5 Questions for Kelley Armstrong

Interview by the Young Adulting Editors

KELLEY ARMSTRONG is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of three trilogies for teens: the Darkest Powers; Darkness Rising; and Age of Legends, as well as several thriller and fantasy series for adults and three YA thrillers (The Masked Truth, Missing and Aftermath). She is also the author of the Royal Guide to Monster Slaying series and the co-author (with Melissa Marr) of the Blackwell Pages series, a middle-grade fantasy series based on Norse gods. The Masked Truth received a starred review from PW (“overflowing with twists”), while Missing received a starred review from VOYA (“a compelling thriller that keeps the reader hooked until the end”).

1. Hi Kelley! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions—we’re so excited to have you! You have quite the inspiring publishing career, with multiple series for both teens and adults in genres ranging from fantasy to thriller! Can you tell us a bit about your writing process and what inspires you to explore so many different worlds and characters?

My process is constantly evolving. I’ve discovered I work best from a very general outline even thought my finished novel never completely follows that outline, because better ideas always come up during the first draft. The first draft is a very intense process for me, and I’m writing very quickly, so it’s usually done in a few months. Then I ease back into a more relaxed editing mode, which can take longer than the actual writing.

Changing genres and narrators helps mix things up and keep it fresh. I love the change of pace. Then, by the time I’m nearing the end of one book, I’m looking forward to another change with the next book on my writing schedule.

2. What has been your favourite part of your career thus far? Do you have a most memorable moment?

My favourite part is entertaining readers. If I succeed at that, then I’m happy. I don’t have a most memorable moment because there are just been so many of them. One thing I’ve missed with the pandemic is getting out meeting readers, and I’m looking forward to adding to those memories.

3. Your upcoming novel Someone is Always Watching (April 11, 2023) is a mystery thriller that centres around sibling relationships and friendships. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this book?

I had the idea for this one for years, but I can’t talk much about that specifically because it’d give away the core concept of the novel, which is supposed to be a surprise 🙂 I can talk a bit about the process with this one, because it was unique for me. I sold it in very early 2020, and I was supposed to write it that year, but with the pandemic, I couldn’t get into the right headspace. This is a dark story, and I couldn’t bring myself to put my characters in danger. So I asked to postpone it, and I’m very grateful to my publisher for saying yes. It just took a bit of time and when I could get back, I was ready to write dark again.

4. If you could give one piece of advice to emerging writers trying to navigate the publishing industry, what would it be?

One tidbit that I think is important to pass on is that it’s not a closed industry. Unpublished writers often fear that they aren’t getting picked up because publishers don’t want new writers or new material. The truth is that editors are always looking for new work. They want to find new authors. The trick is getting your work to the person who falls in love with what you’ve written, and that can take time. One rejection is just one opinion.

5. What YA books or authors do you adore?

I don’t write as much in YA these days, which also means that I’m not reading as much of it as I used to. The last YA books I read and really enjoyed were Xiran Jay Zhao’s The Iron Widow and Jennifer Lynn Barnes’s Inheritance Games trilogy.

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