Today we have a spotlight on debut author Julie Kagawa and her Young Adult paranormal Iron Fey series, which begins with The Iron King, a story about a seemingly normal girl with a not-so-normal destiny, caught in the tangled web of fey politics. To celebrate the upcoming release of The Iron Daughter, we have Julie over for a chat, and later in the day we will be reviewing The Iron King!
Ladies and gents, please give a warm welcome to Julie Kagawa!
The Book Smugglers: Thank you for the taking the time to chat with us, Julie, and welcome to our blog! Your debut novel, The Iron King, has been out since February. How does it feel to be a published author?
Julie: Completely amazing! It’s still so surreal for me, to walk into a store and see my book on the shelves. And I can still tell myself: “I got a book published,” and start giggling hysterically.
The Book Smugglers: Before selling your book, you used to be a professional dog trainer to pay the rent. Would you say that there are any transferable skills between the two?
Julie: Patience. It takes patience and hard work, both to train a dog and to write a novel. Neither will happen immediately, but if you keep at it, you’ll start to see results.
The Book Smugglers: Books about Faeries are a quite popular trend at the moment – can you tell us about your world of the Iron Fey? How do you see it standing out from the crowd, and how does it fit with traditional fey mythology? Did you do any research to create the world for your book?
Julie: When I started writing The Iron King, I wanted to do something different with faeries. I knew and loved the traditional mythology—the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, Oberon, Mab, and Puck—but I wanted to introduce a type of faery no one had seen before. So I thought: what are the Fey afraid of? The answer to that question was iron, so what if there was a type of faery that was completely immune to iron? Then I remembered we already have “monsters” living in machines: gremlins, bugs, virus, ect. And from that thought, the Iron Fey were born.
The Book Smugglers: You seem to have gathered quite the following in the few months since your book has been released – fans of the love triangle in your stories are already firmly divided into Team Puck and Team Ash. How do you see this divide and this passion for your characters? And if we may be cheeky, which team are YOU on?
Julie: I know, it’s crazy! Again, it’s completely surreal for me that people are arguing over Ash and Puck. I think as writers, we love our characters like our own kids, and if a character becomes so real and loved that readers will actually split into teams over them, we couldn’t be prouder.
(And, for the record, I’m afraid I’m Team Ash. Sorry, Puck fans. I love all my kids, but I have a thing for bad boys. *ducks and hides*)
The Book Smugglers: The second novel in the Iron Fey series, The Iron Daughter, will be in stores this August. Can you tell us what we can expect from this second book? Any tantalizing tidbits you might be able to share?
Julie: The Iron Daughter explores more of the complex relationships between Meghan, Ash, and Puck. Also, Meghan gets a few unexpected allies, discovers something about her past, and must make a difficult choice in the end. And if I say anything else, I’m afraid I’ll give away spoilers. 🙂
The Book Smugglers: On your website you have listed book that you like and amongst them are YA books by Melissa Marr and Holly Black as well as classic Fantasy by Greg Keyes and Robin Hobb. These are all Fantasy books – is Fantasy the genre that you read the most? Do you have any other favorites you’d like to share?
Julie: Fantasy was my first love, and it is the genre I read the most. But I’m trying to branch out into different areas like YA contemporary fiction. Two really good contemporary fiction novels I’ve read recently are 20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler and Sea by Heidi Kling.
The Book Smugglers: The YA genre has been experiencing a pretty crazy boom in popularity and crossover appeal over the past few years. Why did you choose to write a young adult novel? Do you have any intention of writing for adults one day?
Julie: I tried writing an adult fantasy novel before The Iron King was published. But even then, all my characters were young. I love YA because you can do anything; nothing is too strange or too weird or too out-there. And YA readers are so passionate about books. They love reading and they love the characters, to the point where those characters almost become real. That passion is inspiring, and I think I’ll be writing YA for a long, long time.
The Book Smugglers: Let’s talk covers (a subject near and dear to our hearts). You have been blessed by the Cover Gods as the covers for The Iron King and The Iron Daughter are lovely. Did you have any say in the creation of the cover? And on the other side of the equation – as a reader, do covers matter to you when buying a book?
Julie: I was incredibly lucky to get such gorgeous covers, and I love each and every one of them, but I had very little input in the making of said covers. All credit goes to the fabulous, talented people at Harlequin Teen. I do have to admit, I’m a sucker for a pretty cover. I won’t say I’ve gone so far as to buy a book on the cover alone (okay, maybe once), but it definitely goes a long way in whether or not I pick the book off the shelf.
The Book Smugglers: The zombies are coming! The zombies are coming! You only have time to save ONE book, ONE movie, and ONE TV show. QUICK! What are they?
Julie: AH! Okay, um, Poison Study by Maria Snyder, Kung Fu Hustle (for laughs, you need to keep your sense of humor in the zombie apocalypse), and Man Vs. Wild (To learn how to live off the land by eating live frogs and snakes).
Also, a sawed off shotgun.
The Book Smugglers: According to your blog, you happen to also be an avid gamer! What is you all time favorite game? Do you have a favorite console or platform?
Julie: Uh oh. Don’t get me started on video games; we could be here all week. My favorite game of all time has to be Final Fantasy VIII, but Final Fantasy X is a close second. (Both made me sob horribly at the end, a mark of an excellent game in my eyes.) I don’t have a favorite console, because there are awesome games on all of them, but I will say I use my Wii the least.
The Book Smugglers: We Book Smugglers are faced with constant threats and criticisms from our significant others concerning the sheer volume of books we purchase and read – hence, we have resorted to ’smuggling books’ home to escape scrutinizing eyes. Have you ever had to smuggle books?
Julie: Fortunately, I have a wonderful husband who reads even more than I do. Although, our book buying techniques tend to be very different. He will buy one book, read it, and finish it before he even considers buying another one. I, on the other hand, tend to read several books at once. We’ll be at the bookstore and I’ll choose a book, and my husband will ask: “don’t you have a book you have to finish?” Yes I do, my love, but that is not the point. I’m GOING to read this book someday, I’ll just add it to my TBR.
He humors me, though, so I haven’t had to smuggle books home.
The Book Trailer:
About Julie Kagawa:
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine, she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks is at an all-time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian shepherd who is too smart for his own good and the latest addition, a hyperactive papillon puppy.
Courtesy of Big Honcho Media, we are giving away ONE copy of The Iron King to a lucky reader! This book giveaway is open to participants with a United States mailing address only (international readers can enter if they have a friend in the States who can accept their prizes by mail). The contest will run until June 4 at 11:59 PM (PST). Entry is easy – simply leave a comment here, letting us know what your favorite fey book or story is your favorite. Only ONE comment per person, please! Multiple and duplicate comments (and ISPs) will be disqualified – even if you are leaving another comment to let us know that you forgot to leave your email address, you WILL be disqualified. Good luck!