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The Sirens of Suspense




Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay. All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts, demons, and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She's the New York Times bestselling author of the Darkest Powers young adult urban fantasy trilogy, the Women of the Otherworld paranormal suspense series, and the Nadia Stafford crime series. She lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada, with her husband, kids, and far too many pets.

Find her on Facebook and Twitter.


You write paranormal/urban fantasy (Otherworld series) and crime (Nadia Stafford Series) for adults, as well as young adult (Darkest Powers/Darkness Rising & Age of Rising) and middle grade (The Blackwell Pages)-I'm sure I'm missing a few things. You do all this as well as raising three young children. How do you manage? What's the writing process & schedule like for you-do you work on various books concurrently?

My kids are getting older, which helps. When Bitten came out in 2001, two were under the age of two, and that was tough. I learned to live by the Jack London quote that you can’t wait for inspiration to strike; you need to go after it with a club. I get my writing in whenever I can. My basic routine is to start when the kids go to school and work (writing, editing, outlining, etc.) until they come home, then work on business after dinner and on weekends. I do try to not write on more than thing at a time. That isn’t always possible with my schedule, but ideally, I’m not writing more than one (though I may be editing another at the same time!)


Can you give us a preview of OMENS?

It’s the first book of my post-Otherworld series, Cainsville. OMENS is about a privileged young woman who discovers she’s adopted…and the child of convicted serial killers. I call it modern gothic—it’s heavy on the mystery and suspense with light supernatural aspects.


Your earlier series have also dealt with paranormal/supernatural elements, what drew you to Celtic and Welsh folklore in OMENS? Tell us a little about the research process for the superstitions involved in the story. Also, in OMENS as well as your other work, do you stick with the rule of the myth, or add elements and twists of your own? How do you decide.

With OMENS, I wanted to work with supernatural elements that were largely absent from the Otherworld series. That one stuck primarily to “supernatural types” (like werewolves or witches) and I’m equally interested in superstition and myth, so I pulled both of those into OMENS. Like when I was building the Otherworld, I immersed myself in the lore, and then added those extra elements and twists to better suit a contemporary story. As much as possible, though, I try to stick to some version of the myth or folklore—there are often many versions, which makes that easier!


You interact in lots of different ways with your readers, including posting eFiction online. What are your best promotional tools? Do you have any suggestions for new authors?

I believe authors should be aware of all the various ways they can promote their books using social media, try as many as they can, and stick with the ones they find both effective and enjoyable. I don’t have a blog—I can’t commit to regular posts—but I use Tumblr because it gives me a place to make announcements (and do the occasional blog) Twitter is another favourite. Yet I’d never say authors must have Tumblr or Twitter, because if they don't like it, their discomfort with the medium will show.


BITTEN is set to air as a television series in the fall. Tell us what that experience has been like for you. Have you had much input into the process?

I really haven’t had much to do with it. I read the first few scripts, which were great, but that’s about it! I don’t know anything about television, so I’ve left it to the experts.


What's coming next for you?

I’ve recently released my first interactive story, which is set in the Cainsville universe. That came out from Penguin in July and is called Cainsville Files. This November, I’ll wrap up my Nadia Stafford mystery trilogy with Wild Justice. Next year I’ll launch my new YA trilogy with Sea of Shadows, a high fantasy based on medieval Japan. And next year also sees the release of book 2 in my Blackwell Pages trilogy—middle-grade adventure written as K. L. Armstrong (co-written with Melissa Marr as M.A. Marr) Yep, it’s been a couple years of nothing but endings and beginnings! Lots of changes.





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Writing ambience: Silence!

To outline or not to outline: Somewhere in the middle.

Book(s) she wishes she could read again for the first time: Stephen King's THE STAND.

What she's reading now: Justin Cronin's THE PASSAGE.

Her greatest fear: Heights. Or chickens.

Favorite online resource: .Social Security: Baby Names. Allows me to pick a year and get the most popular names for it, which is very useful when figuring out what name someone born, say, in 1945 might have.

Period in history she'd most like to visit: Ancient Rome because I've studied it more than any other period.

What she wishes she'd known when she started: I wish I'd had a crystal ball to tell me I would be published...though if I did, I might not have worked as hard, which I'd regret now!

Favorite independent bookstore: Bakka Phoenix - Toronto's SF/Fantasy bookstore.

If she could have a superpower: Shapeshifting.

If she could invite four people (living or dead) to a dinner party: Stephen King, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and Martha Jane Canary (Calamity Jane).