingernails left! I’ve gnawed them to the cuticles. It’s thrilling and a bit shake-in-your-boots frightening to finally have Freaksville out in the public. I’m not sure what people will think. I’ve enjoyed writing it, and I’ve grown as a writer from the experience. So I only hope that it will be well received. I write for the readers.
8. What's next? Are there any things you're going to do differently with future novels?
I’m working on the edits for book two in the Freaksville series, FURRY & FREAKED. I’ve taken it a little darker and stretched Kasey a bit. She grows up a lot in book two and really becomes a leader.
Also I have to finish writing book three, which is untitled. In addition, I’m working on a joint paranormal series, Origins, with Judith Graves.
I try to stretch myself as much as possible. I have some surprise plot twists at the end of FURRY. I hope the readers will enjoy where I’m taking the series.
9. Your Class of 2k10 profile says that you're an Anglophile, like protagonist Kasey Maxell. (And of course, love interest Josh is from England. Have you been to England? What are your favorite parts of English culture?
Yes. I went to England, Scotland, and Wales this past April. I love the small quaint English villages, the rolling luxuriant hills, and the small pubs filled to the brim with local characters. I also spent some time researching a certain area in Scotland for information I hope to use in the Freaksville series.