Kendare Blake

kendareblakeauthorphotoInterviewed by Sam Markham

Kendare Blake is the author of one New Adult and three Young Adult novels. She has an MA in writing from Middlesex University in London, and her award-winning teen horror novel, Anna Dressed in Blood, was recently optioned for film by Stephenie Meyer’s production company, Fickle Fish. The second novel in her current Goddess War series will be released later this year, and she’s also written short stories.

Kendare is a fan of classic Stephen King, saviour of multiple animals roadside, and the author of a fantastic blog that includes tags like “Tyrion Cattister” (her second feline) and “pre-lasagna procrastination.”

I contacted her after being blown away by her Anna series, and was thrilled when she agreed to speak to me by email about such writerly subjects as ulcers, the nebulous world of self-promotion, and moving back in with one’s parents.

What drove you to begin your career as a writer? What did you do before that?

Writing has always been the thing to do. The only thing I’ve ever been compelled to do. But, there’s also the nasty necessity of, er, paying for the necessities, so I went to college for something else and worked as a project manager for a bit. It was gross. After a while, I blew up the car and walked away, started a new life. A writing life, starving be damned, a.k.a. I went to London for grad school and then moved back in with my parents. [Read more…]

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Shelley Hrdlitschka

Shelley-Hrdlitschka-webInterviewed by Caitlin Fisher

Shelley Hrdlitschka is the author of nine young adult novels, most recently Allegra. She has received a number of awards for her emotionally charged novels that explore complex and often sensitive subjects. Kat’s Fall was chosen as a White Pine Honour Book for 2005 and Dancing Naked won the 2002 White Pine Award. Her novels have been on the CCBC Our Choice list and the International Reading Association Young Adult’s Choices list; as well, Kat’s Fall was included on the 2005 New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list. Sister Wife was a Governor General’s Award Nominee for 2009. She lives in North Vancouver

I was fortunate enough to get to speak to Shelley over email, and serendipitously in the baking aisle of our local supermarket, about her career, her advice for emerging writers, and her greatest influences.

What was the process for you of publishing your first novel Beans on Toast?

I had been writing for many years before Beans on Toast was offered a publishing contract. I had tried writing picture books, with no success. Then I wrote a couple middle grade novels, and although there was some interest in them, they were never published either. I collected dozens of rejection letters.

Shortly after I submitted Beans on Toast to Orca Books I met the publisher at Word on the Street, a literary festival held in downtown Vancouver. He was there to speak about the publishing business. I introduced myself and told him he had a submission of mine. He said he recognized my name and shortly after that I received a contract. I’ve often wondered if it helped that he could put a face to the name in deciding whether to offer a contract for that book. [Read more…]