Monday, January 2, 2012

The "Write" Facts Interview: Kendare Blake

The “Write” Facts is a new weekly post where I’m chatting with a different author every week about everything to do with writing. Here we’ll be discussing the writing process, editing, working with an agent, publishing houses and talking about some of the logistics of book you either already love or will soon be a new favorite!

Today, I've got the author of Anna Dressed In Blood and the up coming Girl of Nightmares, Kendare Blake here to discuss all things writing. So here are the "write" facts.

Kendare Blake
Agent: Adriann Ranta, Wolf Literary
Authors at the same agency: 

Publisher: Tor Teen
Word Count: Around 80k
Describe your novel in five words: Boy meets Girl. Girl kills.
Favorite Word: That would be a tie between a defeated-sounding real swear word (*sigh*shrug*"shit") and a flustered barely contained faux swear word (*bodily shakes* "Fricken frick frick!")
Writing is like (fill in blank): Eating chocolate. You just have to do it. If you don't, you get cranky. But sometimes you wish it didn't have so many calories.

1) Do you find it easier to develop characters or plot the story? Can you explain?

Characters. Of course, it's nice to have a basic idea of what the characters might go through. Like, their main obstacle. I knew Cas was going to go up against Anna. That was it. If you get to know your characters, the plot will develop organically, through their situations and unique motivations. Things that happen will feel genuine, less like a twist or a turn, and more like it's just what happens.

2) Can you tell us about The Call and why you choose your agent?

Sure. This is The Call where I got my agent, right? Not The Call where I got my publisher? Okay. So I had to offers from two fantastic agents. I had good conversations with them both, and they were both extremely enthusiastic about the work. One was from a larger agency, one from a smaller, boutique type. It was a nauseous choice. My gut told me which was the right fit, but who trusts their gut, at a time like that? So I left it up to fate and flipped the remote control like a coin, three times. They all came up for Adriann. Then I flipped it again, just to make sure it wasn't weighted weird and could actually flip the other way. Yeah. It was pretty scientific.

3) What do you think is the most important question to ask your agent when you are first trying to decide if they’d be a good fit?
Ask them everything that is important to you. That's the most important thing to ask: everything that you want to ask. Don't hold anything back. If you want to know how they would handle your career through a genre-shift, ask. Want to know what their plan would be for submitting your work? Ask. Want to know how much revision they'd want before sub, and how that process would work? Ask. Want to know how they prefer to communicate with clients? ASK.

4) Any tips or tricks of the trade that you use during the editing process that you’d like to share?

When it comes to the first round of edits, the bigger, conceptual edits that might require some real revision or scene addition/deletion, I like to let it sit a few days. Read the editorial letter. Go, hmm. Then let it sit. Even if it feels like I know just what needs doing, I let it sit.

5) What surprised you the most after you started working with a publisher?

The fact that I was working with a publisher. It took awhile for the stars to leave my eyeballs. Some of them are still in there, actually. And sometimes they scratch. It surprised me, I guess, just how many eyes are on a manuscript through the process, and yet, each time, they find new mistakes! I used to get so annoyed when I'd read a book and it would be missing a period, or missing a space between words, but seriously, that crap really has a way to sneaking by.

6) How do you deal with rejection?

Badly. I go all Hemingway, only, not with the suicide. Or at least sometimes I do. The really big ones. Or the ones with bad timing. Sometimes, you can shrug it off, if you weren't expecting much from it anyway, but come on. Rejection blows goats. And it always will. They say you become accustomed to it (btw, who the heck are 'they'?) but I'm not sure. There's always an element of rejection in writing, well, in life really. And I suspect that it always sucks. I suppose I should give some advice, something gruff like, "Buck up and get used to it" or something sunny like, "start a new project." But I'm not going to do that. It's different for everyone.

7) What is your best piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Read. Always read. Not just in your genre. Actually, read outside of it. Find writers you admire, and think about why they're good. Watch the ways they handle certain narrative situations. It's interesting to think about things like perspective choices, or the passage of time, or the pacing at which things unfold. Read a first person. Read a third limited. Read omniscient. Read epistolary (even though sometimes that's like pulling teeth.) Be a student of the craft. And then go back and read for fun.

And here's a question specifically about the main character Cas in Anna Dressed In Blood and Girl of Nightmares!
Bonus Question: I always tell people that Cas is the best part of the Winchester brothers from Supernatural rolled up into one. If you could add another fictional character into the story to hunt ghosts with Cas, who would you pick and why?

Hmm. Fun. I think I would choose both Dr. Wilson and Dr. House. They could really break down the pathology of the ghosts. And they could prank the hell out of each other. It would probably end up broken down into teams: Carmel and Wilson trying to temper Cas and House, with Thomas trying to referee.

Thanks so much for having me by the Rabbit Hole! -Kendare

Pleasure was all mine! Hopefully you got something useful out of this. Want to thank Kendare Blake for dropping by. Next week, Stacey Jay is popping by to share some priceless information on the world of publishing!


  1. That was a great interview! It is infuriating how those periods go missing, almost like there is a grammer fairy out there thieving away punctuation in the night.

  2. Oh! Love this new meme! Great interview! And Dr. House fighting ghosts? Hah! I'd tune it for that :)

  3. What a fantastic interview! Thank you.


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