1. Do you draw on real life mythology when writing the paranormal abilities featured in your Otherworld universe? What about when writing The Gathering, where Native American lore is a strong theme?
Yes, it’s all based in folklore. I immerse myself in the stories and the variations, then pick and choose which variations I want to use for my own “brand” of that supernatural type.
2. Your YA series has one foot in fantasy and the other in science fiction. As a complete bio-geek, I have to ask—did you ever sit down and figure out the genetics of the characters’ paranormal abilities as far as inheritance patterns are concerned?
I did with the adult series (which uses the same world-building). Someone who knows a lot more about biology than I do helped me with the genetics. Sadly, all those notes are lost, though, and I’m left with just the basic “rules” that I retained in my head, such as knowing that, according to what we worked out, genetic female werewolves are statistically possible, but would be so rare that werewolves would think “it never happens.”
3. Chloe and Maya have very different personalities, although they both have a lot of inner strength. Chloe changed a lot throughout the series—in The Summoning she was fairly shy, and by The Reckoning she’d really started to grow into her powers and stick up for herself more often. We’ve only seen the first book of Maya’s trilogy, but she’s already pretty good at looking after herself and dishing out sass when necessary. Was it challenging to move from writing Chloe to writing Maya, and despite our first glance, does Maya still have a bit of growing up to do?
I wanted to make sure that Maya wasn’t a clone of Chloe. My adult series uses changing narrators, so that part was easy for me. While Maya is more capable of handling herself, her confidence leads her to make snap judgements, which she has to work on. Also, she’ll need to deal with the strain of being a natural leader—there will be times when she’s in no shape to take responsibility for the safety of her friends, but she has to, because they expect her to take charge.
4. Even if you don’t write with a specific message in mind, what do you hope that girls will take away from reading your books?
I think one thing that paranormal YA shows is that it’s okay—even good—to be different. It might make life tougher, but it will ultimately be more rewarding.
5. Do you think it’s important for girls to have strong role models in literature?
Definitely. And by “strong role model” I don’t mean kick-ass super-girls. I mean capable and resourceful girls. Strong characters can certainly start off lost and overwhelmed, but don’t say “I can’t handle this” and give up. They deal with the problems as best they can and discover their own skills and abilities. That’s the kind of role models all kids—boys and girls—need to see.
6. Finally, what’s your favorite girl-power read—and why?
There are a lot of modern ones, and if I pick one, I’ll leave out other great choices ☺ So I’ll go with a classic: Anne of Green Gables. Anne was a great heroine. She was spirited and intelligent, creative and caring, but she was far from perfect.
I think you hit the nail on the head with question 5! Thank you so much for participating!
Kelley Armstrong is the author of the Otherworld and Nadia Stafford series. Her YA series is set in the Otherworld Universe and is made up by the Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies. Her next YA book, The Calling, is out in April 2012. Find out more through Kelley's website, twitter, and facebook pages.
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