Today I'm thrilled to welcome Kaitlyn Keller to my blog for an author interview!
Kaitlyn is the author of Walking With Strangers and its sequel, Running With Shadows. Very little is off the table for her genre-wise. She loves writing fantasy, horror, romance, mythology, and more.
D: Thanks for being here today, Kaitlyn! K: Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it. D: Of course! Looking at your website, you have a lot of projects. It's impressive. How long would you say you've been writing?
K: Since I was 5. The first story I ever wrote was about a killer clown who jumped out of a tree to murder a little girl on her way home. The story terrified my father, but he knew from that day that I would become an author.
D: Not gonna lie, that would give me chills if my little ones suddenly presented a story like that to me. But it sounds like you figured it out crazy young! K: Haha, I actually half expect it from my own kids now, but I totally understand why it unnerved my father. D: Speaking of kids, what was your favorite book growing up?
K: Pendragon by D.J MacHale. It's a 10 book series that follows a boy from the age of 10 to 20 as he tries to save numerous worlds from a vindictive villain who's determined to rule over them all. These books pushed me to be a better writer, and they certainly inspired my love for fantasy and exceptionally crafted worlds.
D: That's an impressive period to cover for a series! K: Yes, and he does it so well. Even at 28, I can read the first few books and not feel like reading about a 10 year old is annoying or boring. D: That's a rare talent for an author to have, that kind of staying power. Is there any other author who's changed your life?
K: Aside from D.J MacHale, it was Ted Dekker. He's a Christian horror/thriller writer that I read as a teenager. His books gave me goosebumps and they always taught me more about myself. Specifically House made me rethink what religion was and my mindset toward it. Though I don't follow a religion/faith currently, I'm grateful for the thought-provoking questions that his books forced upon me.
D: It's amazing how fiction can make us consider deeper things. It sounds like it had a profound affect on you in particular. K: It did. Though I'm not big into my faith anymore, when I was a teenager it helped me battle against a lot of demons (pun intended).
D: I'd like to know more about your work. Do you carry any similar or common themes across your stories? K: Yes. The main theme I try to weave is that good and evil isn't black and white. I grew up in a religious household, so I was always told that God was good, Satan was evil. Cursing was evil and praying was good. But the older I got, the more I realized that there's so much gray area, and so much more to the "rules" of religion and the expectations in life. I want to show teens and young adults that just because the world labels something or someone evil, that doesn't make it true. And the same goes for things labeled good. There's always an in-between. There's always motivation, impulse, and personality that plays into a decision. Life isn't cut and dry, so neither are my characters or my plots.
D: That's incredible, and your passion for that is palpable. K: Thank you. I hope that anyone who reads my novels is able to feel the same. D: What are your favorite tropes? K: I adore enemies-to-lovers. There's something endearing about an asshole character softening up to and something swoonworthy about suddenly discovering that a character you hated at the beginning has now become your favorite. Plus, I've always had a thing for assholes and arrogant jerks. 9 times out of 10 they're my favorite character in a book, movie, or show. I can't help it. I'm not drawn to those people in real life, just in fiction.
D: Not gonna lie, I felt like you just ripped those words right from my own head! K: Great minds think alike, right?
D: Tell me a little about your latest release! K: Running with Strangers came out in April, and though it's the 2nd book in the trilogy, it can be read as the 1st book. Here's the blurb: Twenty-year-old Kei Sterling isn't a stranger to pain. After more than a decade of neglect and abuse, there isn't much he hasn't faced. So when he joins Genesis--a group of societal outcasts--he expects his nightmares to end, not get worse. But with clingy, obnoxious comrades, and a leader unworthy of their title, Kei finds he's on the verge of breaking for good. Then Genesis comes across Lucy Aims, the sole survivor of a suspicious string of fires destroying the country. Though Kei can see through her plan to exploit them, he recognizes pieces of himself mirrored inside her. At first, Kei is resistant to accept Lucy as part of Genesis, but the more he resists, the more he realizes that he just might need her. Sometimes life can't begin until you're willing to come out of the shadows.
D: That sounds like it's jam-packed with exciting twists and turns! K: Absolutely. It's the first novel I wrote from a male POV, so I was super nervous about it, but it was incredibly rewarding. D: Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress? K: I just started a young adult book about an bullheaded atheist, who on her way home from university, meets a boy who claims to be a Shinto god. My MC doesn't buy into his story, so she leaves and goes back to her apartment. Unfortunately for her, the god is waiting for her, and before she can call for help, he whisks her back to his shrine, where, after a life-threatening incident, she's roped into helping him fulfill his duties as a god.
D: Okay, that sounds like it's right up my alley! I'll have to keep an eye out for when you announce it! K: Thanks! I actually just finished a few days ago and am editing through it. I hope to query it within the next few months and will definitely keep you updated.
D: Awesome! I appreciate it.