Ask the Author: Kendare Blake

“I check for questions on the 1st and the 15th-ish. Answers may not be serious. Or accurate. Or the droids you are looking for. I won't answer ?s with spoilers but feel free to message me with those.” Kendare Blake

Answered Questions (311)

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Kendare Blake That would be Queen Bernadine and her wolf, I guess. There was also a naturalist crowned who had a horse, and that was pretty neat. Though maybe more elegant than strong.
Kendare Blake Yay, horror recs! Let’s see...NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. The Red Tree by Caitlin R Kiernan. Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics. Bird Box by Josh Malerman. IT by, well, you know, Joe Hill’s dad. Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis, I think that counts. Want something a little 90s grunge retro? Try something by Poppy Z Brite.

Or if you’re in the mood to watch, I always recommend The Cabin in the Woods, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Babadook, or if you’re a King fan the Castle Rock series on Hulu. Easter eggs galore!
Kendare Blake Hmm. I’m not that great a judge of what counts as heart-breaking. Or what counts as a cliffhanger. I think in both cases your mileage may vary. I will say I was quite upset by some things that transpired, and there’s one more book so the story won’t be over by the end of Two Dark Reigns.

Also, I’m sorry that you have to wait for an international release! But thank you SO MUCH for waiting.
Kendare Blake Braddock the bear will make appearances in both books 3 and 4. I have no specific plans for him though, as in true bear fashion, he does what he wants. I hope he makes it.
Kendare Blake Sometimes the history names a place. Wolf Spring used to be called Sealhead, like the cove, until it was renamed in honor of Queen Bernadine and her wolf.

Other times names just stick. Looking back, I bet Elsabet got her name in large part because for a long time I thought of her as a mad queen, and may have given her a name similar to Erzsebet, as in Bathory, the purported serial killer of legend. But that’s just in hindsight.
Kendare Blake No Hank in Two Dark Reigns, but he’ll be back for the last book. And he’ll be just as sassy as ever. Hank will judge you with his rooster eye.
Kendare Blake I’m so glad you love it! Thank you! The love of gods (and the Iliad and the Odyssey) was really all it took. Plus I guess my gruesome imagination that kept showing me gods dying in gory and weird (yet sometimes elegant) ways. Those deaths were a mystery I needed to run down.
Kendare Blake For me at least, every book is different and I always have to figure out the way it wants to be written. The Three Dark Crowns series seems to want to be written one time very crappily and then completely over again less and less crappily until by say the third near complete rewrite it is finally what it set out to be. None of my other books have been like this. Three Dark Crowns is a very naughty thing and deserves to be grounded with no phone privileges.

In general though I am not a plot planner. I know conflicts and characters, and then I turn them loose on the page and write towards the future and usually very vague ending.
Kendare Blake A few folks have asked this lately, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, so thanks for asking! I do have stuff planned for after Three Dark Crowns. A standalone that’s pretty different from anything I’ve done before and a self-contained fantasy with series potential. It’s too early to say much more as I’ll be working most heavily on Three Dark Crowns for the next year.

That’ll probably mean I won’t have a book release in 2020, which is a little scary. Hopefully I’ll be able to get something out for 2021.
Kendare Blake If you’re not a fan of spoilers, read Three Dark Crowns (and maybe even One Dark Throne) first.
Kendare Blake Let's see...the story of the past queen Elsabet is told in The Oracle Queen, and there's going to be more revealed about Queen Illiann, the Blue Queen, in the next two books. Also, I guess I have a queen timeline that shows gift types and lengths of reign and such, but there are no plans to release that. Maybe as bonus material somewhere along the line?
Kendare Blake Hi Emma! No need to freeze! Come up and say hi, I’m in my friendliest state at those things, since I’m surrounded by bookish folk (really the only kind of folks I’m comfortable being surrounded by).

Advice: hmmm...this time I’ll say, don’t get hung up on the business side of things before your work is done, be it a novel, short story, graphic novel, etc. It’s tempting to start focusing on the publishing process and getting an agent and all that stuff, but it can really get into your head. Focus on the writing. Worry about the rest after.
Kendare Blake He is adorable and his name is Armpit McGee. My husband, Dylan, had been trying to convince me to get one for awhile but I wasn’t sure. I mean, they’re lovely but would I really be able to pet skin? Then when I was touring for Three Dark Crowns a reader brought his to a bookstore and I’ve got to tell you, that cat was the coolest, sweetest cat. Not at all weird to touch. So when I got home from tour we started looking for responsible small breeders and Armpit came home! And now I love him an unreasonable amount.
Kendare Blake Sure! Queen Philomene, who bore the greatest Blue Queen, was war-gifted. And so was...Queen Hadly...Queen Emmeline, Queen Aethiel, Queen Theodora, and probably a few more who have been lost to time.
Kendare Blake My MA made me a better writer, because it let me have a full 13 months devoted to nothing but writing (and living in glorious London). It was during the course that my short stories started to sell, and I'm sure that was because the short stories I was writing then were better. But do I think it was necessary to get it? No. Creative writing courses are fun, and immersive, and put you in a very writerly headspace and a very collaborative environment with other writers, so they're great. But they're not necessary. Before I enrolled in the MA course I was prepared to repay the debt for the rest of my life. I sort of figured that's what would end up happening. But even if it had I don't think I'd regret it (yet). It was a hell of a year.

Kendare Blake The sight gift: yellow and grey. The war gift: red. But bright red, or light red. Even red-orange. No dark red or crimson. That’s for funerals.
Kendare Blake The Three Dark Crowns series will conclude with the yet untitled fourth book, sometime in 2019. The third book, TWO DARK REIGNS, comes out on September 4th, 2018 :)
Kendare Blake The White-handed queen who wasn’t a Blue Queen was Queen Andira, whose sisters were both oracles and drowned. Other than the circumstances of her birth she had a conventional reign. Not much of a story there. As for Queen Illiann, most of her story will unfold over the last two books!
Kendare Blake It shows that the legion curse has been present for many generations, and that even children from prominent families were not spared. The fact that she was beheaded serves as a counterpoint to methods of execution by poisoning. Also it’s just a creepy thing to find in a poisoner garden.

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