At last count I’ve read 18 books this summer. Some were good. Others disappointing. One was so amazing, I’ve reread it TWICE. That book was Kendare Blake’s ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD.
The entire concept of this book was intriguing and the voice of MC Cas Lowood jumped off the page. After I read the final word of the novel (for the third time) I knew I wanted to interview Kendare for my W.O.W. series. With fingers crossed, I sent an email to Ms. Blake, and a few days later, I fell out of my seat when she returned a kind and enthusiastic reply.
What I love most about Kendare is her perspective on the writing process. She, like so many others, received rejection but kept on writing. The result: an amazingly successful novel and a partnership with an elite agent and publishing company.
I hope you enjoy Kendare’s interview. My wish is that it will inspire fellow writers to pen an equally stunning novel.
Amy: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Kendare: I think I was about twelve. I wrote a novel about horses into a couple of spiral bound notebooks. My parents got me a computer the next year.
Amy: Have you always written YA fiction?
Kendare: Nope. Anna was the first YA I wrote. Well, before that I guess they said Sleepwalk Society was New Adult, or Crossover fiction. I used to write horror short stories, then literary.
Amy: How many manuscripts had you completed prior to ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD?
Kendare: Manuscripts? Completed? Hm. Three. Only one of those sold.
Amy: If you had preliminary rejections, how did you deal with that process and continue to write?
Kendare: You just do. It sucks, but it’s part of the process. Sure, there are days where I thought I should probably quit and do something else, but I never did. I quit writing during college, but after that, it’s been steady. Steady rejection for most of that time.
Amy: Did you have critique partners that helped you polish ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD? If so, how did that
affect your writing process?
Kendare: I didn’t have critique partners for Anna. I still don’t have critique partners now, not really. But I’m thinking of trying to hook up with some.
Amy: How long did it take you to write the query for ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD? Did it go through many
Kendare: The Anna query went through two drafts, I think. Which is the minimum number I put things through before sending it. It seemed to get positive responses, so I never had to revise it after that.
Amy: How many agents did you query for ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD?
Kendare: Hm. Let me check the spreadsheet. I queried seven. Three requested fulls. Two offered.
Amy: Did you receive instantaneous response or did you have to wait for requests/rejections?
Kendare: Responses were pretty fast that time. But I can remember with other books that they weren’t.
Amy: Can you tell us what your “call” was like with your agent, Adriann Ranta?
Kendare: It was just a nerve-wracking chat where I asked her if she had any editors in mind, and what she thought about the book’s market appeal, and if she could describe a past experience with a hard-to-sell book, etc. Pretty much all the questions a paranoid writer’s mind could come up with. A lot of it was gut feeling. And a coin toss. But I’m so glad I went with my gut (and the coin) because we really gel. She’s great.
Amy: If you met a struggling writer at a book signing, and they told you they were about to give up on their dream of publication, what would you say to encourage them to keep writing?
Kendare: I’d have to ask them what they’d been doing. Every journey is different. Similar path, totally strange turns. Honestly, if they were going to give up, and they meant it, I might not say anything. It’s their choice. Besides, you know writers. We might throw up our hands and quit. For a day. For a week. For a month. But writers write. The giving up doesn’t stick.
Thanks for having me by the blog!
If you enjoy a thrilling read you must pick up Kendare’s ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, as well as the just released sequel, GIRL OF NIGHTMARES.