Kelly loves ancient history, fantasy, and mythology. She dreams of one day attaining magical powers, discovering the secret to immortality, ridding her home of pet hair, and being crowned Mardi-Gras queen. She likes pre-Raphaelite art, moonlight on snow, and MMORPGs. She lives in North Carolina with her family, one Great Dane, and two incredibly hairy cats.
Kelly’s alter ego, Kelly Gay, is a 2010 double RITA finalist and a recipient of North Carolina’s Art Council fellowship grant in literature. She writes the Charlie Madigan series for Pocket Books.
Ari is an impressively tough and strong heroine. Did you draw inspiration from yourself or someone you know to create her? How did you come up with the idea of making her a trained bounty hunter?
I think I drew inspiration from a lot of strong women I personally know. Not so much in the sense of real-life experiences that mimic Ari’s, but more like emotionally and in character and principles and depth. The bounty hunter idea came as I was writing the first chapter. I’d already seen Ari in my head as this capable teen who knew how to fight and fire a weapon. I had no idea how I was going to explain that when I began, but as I started writing it just kind of came out, flowed, and felt very natural.
After devastating hurricanes, the government essentially abandoned New Orleans and sold it to several wealthy families. A particularly memorable line in the novel about the New 2 said that “America didn’t exist there anymore.” Can you foresee something like this happening in our society?
In some ways, yes. Mostly in terms of natural disasters that would cause a place to be abandoned for a long period of time, but I’m not so sure the United States would ever sell off its territory.
The novel is an original mishmash of all kinds of mythologies. What inspired your interest in these different legends? Did you have to do a lot of research into mythology – especially Greek mythology – to build this world?
I’m something of a mythology geek, so the research and the knowledge was pretty much firmly embedded in my mind (though I did research. Researching is fun and I’ll take any opportunity to delve into mythology). I started studying ancient Greece and other civilizations when I was eight years old and got a hold of my grandparent’s Time Life Books and Bulfinch’s Mythology. I didn’t have access to a lot of books at that time, and so I devoured those over and over again. That’s where my love of mythology, folklore, legends, etc, began. I draw so much of my inspiration from those tales!
The Greek mythology that we all know, I left mostly alone (except for a few small details that I added). My mythology really comes into play in the couple thousand years between the myths we know and present day. That time period is unaccounted for when it comes to what the gods were up to and how they progressed from one civilization to the next. So I filled it in with I thought might happen. A war. Pantheons divided…
The New Orleans atmosphere is its own character in this story. Why did you decide to set the novel there? How much of the New Orleans lore (such as the story of Alice Cromley) is real-world legend?
New Orleans is the perfect setting for my story. I love the city and have always wanted to set a story there. I just never felt I had the right story until Ari came along. It had all the right elements that I thought would mesh perfectly with the world I envisioned. Alice Cromley is pure fiction. But she does fit right in, doesn’t she? : )
Does Ari like to read? What are some of her favorite books?
She wishes she had the time! Ari spent a lot of her time before the start of the book going to school, training with her foster parents, and working part time… But I imagine she'd be a paranormal girl all the way. :)
Sebastian is an incredibly talented drummer in the novel. Who are some of his musical influences?
Hmm. I’d definitely say he'd be influenced by Jazz being from New Orleans, but I think he'd also be influenced by a wide range of drummers from punk to heavy metal, the likes of Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, The Clash, Talking Heads, U2, Sex Pistols, Metallica…
Did you have a playlist you listened to as you wrote this novel? What were some of the key songs?
Untitled by Simple Plan and Fighter by Christina Aguilera were the two emotional ones that resonated. I listened to a lot of Evanescence, Cold Play, Snow Patrol, One Republic, Linkin Park…
What was the most challenging aspect of writing this novel?
Probably portraying Ari the way I envisioned her in my head, getting the curse across in a way that didn’t dip too far into horror, and bringing together all the genre elements I love.
What is a random fact readers probably don’t know about you?
I can’t sleep with the sheets or blankets tucked in. At hotels I have to pull everything out, so my feet are free are not trapped. I also have to tuck a towel or whatever is handy to block any light spilling under the door – I need foot freedom and total darkness! :)
What can you tell us about the upcoming books in the series? Do you have any other projects in the works?
The sequel to DARKNESS BECOMES HER is already written. I'm in the revision stage right now. It’s slated to come out around this time next year. And then I have my third adult book coming out Aug 30, 2011 that I write as Kelly Gay.
For more about this author, please visit:
Larissa's Bookish Life - Guest post/Giveaway - February 18th 2011
The Bookish Type - Interview/Giveaway - February 20th 2011
The Book Butterfly - Interview/Giveaway - February 21st 2011
Paper Cut Reviews - Interview/Giveaway - February 22nd 2011
Fantastic Book Review - Book Summary/Excerpt/Interview/Review/Giveaway - February 21st-24th 2011
Dark Faerie Tales - Interview - February 23rd 2011
Wicked Awesome Books - Interview - February 25th 2011
Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf - Interview - February 25th 2011
Girl about Books - Interview - February 26th 2011
Good Choice Reading - Guest post - February 27th 2011
Once Upon a Twilight - Grand-prize Giveaway - February 28th 2011
Thanks to Kelly, one lucky reader will win a SIGNED copy of Darkness Becomes Her!
- Leave a comment on this post with your email address and tell us one random fact about yourself (like Kelly did in the interview!)
- Open Internationally
- Contest Ends 2/28/11 at 11:59 pm EST
For extra entries:
- +1 Following Kelly on Twitter
- +1 Adding Kelly on Facebook
- +1 Leaving a meaningful comment on my review
Please add up your total entries!!!
Thanks to Kelly Keaton and Yara at Once upon a Twilight for organizing this great tour!