Hey, everyone! Welcome to my stop on the 2014 Pasadena Teen Book Fest Blog Tour! Sadly, I thought I was going to be able to go to the festival this year (its inaugural year), but due to work, am not able to. So, here’s an interview with the lovely Katherine Ewell (whose debut, “Dear Killer”, is on sale now!) instead. I loved “Dear Killer”, and the review for that will be up quite soon. So look forward to that.
Anyway! Let’s get to the interview. I’ve tried to keep things as spoiler-free as possible for new readers.
And if you’re able to, try to make it to the Pasadena Teen Book Fest if you live in Southern California, since I can’t, and tell me all about it! I’ll be quite jealous of you, I promise. More information on the Fest following the interview.
KATHERINE EWELL: Because we always see things from the point of view of the undeniable hero, the character who might make some mistakes but in the end is always in the right, totally morally justified. I wanted to write Dear Killer to show the other side of that. Kit, the main character, is not in the right, though she might believe she is. She’s a serial killer. I wanted to tell the other side of a hero story—a villain story, narrated by a violent villain who sees herself as something of a hero.
U: For a few years now, word is that agents, pubs, and editors alike have been looking for a “Dexter” for the YA set. Would you say that your book fits that image, and why?
KE: I think so, though Dear Killer isn’t exactly like Dexter. Dexter, the character, has something of a moral code insofar as that he only kills criminals. Kit doesn’t even have that much of a moral code; she’s an unapologetic criminal who kills the essentially innocent. Dear Killer has Dexter-like qualities of being centered around and told from the point of view of a serial killer, but in many ways, it goes even further than Dexter into darkness and moral ambiguity.
U: That ending. Please tell me there’s another book coming? Please?
KE: Who knows! I’m not writing it now, but who knows when inspiration might hit me for it in the next few years…
U: What inspires you?
KE: Good music, cozy spaces, grand adventures, sad books, music videos, pretty images, epic speeches, good movies, doing stupid things that I can tell stories about later, good food, good company, beautiful places.
U: From the very first draft to the last, how big did “Dear Killer” evolve and change?
KE: Dear Killer changed an amazing amount during editing. It started out as a very short work, about 30,000 words, and ended up at about 86,000 words. Crazy, right? During editing, as well as length, it gained a lot more emotional depth and a great many more plot points—the book it started out as was NOT the book it ended up as, in the best way.
U: You have writer’s block. What helps it?
KE: Tea, good music, and pretty pictures. I take a great amount of inspiration from images, whether they are images of tigers, pretty dresses, or ancient ruins—I like taking things I think are cool or beautiful and writing them into my stories, so whenever I hit a wall, I start browsing the library of pictures I keep on my computer.
U: Biggest influences? This can be in any area – literature or otherwise.
KE: “The Book Thief,” “V for Vendetta,” “Castle,” (I was binge-watching Castle while writing) tons of moral philosophy essays, moody instrumental music, and the city of London itself.
U: What’s your next project? If you can talk about it, that is.
KE: I don’t really like talking about my next projects—but I will tell you that there is one!
U: What are your thoughts on the New Adult genre? Would you say that “DK” fits that bit of the genre?
KE: I really like the New Adult genre. I think its existence really fills a gap for those who might feel a little old for YA and a little young for “adult” fiction. (though I personally don’t believe that anyone is necessarily too old for YA!) I think that DK does fit a little bit of that genre, actually. It takes place in high school, but it deals with some very mature topics that seem almost like adult fiction.
U: Finally, a message for your readers?
KE: Violence is bad! Follow your passions, stay in school and don’t kill people.
The First Annual Pasadena Teen Book Fest Information:
Free event – Tickets at Eventbrite
More information – Grab a Badge
Presented by Pasadena Public Library and Bridge to Books
Mon April 7 – What a Nerd Girl Says – Spotlight on Margaret Stohl
Fri April 11 – iFandoms Collide – Spotlight on Rachel Searles
Wed April 23 – Read Now Sleep Later – Spotlight on Tracy Holczer
Fri April 25 – The Consummate Reader – Spotlight on Lissa Price
Date TBD – A Bookish Escape – Spotlight on Ann Redisch Stampler