Q&A with Kendare Blake

September, 2017
Kendare Blake Three queens. One crown. A kingdom teeming with poison, magical storms, and deadly animals. The battle for Fennbirn has begun.

This is the world of Kendare Blake's epic Three Dark Crowns series, and the second installment, One Dark Throne, hits bookshelves this month. As sisters Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella grapple with their ever-shifting powers—abilities that range from control of dangerous beasts and the fiercest storms—they must prepare to face the only real thing standing in their way of the the throne: each other.

Blake, who also wrote the spooky YA ghost story Anna Dressed in Blood, answers your questions about why she has "the appetite of a poisoner," what she would do with her own dragon, and which Hogwarts houses she'd place each of her three queens.


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Nat: I LOVED Three Dark Crowns! Thank you for creating a wonderful book and a new fantasy world to visit. Why three Coronas in Three Dark Crownsand not the whole six pack? Sorry, that was just a joke! My real question: Were you ever afraid of people's reactions when you published your first books? ?

Kendare Blake: Just my first books? I'm afraid every single time! Each release is exciting and full of possibilities, but it's inevitable that some readers won't like it, and indeed that some will hate it, and that's true of every book ever written so, mixed bag. I try to focus on the good things though.

P.S. Har har har. Now I want a Corona.

Bee: What power would you want to have as a queen in the world of Three Dark Crowns?

KB: Naturalist. I love animals, and ripening an apple by touching it would be pretty cool. I want guacamole...NOW! I want peach cobbler—wait for it—NOW! (Or at least after I find someone to bake up the ripened peaches for me.) Obviously I already have the appetite of a poisoner.

Jessica: Hi! Is there any real-life location that inspired the Three Dark Crowns' setting? The island is so magical and mysterious and amazing!

KB: Well, it's not exactly real life, but the mythical island of Avalon definitely played a part. Also, the cities were inspired/influenced by actual cities, like Wolf Spring is akin to an English or Irish fishing village, Rolanth is inspired by Italy, and Indrid Down is a bit French. The whole of Fennbirnm however, was mostly inspired by a beehive.


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Beth: If you could bring one fantasy book character to our modern-day earth and help them adjust to normal life, who would you choose?

KB: Hmm. Interesting question. Legolas from the Lord of the Rings, I guess. He seems pretty immune to freak-outs and would take it all in stride. Or wait, can I bring Falkor the luck dragon from The Neverending Story? And can "help him adjust" just mean "ride him everywhere?"

Annabel: What genres or types of worlds do you think haven't been explored at all (or enough) in YA fiction?

KB: I like worlds where books come to life or have influence on the worlds they inhabit. Like if the rules of a certain book world suddenly started to apply to a reader's regular life. I like stuff like that. Has that been explored? If it has, let me know—I want to read it.

Lara: Did your writing process change between Anna Dressed in Blood and Three Dark Crowns

KB: If by change, you mean got harder—then yes. Anna Dressed in Blood was narrated in first person present by one of the snappiest and most delightful narrators I've ever gotten to work with. Thanks to him, that book practically wrote itself.

Three Dark Crowns is narrated in third person present tense with multiple points of view. It was a complete style change for me, from pop culture references, sarcasm, and strong voices to historical language with a straightforward restrained style that stayed out of the story's way. One came more naturally than the other. I had to write and completely re-write Three Dark Crowns several times and One Dark Throne twice. So yes, definite changes!

Kelly: Which Hogwarts house would Katharine, Arsinoe, and Mirabella each be in?

KB: Thanks, Kelly! I love it when I get to be the Sorting Hat. Arsinoe would be a Gryffindor, for sure. Mirabella would be Ravenclaw. And Katharine, though it might seem like she'd be Slytherin, would actually be in Hufflepuff. Until the end of the first book, that is, and then she might have to switch houses!


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Brittney: I'm dying to know if you have a book boyfriend? P.S. I can't wait to read One Dark Throne! P.P.S. I love you, and I hope you hold a book signing in Vancouver someday.

KB: My first book boyfriend was Alec Ramsay from The Black Stallion series. I was so jealous when he got a girlfriend in The Black Stallion and the Girl. And then said girl had to go and die in a car accident in the next book, and I felt pretty guilty!

I suppose my favorite book boyfriend of all time would be Hector of Troy from The Iliad. What a hunk.

And my husband looks a lot like Harry Potter, so…maybe I was repressing something.

I would love to do a signing in Vancouver! I actually don't live that far from there, so as soon as I can arrange a visit, I'll try to set one up.

Delay: If you could be anything other than a book writer, what would you be?

KB: Maybe a Dermatologist. Because I'd be a doctor, right, but not the kind who has to routinely cut into people or tell them they're dying. Or I'd be a sorcerer. Which isn't real, but hey, you said anything.

Maryanne: If you had to be stuck on a desert island with one of the Three Dark Crowns sisters, who would you pick and why?

KB: Mirabella, I guess. Don't get me wrong, I love Arsinoe and Katharine, but their poisoner abilities would be pretty darn useless. Arsinoe might be decent at fishing, from growing up Milone, and maybe she'd know some farming tricks. Katharine could stop me from eating poisonous things because she'd probably be able to identify them in advance… Huh, I guess they would be useful. But with Mirabella, at least I'd never have to start a fire, or worry about where to get drinkable water.

Read more of our exclusive author interviews on our Voice page.




Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Echo (new)

Echo C Wait! So Katharine isn't the naturalist?! What poisoner ability does she really have? I don't understand!!!


message 2: by Mirabella (new)

Mirabella Looking forward to your new book...Mirabella is my favorite in Three Dark Crowns, partly because we have the same name. ;) And I'm a dermatologist but I'd rather be an amazing author like you. I hope you write many more books. :)


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