Tuesday 12 June 2012

Author Interview with Kendare Blake

I am super excited to have Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood, as a guest on our blog today! 

Anna Dressed in Blood is our group read for June. 
If you haven't read it yet, you can get it here:

Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

While you're here, check out Kendare Blake's contact info
and follow her!



Now for the interview...Thank you Kendare for doing an interview with us!  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? 
I think 5th or 6th grade. But I didn't try my hand at writing a novel until 7th. And of course, later on I abandoned the dream to go to college and stuff. But it came back.

Is there someone in your life who inspired you to write? Was there another author or a teacher who encouraged you?
Every writer I read inspired me to write. Twitter and Facebook weren't around when I was a kid, so I didn't have any interaction with authors, but there was a teacher who said I should be a writer. Not an english teacher, oddly enough. He taught Earth Science, and was like, my junior high advisor. Nice guy. Mr. Kosel. For a graduation present he excused all my tardies.

What a great present!  Do you have a favorite character from ANNA? Which character did you have the most fun writing?
Oh, I can't pick favorites! I'm in Cas' head the most, so I know him best. I have a sentimental fondness for Thomas. And I admire Anna. Carmel surprised me the most. I thought she was going to die. But who did I enjoy writing the most? Probably Tybalt.

Do you have anyone in mind who would be perfect to play Cas and Anna in a movie?
Ha ha, not really. I think a young Kevin Zegers might do for Cas. And maybe Zooey Deutsch (is that her name? The chick from Ringer, who's in the Beautiful Creatures movie) could have made a good Anna. Someone suggested Alexis Raich. Summer Glau, five years ago. Or Shiri Appleby from Roswell, also a few years ago.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I'm not sure. Normally I say it's getting started, because I'm a master procrastinator. But with Anna, there was no deadline, so I just started when I felt like it. Writing is difficult by turns. It streaks and starts, but there's a period of time in the middle of a book when it feels like you're in the back third of a marathon. The starting line is so far behind you and the end is still not in sight. That's sort of hard.

Truly though, I'm not complaining. The hard sucks but it's the best kind of hard there is.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
Well, it determined who I am, which determines what I write. I don't know really. I suppose it's affected it a lot. But I can't think of quite how.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I eat. I love a good meal. I also hike, and play some super crappy tennis. If my horse lived close enough to me, I'd ride her. And of course, I read.

What book are you reading now?

Right now I'm reading THE DROWNING GIRL, by Caitlin R Kiernan. I may finish it today. Fabulous. Haunting. Fascinating. I'm also reading THE SCORPIO RACES, but only on airplanes, so I'll probably finish that one in August. I'm starting SPELLBOUND by Blake Charlton, who I'll meet at ALA. I like to juggle at least three.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Hidden talents? But of course. I can creepily bend only the first knuckle on all of my fingers. And I'm a whiz at Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Oh, like a little sneak peek? I'd love to. Let me find a section. *goes to find a section* Here you go:
Athena shoved herself past trees, through ferns. She dragged herself along by vines. In the corner of her eye, she saw her own red blood streaking across shiny green leaves.
      What a pathetic parody I am. Of Artemis. A limping, wounded waste. She would laugh in my face.
      It hurt. Everything hurt. The feather in her lung. The holes in her shoulder and leg. But Hermes' light still blinked in her chest. She could still feel him, somewhere ahead. So she kept on her feet when she'd rather have crawled. She didn't know how far she'd gone before the faint sounds of keening and grief reached her ears. Someone was dead.

That's from ANTIGODDESS #2. No one has seen that but me. And now you! It's one of the leads, the goddess Athena, soldiering along after a bit of a skirmish. She's fairly Sarah Connor. I wonder who would win in a fight between her and Anna.

Thank you again for taking time out for us today!  Before you go, do you have any advice for budding writers?
The same advice I always give. Read, read, and read a little longer. Pay attention to style, and how things work. Also, what doesn't. And then, write. Write, write, and write a little more. Getting it down is the important thing. You can always edit later. I'll all evolve over the course of your career.

Thanks for having me by Shut Up & Read! I hope Anna Dressed in Blood proves a good June book for you :)


  1. I loved the first book and can't wait to read this one either. Great interview as always,Sheri!

  2. ooohhh I so want to read this book! thanks for posting the interview!!

  3. Ahh! This is awesome that she stopped by our blog! Great interview and now I have to read the book!

  4. My daughter and I both loved this book!

  5. I loved the interview, but I really liked the sneak peak at her next book. I love myths. Athena and Hermes together sounded wonderful. Judith