Julie Kagawa

Posted by Goodreads on April 15, 2014
It has only been four years since Julie Kagawa's first book, the bestselling The Iron King, was published, but she's already created two dark, fascinating worlds that have earned her a rabid fan following. The Iron Fey series was born of her fascination with age-old faeries, but, says Julie, "I wanted to write a book that was different from other faery books. So I began thinking: What are [they] afraid of? The answer, in most ancient mythos, is iron." Hers, of course, have become immune to iron, making them a corrosive element in the lands of the traditional fey.

Julie's Blood of Eden series employs a similarly creepy twist on traditional vampire lore, as a deadly virus decimates the human population and leaves them vulnerable to the immortal ones. The Forever Song, the final book in the trilogy, was just released, which means that fans will finally find out whether the human-turned-vampire heroine, Allison Sekemoto, successfully avenges the death of her lost love, Zeke.

Read on for some writing inspiration, a glimpse into The Forever Song, and an answer to the important question: Puck or Ash?

Susan: You have created two very disparate worlds with the wondrous, edgy faery realm of The Iron Fey series and the desperate, frightening world in Blood of Eden. How do you think each series reflects you as an author? Do you see any common themes?

Well, I've always loved fantasy. Books with dragons, elves, and ancient gods were a staple for me growing up. The Iron Fey series let me create the stories that I've always loved reading about. It let me fully immerse myself in this fantasy world with all the creatures that enthralled me as a kid. With the Blood of Eden series, I wanted to go a little darker, and I also wanted to bring back the scary, old-school, not-human-friendly vampires. It also let me indulge my love of horror, action scenes, and a good old-fashioned sword fight with lots of blood and flying heads. But in both books I think the common themes are family, love, accepting yourself, and—my favorite—sacrifice.

Rose Scarpa-Friedman: If you could take a character from any other book series (including ones who are from books you didn't write) and put them into the setting of the Nevernever, which character from which book would you choose and why?

Hermione Granger. She's probably one of the few people who would not only survive the Nevernever, she would probably boss around every faery she came across. She'd likely tell Grimalkin that he was being a very rude talking cat. And if she ever met Puck? Heaven help us all.

You're known for your gut-churning cliff-hangers! A few readers had questions about them. Jenny Spurny: Where do you get those horrible cliff-hangers for your books? Pandaasiran adds: Why do you feel the constant need to tear my heart out and rip it to shreds? And, more specifically, Aleksandra asks: I've been wanting to know this—WHY WAS ETHAN LEFT DYING IN THE END OF THE IRON TRAITOR?! In the little Q&A in the back of The Iron King you said that you loved Noble Sacrifice endings and that you weren't going to write The Iron Knight originally. Is that why we have a sort of Noble Sacrifice ending for The Iron Traitor?

LOL, don't panic, The Iron Traitor is not the end of the series. There is one more book in the Call of the Forgotten series, though I can't really give anything away or how everything will play out for Ethan and Keirran. As for ripping out reader's hearts, I'll tell you a universal truth: Authors love to make readers cry. And laugh, and scream, and rage. Not because we're mean or evil (OK, maybe a little evil), but when people shed tears over our books, and specifically the characters in those books, we know we've done our job well. It means the reader has connected with them on a personal level, that the characters have become more than just words on paper. They've become real.

Julie with her chickens!

Kimberly Tan: Do you have a tumblr account to observe whatever's happening in the Iron Fey fandom? If so, what's your reaction to it? If not, you should, because there are a lot role players and chats around.

I don't have a tumblr account, sadly, though I am looking into Instagram and Pintrest. I have been notified of a few Iron Fey fandoms around the Web, and it's honestly still completely amazing. The Iron Fey has a fandom? Puck and Ash have Teams? When I first got published, I had no idea how the Iron Fey would be received. The idea of websites or Teams or Iron Fey discussion pages never crossed my mind. I just wanted people to read the book and like what they read. To know that it spawned a whole fandom? That's just surreal.

Jessicah Layfield: How do you keep up with everything? I mean, you're an amazing author, you meet your deadlines, you tend to your chickens and stuff like that (like chasing away them coons), you get on Twitter and tweet quite a bit, you even reply to fans on Twitter, you keep your blog up-to-date, and you also keep up your shop on Etsy with your awesome creations! That seems like a lot for such a successful author, so how do you do it?

Well, I wish I could say I have learned how to manage my time most effectively, but that would just be a lie. I am probably the most disorganized person on earth. And I have the attention span of a flea. But I love interacting with readers on Twitter (usually when I'm supposed to be working), and I love having a busy life with chickens and sculpting and martial arts. Keeps me young, LOL. I do think you have to take each day as it comes and try not to get overwhelmed. It also helps that I love writing and the writing life, and when you enjoy what you do, it never truly seems like work.

Donna Happy Booker: The Blood of Eden series was such a dark and intense series, and you were certainly unafraid to allow your characters to suffer. Allie has dealt with some traumatic experiences, which has been reflected in the way she's grown through the first two books. In what ways can we expect to see that Allie has grown and changed further in The Forever Song compared to when we first met her in The Immortal Rules?

