I may be up to my eyeballs in work trying to keep my classroom boat afloat before the Thanksgiving holiday, but I'm pleased to welcome Kersten Hamilton back to the blog! Kersten is the author of Tyger Tyger and In The Forests of the Night, which I'll be reviewing here ASAP and am really excited about. Take it away Ms. Kersten!
1. How did writing the second book in the series differ from writing the first?
It was very, very difficult. Second books in trilogies are always tricky. They are essentially the middle of a story arc—and no one reads a story to get to the middle. So, I had to make In the Forests of the Night bigger. Wilder. I needed to be faithful to the characters people loved so much in Tyger Tyger. I had to make the stakes for Teagan and Finn much, much higher. And I had a deadline. But that all comes with the territory—I knew it was coming and had planned for it.
What I couldn’t plan for was life. The very short version is: I wrote in the ICU watching over my new grandson. I wrote in hospice while my father died. I wrote through pain and worry as my niece, who is as dear to me as a daughter, was diagnosed with cancer, and my nephew who lives with me developed a tic (he has Tourette’s Syndrome) that caused a spinal lesion and almost paralyzed him. I cried and fought for my family and my career, and…I wrote. I wrote through it all, wrote to prove to myself and the universe that I am a writer.
If it hadn’t been for readers who’d loved Tyger Tyger (and didn’t even know what was going on in my life) writing to encourage me, I don’t think I would have made it. If it hadn’t been for my daughter and husband reading over my shoulder and cheering me on, I know I would not.
But I did. And I love In the Forests of the Night!
2. How would you describe this series to folks who are newcomers to it?
I am not only really, really bad at describing my own books—I never can get those one sentence pitches right—I am still a little emotional about this one. So I am going to cheat. I’m going to let my readers describe the series for me, and I’m only going to blush a little because I fought hard to make these books for my readers and I’m thrilled that they love them!
“…a fast-paced adventure with a backbone of Celtic myth and heart of romance.” Pat Esden
“One of my favorite things about your book is Teagan and Finn and their relationship. Teagan is smart and brave and doesn’t do dumb things that make you want to pull your hair out. Meanwhile Finn is absolutely sexy and cocky and sexy and brave and sexy… They’ve got great chemistry.” Ello, The Inkpot
“I loved the characters, the dialogs that had that witty and quirky feeling I adore, the world-building…. I loved it because it was so utterly different from other YA fantasy novels. It was all at once touching, hilarious, action-packed and fast-paced.” Roxanne, The Honeyed Knot
In The Forests of the Night:
“Every character in the novel (and there are many characters) is distinct and well created and let me tell you, in a book with many characters, this is a feat worthy of genius. And they all come together with their distinct personalities to create enervating chaos. A chaos that will have you giggling at times and thinking at others. The atmosphere, the camaraderie is beautifully done.” Nafiza, Bibliophilic Monologues
(Okay, that did make me blush. But after fighting so hard to make this book right, it made me really happy, too, so I wanted to share it.)
“I believe Kersten Hamilton is filling a void left by Diana Wynne Jones--with her own unique voice and point of view, of course. Many of the things I love about DWJ's books I find here: a large cast of characters, a sense of mutual love and affection among the characters, an unexpectedness of plot, joyful and surprising magic, and a sense of barely controlled chaos which makes her books such a fun rollercoaster to read. If you haven't read Tyger Tyger yet, move it to the top of your to-read pile so you'll be ready for book 2 when it comes out.” Amanda Coppedge, young adult author
(That one brings up a very good point—like the Lord of the Rings, the Goblin Wars books are one story in three parts. You really need to read book one to understand book two.)
3. Any teasers for where the series will go from here?
Only this: Teagan and Finn are going to need all the courage they can muster to get through. This is an Irish story, after all!
4. What other projects are coming up for you?
I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the fantastic finale of the Goblin Wars! I also just sold a MG—I liked the notice from Publishers Market:
TYGER TYGER and RED TRUCK author Kersten Hamilton's steampunk chapter book THE MESMER MENACE, set on the eve of the Great Mesmer War of 1901, featuring a boy inventor, President Teddy Roosevelt, evil hypnotists, robots, a lightning harvester, and a dashingly brave and loyal dachshund named Noodles, to Lynne Polvino at Clarion, by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World English)
My November project will be finishing a “Holes”–esque older MG dealing with suicide, Catholicism, immigration issues plus one undead school administrator.
And then, I have a TOP SECRET YA project in the works…
Thank you for having me on your blog, Emily!
Many thanks to Kersten for her insightful answers. Here's hoping everyone has a safe and happy holiday tomorrow!
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