Celebrating Fiction Book Bash 2014 is an event hosted by me at Bookish Serendipity. It is dedicated to celebrating the end of 2014, and looking forward to what 2015 has to offer!
As some of you already know, Celebrating Fiction Book Bash 2014 (hosted by yours truly) began this week. I’m very excited for the event, and it has been very fun to organize. Today, I have a very special surprise for you: I am interviewing author Kendall Kulper. I read and LOVED Salt & Storm, so I am thrilled to be able to share her work with you awesome readers. Find my review here.
About The Author
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ME: Salt & Storm is your debut novel. What originally interested you in becoming a writer? How many books did you write before Salt & Storm was contracted?
I think I was always interested in writing. When I was a kid, my dream job was children’s book writer. The older I got, the more I started to think that I needed a “serious” job, so I didn’t really consider being a writer an option. While I was working my “serious” job, though, I kept writing and found that it made me happier than anything I’d ever done before. When I had a completed manuscript under my belt, I decided to quit my job and try querying it and writing full time. I ended up writing two novels that ultimately went into the drawer before I wrote Salt & Storm.
ME: Can you tell us a little bit about your path to publication? What’s next for you?
I queried Salt & Storm for about four months before I signed with my agent, Sara Crowe, and she had just started submitting it to publishers when she met my editor, Bethany Strout, at a conference and realized that what Bethany was looking for just happened to be my next project. Luckily, Bethany was interested in looking at Salt & Storm, loved it, and made an offer—and I’m so thrilled, because Little, Brown has been a total dream to work with.
Coming up next is the prequel to Salt & Storm, which is due to be out in Fall 2015, and right now I’m working on my next book (top-secret for now!).
ME: Salt & Storm is set in an alternative version of the 19th century (with magic!) What kind of research did you have to do? Was there anything in particular that surprised or interested you?
I did a lot of research, which was really fun! I did all the typical things, like read a lot of books and watch a lot of documentaries, but it was also really important for me to get out and experience as much of the book’s world as possible. So I went out on a historic tall ship and visited whaling towns and spent a lot of time at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which has really wonderful exhibits, like a half-scale replica of a whaling ship.
The craziest thing I found out in my research is how absurdly dangerous whaling was and how it was simply a way of life for a lot of these men. There are stories of men surviving horrendous shipwrecks that killed off their entire families, and then these men would immediately sign up for another expedition as soon as they got home. As someone who’s not a fan of being out on the water even in the best conditions, this totally boggles my mind.
ME: I’ve read that you now work full-time as a writer. What does your writing routine look like?
I try to keep a nine-to-five schedule and organize my day as much like a typical office job as possible. Right now, I’m taking care of my very small baby, so my schedule is full of many more interruptions than I’d like, but I still sit down at my laptop every day in the morning and stay there until 5 or 6. With the baby, I have to be a lot more organized and focused, so I usually give myself a goal every day—a word count or a set number of pages to edit—and it helps to have something tangible to work on.
ME: Fantasy is my favourite genre, and one of the things I raved about in my review was the setting of Prince Island. Do you have any advice for writers about writing fantasy and world-building?
I always tried to root the world in reality. Even though Prince Island isn’t a real place, it’s based on places I’ve spent a lot of time in, like Martha’s Vineyard, and those experiences were essential in creating Prince Island. I thought a lot about not just what it would look like but how it smelled, how it felt to walk down the street or along the water, and what kinds of noises Avery would hear.
ME: What has been the best/ or most interesting experience you’ve had since Salt & Storm was contracted?
I went to my first big conference, ALA, in Las Vegas last summer, and it was awesome! I met some of my favorite authors, like Laini Taylor and A.S. King, who were so lovely and offered me incredibly sweet and helpful parenting tips (I was seven months pregnant at the time). That was also the first time I met people interested in reading the book—and the first time I signed books for people—and it was a very surreal experience. I kept wanting to ask people “How did you hear about this?!”
ME: Thanks so much to Ms. Kulper for the interview! I can’t wait to read whatever you have coming next!
About Salt & Storm
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You don’t know what you must give up to become a witch.
Avery Roe wants only to claim her birthright as the witch of Prince Island and to make the charms that have kept the island’s sailors safe at sea for generations, but instead she is held prisoner by her mother in a magic-free life of proper manners and respectability. Avery thinks escape is just a matter of time, but when she has a harrowing nightmare, she can see what it means: She will be killed. She will be murdered. And she’s never been wrong before.
Desperate to change her future, Avery finds a surprising ally in Tane—a tattooed harpoon boy with magic of his own, who moves her in ways she never expected. But as time runs out to unlock her magic and save herself, Avery discovers that becoming a witch requires unimaginable sacrifice.
Avery walks the knife’s edge between choice and destiny in Kendall Kulper’s sweeping debut: the story of one girl’s fight to survive the rising storm of first love and family secrets.