Julie working on the clay figurines that she sells on Etsy.
Oh, Allie undergoes an enormous change at the beginning of The Forever Song, and not in a good way. But to say more would be a spoiler, so I will refrain. I will say that all her beliefs, lessons, and convictions will be tested in The Forever Song, and there are even harder challenges ahead for her and everyone around her before the story is done. And that readers will probably shed a few tears before the end. (I cried after writing a particular scene. And no, I can't say which one. You'll know it when you get there.)

Sophie: Where did the inspiration for the character of Allison Sekemoto come from? Why do you think characters of Asian descent are becoming more common in YA fiction?

I had the image of Allison Sekemoto in my head from the very beginning. I was intrigued by the thought of a fierce, Asian vampire girl with a katana, so Allie's character came together pretty quickly. And I think more people are starting to realize the importance of people of color in YA fiction. I think we're beginning to realize how crucial diversity is, and any steps toward that is a step in the right direction.

A couple of writing questions for you! Marieke: Have you ever written a book that has not been published? Did you have trouble entering the writing world? And Michelle Ohnesorge asks: What do you do physically or mentally to get inspired or to get the writing flowing? I personally would like to write more but find it so hard to get started even if I already have a small idea of where I want to go.

Oh, yes. I've written many, many stories that were never published. Rejection is a ritual all authors must go through. I spent years trying to get published—sending out queries, going to writer conferences, starting a critique group, and most importantly, continuing to write. Even when my literary agent took me on as a client, it was still over a year before my first book was published. The moral of this? If you want to be published, you can't give up, and you can't stop writing, ever. Honestly, there was a very simple reason those early stories were never published: They weren't good enough. My writing wasn't quite there yet. And the only way to get there is to practice.

On inspiration: I find inspiration in a lot of places—books, music, video games—but you really can't wait for inspiration to strike before you sit down to write. This is something I've had to learn the hard way. If you wait for that one fabulous idea, you could be waiting forever. Instead you sit down and make yourself write. Every day. Regardless of inspiration. And sometimes the writing will surprise you and be awesome, and sometimes it will be crap. And that's OK, you can always go back and change it. But you first have to have something written before you can make it better. I think it was Nora Roberts who said it best: You can fix a bad page, but you can't fix a blank one.

Sowmya: What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?

Practicing Kali sparring.

My favorite genre is fantasy, though I like other genres, too. I've been reading some really great YA contemporary lately, like Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry and The Fault in Our Stars by the fabulous John Green. But my first love has always been fantasy. Harry Potter, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Poison Study, Dragonlance, Stardust, Shadow and Bone, and The Assassin's Curse are a very few that come to mind right now. If I really thought about it, we could be here all day.

Joycedale: If you had to choose between Puck and Ash, whom would you pick and why?

Oh, that's like asking a mom to choose between her two kids, lol. I love them both in different ways. I love Puck's snarkiness and trickster ways, and I love Ash's cold, bad-boy facade. So I'm going to have to plead the fifth on this one. I would take them both.

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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message 1: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Borton I heard about your book and I am so interested in reading it.Looks like an interesting book for me to read.How long did it take to make this book.And does this book have anything part of your life in it ? Let me know I am interested in you and your book.

message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate Marshall The Blood of Eden Series is the BEST!!!!!!!!!!

message 3: by Stacie (new)

Stacie I am a 37 year old wife and mother of 2 and I absolutely LOVE the Iron Fey series. Keep up the great writing and world building.

FaeryMeganChase I'm sorry but I'm obsessed with your books. I've read about Meghan and Allison more times than I can count!

message 5: by John (new)

John Pappas I'm particularly drawn to good vampire related fiction. The Blood of Eden series is the best of this genre I've ever read!!

message 6: by Gracie (new)

Gracie Ohmigod! I love the Iron Fey series SO much!!!!! Julie Kagawa, you are the best writer ever!!!!!!!!!!!!

message 7: by Sheridan (new)

Sheridan Blood of Eden is honestly my favourite fantasy book ever! I hate horror, but these books were so intriguing and I couldn't put them down!

message 8: by Kayla (new)

Kayla Drazan Kate wrote: "The Blood of Eden Series is the BEST!!!!!!!!!!"

message 9: by bookswi (new)

bookswi Ash and Puck are the BEST THINGS EVER!!! But if I had to choose one I would pick ash because he is like the coolest ninja you will ever come across. Team ash all the way!!!

message 10: by Ami (new)

Ami Whoa. I had to stop to see her stunning hair. :D I haven't read The Iron King series yet, but I intend to finally do so after reading the article above.

message 11: by Mary (new)

Mary I ADORE Blood of Eden. I thought the Vampire thing had died off, but you brought it back from the dead. And made it even better! :D

message 12: by Denise (last edited Jan 07, 2015 01:34PM) (new)

Denise What you said about the characters becoming real is so true I think I literally cried for a week and it still makes me said when I think about Ethan dying. But not as sad as the fact that the forgotten crown is the last book of the Iron fey series in general :( I really hope you keep writing the Iron fey because the people just aren't ready for it to end but I know you're busy and I believe the last book will the best. But a movie or a TV show would make it a whole lot easier to not be sad ;).

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