When I heard the buzz about Julie Kagawa’s debut YA novel, THE IRON KING, I had to check it out. Not only did fans rave about how much they enjoyed the book, they were also quite vocal about the two love interests — Team Puck vs. Team Ash. In the spirit of research, I decided to read this series to find out whether the story, and of course the chemistry of the characters, worked. How could I resist?
The good news…yes,these books certainly hold up to the buzz. The bad news? THE IRON QUEEN isn’t out until February 2011 and then there will be a wait for THE IRON KNIGHT, from Ash’s POV…
Julie creates a fascinating world with riveting characters. Talk about a page turner. And Puck and Ash? *sigh* Ash is sizzling hot; Puck is a total keeper. There. I’ve said it.
Are you ready to find out more about the woman behind this fey world? Please welcome Julie Kagawa…
HWM: Why write YA books?
JULIE KAGAWA: I started off writing for adults, but since all my protagonists were teens, my agent suggested I write for YA. I love it. I don’t think I’d ever go back to writing for adults. There’s so much freedom in the YA genre, and the readers are some of the most passionate people I know.
HWM: Your IRON FEY series, is not your regular faery story. I loved your creative world building. What were your challenges in making this world believable?
JULIE KAGAWA: With the Nevernever and the faery courts, I wanted them to be surreal and dreamlike and fantastical without being completely off-the-wall. So, instead of just filling them with strange creatures and fey, I would begin with a certain landscape and write it so that something was slightly off about it. Like shadows moving from the corner of your eyes, or trees that would or follow you down the path when you weren’t looking. Creating the world of the fey was a challenging, but really fun, part about writing THE IRON KING.
HWM: Who was the hardest character to develop and why?
JULIE KAGAWA: Meghan was actually the hardest character for me to write, as if was difficult to balance the courage and stubbornness needed in a heroine with the insecurities of a teenage girl. She wasn’t a karate master or an expert in guns, weapons, or fighting. She was just a normal teen dropped into extraordinary, strange, and terrifying circumstances. I had to make her reactions as believable as I could, without making her seem like a complete ditz.
HWM: The release dates of your three books–IRON KING, IRON DAUGHTER and IRON QUEEN—are about six months apart (IRON QUEEN is to be released in February 2011). I believe I read somewhere you sold IRON KING and then wrote the next two books. Did you plan on writing a series? Did you know what story needed to be told next?
JULIE KAGAWA: I did intend for it to be a series, but I wrote the ending of THE IRON KING in such a way that it could be a standalone if absolutely needed. Because it sold so quickly, I didn’t have much time to think of doing anything else before I got the news that the publisher wanted two more books.
HWM: What are the challenges and joys of writing a series?
JULIE KAGAWA: In a series, you have to be aware of everything that has happened before, of continuing plot threads that need to be resolved, and character interactions that need to continue and grow. You also have to keep the story fresh, to not repeat the same things you did in the previous books. Of course, you also get to watch the characters evolve and change, and by the end of the series they’ve all been through so much, you feel like they’re old friends now. You know everything about them, but it also makes it that much harder to say goodbye and let them go.
HWM: I see from Twitter that you’re a gaming fan and a student of kung fu. I can only imagine how your stories have grown from these experiences. What is a favorite scene that developed from your experiences?
JULIE KAGAWA: This might be a bit spoilery, but the ending of Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X were my favorite scenes in all of video game history. They definitely influenced some of the events in THE IRON QUEEN. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
HWM: Your fans are very vocal on how much they love your series. They’re also quite divided on the love interests, Team Puck and Team Ash. Please share a favorite fan story.
JULIE KAGAWA: I was at a friend’s party with a bunch of people I didn’t know, so I started chatting about books with one of the people there. When she heard I was an author she asked me what books I had written and I said “THE IRON KING.” She squealed and said she had just read that book and that she loved it and omg are you really the author? It was a very cool moment.
HWM: What project(s) are you working on now?
JULIE KAGAWA: Right now, I’m working on a new series involving a post-apocalyptic world. With vampires.
HWM: What has been the biggest surprise of your writing career?
JULIE KAGAWA: The YA ‘blogosphere,’ and all the wonderful, supportive, and passionate bloggers that truly love the genre. Thank you all so much for reading and posting your thoughts.
HWM: What was the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?
JULIE KAGAWA: You can fix a bad page, but you can’t fix a blank one.
HWM: Please share a writing tip with us.
JULIE KAGAWA: This is one of my favorite quotes. It never fails to inspire me.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
In other words, never give up.
OTHER PLACES TO FIND JULIE:
- Julie’s Website
- Julie’s Blog
- Iron Fey Series Website
- twitter @jkagawa
- facebook The Iron Fey
- Interview at Juvenescence
- Interview at Dark Faerie Tales
- Fantasy Magazine Interview